NETWORK NEWSROOM

If you are a member of the media, please contact Colleen Ross, 202-601-7877 or via email for interviews or information about NETWORK.

Recent Press Releases

NETWORK in the News

Washington, D.C.’s 500 Most Influential People

Washingtonian May 3, 2022

NETWORK Government Relations Director and immigration lobbyist Ronnate Asirwatham included on list. “Asirwatham is the lead lobbyist on immigration for this Catholic group, which condemned the Biden administration for its forcible removal of asylum seekers.”

Network’s 50-year ‘political ministry’ has kept focus on economic justice

Catholic News Service May 2, 2022

“Over the years, Network has worked in partnership with diverse organizations as well as Republican and Democratic members of Congress to achieve significant legislative wins. Among the most prominent was passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a complex law which expanded access to health care for millions of people.”

At Capitol Hill gala, Network celebrates 50 years of lobbying for social justice

Global Sisters Report April 27 2022

“The Catholic social justice lobby Network celebrated its 50th anniversary April 22 with a gala dinner on Capitol Hill that featured the gathering of several of the group’s original sister-founders, a presentation of awards, and the performance of a new song written especially for the group. The final event of the evening’s program — before attendees, including many Catholic sisters, took to the dance floor in celebration of the occasion — was the presentation of Network’s inaugural Distinguished Justice-Seeker Award, which was given to the National Black Sisters’ Conference.”

Editorial: Thanks to NETWORK for 50 years of lobbying for the common good

National Catholic Reporter April 22, 2022

“Reporters and editors at the National Catholic Reporter have long known that Network staff are among some of the most knowledgeable sources on the various social issues covered frequently in our pages. We’re grateful for their help with our work as journalists, and for all the work they do on behalf of the poor and the common good.”

‘Spirit-driven’ NETWORK celebrates 50 years of advocating for Catholic social justice

Global Sisters Report April 18, 2022

“For 50 years, Network has lobbied members of Congress for laws and policies that reflect Catholic social justice teaching and graded representatives and senators on whether their votes reflect those teachings. They have trained thousands of people through their legislative workshops on how to advocate for their beliefs in Washington and back home as well as how to organize to be effective. Their biggest victory: passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, for which Network lobbied.”

During the Easter Season, Catholics Across the Country Call for Reparations

Newsweek April 15, 2022

“During the holiest week of the year for Christians, churchgoers across the country are hearing the language associated with Jesus’ suffering and death: atonement. This message mirrors one that we are now hearing from Congress around reparations for Black Americans because of the United States’ egregious human rights violations against them, from slavery to lynchings to Jim Crow Laws.”

How and why the church fuels white supremacy

Presbyterian Mission April 12, 2022

“The NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice sponsored the online conference with Fr. Bryan Massingale, Dr. Marcia Chatelain, and Dr. Robbie Jones. ‘This truth-telling is what we need this Lent as we move into Holy Week,’ said Mary J. Novak, executive director of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, a journey that invokes “emerging from death to life, toward freedom by action and by reparatory justice.'”

Interfaith rally supports Ketanji Brown Jackson in front of Supreme Court

Religion News Service March 30, 2022

“Mary Novak, executive director of Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, noted that in addition to her signing the joint letter that was the focus of the rally, Network delivered to the Senate a letter signed by thousands of its advocates and members, including 1,100 Catholic nuns. ‘As a former death penalty lawyer myself and as a Catholic, I can say from experience, we need her,’ she said of Jackson.”

Catholic advocates keep calling for end to ‘shameful’ immigration rule

National Catholic Reporter March 24, 2022

“Two years is too long for Title 42. Immigration advocates and the faith community do not tolerate the CDC’s and President Biden’s complicity in rationalizing and legitimizing this harmful, racist policy,” said Ronnate Asirwatham, Network’s government relations director. “This policy was designed to negatively impact asylum-seekers and migrants, especially Black and brown migrants. We must restore asylum and end this harmful policy at once.”

At nine years, Pope Francis channels the spirit of Catholic sisters

Religion News Service March 10, 2022

“His leadership is noteworthy not only because of its departure from papal precedent, but also because it incorporates key elements of the courageous, joyful, authentic and inclusive energy of Catholic sisters.”

