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Catholic Groups Step Up Protests of ‘Hate’ Group’s MLB Honor

Catholic groups have ramped up their pressure and prayer campaigns in a final effort to convince the Los Angeles Dodgers that the team’s controversial plan to honor an activist group of “queer and trans nuns” as part of the team’s LGBTQ+ Pride Night celebration is going to be anything but a home run.

The California baseball team has faced another round of calls for a fan boycott from Catholic advocacy groups that are outraged over the team’s plan to recognize the Los Angeles-based branch of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with the “Community Hero Award” before Friday’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

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The continuing drama has already seen the team invite, uninvite, and then reinvite the group that is widely known for dressing up in lewd, mock-nun outfits during protests that push anti-Catholic messaging, including on issues such as abortion.

After the Dodgers relented to progressive activists and reinvited SPI, Catholic groups began organizing radio and TV ads calling out the team.

On Saturday, faith-based advocacy group CatholicVote launched an ad titled “The Dodgers Have Lost Their Way” – part of the organization’s $1 million campaign to raise awareness about the team’s Pride plans.

The ad compares the Dodger’s storied history of inclusiveness, highlighting its “trailblazing” decision to sign Jackie Robinson, the first Black MLB player, with their current embrace of SPI.

The ad begins by noting just how unpopular it was for the team to play Robinson.

“Hate and disrespect were popular, even in law,” it states. “But the Dodgers were right. They helped power a movement and changed a nation. Their leadership, class, and style of play were the envy of baseball. The Dodger way.”

But, the ad continues, the Dodgers are “putting it all at risk.”

“On June 16th, a prominent anti-Catholic hate group will be honored on the field, a group that mocks Catholic nuns with vile sexual perversions, pole dances on crosses, blessings with sex toys, even sexualizing the Virgin Mary and the words of Jesus Christ,” the ad states.

“A fringe group like this honored, awarded, celebrated?  There is no equality in mocking women religious. No tolerance in hate, no pride in anti-Catholic bigotry. Mocking Christians is not the Dodger way.”

Since its Saturday release, the group said a minute-long version of the ad has amassed more than 1 million views on YouTube.

In addition to the radio and TV ads, the group is also running mobile billboard trucks outside Dodger Stadium all week.

The trucks’ billboards display images of SPI’s lewd behavior and a quote from a Christian Dodgers player who publicly disapproved of the team’s decision to honor the group.

Another mobile billboard truck was placed outside MLB’s Manhattan headquarters on Tuesday. The truck traveled to Citi Field in Queens as fans were arriving for a Subway Series game between the New York Yankees and New York Mets game.

“[Commissioner] Rob Manfred can stop this from happening if he wants to,” said Tommy Valentine, director of the Catholic Accountability Project at CatholicVote. “We’re putting trucks in the heart of America’s foremost baseball city to demand he do just that.”

When selecting what SPI images to display on the billboard, Valentine said one was rejected because it was “just too vile.”

“It goes to show the importance of CatholicVote’s effort to hold the Dodgers and MLB accountable,” he said. “The group they’re honoring is not just hateful and bigoted – they’re so obscene that self-respecting companies don’t even feel comfortable displaying their disgusting behavior.”

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The ads are also being run in Spanish on Los Angeles Spanish radio stations and in geotargeted digital ads and text messages to local baseball fans.

CatholicVote isn’t the only group running ads shaming the team for its decision to reinvite SPI after rescinding the initial invitation.

The Catholic League debuted another round of 25 radio ads this week after the positive response to an initial blast that urged KABC Los Angeles listeners not to attend the upcoming game.

“We are not asking Catholics to boycott all games,” the ad tells fans. “Just this one. By doing so, we will send an unmistakable message that bigotry against Catholics should not be tolerated.”

Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the group also reached out to 114 leaders of different faiths – Evangelical Protestants, Mormons, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews – asking that they pass the word to their constituents to boycott Friday’s game.

“We want to drive down the attendance at the June 16 game that is honoring the ‘Sisters,'” Donohue said of the group’s goal. “If we succeed in doing so, it will make it unlikely that other baseball teams will follow the lead of the Dodgers.”

As the game nears, he said the group is ramping up its reminders to fans to stay home.

On Thursday, it will make a “last call” to some 900 Los Angeles-area VIPs, many of whom are Catholic, reminding them of the one-game boycott.

On game day, he said the group will post the Dodgers’ own guidebook, which “prohibits mocking any religious group (among others), thus showing how they have violated their own strictures.”

On Monday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops made an official statement condemning the Dodgers’ “shocking” decision to honor “a group whose lewdness and vulgarity in mocking our Lord, His Mother, and consecrated women cannot be overstated.”

“We call on Catholics to pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart on June 16, offering this prayer as an act of reparation for the blasphemies against our Lord we see in our culture today,” the bishops stated.

Locally, Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez plans to dedicate his early Friday afternoon service to “healing, due to the harm caused by the Dodgers’ decision to honor a group that intentionally denigrates and profanes the Christian faith.”

“We will be praying in a special way for our city and country, for an end to prejudice, and for renewed respect for the religious beliefs of all Angelenos and all Americans,” he tweeted.

In another statement, the archdiocese said that honoring a group that “mocks women religious, and worse, desecrates the Cross, profanes the Eucharist, and disrupts Holy Mass has caused disappointment, dismay, and pain in our Catholic community, as well as among our fellow Christians and people of goodwill.”

“The Archdiocese of Los Angeles stands for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which means we stand against any form of bigotry, hate, or sacrilege,” it stated.

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