LA archbishop expresses 'dismay and pain' as Dodgers set to honor Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

City News Service
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
LA archbishop expresses 'dismay' as Dodgers honor 'Sisters' group
Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez expressed "disappointment, dismay and pain" over the Dodgers' decision to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- As the Dodgers prepare to host LGBTQ+ Pride Night on Friday -- when they will honor the self-described "queer and trans nuns" group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence -- Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez Tuesday said he will dedicate a Mass that day "for healing due to the harm caused by the Dodgers decision to honor a group that intentionally denigrates and profanes the Christian faith."

"Friday, we celebrate the feast of Jesus' Sacred Heart," Gomez said in a statement. "We will be praying in a special way for our city and country, for an end to prejudice, and for renewed respect for the religious beliefs of all Angelenos and all Americans."

The statement went on to say, "In a message to the faithful, the Archdiocese emphasized the disappointment, dismay and pain' caused by the actions of the group against the Christian faith and the Dodgers decision to honor the group even after acknowledging the concerns of the community."

In a statement to City News Service, the Dodgers said, "We do not have comment" on the archdiocese's statements.

The archdiocese's criticisms come three days before the Dodgers will host their LGBTQ+ Pride Night, when, among other events, they will honor the L.A. chapter of the Sisters organization with a Community Hero Award for the group's efforts to promote human rights, diversity and "spiritual enlightenment."

The group's invitation first stirred debate early last month after various Catholic groups and even U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, loudly objected.

Bowing to that pressure, the Dodgers on May 5 withdrew the invitation - - only to reverse course on May 22, following criticism from LGBTQ+ groups and elected officials. On that day, the team publicly apologized to the Sisters organization and again invited the group to take part in the Pride Night event.

Anaheim's mayor invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to Angel Stadium after the Dodgers controversy, which centered over the group's criticisms of the Catholic Church.

The Sisters had earlier issued a statement expressing "deep offense" at being uninvited -- calling the decision a capitulation to "hateful and misleading information from people outside their community."

The group insisted it is a nonprofit organization that "annually raises thousands of dollars to distribute to organizations supporting marginalized communities." The Sisters' website describes the organization as "a leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns."

Following their apology, the Dodgers said in a statement that the group's members "have agreed to receive the gratitude of our collective communities for the lifesaving work that they have done tirelessly for decades."

"After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families," according to a team statement.

" ... In the weeks ahead, we will continue to work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the ties that bind and use our platform to support all of our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family."

About a week later, the Dodgers announced the team will host a "Christian Faith and Family Day" at Dodger Stadium on July 30.

"Join us at Dodger Stadium on 7/30 for Christian Faith and Family Day. Stay after the game to celebrate and be part of a day of worship. Stay tuned for more details," the team tweeted at the time.

The event was first announced earlier that day by Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who tweeted, "Excited to announce the relaunch of Christian Faith and Family Day at Dodger Stadium on July 30th. More details to come -- but we are grateful for the opportunity to talk about Jesus and determined to make it bigger and better than it was before COVID."

The Christian event was last held by the Dodgers in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

In his statement Tuesday, Gomez said he will celebrate a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Friday at 12:10 p.m. The archdiocese has also called "on all Catholics and people of goodwill to stand together in prayer, following the Dodgers plans to honor the (Sisters) group."

"The Archdiocese of Los Angeles stands for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which means we stand against any form of bigotry, hate or sacrilege," the archdiocese's Tuesday statement said. "The Archdiocese calls on Catholics to stand together in prayer. The hurt in our hearts can only be healed by the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus."

The archdiocese comments come one day after the U.S. Conference of Bishops issued a statement that said, in part, "This year, on June 16 -- the day of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus -- a professional baseball team has shockingly chosen to honor a group whose lewdness and vulgarity in mocking our Lord, His Mother, and consecrated women cannot be overstated. This is not just offensive and painful to Christians everywhere; it is blasphemy."

The bishops' statement also called on Catholics nationwide to join the L.A. Archdiocese in prayer on Friday "by praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart and making an act of reparation -- an act offered to the Lord with the intention of repairing the spiritual damage inflicted by sin."

The invitation was signed by the Most Rev. Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, and joined by Gomez.