CV NEWS FEED // A growing number of Catholic prelates are rebuking the Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to reinvite an anti-Catholic hate group to their upcoming June 16 “Pride Night.”
As CatholicVote has reported, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SPI) is “a troupe of men who dress in lewd costumes mimicking the habits of nuns and performing acts of sacrilege against Catholic symbols and sacraments.”
Here is an inexhaustive list of Church leaders – from both inside and outside of California – who have stood up to the Dodgers’ embrace of the radical organization.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The statement by Bishop Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln was added on June 1, 2023.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco
“Our Catholic sisters devote themselves to serving others selflessly,” wrote Cordileone. “Decent people would not mock & blaspheme them. So we now know what gods the Dodger admin worships… Disappointing but not surprising.”
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction where the Dodgers are located, released a statement on Tuesday. “The decision to honor a group that clearly mocks the Catholic faith and makes light of the sincere and holy vocations of our women religious who are an integral part of our Church is what has caused disappointment, concern, anger, and dismay from our Catholic community,” the archdiocese stated:
The ministries and vocations of our religious women should be honored and celebrated through genuine acts of appreciation, reverence, and respect for their sacred vows, and for all the good works of our nuns and sisters in service of the mission of the Catholic Church.
The archdiocese encouraged “Catholics and people of goodwill to stand against bigotry and hate in any form and to stand for respect for one another and for the religious beliefs of our communities of faith.”
Archdiocese of Orange
The day before, the neighboring Archdiocese of Orange released a similar rebuke, stating, “We cannot condone any actions that have historically shown such high levels of disregard for the sincerely held beliefs of the faithful.”
As CatholicVote reported Tuesday,
That statement came in response to the decision of the mayor of Anaheim, CA to invite SPI to be her personal guests at an upcoming LA Angels game. Mayor Ashleigh Aitken, a self-professed Catholic, made the move in an apparent rebuke of those who spoke out against the anti-Catholic group.
Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester
Bishop Robert Barron, the founder of the Catholic media company Word on Fire, called for Catholics to boycott the Dodgers via a video posted to Twitter on Thursday.
Barron served as the auxiliary archbishop of Los Angeles for nearly seven years before being appointed to his current Minnesota diocese in 2022. CatholicVote reported that Barron considers himself to be a “‘big baseball fan’ and even threw a ceremonial first pitch for the Dodgers during a ‘Catholic Night’ promotion in 2016.”
Again from CatholicVote:
Barron posed the question: if, instead of Catholicism, the SPI had attacked Jewish or Muslim scripture and rituals, “What would the reaction be?”
“You know, those questions answer themselves,” he concluded, implying that there is a double standard. “But somehow, attacking Catholics in this most disgraceful way is okay. Not only okay, it should be honored.”
“There’s a long tradition in this country of anti-Catholicism,” Barron said. “It was said famously about a century ago the last acceptable prejudice in America is anti-Catholicism. But we shouldn’t tolerate it.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler
Bishop Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler in eastern Texas has been very vocal about the situation.
On Tuesday, he shared Archbishop Cordileone’s statement, thanking him for his reproach of the Dodgers.
Wednesday, Strickland shared CatholicVote’s graphic showing the public contact information of one of the Dodgers Executives behind the re-invitation. “Please speak against this evil being promoted at Dodger Stadium,” the bishop urged his over 100,000 followers.
Strickland also shared Barron’s statement, adding: “Amen…”
Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison
Bishop Hying of the Diocese of Madison in Wisconsin bluntly criticized the Dodgers’ re-invitation of the SPI.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, Hying shared the baseball team’s statement apologizing to the “drag” troupe and encouraged the faithful to “call this out for what it is: anti-Catholic bigotry and blasphemy against God.”
Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln
On Thursday, June 1, Bishop James D. Conley tweeted an article by the Catholic News Agency adding the words, “This decision by the Los Angeles Dodgers to honor a group that mocks Catholicism and all of Christianity is unwise and disappointing.”
Bishop Conley continued, “This group is slanderous toward our religious sisters and all women. The Dodgers and MLB need to correct this decision.”
The article to which the bishop linked referenced the Dodgers announcing their upcoming “Christian Faith and Family Day,” that will take place at the end of July. It also dicussed the multiple Dodgers players who have condemned the re-invitation of the SPI earlier this week.
Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego
On May 27, Cardinal McElroy issued a statement saying:
“The decision of the Los Angeles Dodgers to reinstate their plans to honor the ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’ on June 16th constitutes the endorsement of a group whose core identity for the past 44 years has been inextricably intertwined with the symbolic mockery of Catholic faith and the consecrated Catholic sisters who have given their lives in service to education, health care, justice and the poor. I join my voice to the statement of Archbishop Gomez, which reflects both the dignity of LGBT persons and the reasons why the Dodgers’ decision should be reversed.”