National Coalition of American Nuns

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The National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) represents over 2000 Catholic nuns.[1] The NCAN is partnered with the Women-Church Convergence, which promotes "diverse feminist, faith-filled voices."[2]

History[edit]

NCAN was founded by Margaret Traxler in 1969. In 1963, Margaret Traxler joined a group of priests and sisters marching for civil rights in Selma, Alabama.[3] This led to her involvement with the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice, and thus her creation of the NCAN.[4] NCAN received notice when Sisters Traxler, Donna Quinn, Ann Patrick Ware, and Deborah Barrett appeared, in 1982, on the Phil Donahue Show opposing legislation that limited abortion.

NCAN - Feminism[edit]

The NCAN has long advanced the idea that women should be fully welcomed into the church including the priesthood. In 1972, the organization published a “Declaration of Independence for Women,” a document which outlined a five-year plan to achieve gender equality within and outside the Church. This declaration advocated for full equality for women, reformation of the economic and power systems, and simple living. In this document, members made a connection between slavery and the oppression of women in the Catholic Church: “Just as today we are appalled that organized religion once approved slavery, so within a few years will the present oppression of women in churches be recognized as immoral.” Additionally, the declaration requested broad-based research programs in human sexuality to encourage fair judgement on the behavior of the human family, and called upon women to refrain from economic assistance to churches until 1976. The NCAN also declared its support for the 2018 Women's Marches around the world and their contradiction of the "vulgar words" used by President Trump.[5]

NCAN - Abortion & Contraceptives[edit]

The NCAN's position on the issues of abortion, homosexuality, and women clerics have put it at odds with the U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops. The NCAN is most well-known for their strong support of Reproductive Justice, or the right of a woman to choose what is best for her own body, including the use of contraceptives and abortions, if needed.[6] In fact, the NCAN was extremely upset after other Catholic groups began challenging the Affordable Care Act by refusing insurance coverage for contraceptives for women.[7] The NCAN believes that this violates the inherent rights and equality given to all men and women of this nation.[8] The NCAN even announced their support of the Obamacare Contraception Access during his presidency. After the pope declared that priests could forgive women who have had abortions as long as they admitted to sinning, the group of American nuns realized there was a lot to be done in order to "make women equal members of the Catholic Church."[9] While the NCAN acknowledged the attempts of pope to act in a pastoral manner and soften his stance on the issue, many women within the church did not find these comments satisfactory and felt as though their right to autonomy was still not recognized by the Church.[10] The nuns argued that "sperm from males was responsible for these unplanned pregnancies."[11] Many other Catholic activism groups, such Catholics for Choice, joined the NCAN and spoke out against the pope as well. A member of the NCAN, Sister Donna Quinn, spoke out against the priest after these comments were made, saying that “I think he gets it within the Vatican sense and about the hierarchy, but he still won’t let women have full membership with the Catholic tradition. Women still don’t have full membership.”[12] Sister Donna Quinn, the coordinator of the NCAN, has been known for "escorting women through a gauntlet of protesters" at abortion clinics. Quinn calls herself "a feminist and an activist and proud of it." Sister Mary Ann Cunningham of Denver, a NCAN board member, says they are an alternative to the church hierarchy's positions on public issues. The organization supports the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

NCAN - The LGBT Community[edit]

The NCAN is also known for the support of the LGBT community and their acceptance into the church.[13] Involved in the relationship between the church and the LGBT community for over forty-seven years, Sister Jeannine Gramick reaffirms the NCAN's support of LGBT people because of the presumptions that nuns are strict and repressive, especially in terms of social issues like these.[14] Sister Jeannine Gramick shares that she "wish[es] the image of nuns as compassionate and justice-seeking people would replace the old and idiotic image of nuns that still gets repeated."[15] She even wrote an essay, entitled the National Catholic Reporter's "Global Sister's Report," that draws attention to these social justice issues and their relationship to the nuns of the Catholic Church. Gramick reveals that "Catholic nuns have been LGBT people’s strongest supporters among institutional church people."[16] Sister Gramick and many other members of the NCAN participated in the "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign and protest (see below) during 2012 to try to convince people that our nation's political freedom was under attack.[17] Sister Gramick explains that, "we want our church leaders to be pastoral leaders particularly concerned with the poor and the vulnerable, the gay and lesbian community, women and the equal rights of all people rather than the partisan politics they seem to be playing."[18] However, their stance on these issues has caused controversy among Christian people over the many years that the NCAN has been in place.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stand With The Nuns in Support of Birth Control". Groundswell. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  2. ^ "Statements". www.women-churchconvergence.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  3. ^ "Margaret Ellen Traxler". www.sturdyroots.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  4. ^ "Margaret Ellen Traxler". www.sturdyroots.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  5. ^ "Statements". www.women-churchconvergence.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  6. ^ "National Coalition of American Nuns Supports Reproductive Justice | Religious Institute". religiousinstitute.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  7. ^ "National Coalition of American Nuns Supports Reproductive Justice | Religious Institute". religiousinstitute.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  8. ^ "National Coalition of American Nuns Supports Reproductive Justice | Religious Institute". religiousinstitute.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  9. ^ "These nuns made an obvious point about the pope's recent abortion comments". The Independent. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  10. ^ "These nuns made an obvious point about the pope's recent abortion comments". The Independent. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  11. ^ "These nuns made an obvious point about the pope's recent abortion comments". The Independent. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  12. ^ "These nuns made an obvious point about the pope's recent abortion comments". The Independent. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  13. ^ "The Untold Story of Nuns' Support of LGBT People - New Ways Ministry". New Ways Ministry. 2018-01-05. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  14. ^ "The Untold Story of Nuns' Support of LGBT People - New Ways Ministry". New Ways Ministry. 2018-01-05. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  15. ^ "The Untold Story of Nuns' Support of LGBT People - New Ways Ministry". New Ways Ministry. 2018-01-05. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  16. ^ "The Untold Story of Nuns' Support of LGBT People - New Ways Ministry". New Ways Ministry. 2018-01-05. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  17. ^ "'Fortnight for Freedom' Campaign Ends With Protest and Op-Ed - New Ways Ministry". New Ways Ministry. 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  18. ^ "'Fortnight for Freedom' Campaign Ends With Protest and Op-Ed - New Ways Ministry". New Ways Ministry. 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2018-04-09.