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Thousands march in prayer procession protesting Dodgers honoring anti-Catholic drag group

June 19, 2023 Catholic News Agency 3
Thousands protest outside Dodgers Stadium June 16, 2023, while the Dodgers’ honored the controversial group the “Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence.” / Photo courtesy of CatholicVote

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 19, 2023 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

Thousands of Catholics and other Christians marched in a prayerful procession Friday protesting the Los Angeles Dodgers honoring an anti-Catholic drag group called the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

As thousands marched outside of Dodger Stadium, inside the stadium the Dodgers honored the drag group with a “Community Hero Award.”

The recognition ceremony took place 40 minutes before the game and was sparsely attended, with Dodger Stadium largely empty when the Sisters received their award, according to Savanah Hernandez, a reporter for Turning Point USA.

Video taken by Hernandez shows the Dodgers announcer recognizing two of the Sisters to scattered applause and a couple of people booing inside the stadium.

Outside thousands prayed the rosary, chanted, and sang hymns in reparation and protest for offenses against Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Controversy over the group erupted in May after the Dodgers announced they would be honoring them.

The Sisters are known for using Catholic religious imagery and themes in sexualized performances. The performers call themselves nuns and regularly use the likenesses of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and women religious in ways that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called “blasphemous.”

Protestors pray outside Dodger Stadium in California on June 16, 2023, while the Dodgers honored two members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with award. Photo courtesy of CatholicVote
Protestors pray outside Dodger Stadium in California on June 16, 2023, while the Dodgers honored two members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with award. Photo courtesy of CatholicVote

Prominent Catholics and other Christian leaders across the country criticized the Dodgers’ decision to honor the Sisters, including Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, who called the Sisters “a group that insults Jesus and mocks Catholic believers.”

Gomez celebrated a special Mass on the day of the game in reparation for the group’s performances.  

“Religious freedom and the respect for the beliefs of others are hallmarks of our nation,” Gomez said during the Mass. “When God is insulted, when the beliefs of any of our neighbors are ridiculed, it diminishes all of us.” 

Tommy Valentine, a spokesman for the Catholic advocacy group CatholicVote who attended and spoke at the prayer protest, told CNA that the Mass was “simply beautiful.”

“The environment was truly one of love, prayer, and reparation,” Valentine said, adding that he estimated “at least” 5,000 people participated.

“Many people brought religious art and family heirlooms and rosaries — the traditions and symbols which are so important to us which are mocked by this hate group,” Valentine explained. “It made quite a contrast between the huge prayerful crowd inside compared to the two bigots being honored inside a nearly empty stadium.” 

Knights of Columbus join protestors to pray outside Dodger Stadium on June 16, 2023. Photo courtesy of CatholicVote
Knights of Columbus join protestors to pray outside Dodger Stadium on June 16, 2023. Photo courtesy of CatholicVote

Shortly after the Dodgers announced they would honor the Sisters, CatholicVote revealed it would be raising $1 million for an ad campaign to boycott the team.

According to Valentine, CatholicVote’s boycott campaign is “just getting started.” 

“We smashed our million-dollar fundraising goal and put some of the money aside to keep running,” Valentine said, adding that “people are still donating.” 

Valentine said that the ad campaign has thus far garnered nearly 10 million views and listens on TV and radio. 

The campaign has faced some opposition as well, according to Valentine. 

After purchasing airtime for an ad on Spectrum SportsNet LA, the channel then rescinded its agreement with CatholicVote and refused to run the ad. Spectrum SportsNet LA is partially owned by the Dodgers. 

Thousands raise their arms in prayer to protest the Dodgers' event honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on June 16, 2023. Photo courtesy of CatholicVote
Thousands raise their arms in prayer to protest the Dodgers’ event honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on June 16, 2023. Photo courtesy of CatholicVote

Valentine said that Lamar, Clear Channel, and Outfront also refused to rent out any billboards for the boycott campaign. 

“We asked them what specifically they objected to and how we could revise the wording. They ignored us,” Valentine said. “So, we got mobile billboard trucks to circle Dodger Stadium before, during, and after all games.” 

CatholicVote also had billboard trucks circulate outside Dodgers’ co-owner Mark Walter’s Malibu house as well as in Manhattan for the MLB owners’ meetings last week, according to Valentine.

Valentine also said that though plans for additional ads are still in the works, he could not disclose any more details.


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Housekeeper’s husband pleads not guilty to murder of Bishop David O’Connell

March 24, 2023 Catholic News Agency 0
A memorial Mass for the late Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell was held at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Hacienda Heights, California, on March 1, 2023. / Credit: YouTube/St. John Vianney Hacienda Heights

Boston, Mass., Mar 24, 2023 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

Carlos Medina, the man charged with murdering Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell in February, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in court Wednesday.

News of O’Connell’s Feb. 18 murder shocked the nation after it was reported that he died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds at his Hacienda Heights home. The local and wider Catholic community mourned O’Connell, who was remembered as a man of peace dedicated to serving the poor and immigrants.

Medina, 61, is the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper, and it remains unclear what the motive for the murder might have been. He is being held on more than $2 million bail and will have his next court hearing May 17.

Before his not guilty plea, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said in a Feb. 22 press conference that Medina admitted to the murder.

“He admitted that he had done the killing and we believe we recovered the weapon that they were using, and we have other evidence from the bed, certain things that indicate that they were in the place where the killing occurred,” Gascón said in Spanish, translated here by CNA.

Following the revelation of the alleged admission, a current and former colleague of Gascón criticized him for breaking the L.A. District Attorney’s Office’s own policy of forbidding the disclosure of a defendant’s admission in an open criminal case.

John Lewin, a former deputy district attorney for Los Angeles, told Fox News Digital that the statement could affect the outcome of the trial.

“It cannot be more simply stated, George Gascón is a DA who either doesn’t know the basic ethical rules that govern the agency he leads or doesn’t care to follow them,” he said.

“What if a court decides that the confession will not be admitted to trial? You can’t put that genie back into the bottle,” he added.

John McKinney, a current LA deputy district attorney, told Fox News Digital that the disclosure was contrary to police department rules. 

“By disclosing a defendant’s confession in an open criminal case, George Gascón has not only committed a blatant violation of LADA policy but has also potentially violated the due process rights of the accused.” 

Obtained by CNA, the District Attorney’s Legal Policy Manual states that “at the time of arrest, the issuance of an arrest warrant, the filing of a complaint, or the public revelation of an indictment,” information about a confession, admission, or statement given by the accused shall not be released.

Marc Debbaudt, a former career deputy district attorney for Los Angeles, told CNA Feb. 27 that he didn’t think Gascón’s announcement of the admission could cause the case to be thrown out but said that “it could result in motions to change jurisdiction.”

“It’s just embarrassingly unprofessional,” he said.

Three days of memorial services were held for O’Connell, 69, in early March. O’Connell’s funeral was attended by thousands as Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez called him an intercessor for souls.

Speaking briefly at the conclusion of the funeral liturgy, Gomez said “Bishop Dave,” as O’Connell was affectionately known, would be sorely missed, but “we know that he’s in heaven.” 

“From there he’s going to continue to intercede for us,” Gomez said, “as he has done his whole life.”