LOS ANGELES (OSV News) — Washington Nationals starting pitcher Trevor Williams, known for his devout Catholic faith and prominent tattoos, expressed his disappointment with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to re-invite and honor a controversial group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
The Dodgers’ announcement came after the franchise initially rescinded their invitation due to backlash from political and religious leaders across the nation.
Taking to his social media accounts while the Nationals were in Los Angeles May 29, Williams voiced his concerns about the Dodgers’ decision, sparking widespread attention. His viral tweet quickly gained millions of views and was shared by tens of thousands of people, illustrating the growing outrage from both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Williams stated, “To invite and honor a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion, and the religion of over 4 million people in Los Angeles county alone, undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organization.”
Williams called on the Dodgers to reconsider their association with the group, emphasizing the need for an inclusive environment that respects the religious beliefs of all fans and employees. Williams also encouraged his fellow Catholics to reevaluate their support for any organization that permits such mockery of its fans and their beliefs. He expressed his frustration, hurt and disappointment with the situation, knowing that he is not alone in feeling this way.
His concerns were echoed by other Catholic leaders, including a former auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, Bishop Robert E. Barron, now head of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
In a statement, Bishop Barron described the behavior of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as offensive and categorized the group as an anti-Catholic hate group.
Dominican Father Patrick Briscoe, editor of Our Sunday Visitor, lamented the Dodgers’ about-face, saying, “Countless women religious have dedicated their lives to public service in the United States. … That legacy should be cherished, not thrown beneath the feet of jeering crowds at a Pride Night publicity stunt.”
In his eighth year in the MLB, Williams joined the Washington Nationals this season, following previous stints with the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. He is married and has four children. In a recent interview, Williams emphasized his identity as a Catholic man who aspires “to build up heaven,” rather than being solely recognized as a baseball player.
Clayton Kershaw, starting pitcher for the Dodgers, also disagreed with the decision to honor the anti-Catholic group. “I don’t agree with making fun of other people’s religions,” Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times. “It has nothing to do with anything other than that. I just don’t think that, no matter what religion you are, you should make fun of somebody else’s religion.”
Kershaw took to Twitter to announce that the Dodgers would reinstate “Christian Faith and Family Day” at Dodger Stadium July 30. That decision, he confirmed, is in response to honoring the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
His teammate, relief pitcher Blake Treinen, is the latest Dodger to say he disagrees with the team honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence during the team’s Pride Night June 16. He expressed disappointment in seeing the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence “being honored as heroes at Dodger Stadium. Many of their performances are blasphemous, and their work only displays hate and mockery of Catholics and the Christian faith,” Treinen wrote in a lengthy statement posted via his friend Sean Feucht’s Twitter account.
“I understand that playing baseball is a privilege, and not a right. My convictions in Jesus Christ will always come first. Since I have been with the Dodger’s they have been at the forefront of supporting a wide variety of groups. However, inviting the Sister’s of Perpetual indulgence to perform disenfranchises a large community and promotes hate of Christians and people of faith,” said Treinen.
He said that “this single event alienates the fans and supporters of the Dodgers, Major League Baseball, and professional sports. People like baseball for its entertainment value and competition. The fans do not want propaganda or politics forced on them.”
He also said he believes “Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I believe the word of God is true, and in Galatians 6:7 it says, ‘do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked; a man reaps what he sows.’ This group openly mocks Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of my faith, and I want to make it clear that I do not agree with nor support the decision of the Dodger’s to “honor” the Sister’s of Perpetual Indulgence. ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ Joshua 24:15.”