“Living the Truth in Love” is easier said than done, especially when one is angry, hurt, or insulted. But as St. Paul states in Ephesians 4:15-16, “It brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.”
This growth is not just personal; the apostle talks about all of us – the entire Body of Christ, including the people we love most dearly and those with whom we constantly clash.
ARCHBISHOP JOSÉ GOMEZ PROCEEDS INTO THE CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY QUEEN OF THE ANGELS AT THE START OF MASS ON JUNE 16.
So, when the Dodgers Baseball Management announced an on-again, off-again and then on-again community award to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group that mocks the Catholic faith and, in particular religious sisters, many Catholics were outraged. The outrage was directed as what Catholics and other people of good will perceive to be demeaning towards the tens of thousands of religious sisters serving in the United States. The outrage was not directed in any way against those who experience same-sex attraction. In fact, the Catholic Church authentically accompanies them by means of Courage ministry.
The Dodgers invited the group to receive the award at the 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night on June 16.
The question for Catholics was then how to respond in truth and love.
PROTESTORS GATHER OUTSIDE DODGER STADIUM ON JUNE 16 IN RESPONSE TO THE ORGANIZATION BESTOWING THE SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE WITH A COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD.
For some, the response was a peaceful boycott and prayerful demonstration. More than 1,000 gathered in the Dodger parking lot before the game to protest the award. Many Catholic bloggers across the country and activists expressed outrage and disappointment. And there was a movement by Catholic radio encouraging baseball fans not to attend the game.
A WOMAN HOLDS UP HER ROSARY BEADS DURING A PROTEST OUTSIDE DODGER STADIUM ON JUNE 16.
Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, along with Archbishop Timothy Broglio, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and head of the Archdiocese for Military Service, USA, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, asked Catholics to confront this blasphemy with our most potent weapon – prayer. It did not escape notice that the event occurred on June 16, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 19 days after Pentecost, to celebrate Jesus’ divine love for humanity. We are reminded that despite our savior’s humiliation, scorn and ultimate death, He continues to embrace our fallen nature with His love.
PROTESTORS KNEEL IN PRAYER DURING A PEACEFUL GATHERING HELD AT DODGER STADIUM ON JUNE 16.
“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.” (USCBB)
The rallying cry was the Litany of the Sacred Heart continued at Masses, on Catholic broadcasts, blogs and demonstrations throughout the day.
Archbishop Gomez celebrated a well-attended Mass at noon at the Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of the Angels. The archbishop used the opportunity to remind the audience, “Today we celebrate the feast of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. We remember how much he loves us, and we ask him to give us a heart like his, meek and humble and filled with compassion. We will also 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 Angelinos and all Americans.”
A few hours later the “sisters” were given the community hero award to largely empty stands, about an hour before game time. Meanwhile the demonstrators continued their vigil and, despite a heavy police presence, it wasn’t necessary. There was no rioting, or other violence so typical of recent civil unrest in response to bigotry and hate toward the marginalized.
To continue the prayerful contemplation of religious tolerance, June 22 -29 the USCCB celebrates religious freedom week:
“Religious freedom allows the Church, and all religious communities, to live out their faith in public and to serve the good of all…the USCCB invites Catholics to pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom.”
It’s hard to say if this situation impacted Dodger Management, although one wonders how the late Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully, both devout Catholics, would have responded. Hopefully, the prayers will ultimately illuminate the “sisters” hearts and lead them to the peace of our Lord that is beyond all understanding.
June 16 was the first night of a 3-game series against the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers lost all three games. Love wins.