Sister Antona is just one of many Black and white Roman Catholic priests and nuns in their distinctive cleric garb. Under the leadership of Father Maurice Ouellet, the Society of St. Edmund has been providing logistical support to SNCC organizers in Selma for more than a year, defying the church hierarchy which has long barred Catholic clergy from participating in the Civil Rights Movement, or for that matter, any other social-justice activity. Now in answer to King's call, a few members of the Catholic clergy are defiantly putting their bodies on the line, face to face with the cops — most of them without permission from their superiors and none with the consent of Alabama Bishop Thomas Toolen. In years to come, some of these priests and nuns go on to become active in the Catholic Left and supporters of Liberation Theology, often in opposition to their ecclesiastic superiors.


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