Biden calls his Supreme Court nominee a ‘proven consensus builder’

Catholic News Service February 25, 2022

“Ahead of news reports announcing that Jackson was Biden’s nominee pick, a joint statement from the Catholic social justice lobby Network, the National Black Sisters Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said they ‘strongly support the Biden administration’s promise to nominate a Black woman to the United States Supreme Court.’ The three Catholic groups said it is ‘imperative that the court reflect the diversity of our country in order to act in a fully informed, deliberate way and arrive at sound decisions.'”

Scorecards tally House, Senate votes on voting rights, budget, life issues

The Central Minnesota Catholic February 14, 2022

“‘We have a long tradition of scoring,’ said Mary Novak, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby. Network was founded 50 years ago, in 1972, and started scoring in 1974. ‘This is one of the most consistent exercises in our political ministry,’ she said.”

Broad effort to pass bill supporting pregnant workers focuses on Senate

Catholic News Service February 9, 2022

Supported widely by Catholic, human rights, women’s rights, labor, business and family organizations, the bill would require employers with at least 15 workers to provide temporary “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant employees — steps such as more frequent breaks, reassignment of hazardous duties and schedule changes. ‘It’s Catholic social teaching at its core,’ said Gina Kelley, a government relations specialist at NETWORK.”

I am a Catholic Sister who was arrested at a voting rights protest. Our democracy is worth it.

America Magazine December 17, 2021

“When Catholics think about how to live out the values of their faith through politics, protecting their democracy is not likely what comes to mind. But it should be. The church supports democracy as the form of government best suited to guarantee the protection and flourishing of all people.”

Catholic sisters make Advent plea to Biden: End ‘immoral’ immigration rule

Catholic News Service December 6, 2021

“Along with a large group of supporters and associates, about 80 women religious from 24 congregations around the country marched and circled an area in front of the White House singing and carrying signs that read: ‘Catholic Sisters say: End the Immoral Use of Title 42.'”

Ahmaud Arbery verdict does not bring him back but advances justice

Catholic News Service November 24, 2021

“After the verdict, Joan F. Neal, deputy executive director of the Catholic social justice lobby Network, said: ‘These guilty verdicts show how the criminal legal system can and should work, but are no substitute for Ahmaud Arbery’s life.'”

Catholic Leaders Say Social Justice Isn’t in Conflict With Faith

Sojourners November 11, 2021

“Catholicism is a prophetic, living tradition that calls me to encounter lived realities and act in community. Just as the gospels demonstrate Jesus’ healing power, the Catholic social tradition demands us to eradicate racism and all discrimination.”

Report outlines complaints of border agents’ treatment of asylum-seekers

The Catholic Sun  September 14, 2021

“We ask that there be more oversight by Congress and the administration. We do hope and expect that Congress will hear us, and that the administration writ large will hear us and put in some more oversight and other plans so that this culture of impunity can be stopped.”

Catholics Grade the Second Catholic President 100 Days In

America Magazine  April 29, 2021

“As for the economy, Mary Novak, the newly installed director of the Catholic social justice lobbying group Network, called Mr. Biden’s economic plans ‘bold and transformative.’… Ms. Novak also said she is impressed by Mr. Biden’s efforts to lower the political temperature. ‘What he is working to achieve is not a superficial peace but a place where we can reach a shared understanding of our communal reality without fanning the flames of division.’”

Catholic Advocacy Group NETWORK Taps Georgetown Professor Mary Novak as New Leader

Religion News Service  March 22, 2021

“Catholic Social Justice lobby NETWORK has chosen Georgetown University law professor Mary Novak to take over the group when its longtime leader, Sister Simone Campbell, steps down later this month… Novak said she hopes to bring unique attributes to NETWORK, which often forges close connections with public officials and lawmakers. She pointed to her experience as a spiritual director and a peace builder, saying, ‘That kind of presence could possibly be helpful on Capitol Hill these days.’”

National Reconciliation Requires Impeachment and Penance

The Progressive   Feb 9, 2021

“Reconciliation and absolution require contrition, confession, and penance. Until those responsible for this insurrection accept that their actions were sinful, confess their crimes, and are held accountable, we cannot move forward with integrity. In fact, the seeds of insurrection will grow and democracy itself may die on the vine.”

