America’s highest civilian honour awarded to Catholic sister

Civilian honour

America’s highest civilian honour will be awarded by President Joe Biden to a Catholic sister this week.

Simone Campbell, SSS, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

That civilian honour is awarded to individuals “who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values or security of the United States, world peace or other significant societal, public or private endeavours.”

Campbell was the head of the Catholic social justice lobbying organisation Network until her retirement last year, having spent the past two decades lobbying for social justice in Washington DC.

She advocated for racial and economic justice, immigration reform and other causes.

She’s also often credited for her role in gathering signatures from Catholic nuns in support of the Affordable Care Act — the signature legislative achievement of former President Barack Obama – to help secure its passage.

Campbell spoke at two Democratic National Conventions in 2012 and 2020.

She organised the “Nuns on the Bus,” a tour that took her and other sisters to hundreds of events throughout the United States to call attention to the need for an expanded social safety net.

In addition, she was an ardent supporter of the Affordable Care Act when it was enacted in 2010. More recently, she was active in the 2020 election, urging Catholics not to vote for President Trump.

Although Biden is praising her contribution, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is less happy.

It has appointed the Archbishop of Seattle, Peter Sartain, to oversee the The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to ensure it follows “the teachings and discipline of the Church”.

Campbell has other views.

“When so many are struggling economically and still do not have access to meet their basic needs, the work of groups like @NETWORK and UnderstandingUS is being acknowledged for living out faith seeking justice,” she said.

“I trust that our work for economic justice and political healing might receive a renewed focus in these challenging times!”

The group will continue “caring for the least among us on the margins of society,” she says.


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News category: World.

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