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Dodgers Backtrack, Re-Invite Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to Pride Night

Facing a torrent of criticism from fans, the LGBTQ community and elected leaders, the Los Angeles Dodgers backtracked Monday and re-invited a group of self-described queer and trans nuns to their upcoming Pride Night.

The move comes less than a week after the Dodgers removed the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from its list of honorees at the upcoming June 16 Pride Night at Dodger Stadium. In a statement, the team said it reconsidered after feedback and conversations with the sisters and with “our diverse communities.”

“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,” the team said in its statement.

The Dodgers added that the sisters — a group of nuns in drag — agreed to be honored at the Pride Night for “the lifesaving work that they have done tirelessly for decades.”

In their own statement, the sisters said they are “proud” to accept the Dodgers’ Community Hero Award. They added that they met Monday morning with Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten, as well as Los Angeles LGBTQ organizations and members of government from West Hollywood, Los Angeles County and the state legislature.

In the meeting, Dodgers staff issued a “full apology and explanation,” which the sisters accepted.

“We believe the apology is sincere because the Dodgers have worked for 10 years with our community and as well they have asked us to continue an ongoing relationship with them. In the future, if similar pressures from outside our community arise, our two organizations will consult and assist each other in responding, alongside our colleagues at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and others from the LGBTQIA2S community, now more closely tied with the LA Dodgers than ever  before,” the sisters said.

The team had pulled the group from its Pride Night the day after Bill Donohue, president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, had emailed Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to urge the team to yank the group.

In an interview Friday with NBC4, Bill Donohue, president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said the sisters offend thousands in the Catholic Church.

“When they trashed the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and the blessed mother, our Virgin Mary, you’re asking for war with Catholics – quite frankly, a culture war – and we’re going to engage you on that,” Donohue said.

The Catholic League is a private nonprofit organization based in New York. On its website, it says it “defends the right of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.”

Donohue has helmed the organization since 1993.

His letter to Manfred, dated May 16, called the sisters “an obscene anti-Catholic group.” Less than a day later, the Dodgers removed the sisters from Pride Night.

The move sparked backlash among supporters of the sisters, which were one of several organizations being honored at this year’s upcoming Pride Night.

In a statement, the Los Angeles LGBT Center said it was pleased with the Dodger’s decision to reinvite the sisters and apologize.

“Today’s decision by the Dodgers to publicly apologize to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and roll back their exclusion from next month’s Pride Night is a step in the right direction, and we support the Sisters’ vote to accept their much-deserved Community Hero Award,” the center said.

The sisters said they are to be honored for their 27 years of service in the LGBTQIA community.

The sisters say they’re devoted to community service, ministry and outreach for marginalized communities. One member, who wished to be identified only as Sister Unity because she fears for her safety, said that the group uses humor to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt.

Sister Unity insists that her group does not mock Catholics. Several members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are themselves Catholic.

“We do not intentionally mock Catholicism. We’re actually quite fond of Pope Francis. He has made wonderful strides in being welcoming towards our community. To mock Catholicism would be to mock people, and we are here to uplift people,” Sister Unity said.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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