July 2nd, 2012
10:10 PM ET

Busing nuns cover 2,700 miles to rally in D.C. against Ryan budget

By Anna-Lysa Gayle and Jeffrey Elizabeth Copeland, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A group of nuns who took to the road 2,700 miles ago reached Washington Monday carrying the same message they began with: "Reasonable revenue for responsible programs."

Standing in front of the United Methodist Building near the U.S. Capitol, the "Nuns on the Bus," as they have billed themselves, rallied an excited crowd with stories from the road and a call to action for future protests to protect social programs. Starting in Iowa, the nuns traveled through nine different states in a trip ended right outside the Capitol building.

"Under the guise of this austerity and responsibility, they're (representatives who support the budget proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan) only thinking of us after all they gut the very programs that help Catholic sisters house the homeless, feed the hungry, give children a chance," Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, told the crowd.

CNN Belief: Road tripping nuns hit middle America

The group announced in June that they would be taking their message to the road and specifically called out the Wisconsin Republican for his proposed $3.53 trillion budget that looks to overhaul Medicare and other government programs. According to the nuns, the budget does too much to protect money for the military at the expense of other social program.

NETWORK is a Catholic social justice organization founded by 47 Catholic sisters in 1971. Its members generally speak out and lobby for social welfare issues.

A major aspect of the bus trip was giving the nuns an opportunity to visit social programs that they say are working for the community. During the trip, they visited housing programs, refugee centers and food pantries.

"These programs cannot, must not, be defunded," said Sister Diane Donoghue, an 81-year old nun who joined NETWORK for much of the trip.

When they arrived outside the Capitol on Monday, they were greeted with yelps and shouts. Despite the high temperature, people stood outside with signs ranging from "I stand with the 'Nuns on the Bus'" to "We Love You Sisters."

"I think it's important to show a sense of solidarity for the Ryan cuts, because of the different places that we stopped on the trip," said Sister Mary Wendeln, a nun from Ohio who traveled on the bus. "All are places of need - transitional houses, literacy centers, soup kitchens, places where people eat, (people) who can't afford to pay rent and eat at the same time."

Campbell, the groups leader, told CNN that she wasn't ready to consider a larger bus trip, but that NETWORK was not done fighting.

"By no means are we finished standing up to the misguided politicians who would harm people at the margins of our society," said Campbell. "The House budget is a moral sin and it is unpatriotic and we will not rest until politicians like Paul Ryan set it aside."

CNN Belief: Nuns' group plans bus trip to protest the Ryan budget

The nuns drew a diverse crowd to the rally and were joined by a number of interfaith leaders, including Dr. Sayyid Sayeed, the national director of the Islamic Society of North America.

"Nuns on the Bus speak for not just Catholics, not just Christians only, not for Jews, they speak for all of us," Sayeed said to the spirited crowd. "You have strengthened and defined for us a vision for the new century."

Mother and NETWORK supporter Karen O' Brien was also in attendance, along with her 9-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.

"I want our kids to believe that they can make the same difference in the world that the sisters do," O'Brien said. "The sisters are excellent role models, and it's important for young people to see their role models."

Ryan has previously said that he applied his understanding of Catholic social teaching when crafting his budget. In April, speaking at Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic university in the country, Ryan defended his budget's grounding in faith and acknowledged his critics.

"Of course, there can be differences among faithful Catholics on this. The work I do, as a Catholic holding office, conforms to the social doctrine as best I can make of it," said Ryan. "What I have to say about the social doctrine of the church is from the viewpoint of a Catholic in politics applying my understanding of the problems of the day."

The group did make a stop in Ryan's hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin and dropped off their own budget proposal to his office. After the visit, Ryan issued a statement on the how "government assistance continues to push this country toward a debt crisis."

"To avoid a debt crisis and to restore the promise of greater opportunity and greater prosperity, Washington owes the American people bold and targeted reforms and real solutions that address today’s most urgent fiscal challenges," the statement continued.

To their critics, the nuns have said that they have the Catholic bishops on their side.

"We agreed with the United States Congress of Catholic Bishops, the House budget is a moral sin and it is unpatriotic and we will not rest until politicians like Paul Ryan set it aside," the group said.

In an April release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the bishops called on "Congress and the Administration to protect essential help for poor families and vulnerable children and to put the poor first in budget priorities."

– CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Catholic Church • United States

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. dyslexic dog


    July 3, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • believer

      Yeah! Well why don't you mackrel snappers pay your own way? Get some of those icons and historically valuable articfacts out of the basement of the vatican! Sell them! Pry some of that Gold and siver from the arms and robes of those clowns all dressed up for Holloween or a Klan meeting and feed the dead beats, after all if your priests would get out and work rather than punk little boys in the ass you may get some where. I don't want my tax money going to some charity controlled by a bunch of Pious Sanctimonius Hypocrites, I have not forgotten the INQUISITION and the rest of the world should do the same. In the new world a priest walked around with a cross in one hane and his dick in the other hand offering Both!

