Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear Mr. Kristof of the New York Times: You Are Not a Nun

Dear Mr. Kristof, contrary to the title of your recent New York Times essay, “We Are All Nuns,” you are not a nun.  

Of course, I know the title of your essay was only a rhetorical flourish. I think the point you were making is that all liberal-minded people are in solidarity with the nuns’ organization that is being investigated by the Vatican. 

I write briefly to comment on a few of the statements in your essay: 

Nicholas D. Kristof:
Not a Nun
First, you disapprove of the Vatican’s decision to review an umbrella organization of American nuns. “In effect,” you wrote, “the Vatican accused the nuns of worrying too much about the poor and not enough about abortion and gay marriage.”

As a Catholic, I deeply resent the implication that the Vatican accused women religious of worrying too much about the poor.  That is not true, and you know it.

Second, you imply that the nuns’ umbrella organization is in trouble for varying from Church doctrine on gay marriage and abortion. I do not know the details of the Vatican’s concern about the nuns’ organization, but I would be astonished if a single American nun favors abortion; and I think it is mischievous of you to suggest that American women religious as a whole disagree with Church doctrine on abortion and same sex marriage.

Third, you seem to believe that concern for the poor and support for gay marriage and abortion are inextricably linked. But that is not true.

Throughout the history of our Church, thousands of women religious and secular Catholic women have sacrificed their lives to serve their fellow human beings. Many of them were martyred, and some of them have been canonized. All these women lived holy lives in obedience to Church doctrine on human life and marriage.   

It is absurd and insulting to suggest--as you did in your New York Times essay--that the only people capable of Christian charity are people who endorse postmodern notions of sexuality and the value of human life.


Kristof, N. D. (2012, April 28). We are all nuns. New York Times.

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