The decade's most triggering comedy
A Catholic college in Wisconsin is defending an administrator who boasted about restricting a pro-life club on campus and supporting a pro-abortion one.
Sister Laura Nettles, a nun in the order of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and the executive director for Mission and Social Justice at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin, boasted about “significantly curtailing” the school’s on-campus pro-life student group, and said she would “love to say yes” to a pro-abortion group at the school. But the president of the college stood by the administrator in a statement to The College Fix.
“Sister Laura Nettles is an accomplished Catholic theologian who embraces Catholic teachings, including the Church’s call to respect all life,” Viterbo University President Rick Trietley told The College Fix. “[She] has the administration’s full support.”
“She has given voice to the university’s Catholic identity and values, and she continues to strengthen connections among all members of the Viterbo family,” he added.
The controversy began in August, when Sr. Nettles held a Mission convocation for all employees as part of a faculty in-service. According to audio from the event obtained by Pro-Life Wisconsin, a faculty member asked Nettles why pro-choice students were not allowed to form a club on campus. Nettles said she had been approached about the issue, but could not endorse an explicitly pro-choice club because “calling [the club] pro-choice is a trigger against the Catholic church.”
“I would love to say yes to the club, but I asked [the student who wanted to start the club] if he would be willing to consider a different name like a ‘Health Club’ or ‘Reproductive Rights’ club,” Nettles said. “What this student described he wanted to do in the club was to really advocate for … women’s rights in health care, 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.”
At the same time, Nettles said that the school is restricting the on-campus pro-life group, “V-Hawks for Life,” after the club hosted a tabling event in May describing pregnancy resources in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned. The event was held just weeks before the Supreme Court overturned Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Nettles called the pro-life event “poorly timed” and said the college is imposing restrictions on the club’s activities. “We are significantly curtailing their activities, what they can do, what they can’t do,” she said. “They actually have to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to do what they do.”
Speaking to The College Fix, Trietly said he would not allow a pro-choice club to form on-campus because it would contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church. Trietly also blasted media outlets for posting the audio, claiming that it has been “misrepresented in the public domain,” but said he would not release the full audio from the event.
Viterbo University was founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1890. On its website, the college touts that a key piece of its Catholic identity is its “commitment to upholding the gospel understanding of the sacredness of all human life.”
At the same time Sr. Nettles is endorsing pro-abortion clubs on campus at Viterbo, a professor at Notre Dame University is helping to facilitate abortions in violation of an Indiana State Law and the teachings of the Catholic Church.