Religion & Resistance to Trump

MSNBC    Oct 17, 2020
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS speaks with Witt on “Weekend with Alex Witt.”

Democrats tap array of faith leaders to speak at convention

Associated Press    Aug 16, 2020
“Also set to speak on Thursday are Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the advocacy group NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and a longtime Biden ally dating to the push to pass President Barack Obama’s health care plan.”

Religious leaders condemn teargassing protesters to clear street for Trump

Yahoo News    June 2, 2020
“Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic advocacy group Network, said Trump was “using the Catholic faith in another photo op to defend his appalling refusal to address racism and police violence in the United States.”

Catholic Nuns, Leaders Arrested While Protesting Detention Of Migrant Children

Huffington Post     July 18, 2019
“About 70 activists prayed the rosary as they rallied at Capitol Hill to protest the government’s treatment of children at the U.S.-Mexico border…The rally drew activists from a wide array of religious orders, such as the Sisters of Mercy, Jesuits and Franciscans, along with members of advocacy organization such as NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Faith in Action and Faith in Public Life.”

I’m A Nun Leading A Cross-Country Bus Tour To Protest The GOP Tax Law – Here’s Why

Bustle     Oct 4, 2018
“When I look at the hyper-partisan law they passed, it’s clear who the GOP’s tax law was written for — and it is not the men, women, and children whom Jesus championed. That’s why NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus and I will continue to organize in support of tax fairness and economic justice. We hope that you will join us on the road to Mar-a-Lago.”

How the Kavanaugh Protests Reached the National Stage

New Yorker     Sept 30, 2018
“‘The faithful response is not to dig your heels in. [Judge Kavanaugh] is trying to maintain this veneer of perfection and accomplishment, and that is not the way that you find Jesus,’ [Sister Quincy Howard] added. ‘The way you find Jesus is by repenting and admitting the things that you did that you’re ashamed of.'”

Amid Religious Right’s Hostility, Many Faith Voices Speak Out In Support Of Blasey Ford

Americans United     Sept 27, 2018
“Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, said she stood in solidarity with the ‘brave women speaking up, naming their attacker, and setting the record straight’ amid the #MeToo movement.”

Religious women push lawmakers to investigate Kavanaugh, suspend confirmation

Religion News Service     Sept 26, 2018
“‘I understand that when he testifies, Judge Kavanaugh is going to cite his Catholic faith as a shield to claim these attacks never happened. Being a Catholic does not change the accounts provided by Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick,’ Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice lobby group Network, said in a statement referencing Kavanaugh’s accusers. ‘I know all too painfully that being a person of faith does not stop men from being sexual predators.'”

Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

National Catholic Reporter     Sept 18, 2018
“‘The Trump administration’s latest attack on the refugee resettlement program is so shameful. Refugees are fleeing violence and persecution. We must act with love and compassion,’ said a statement by Sister Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service who is executive director of the Network Catholic social justice lobby. ‘The Trump administration acts with callous disregard for vulnerable people. The faith community knows we are better than this and is ready and eager to welcome many more refugees.'”

Hungry families face even more trying times if local congressman gets his way on farm bill

Macon Telegraph     Sept 13, 2018
“As a Catholic sister, I must speak out when my neighbors’ lives and livelihoods are threatened. So, when I saw that my congressman, Rep. Austin Scott, chose to support a version of the farm bill that takes away food from people who need it and derails the bipartisan process that our farmers rely on for economic security, I knew I couldn’t stay silent.”

Community Watch & Comment – Sister Mary Ellen Lacy

Community Watch & Comment     Sept 11, 2018

Kavanaugh confirmation hearing: Abortion, immigration and other Catholic concerns

America Magazine     Sept 7, 2018
“A letter signed by Sister Campbell and 1,550 other Catholic faith leaders was released before the hearings began. It called for senators to consider Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with respect to five areas: health care, immigration, labor rights, voting rights and the death penalty.”

Over 150 Rights Organizations Urge Congress to Prohibit Expanded Immigration Detention Funding

Human Right Watch     Sept 5, 2018
“DHS must be held to account for its fiscally irresponsible actions which fuel a detention system that destroys lives and families every day. With each spending cycle we urge you to vigorously pursue cuts to immigration detention and enforcement funds.”

