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Bishops Urge Catholics to Say Prayers of Reparation for Team’s Honoring of Anti-Catholic Group

A statue depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus is pictured at Assumption Cemetery in Austin, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop José Gomez, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan have called on faithful to observe the solemnity of the Sacred Heart (June 16) with prayer and reparation, as the Los Angeles Dodgers host a Pride Night that same evening and honor a group parodying women religious. (Photo: OSV News)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Catholic bishops are urging Catholics to say prayers of reparation to heal damage caused by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ plans to honor the anti-Catholic drag group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

In their June 12 statement, the bishops did not specifically name the team or the group scheduled to be honored, but instead referred to the upcoming event that has stirred reaction since it was first announced.

“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 said.

The statement was issued by Archbishops Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, José Gomez of Los Angeles, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty.

They specifically asked Catholics to pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart as an act of reparation: a prayer offered to repair spiritual damage inflicted by sin.

“Catholic Christians traditionally recognize June as the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. During this time, we call to mind Christ’s love for us, which is visible in a special way in the image of His pierced heart, and we pray that our own hearts might be conformed to His, calling us to love and respect all His people,” they said.

The church leaders said it “has been heartening to see so many faithful Catholics and others of goodwill stand up to say that what this group does is wrong, and it is wrong to honor them,” they said, referring to the group that calls itself the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The group, which describes itself as a “leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns” was invited, then uninvited, and then re-invited on May 22 by the Dodgers to be honored at the team’s June 16 game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.

The initial invite caused backlash from Catholic groups and politicians, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., which led the Dodgers to cancel the group’s May 17 invitation, saying at the time that including the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence “has been the source of some controversy.”

But after local politicians, civil rights organizations, and LGBTQ groups raised an uproar over that decision, the Dodgers apologized and re-invited the group less than a week later.

When the Dodgers originally announced that the group would be honored, the Catholic League and CatholicVote protested, calling it bigotry to honor an anti-Catholic group.

In response to the team’s re-invitation of the group, CatholicVote President Brian Burch vowed to launch a “barrage” of advertising against the team across Los Angeles and during the game broadcasts.

“This is a slap in the face of every Catholic,” said Burch. “We’re raising $1 million as fast as we can, and we will pummel this decision in advertising that the Dodgers can’t ignore.

“Every advertiser, every season ticket holder, every charity, every fan must speak out against the Dodgers’ decision to promote anti-Catholic hate,” Burch added. 

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said the decision to re-invite the group and honor them along with other organizations, “makes light of the sincere and holy vocations of our women religious.”

The May 23 statement by the archdiocese said the team’s decision to “honor a group that clearly mocks the Catholic faith,” and women religious in particular, “has caused disappointment, concern, anger, and dismay from our Catholic community.”