Sister Barbara's Gone Rogue! NPR Touts Nuns for 'Enshrining Abortion Rights' in Missouri

May 4th, 2024 6:21 AM

Leftists love to believe that churches should be run like clubs -- the majority rules. So they'll make a big deal out of polls, like the Pew Research Center finding six of ten Catholics disagree with the church's opposition to abortion. They do not ask self-identified Catholics whether they actually go to church on Sundays, or if they stopped the minute they became an adult. You would get a more conservative result.

On Tuesday, NPR's newscast All Things Considered brought on reporter Katia Riddle to channel the views of pro-abortion Catholics, but what made it more shocking is touting a pro-abortion nun -- someone who is financially supported by the Church, and who should be accepting of all the Church teachings.

KATIA RIDDLE: Today, Missouri is replete with Catholic churches, iconography and people like Sister Barbara.

SISTER BARBARA: I certainly did not intend to, you know, become a sister or a nun.

RIDDLE: She's standing outside her modest apartment, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. She grew up Catholic but wasn't all that religious. In her 20s, she describes a kind of love affair she fell into with Catholicism.

SISTER BARBARA: An emphasis on serving the poor and getting involved in just, you know, the social justice issues of the day. And that was a whole new idea for me about what religious life was really about.

Church officials might want to know who this nun is, and why she would publicly -- well, not all the way -- bite the hand that's feeding her.

RIDDLE: NPR is not using Sister Barbara's last name. She fears retribution from her local archdiocese for publicly expressing her beliefs on reproductive rights. She doesn't agree with the church's position that abortion is a sin and should be illegal.

SISTER BARBARA: I just don't see it in just real absolute terms.

RIDDLE: She says she wouldn't personally choose to end a pregnancy.

SISTER BARBARA: However, I have not been in the situation of a person who has - had suffered from incest or rape or all of those things.

RIDDLE: The Bible, she points out, does not say anything explicit about abortion. She fell in love with Catholicism for its practice around compassion and service, not politics.

SISTER BARBARA: I want to put a sticker on the car that says, don't like abortion? Don't have one.

RIDDLE: That's why she's supporting an effort in Missouri to enshrine abortion rights in the state's Constitution. Several other nuns interviewed for this story said they feel the same. One was even collecting signatures to put the measure on the November ballot, though she didn't want to talk about it on the record.

Over seven minutes, Riddle lined up the Catholic abortion advocates: ex-nun Alice Kitchen, retired reproductive endocrinologist Marilyn Richardson, Democrat state representative Ingrid Burnett, and college student Mary Helen Schaefer. The only surprise is a brief nod to Matt Lee, who runs a pro-life group called Missouri Stands with Women. He's a deacon in the church.

RIDDLE: Lee says he's not surprised that many Catholics support abortion access. Some reproductive rights advocates say church leadership is scared of this diversity of opinion among its followers, but Lee disagrees.

LEE: Could you say the Catholic Church is under attack or the church's beliefs are under attack or their institutions are? Sure, but that doesn't mean that the Catholic Church is scared. I mean, scared people tend to run away. The Catholic Church is not running away from this fight.

Try not to laugh at NPR saying some other organization is scared of having a diversity of opinion inside its walls.

Riddle concluded with the unsubtle hint that the Catholic hierarchy should be tethered to polls instead of their view of God's will:

SISTER BARBARA: I think that the Catholic Church would not be here today if they didn't have a remarkable ability to turn corners when it's necessary - when things are about to collapse for it.

RIDDLE: After all, she points out, Catholicism has been around for centuries. She's hoping this abortion debate is a relatively brief distraction from what she sees as the faith's fundamental aspirations.

SISTER BARBARA: Reaching for some kind of ideals in the way we love and live with each other, with one another.

RIDDLE: For Sister Barbara, one of those ideals would be for church leadership to value what a majority of Catholics believe.