Blessed Are the Risk Takers

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

In an era of conspiracy theorists, the unmasked, and other versions of the “flat Earth Society,” it is refreshing to encounter people who risk jobs, security, and misunderstanding in speaking truth. I find this happening more often in a time of multiple national crises.

Dr. Fauci has been “the True North” in speaking truth to power throughout the COVID -19 pandemic.  His life and the lives of his three daughters have been threatened, yet he takes risks on our behalf because of his commitment to truth and the common good.

Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington, KY, is a man I hold in high esteem.  He has rattled cages more than once in this conservative diocese.  I met him in Washington in 2018 when I joined 40 sisters, priests, and lay leaders to do civil disobedience on behalf of dreamers facing deportation.  He was there to preside at our liturgy, preach a stellar homily and bless us before we were arrested.  His message then and now was to preach the gospel wherever it may lead you.

He is not a “careerist” and will never climb a ladder.  Instead, he will join a circle.  His circle includes “the least of these” – immigrants, poor and marginalized, those working for nonviolent solutions to problems.  This gentle follower of St. Francis is not afraid to take on anyone.

He participated in a recent webinar in which he clearly defined “pro-life” as a to z, not stopping at a.  His criticism of the president and his administration leaves no one doubting his concern about an anti-life administration.  He maintains that one “cannot be pro-life if you support separating children from their parents and put them in cages …cannot be pro-life if you deny them affordable health care, even with pre-existing illnesses.”  Pro-life also means supporting basic, responsible, common-sense gun laws that include universal background checks, banning of assault weapons, and saving many thousands of lives by simple actions.  Pro-life is a “seamless garment” being shredded by an anti-life president.

To read the entire text of Bishop Stowe’s address, click here.

I am confident Bishop Stowe is getting hate mail and calls for his removal, as well as unfriendly twitter comments.

Sr. Suzanne Brauer standing with Black Lives Matter demonstrators in New Orleans.

While it is important to engage in peaceful protests and criticize those in power who are destructive in their words and decisions, it is also important to affirm those who take risks on our behalf in the pursuit of truth.  Bishop John Stowe deserves our thanks.

You may write to him at: Diocese of Lexington, 1310 West Main St., Lexington, KY 40508 or go to the Diocese of Lexington website.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

14 responses to “Blessed Are the Risk Takers

  1. I’ve never been able to understand how the anti-abortion movement was allowed to claim the title “pro-life.” For one thing they seem unable to grasp that in a pregnancy there are two lives involved, not one. Both have to be taken into account, not just one. But as Judy and Bishop Stowe and Cardinal Bernadine long ago pointed out, life has such a large global scope – and we as humans are required to embrace ALL that lives as sacred – because God does! So be a single issue voter: vote for LIFE in all its myriad forms. Vote for whoever you believe will best protect and enhance all of it, not just one tiny fraction. I believe that is what Jesus would do. Thanks Judy, for reminding us of this! And thanks, Bishop Stowe, for daring to speak forJesus in such risky ways!

  2. Great that discussion is going on, Judy. Let’s hope and pray for open, reflective people to consider the whole picture. Glad you had a forum for presenting a truthful point of view.

  3. Sister Judy,
    I recently wrote to Bishop John Stowe OFM Conv., to thank him for his courage in speaking out about Catholic social teachings. I received a very kind letter in return. I attended his ordination as bishop and was impressed with his transparency and commitment. He is Franciscan to his very core in his commitment to those who are marginalized in various ways. I occasionally see him at Jewish temple services (my wife is Jewish). Bishop Stowe quietly sits in the back for the Jewish prayers. It is my impression he is a good friend of the rabbi. His fluency in Spanish is remarkable; I’ve seen him work with our Latinx friends. We are fortunate to have a leader like him in the Diocese of Lexington. I

  4. Thank you, Judy for your excellent article and its reminders. Like Rita, I, too, have Network’s “Equally Sacred Scorecard”, which I find quite informative re: “Pro-Life” issues. May God bless Bishop Stowe, and all who work for Truth!


  5. Judy, I’ll be glad to write to Bishop Stowe. Donald trump is not pro-life in terms of living wage, health care, and gun control and chjild care. Everyone who has an abortion isn’t necessarily looking for an expensive life style. They want a living wage to feed their children and safe gun laws so they can send their children to school. This president represents none of those values.

  6. Judy, thank you for speaking the truth so clearly and giving support to Bishop Stowe. Today I received the Equally Sacred Scorecard developed by Network. It shows clearly where our two presidential candidates stand in relation to promoting the sacredness of life that Pope Francis has called us to defend and promote. Bishop Stowe would score beautifully on this Score Card.

  7. Thanks, Judy. I know Sisters who only vote for politicians sole based on their opposition to abortion. I hope they read your pro-life blog and realize that is much broader than just that one issue.

    1. Good job in pointing out that, despite media news stories to the contrary, Trump is NOT responsible for a lot of what’s charged against him. He makes mistakes and is human like the rest of us, but I believe he’s doing the best he can. For sure our economy has shown marvelous changes compared to what we had under the previous administration, and for that reason alone I plan to vote for him.

      1. President Trump may be doing the best he can, as Karen Conklin says, but his best is so clearly NOT good enough. His dishonesty, narcissism, ineffective response to the pandemic, and utter lack of concern for immigrants, make me determined to work hard to assure his defeat. Our country has become the laughing stock of the world.

      2. Many of us had the opportunity to witness Sr. Simone Campbell’s presentation on economic inequality at last year’s tenth-anniversary celebration. If it showed me one thing, it’s that the rich keep getting richer, and under this administration, the poor keep getting poorer and poorer. The top 5% of the population are seeing income increases at double the rate of the middle class, and 4 times more than the rest of the population. This shows no sign of improving – to the contrary, this White House has done everything it can to enrich the wealthy, including the members of the first family. It is impossible for me to see how that makes this administration attractive to anyone who believes in justice.

  8. Sister Judy and Bishop Stowe: Being Pro-life begins with Abortion. The taking of an unborn human life is an intrinsic evil. You can stack up all the other pro-life issues in an attempt to support a fallen away Catholic like Joe Biden and his anti-Catholic running mate, Kamala Harris, as those issues, even combined, can never equal the horror of taking an innocent human life thru abortion. President Trump has publicly shown his support of the Pro-Life movement over and over.

    1. And then totally disregarded life. His behavior screams lip service. Virus victims, prisoners, migrants, kids in cages at the border. His wife and son…….

    2. What is the religion of Joe Biden?
      Biden and his wife are Roman Catholics and regularly attend Mass at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine in Greenville, Delaware.
      So James, how is Joe Biden a fallen-away Catholic?

  9. Thanks, Judy. I can echo your praise of Bishop Stowe. If only there were more bishops like him! I’ve met with him and exchanged emails often. He is very supportive of the trans community and of my ministry among them. I have sent him more than one note of support and thanks, and I encourage all to do the same! Oh yes, he’s getting lots of hate mail.

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