Forgive me, father, but this all sounds like the plot of a Lifetime movie: the powerful husband thinking his little lady is getting out of line,

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If nuns symbolically marry Christ when they join an order, then I guess what we’re seeing here is the Vatican version of the seven-year itch.

Just one day before Pope Benedict XVI marked his seventh anniversary as pontiff, he showed that he — as the Lord’s emissary on Earth — was fed up with America’s nuns. He’s taking disciplinary action against an umbrella group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 religious sisters in the United States.

The pope doesn’t believe the sisters have been vocal enough in speaking out against gay marriage, abortion and women’s ordination, which the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith consider “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith,” according to a statement.

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has been appointed to reorganize the LCWR’s plans and programs, and take a close look at the organizations it deals with — anything the Vatican might deem suspect.

Forgive me, father, but this all sounds like the plot of a Lifetime movie: the powerful husband thinking his little lady is getting out of line, so he starts poking around in her datebook, her contact list, taking a new interest in what she’s reading and who she’s hanging around with.

Until now, I thought “the war on women” was too strong a term for all the dimwitted blustering that’s taken over the national conversation: The Susan G. Komen Foundation cutting its funding to Planned Parenthood. Ultrasounds required before abortions. Rush Limbaugh calling a Georgetown student a “slut” for asking that birth control be included in her school health plan.

Even Hillary Rodham Clinton’s having a beer and cutting loose with her staff was the subject of debate.

We’re intelligent people, or so I thought. Surely this will blow over. Instead, the attack has turned to nuns — the most chaste, religious women in America. That tells you how deep this divide really is.

Nuns take a vow of celibacy and poverty. The committed among them are praying for the forgotten and nursing the sick and teaching our children.

Line that all up, and a nun is every conservative’s dream girl.

But if even the good sisters are under attack, what can we flawed women do to be heard and understood in this paternalistic political climate? Voting can’t be all.

Should we turn again to the social media that shamed the Komen people to back down? Should we stop going to church, or keep going, but fill the collection basket with old lipsticks?

How about we act in solidarity with the nuns’ beliefs, and take our own vow of celibacy?

It’s not a new idea. Lysistrata was a character in an ancient Greek play who persuaded the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands until they ended the Peloponnesian War.

So until certain men start solving the real problems of unemployment, hunger and the wounds of war, maybe we do the same.

You refuse to fund family-planning services, or speak in favor of such an act? No sex for you.

You cut funding for women’s health, like breast-cancer screening, or say you don’t have a problem with cutting it? No sex for you.

You laugh when a national radio host calls a student a name for asking for birth-control coverage? No sex for you.

You think that women seeking abortions should be forced to hear the fetal heartbeat before being allowed to have the procedure? No sex for you.

You started this war, gentlemen. Until you get your politics out of our bodies, and your judgments away from our good sisters’ deeds, you’re on your own.

Think about it. And heaven help you.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Friday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

She’s got your radical right here.