From Works of Mercy to Voter Fraud

Burying the dead is a work of mercy. So, too, is voting for them, according to Sister Marguerite Kloos. Or at least that’s what she thought last year until Ohio investigators nabbed her for an act of voter fraud. This week she plead guilty to the charge of voting twice, acknowledging that she forged the signature of a deceased nun, Sister Rose Marie Hewitt, on an absentee ballot.

“When the absentee ballot was received at Ms. Hewitt’s address, (Kloos) opened the envelope, forged Ms. Hewitt’s signature, voted Ms. Hewitt’s ballot, and mailed the ballot back to the Board of Elections,”  according to the prosecution’s case.

To those wondering why the Vatican is trying to reform the leadership of U.S. nuns, such stories provide ample explanation. That nuns have gone from burying the dead to voting for them is yet another illustration of their descent into left-wing politics.

Kloos hails from the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, an order that branched off from the congregation founded by St. Elizabeth Seton.  Could Mother Seton have imagined the headlines about her order’s nuns these days?


What began as works of charity has degenerated into dissent, radical feminism, and raw politics. Charity has become “social justice,” which is nothing more than a euphemism for the platform of the Democratic Party.

If the Vatican is engaged in a “crackdown” on U.S. nuns, as the media likes to say, it is probably four decades too late. Saul Alinsky would have been amused to see that his subversion of female religious orders—he made a deliberate point of recruiting nuns for his causes—has culminated in sisters committing voter fraud. As Thomas Pauken wrote in The Thirty Years War, “the radicalization of elements of the Catholic clergy turned out to be one of Saul Alinsky’s most significant accomplishments.”

Presumably, Sister Kloos wasn’t stealing votes for Mitt Romney in Ohio. Press accounts leave out which candidate she cast Sister Hewitt’s absentee ballot for, but a glance at her resume allows one to hazard a reliable guess.

Kohnen and KloosSister Kloos has said that left-wing politics inspired her vocation:  “Working with those who worked with a purpose on behalf of a better world felt good, and women religious were very active in such things as anti-nuclear marches, third-world poverty, education and health care. All the women religious I met (in many communities) were among my favorite people, so the decision to enter was really an easy one.”

Sister Kloos has also been described in press accounts as a professor of “feminist theology” and  “eco theology.”  Until last month, she belonged to the elite of Catholic higher education, serving as “dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati.” She resigned that post, but will continue to teach in the school’s religious and pastoral studies department, where her official biography touts her interest in “environmental studies” and “research in feminist methodologies for cross-cultural spiritual care.”

Her order has told the press that she remains in good standing. On the order’s web site, one can still see pictures of the George Soros-subsidized “nuns on the bus” campaign in Ohio. Sister Kloos is no doubt a hero to her confreres.

To the casual observer, the story would seem beyond parody: a nun and dean of a Catholic college risking (but not getting) jail time to steal a vote for the advance of her left-wing politics. But it is all too real and predictable, capturing a snapshot of the ethos within certain orders. In the past, nuns risked prison to defend the Church; now they defy authority to help the most anti-Catholic president ever tear her down.

Obama won the Catholic vote in 2008 and 2012 thanks in large part to a contingent of these nuns. His “Catholic advisory committee” numbered among other clergy  Sister Jamie Phelps, O.P., professor of theology at Xavier University, and Sister Catherine Pinkerton with the Congregation of St. Joseph. Sister Simone Campbell famously turned up at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, where she extolled Obama’s policies while sharing the stage with Sandra Fluke and abortion lobbyists. Sister Carol Keehan, the Daughter of Charity who makes around a million dollars a year as the head of the Catholic Health Association, helped the president pass his health care bill and then served as an apologist for his “revised” contraceptive mandate.

It is no coincidence that Obama received his Alinskyite training in the 1980s at Mount St. Mary’s, a college run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet that had a cozy relationship with Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation. The archdiocese of Chicago helped pay for Obama’s trip to Mount St. Mary’s, where at IAF training sessions the young community organizer got to mingle with the very priests and nuns who would later work for his election and then seal the unholy alliance with an honorary degree from Notre Dame.

Alinsky hammered into his Catholic acolytes the idea that the ends justify the means. It wouldn’t have surprised him in the least to find the nuns on the bus taking a detour to an Ohio courthouse for an arraignment on voter fraud.

Editor’s note: The photo above depicts Sr. Marguerite Kloos (r) with her defense attorney Ralph Kohnen.

George Neumayr


George Neumayr is a contributing editor to The American Spectator, and a weekly columnist for Crisis Magazine. He is also co-author (with Phyllis Schlafly) of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.

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