NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

In December 1971, a small group of nuns, citing the guidance of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council to seek “justice in the world” unveiled the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice (NETWORK).1

The NETWORK emphasizes economic justice, immigration reform, healthcare, peacemaking, LGBTQ+ rights, multicultural antiracism and ecology and builds on a tradition of Catholic nun orders being involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements. The Network states that it “works to create a society that promotes justice and the dignity of all in the shared abundance of God’s creation.”2 They believe that the “tradition of the Hebrew prophets and the life of Jesus teach us that faith has a public dimension” and calls on them to not only meet immediate needs but to make structural changes and transformations in society.

The Network tries to shape policies through what they call an “advocacy toolbox” which includes tool kits for education, organization and lobbying. These tool kits include how to write a letter to an editor, webinars, election tool kits and how to organize a regional advocacy group.

The Network is also known for Nuns on the Bus, a small group of nuns who frequently travel around the country to draw attention to various issues. Despite a harsh critique from the Vatican, the nuns have remained unapologetic and in 2019, came out publicly in defiance of four prominent bishops and backed the Equality Act for LGBTQ+ people.3


  1. The Vatican II, or the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (1962-1965) set forth a vision for working towards social justice, reconciling relations between Christians, Jews and Muslims and closing the gap between rich and poor nations. []
  2. Network Advocates for Catholic Social Justice. Homepage. Accessed August 16, 2020. []
  3. Stockman, Dan. “Catholic lobby Network backs Equality Act for LGBTQ people.” National Catholic Reporter. May 15, 2019. Accessed August 16, 2020.)) The NETWORK continues to push the envelope within the Catholic Church, challenging oppressive traditions and organizing for social justice. ((“A ‘Catholic’ Social Justice Lobby?” National Catholic Register. April 19, 2010. Accessed August 16, 2020. []