Is there such a thing as a pro-abortion nun? In 2022, evidently, yes.
Viterbo University is a Catholic college in La Crosse, Wisconsin. From its website:
The Catholic Identity of the University is rooted in our Mission, the Gospel values of radical hospitality, service, stewardship, integrity, contemplation, and in the legacy and vision of our founders, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. As an institution Catholic in faith and tradition, we commit ourselves to creating an inclusive environment where persons of all faiths and no faith are welcomed.
“In the Franciscan spirit,” the school says, “we expect and value mutual respect, by all and for all, in our pursuit of knowledge and truth and in our search for the sacred.”
Founded in 1890, Viterbo distinguishes itself as “the only Catholic university in the Diocese of La Crosse,” which “[participates] directly in the life of the local Church.”
As reported by ProLifeWI.org, leaked audio from an August 22nd employee-wide Mission Convocation captured discussion on the official topics “Our Identity and Mission: Challenges and Opportunities” and “Civility/Kindness.”
Amid the conversation, an audience member asked why an abortion-positive campus club wasn’t allowed to form. A nun named Sister Laura Nettles fielded the question, and she confirmed she’d been approached about a “Students for Choice” league. Sister Laura explained she couldn’t approve the group due to its name — “pro-choice” is “a trigger against the Catholic Church.”
But don’t get the sister wrong; she’d love to green-light a pro-abortion organization. She made her support clear:
“I would love to say yes to the club, but I asked him if he would be willing to consider a different name like a ‘Health Club’ or ‘Reproductive Rights’ club. What the student described he wanted to do in the club was to really advocate for women’s rights in healthcare to which I said ‘Amen’ to. So the question was whether he would be willing to think of a different title for it but do much of the same work.”
From Pro-Life WI:
[Sister Laura] later commented further on what this club’s “work” would be, saying “that [it] might be supporting access to abortions as a right.”
Meanwhile, a pro-life group — V-Hawks for Life — had been launched. The nun assured that she and the school were making it difficult for them:
“We are significantly curtailing their activities — what they can do, what they can’t do. They actually have to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to do what they do.”
Her position might be called contradictory to the university’s official stance. “What Makes Viterbo Catholic?” its site asks. The answer:
A commitment to upholding the gospel understanding of the sacredness of all human life.
The College Fix reached out to Viterbo about the nun’s very progressive position. Via an emailed statement, here’s President Rick Trietley’s response:
“Sister Laura Nettles is an accomplished Catholic theologian who embraces Catholic teachings, including the Church’s call to respect all life (and) has the administration’s full support.”
“She has given voice to the university’s Catholic identity and values,” Rick insisted, “and she continues to strengthen connections among all members of the Viterbo family.”
“Giving voice” is likely a particular priority for Sister Laura — in addition to being a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, she’s the Executive Director of Mission and Social Justice.
Over the past five years or so, virtually all American institutions appear to have moved to the Left. Thanks to ideological evolution, it’s a new day — and that’s certainly true concerning the Christian church:
As for Viterbo’s pro-life club, The Fix relays its hardship:
V-Hawks for Life President Danielle Smits had been harassed over the club’s tabling event on campus, receiving anonymous notes expressing a hope that she be sexually assaulted and impregnated. Smits filled out a hate/bias report in May of this year, but as of yet, she hasn’t been alerted to any action by the university in response to the report.
Rick Trietley issued a statement about that, too:
“All student groups are welcome and encouraged to be active and engaged on campus and across the La Crosse community. Viterbo officials respond quickly to any complaints of harassment and take such complaints very seriously to ensure a safe environment for everyone.”
That sounds good. The same, presumably, will eventually apply to a “Reproductive Rights” club. Perhaps teacher and administrator Sister Laura will be its nun sponsor.
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