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(LifeSiteNews) — “Catholic” Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut hosted the controversial left-wing, pro-abortion nun Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, at its commencement ceremony on Saturday.

Campbell is known for leading the Nuns on the Bus, an initiative of the leftist Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice (NETWORK) of which Campbell is the former longtime executive director. According to the New York Times, “Nuns on the Bus” was founded as a “rebuke” to Pope Benedict XVI and the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) after the latter criticized both the radically feminist Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and NETWORK itself. 

The sister defies Catholic teaching on several key issues, including abortion, homosexuality, and women’s “ordination” to the priesthood. In 2016, she suggested that abortions are sometimes warranted in order to properly provide for a family.

In her interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! when discussing abortion, Campbell said, “The challenge is, for women striving to care for their families, the urgent necessity of being able to feed children means that you’re going to make tough choices sometimes.”

“I think, looking at the abortion issue, that is so divisive in our nation, which – well, is attempting to be divisive in our nation – the thing that we need to face is that women choose abortion often, or most often, because they don’t have economic options,” she told Goodman. 

Campbell reaffirmed this position in an interview with a leftist group at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, saying, “From my perspective, I don’t think it’s a good policy to outlaw abortion.”

Again, in a 2020 interview with Catholic News Agency, when asked about her organization’s position on legal protection of the unborn, Campbell said, “It is above my pay grade,” adding: “(Abortion is) not the issue that we work on. I’m a lawyer. I would have to study it more intensely than I have.”

The sister’s support for abortion has been such that, according to CatholicVote, the left-wing National Catholic Reporter’s 2021 profile of her “tells the story of a woman committed to thwarting pro-life politicians, bishops, and even the Vatican.”

She has also defied Scripture, Church teaching and natural law in her support for homosexuality. In June 2018, when Campbell was still leading NETWORK, the organization released a statement celebrating so-called “Pride Month,” and later that month, the group praised the work of the LGBT activist group New Ways Ministry.

Tradition Family Property (TFP) Student Action had launched a petition urging Sacred Heart University to disinvite Campbell, citing her heterodox views, including her pro-abortion and pro-LGBT stance, and her rejection of Catholic Church authority.

TFP Student Action director John Ritchie and Nathan Kinley noted that while Campbell “claims she cares about ‘social justice,’” she “favors perhaps the greatest injustice of all time: the sin of abortion.”

However, the university defended Campbell in response. Sacred Heart officials told Fox News that they chose to “honor Sister Simone for her commitment to the social teachings of the Catholic Church.”

The statement continued, “She represents inclusiveness, respect and dignity to all people, and embraces social justice, which are cornerstones of the University’s mission. Sister Simone is steadfast in pursuing the gospel message of caring and love which is reflective of the University’s core values. She also will receive another honorary degree from a prominent Catholic University next week and received the Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian award – from President Joe Biden.”

She went on to speak during Saturday’s commencement ceremony, exhorting students to “fight for a vision,” and to have “holy curiosity,” engage in “sacred gossip” (when people share the stories that they’ve heard), and develop joy, according to Sacred Heart.

The university claims in its mission statement to be “rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts.” The university also declares itself to be “inspired by the pioneering vision of the Second Vatican Council, which embraced the Church’s desire to respond to the needs of a changing world while remaining true to its living tradition.”

In 2016, the university opened a new residence hall named “Bergoglio Hall” after Pope Francis, whose birth name is Jorge Bergoglio.