This Nun Has Some Questions for Trump’s Supreme Court Pick, and They Aren’t About Abortion

Glamour     Sept 4, 2018
“Tuesday’s letter to lawmakers shows that even among active members of the Catholic church—as is Kavanaugh himself—faith-based sentiment about the Supreme Court goes past the future of Roe.”

Nuns’ Bus Tour To Protest Trump’s Tax Law Will End At Mar-a-lago

Newsweek     Aug 31, 2018
“‘Our nation was founded not in policies that benefit the few, but on the principle of the common good,’ NETWORK grassroots mobilization specialist Sister Mary Ellen Lacy said in a press release. ‘This is the vision that we need to recover, to reaffirm that our lawmakers must enact policies that invest in our shared future, not ones that threaten our communities and our families.'”

Activist Nun Responds To Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal

NPR Weekend Edition     Aug 25, 2018
“CAMPBELL: Well, I have to say over the last few weeks, it’s been really shocking and horrifying, and I have felt myself close to weeping at times. This week, I took a little solace in the letter from Pope Francis to the world saying – acknowledging the extent of the horror that has existed and a commitment to change. And I take heart in these remarks in Ireland as his very first statements.”

Back on the Bus

State of Belief     Aug 25, 2018
“Protesting Trump’s $1.2 trillion tax cut for the wealthy, the nuns will again board the bus and travel through 21 states, starting in Los Angeles and ending at Mar-a-Lago. Once they arrive at the president’s West Palm Beach resort, they’re planning a ‘Fiesta for the Common Good.'”

Nuns on the Bus & Steve Mnuchin’s Upwards Flop

The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow     Aug 25, 2018
“Alex Lawson is joined by Sister Quincy Howard to discuss the “Nuns On The Bus” Tour by NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, an organization advocating for social justice and economic equality.”

This Week in God, 8.25.18

The MaddowBlog     Aug 25, 2018
“The piece quoted Campbell explaining, ‘We’re going on the road to hold members accountable for their votes. When Republicans in Congress passed their tax plan into law last fall, we knew it was rooted in the fallacy of trickle-down economics. Now, we’ve seen the results of structuring tax policy to favor the biggest corporations and the wealthiest individuals in our nation.’ If Trump is smart, he’ll resist the temptation to lash out at these nuns via Twitter. Time will tell.”

Time for the Nuns

Politico Morning TaxAug 21, 2018
“DONE DRAGGED THE NUNS OUT: The Nuns on the Bus will be hitting the road starting in October in an effort “to hold congressional Republicans accountable for voting in favor of this disastrous tax law,” according to a release from the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.”

Midterms 2018: Nuns to protest Donald Trump’s tax cuts outside Mar-a-Lago resort ahead of crucial vote

The Independent     Aug 21, 2018
“A group of nuns fighting for social justice and income equality will protest Donald Trump’s controversial tax cuts outside of his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Nuns on the Bus, a Washington-Based Catholic advocacy group, will depart for a 21-state tour across the country in October, when they hope to target Republican candidates who have supported the GOP’s tax cuts — and their voters. The trip will end in Florida just before the 2018 midterm elections, culminating in a demonstration alongside the president’s exclusive estate.”

Sister Simone Campbell: Catholic Sex Abuse Stems from “Monarchy” & Exclusion of Women from Power

Democracy Now!     Aug 21, 2018
“AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Sister Simone, Nuns on the Bus are headed to Mar-a-Lago? SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL: Yes, this is our new—we’re going out on tax policy, as I said, but the Nuns on the Bus is on the road to Mar-a-Lago, because what we want to do is collect the stories of ordinary people who are so victimized by this tax policy, and take it to the icon of the—of who benefits from this tax policy and say, ‘Hey, this is not who we are as a nation. Let’s come together and work for the common good.’”

The Hill     Aug 20, 2018
“The Catholic advocacy group, Nuns on the Bus, is planning to protest the GOP tax law outside of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort right before the midterm elections. The group announced on its website that it will be sending the nuns on a nationwide bus tour to ‘tell the truth about the Tax Policy and to hold elected officials accountable for their votes.’”

