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(LifeSiteNews) — A liberal community of aging nuns affiliated with the conservative college that NFL kicker Harrison Butker spoke at last weekend condemned his remarks as being divisive and representative of a “narrow definition of what it means to be Catholic.”

“The sisters of Mount St. Scholastica do not believe that Harrison Butker’s comments in his 2024 Benedictine College commencement address represent the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college that our founders envisioned and in which we have been so invested,” the group said.

“We want to be known as an inclusive, welcoming community.”

Butker was attacked by dozens of national media outlets as well as dissident Catholic ones earlier this week after he called out the evils of abortion and “gender ideology.” He also told female graduates that being a homemaker is “one of the most important” titles a woman can have.

A LifeSite petition in support of Butker has garnered more than 10,000 signatures less than 24 hours after being launched.

The sisters’ website explains that seven Benedictine nuns arrived in Atchison, Kansas, in 1863 and founded a school named Mount St. Scholastica Academy. In 1922, the Vatican approved the Congregation of Saint Scholastica’s statutes. Today, the group has more than a dozen monasteries in the U.S. and goes by the name Monastic Congregation of St. Scholastica.

In 1923, the community opened Mount St. Scholastica College. In 1971, they merged with St. Benedict’s College, a nearby boarding school that was founded by monks in the 1850s, to form the present-day Benedictine College. The two orders currently serve as “sponsors” of the school.

LifeSite reached out to the sisters and the college’s media department to learn about their relationship and if they could provide clarity on how Butker was invited in the first place. Neither has responded by the time this story went to print.

Per Benedictine’s website, several sisters are members of the college’s Board of Directors. The Prioress of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery also serves as the Board’s Secretary. Stephen Minnis, a 1982 graduate of Benedictine, acts as its president.

In their statement, the sisters argue that “instead of promoting unity in our church, our nation, and the world,” Butker’s comments “seem to have fostered division.”

While failing to note that the loudest voices opposing Butker’s pro-family speech are pro-LGBT and pro-abortion commentators, the sisters state that “one of our concerns was the assertion that being a homemaker is the highest calling for a woman.”

“Our community has taught young women and men not just how to be ‘homemakers’ in a limited sense,” they argued, “but rather how to make a Gospel-centered, compassionate home within themselves where they can welcome others as Christ, empowering them to be the best versions of themselves.”

A close examination of Butker’s remarks shows that he did not explicitly state that being a homemaker is “the highest calling for a woman.” Catholic teaching clearly states that religious life is objectively a “higher calling” than motherhood. Rather, Butker warned female graduates to be aware of the “diabolical lies” the world tells them about having a low view of that lifestyle.

“Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world,” he said at the time, “but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world. I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.”

The sisters concluded their statement by maintaining that they are “faithful members of the Catholic Church who embrace and promote the values of the Gospel, St. Benedict, and Vatican II and the teachings of Pope Francis.”

According to its website, the Sisters of St. Scholastica in Kansas have just over 80 members, most of whom appear to be in their 60s or 70s. Almost all of them wear secular clothes instead of habits or religious attire.

The group currently operates the Keeler Women’s Center in Kansas City and the Sophia Spirituality Center near Benedictine’s campus in Atchison. The Center’s Souljourner initiative describes itself as an “ecumenical formation program for spiritual directors.” Its primary focus is social justice issues like the environment, race relations, and gun control.

Despite the sisters’ leftism, the conservative Cardinal Newman Society as well as First Things magazine have given the school their endorsements.

As previously reported by LifeSite, a growing number of clergy and laity are coming to Butker’s defense. Not only has Bishop Joseph Strickland thanked him but so has San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Missouri GOP U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, and legendary former University of Notre Dame head football coach Lou Holtz.

Although NFL senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer Jonathan Beane distanced the league from Butker’s remarks, according to CBS affiliate KCTV-5, Butker’s jersey is currently the second-best selling item on NFL.com.

LifeSite’s petition in support of Butker is demanding that the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs “denounce” the “witch hunt” that is being carried out against him.

“If Butker was a Muslim being attacked by conservatives for glorifying the Koran, or a feminist denounced for promoting the sexual revolution, your organizations would not hesitate to rush to his defense, but instead he stands condemned as a Christian holding the line,” the petition points out.

A married father of two, Butker encouraged his audience Saturday to consider moving to areas where the Traditional Latin Mass is offered. He also urged young men to embrace masculinity.

“It is only in the past few years that I have grown encouraged to speak more boldly and directly because, as I mentioned earlier, I have leaned into my vocation as a husband and father,” he said. “I pray that I always use my voice for God and not for myself.”

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