      July 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • gerald

      And somehow you and your atti.tude are better than santimonious piety? Really? That is if priests are really as you describe them. But biggots generally have a skewed view.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  2. dyslexic dog

    Thankyou ladies for working to help the poor. A truly noble goal, whatever you believe in.

    Meanwhile, the political party that have hijacked the flag and religion, continue to work against Jesus' teachings.

    Meanwhile, FOX News, run by a man at the top of the 1%, continues to brainwash the religious right to vote against their best interests.

    It's one of the biggest scams in history ( just behind Joseph Smith's scam)

    July 3, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      And Scientology, and Islam, and ..........

      July 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Gast

      You had me on your side until you disparaged my religion. This is the reason why the religious right will continue to have power. Not all Mormons are for Romney. Not all of us a freakish to our friends. So rather than dissing us, we need to start working together.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  3. dyslexic dog

    the upcoming election will prove two points.
    (a) that christians are believers according to convenience, and
    (b) that republican christians are republicans first and christians second

    Romney is a mormon which is a religion that, as well as co-optingsome parts and characters from the bible word for word, also contradicts and makes a mockery of so many key christian religious beliefs that it should be a bigger issue to christians than gay marriage and abortion. But ... the same way as christians always pick and choose which parts of the bible to loudly proclaim and which parts of the bible to pretend don't exist ... they will ignore all these issues and vote for Romney anyway.

    What do you think God/Jesus will think of you if you give your vote to a man who truly believes that he will one day be a God? Or a man who truly believes that Joseph Smith, a 19th century reknowned con-man, is an equal of Jesus?

    Go on christans, pretend you never read this post. Find some obscure bible quote that will justify you supporting a cult. What a joke!

    July 3, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • gerald

      Cyrus was not a Jew yet he did the will of God. Cornelius was not a Christian yet he was a god-fearing and just man. THe three wise men and the samaritan were not Christians or Jews. What does this tell you? You nothing. To me it says that a Christian can vote for Romney. Stop telling us what our theology and actions should be based on your distored outsider view. You sound foolish.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Gast

      First off, dude, I am Mormon. I happen to find peace in my faith and hope that others find the same whatever their basis of faith may be. That is the essence of freedom of religion. However, that said, I am not a Romney supporter. If you want to believe that Joseph Smith was a charlatan, far for me to convince you otherwise. That is your right. But I am a firm believer that God is no respecter of persons and that my job is to love my neighbour and to take care of those in my community. I believe that Christ was not a happy camper about those who loved their money over serving their fellowman. I believe that he was willing to heal and serve anyone who simply was willing to try to believe. So be careful about dissing religious folks because dude, when you do, you also diss the religious left. If you want to defeat Romney this fall, stop being a bigot and work together because I don't know about you, but the only one of the two guys running for the highest office in this land that reflect the values I hold dear to me is the Democrat.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:19 am |
  4. Rational Libertarian

    Catholics and socialism, two things I despise.

    July 3, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • gerald

      As a Catholic I find it comforting to know there are people like you out there who will hate me without knowing me. I feel blessed.....in being reviled. God bless.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Good. Hail Satan.

      July 4, 2012 at 4:23 am |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 3, 2012 at 6:16 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      July 3, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Lux

      Repeating the same unproven statement does not make it true.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • fux

      tell it to the phony jesus

      July 3, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Gast

      Dude, Define "change". When I pray and I feel peace, then I could argue it changes things: me. And that's enough for me.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  6. Bootyfunk

    i'm an atheist and i'm with the nuns. go get em, sistahs! they are the only decent part of the catholic chruch these days.

    July 3, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Delusions 3:15

      ^ Like

      July 3, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  7. Reality

    Only for the Sisters of the Bus:

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?: And how many “souls” would be saved?

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!


    For Obamacare-
    U.S. Department of the Treasury
    Credit Accounting Branch
    3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
    Hyattsville, MD 20782

    July 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • .....

      bull sh it alert

      July 3, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Gast

      What I find very funny is how the Mormon church actually steps in during major disasters providing relief in the form of food, clothing, etc. that saves the government oodles of money. How much have you personally donated in the past 10 years. You may criticise my religion for a lot of things, but dude, seriously . . .

      People, seriously, stop dissing religions. Just because you are fed up with the religious right, stop lumping us all together. Though interesting bedfellows, if you don't stop dissing the religious left, you're going to get a narcissist in the WH this fall. If you don't like religion, click the "back" button and stop reading in the faith section.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Reality

      Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Mormonism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

      Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues

      July 4, 2012 at 5:17 am |
  8. fernace

    Thanks to Nuns On the Bus & NETWORK for taking on this issue of Ryans misguided budget! The budget is bad for All Americans, (w/the exception of the 1%), & the sooner it is exposed for the bad policy it is, the better off we'll be

    July 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  9. Jack

    Hi everyone. All are welcome to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    July 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  10. Mr Chihuahua

    This is the most interesting article I have ever read lol!

    July 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  11. Making up lies to "prove" you are right is not logical


    July 2, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.