“Justice is all about everyone having access to the basic necessities of life that serve their human dignity,” says a Catholic sister.
Sister Simone Campbell is executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby. As a principal organizer of the 2012 “Nuns on the Bus” tour, she has garnered significant media attention over the last several months, and now she talks with EthicsDaily.com, via Skype from her office in Washington, D.C., about justice.
In terms of motivating U.S. citizens to care about justice, Sister Simone says: “I come at it from a faith perspective because I am a Catholic sister and that’s what’s motivated me for all these years, is Jesus in the Gospel calling us to care for the least.”
“But I must say that it’s also about our Constitution,” says Sister Simone, who points to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. The preamble begins, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice …”
“You can do it [encourage justice] from the faith perspective of caring for our brothers and sisters, being our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, or you can do it from the Constitution, the more perfect union, establishing justice,” she says.
Sister Simone has served as general director of her religious community, Sisters of Social Service. She was also an attorney for Oakland’s Community Law Center and executive director of JERICHO, a public policy interfaith organization in California.
“Usually I find that people want to be about charity,” says Sister Simone, “just giving generously and feeling good about themselves.”
She says she challenges people to see the systemic nature of the problems and the interconnectedness of the issues.
“Some people want us to think that just individuals should take care of these problems. But in a democracy, what we’ve agreed to as a people … we’re the people coming together to solve these hard problems. And that’s where justice becomes so important. That’s what democracy is, is to solve the tough, systemic problems.”
Watch the interview with Sister Simone Campbell at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-sistersimone
Visit Sister Simone Campbell online at www.networklobby.org/people/simone-campbell-sss
Watch other EthicsDaily.com Skype interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily
For more on charity and justice, check out EthicsDaily.com’s documentary “Sacred Texts, Social Duty”