A group of Roman Catholic nuns began a nine-state bus tour protesting proposed federal budget cuts yesterday, saying they weren't trying to flout recent Vatican criticisms of socially active nuns but felt called to show how Republican policies are affecting low-income families. The tour was organized by Network, a Washington-based Catholic social justice group criticized in a recent Vatican report that said some organizations led by nuns have focused too much on economic injustice while failing to promote the church's teachings on abortion and same-sex marriage.
Sister Simone Campbell, Network's executive director, said that while the tour may appear to have been organized to counter recent criticism of activist nuns by the Vatican and American bishops, it was not. The timing was in response to consideration of the federal budget in Congress, she said. The 14 nuns who will rotate on and off the bus during the next two weeks say they aren't opposing any specific Republican candidate, but they plan stops at the offices of several closely tied to the budget process, including John Boehner and Paul Ryan, the architect of the House-passed budget. The tour will end in Washington on July 2.