Holy Strategist

A nun takes on bishops with a bus tour and Twitter

Nuns have played many roles in Catholic history, from convent monastics to street activists, but it's difficult to think of another nun like Sister Simone Campbell. A registered lobbyist and political strategist, she has exercised quiet but important influence in advancing liberal Catholic causes in Washington. And now, with U.S. nuns taking the brunt of a Vatican backlash against decades of liberal church practices, Campbell is mounting a counterattack.

From behind sensible eyewear and unfailing politeness, Campbell is using the shrewd tools of political campaigns--from a social-media blitz to an appearance on The Colbert Report--to outflank the church hierarchy. Her boldest...

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