Nuns start tour protesting Republican positions

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Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, speaks during a stop on the first day of a 9-state Nuns on the Bus tour, Monday, June 18, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. The group of Roman Catholic nuns say they’re not opposing any particular candidate but that their fight is with a Republican proposed federal budget they say hurts the poor and needy. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Roman Catholic nuns on a nine-state bus tour protesting Republican federal budget proposals say they're not trying to flout recent Vatican criticisms of socially active nuns.

Sister Simone Campbell says the timing of the tour is in response to consideration of the federal budget in Congress. She says the group's goal is to highlight the impact of the Republican-crafted, House-passed budget on the poor and needy.

Campbell is executive director of Network, a Washington-based social justice group.

The Vatican criticized Network in April as one women's group that's too outspoken on poverty and economic justice and hasn't pushed the church's teachings on abortion and gay marriage.

The Vatican is reorganizing another group, Leadership Conference on Women Religious, after saying it had "serious doctrinal problems."