LA Dodgers’ Pitcher Disagrees With Team Decision to Honor Anti-Catholic Group

The sunsets over Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles May 16, 2023. The Dodgers said in a May 15 statement it was canceling a planned tribute to the California-based Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group criticized by many as anti-Catholic. The team was going to honor the group for its community service among several organizations being recognized during the Dodgers annual Pride Night in June. (OSV News photo)

WASHINGTON – Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw says he didn’t agree with his team’s decision to honor the drag group, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, during their Pride Night game June 16.

He told the Los Angeles Times May 29 that the team’s decision to honor the group, after canceling its initial invitation to them, persuaded him to ask club officials about moving up the announcement that the team planned to relaunch Christian Faith and Family Day.

Kershaw announced on Twitter May 26 that the event would be held July 30 when the Dodgers play the Cincinnati Reds.

The team also tweeted about the event that had been a team tradition before it stopped during COVID: “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.”

“I think we were always going to do Christian Faith Day this year, but I think the timing of our announcement was sped up,” Kershaw said. “Picking a date and doing those different things was part of it as well. Yes, it was in response to the highlighting of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” he added.

Kershaw -— a three-time Cy Young Award winner, who has played with the Dodgers for his entire 16-year career — has been vocal about his Christian faith. He said his disagreement about the team’s honoring of the drag group was over the group’s mockery of a faith tradition.

“This has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community or Pride or anything like that,” Kershaw told the Times. “This is simply a group that was making fun of a religion that I don’t agree with.”

The left-hander said he didn’t “agree with making fun of other people’s religions,” and that “no matter what religion you are, you shouldn’t make fun of somebody else’s religion.”

He also said he was not aware of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence before the Dodgers announced plans to honor them. He said he tried to understand what they stood for but that it was tough to watch the videos of the group’s portrayal of Christianity.

He said he felt the best thing to do, instead of making a statement against the group, would be to “show what we do support, as opposed to maybe what we don’t. And that was Jesus. So to make Christian Faith Day our response is what we felt like was the best decision.”

Kershaw also said he isn’t planning to boycott the June 16 Pride Night event.

“As a follower of Christ, we’re supposed to love everybody well,” Kershaw said, adding: “I think that means being able to be at a lot of different places and be able to be a part of a lot of different things.”

The Dodgers declined to comment, according to the Times.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, 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., that led the Dodgers to cancel the group’s invitation on May 17, saying at the time that their inclusion of the group “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.

The groups’ leaders wrote their complaints to Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball, and urged followers to similarly write or call him, and provided contact information.

The letter from Bill Donohue, the Catholic League’s president, said the Dodgers’ plan to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence was “an unprovoked assault on Catholics. 

“Don’t believe the lie that the ‘Sisters’ mean no harm,” he said, accusing the Dodgers of “rewarding hate speech.”

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.”

The statement praised women religious and said their ministries and vocations “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.”