ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange Monday criticized the decision by Anaheim's mayor to invite a group of self-described "queer and trans nuns" that was disinvited from the Los Angeles Dodgers' annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night to be her guest at the Angels' upcoming pride night.
"The decision to openly embrace a group whose demeaning behavior is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian is misguided and disrespectful to the sisters of the Catholic Church who minister in Orange County and selflessly dedicate their lives to God's underserved people," said Jarryd Gonzales, spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
"We cannot condone any actions that have historically shown such high levels of disregard for the sincerely held beliefs of the faithful."
- Anaheim mayor invites queer, trans nuns group to Angels Stadium Pride Night
- LA Pride pulls out of Dodgers LGBTQ+ night amid news of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence being excluded
- Dodgers pull Pride Night invite to group accused of mocking Christians
Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken announced her decision over the weekend by tweeting, "I'm inviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to join me for @Angels Pride Night at Anaheim Stadium on June 7. Pride should be inclusive and like many, I was disappointed in the Dodgers decision."
It remained unclear whether the group, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, would accept the invitation.
The Dodgers' decision, announced Wednesday, came after complaints raised by several Catholic organizations and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who said the group regularly disparaged Christians.
"This year, as part of a full night of programming, we invited a number of groups to join us," according to a statement that was issued by the team. "We are now aware that our inclusion of one group in particular — The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — in this year's Pride Night has been the source of some controversy.
"Given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the sisters' inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year's group of honorees."
The group had been scheduled to receive a Community Hero Award at the team's June 16 Pride Night, honoring its efforts to promote human rights, diversity and "spiritual enlightenment."
The Sisters issued a statement Thursday expressing "deep offense" at being uninvited to the event, calling the decision a capitulation to "hateful and misleading information from people outside their community." The group insisted it is a nonprofit organization that "annually raises thousands of dollars to distribute to organizations supporting marginalized communities."
The Sisters' website describes the organization as "a leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns."
Other high-profile Southland supporters of LGBTQ rights also chimed in, expressing disappointment in the Dodgers' decision.
The Dodgers' original decision to honor the group drew criticism from various Catholic organizations. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, accused the team of "rewarding anti-Catholicism" by honoring the group. Donohue said he wrote to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to protest the Dodgers' decision to honor the group.
Rubio also sent a complaint to Manfred, saying the group "mocks Christians through diabolical parodies of our faith."
The organization Catholic Vote also condemned the group's inclusion in the Dodgers' event. Its president, Brian Burch, issued a statement Wednesday hailing the team's decision to exclude the group, which he called "an anti-Catholic hate group known for their gross mockery of Catholic nuns."
On Wednesday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath blasted the team for uninviting the Sisters.
"If they're not invited, I'm not going," she wrote on her Twitter page. "Celebrating Pride is about inclusion. Do better."