Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nuns and Healthcare

I just read in the Newsweek blog, The Gaggle that a group of nuns have come out urging congress to pass Healthcare Reform. The healdine states that the nuns "defy bishops." I must say, I have to love those nuns. Right away I said to my wife, "They have more heart and more education than any of those bishops."

I know something of whence I speak. Back in 2001, my wife and I attended RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)in our local Catholic diocese. The instructor for us adult inquirers into the Catholic faith was an very gifted Benedictine nun. During one of our theological discussions, she explained some of the dynamics that have been going on in the church for a while. In the education the priests, typically they go through seminary, are ordained and then are sent out to work in the parishes. For many of them, that is the extent of their theological education.

For nuns, however, many of them have received theological education throughout their lives. After they take their final vows, many nuns work as educators. Those nuns who want to continue their education take college and graduate level courses during the summers when they are not teaching school. It takes much longer to get a degree that way, but one of the consequences is that the nuns are exposed to the latest developments and thinking among academics and theologians. Back during the 1960s and '70s when so much was happening socialogically and theologically, the nuns were at the forefront of knowledge and development. Consequently, they tended to be up to date and on the cusp of events, whereas many of the priests and bishops were 20 years behind the times.

I believe in continuing education, and I believe in working hard to see that ethics, theology, and philosophy keep pace with our understanding of what is happening in the world. I cheer those nuns who are not only out there in the world working with people in need, they are also keeping their minds sharp and their thoughts current. When it comes to faith and religion, I think having the heart, having the dedication, and being in pursuit of knowledge are vital.

My hat is off to those magnificent nuns who are living their faith.


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