With a route mapped to Mar-a-Lago, Nuns on the Bus will hit the road again

Global Sisters Report     August 20, 2018
“The nuns are getting back on the bus. This year’s tour will begin Oct. 8 in Los Angeles and end Nov. 2 in Palm Beach, Florida, at the Mar-a-Lago resort owned by President Donald Trump, where the sisters plan to present the stories they heard on their cross-country journey.”

The Nuns On The Bus Are Going To Mar-a-Lago To Protest The Republican Tax Law

Huffington Post     Aug 20, 2018
“The Nuns on the Bus are headed to President Donald Trump’s backyard. For the sixth time since 2012, a Catholic social justice group is sending a group of religious sisters across the country on a bus tour ― this time to protest against the GOP tax law ahead of the midterm elections. ”

Don’t Assume the Poor and Hungry Aren’t Working

Dubuque Telegraph Herald     Aug 19, 2018
“The Dominicans are a mendicant order, meaning that for over 800 years we’ve begged — particularly when a just cause is at stake. And so I’m begging Sen. Ernst for a Farm Bill that does not make hunger and poverty worse in this country. Please look to the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill as the right path forward.”

Capitol Police arrest scores of Catholic nuns and leaders calling for immigration reform

Think Progress    February 27, 2018
“‘Scripture tells me that every person no matter their immigration status is a child of God and deserves to be treated with dignity,’ Sister JoAnn Persch said during a press conference prior to the event. ‘These young Dreamers are a gift to our country and I stand with them in this moment of truth. You can’t call yourself a person of faith and not act.'”

Religious leaders reject GOP tax bill, call for ‘faithful budget’

National Catholic Reporter     December 1, 2017
“‘We stand together in our various faiths to say there’s unity in our principles, unity in the application, and we call on the Senate to pay attention and create a faithful tax policy that can fund the common good,’ said Campbell.”

Thousands of Nuns Urge Senators to Vote Against Obamacare Repeal

USA Today    July 23, 2017
“Thousands of American nuns have signed a letter to senators asking them to reject the Republican plan to bring that they say is “immoral and contrary to the teachings of our Catholic faith.”

Religious Leaders Fiercely Criticize Senate Health Care Bill

Huffington Post    June 22, 2017
“This bill is a crass political calculation carried out by 13 white, male senators who are out of touch with the realities of millions of ordinary families in every state.”

Priests Can Now Forgive Catholics for Abortions: Sr. Simone Comments

MSNBC   November 21, 2016

What I Learned Touring America With Nuns on the Bus

Time Magazine    August 10, 2016
“So many Americans living in between Republican and Democrat divides are tired of the divisions being sown. Many are ready to work together to help sew the fabric of our society back together.”

Nuns Take on Politics with Lemonade in Hand

USA Today    July 18, 2016
“For Sister Simone Campbell, hitting the campaign trail isn’t a political endeavor – it’s spiritual one. And on Monday, she and 19 other nuns took to the streets of Cleveland, lemonade in hand…”

No Platforms-As-Usual

The Hill     June 17, 2016
“I urge you to use this daunting moment to help reweave the fabric of our society and create your Platforms as visions for the 100% where We the People can form the more perfect union that we all, in our broken hearts, seek.”

Female Deacons Would Make the Church Stronger

Time Magazine    May 12, 2016
“This move is another example of Pope Francis’s vision of an inclusive society – a society that celebrates and takes full advantage of the unique talents and strengths of each and every one of us – the 100 percent. Inclusiveness is strength.”

Commentary: Pope Francis’ Impact on the Catholic Vote in 2016

Philadelphia Inquirer    May 5, 2016
“When the chattering class analyzes the “Catholic vote,” as it will inevitably do – it will find that in this year of mercy, our votes stretched far beyond our self-interest and to the common good, that we turned out and voted for the needs of those who are most often left out of our care. We will be called the “Pope Francis voters.””

See more.

About NETWORK

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice was founded by Catholic sisters in 1971 and continues its mission today to educate, organize and lobby for economic and social transformation. NETWORK has organized four national “Nuns on the Bus” tours to highlight the importance of the federal budget, immigration reform, voter participation, and political engagement all across the United States. Read more.

About Mary J. Novak

Mary Novak began serving as Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in April 2021. She is a lawyer, educator, chaplain and spiritual director, restorative justice practitioner, and activist who has worked in Catholic contexts for decades. Read more.

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