The Catholic Sisters the Dodgers Should Honor

By Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich

Baseball fans across America are calling for a boycott of the Los Angeles Dodgers after the Major League Baseball team invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of “queer and trans nuns,” to be honored at an annual event later this month.

The controversial, anti-Catholic group got its start in 1979 when three men walked the streets of San Francisco while wearing full, religious habits – which had been retired from a convent of Catholic nuns. The group has since become known for deriding, taunting, and mocking Christian beliefs, with so-called sisters wearing provocative nun-like clothing, pole dancing on crosses, and using the phrase, “Go forth and sin some more!” 

As Bishop Robert Barron of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester said, “Friends, it’s hard to imagine anything more offensive than some of the behavior of the ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,’ which I think can only be described as an anti-Catholic hate group.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to invite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to its June 16 event has prompted outrage from fans who want to keep politics off the field and Catholics who are offended by the explicit satirizing of their Christian faith. 

In the wake of the backlash, members of the team have come forward condemning the group’s hate-filled mockery and distancing themselves from the team’s support for the group. Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen said, “This group openly mocks Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of my faith, and I want to make it clear that I do not agree with nor support the decision of the Dodger’s to ‘honor’ the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw also criticized the move and said, “I don’t agree with making fun of other people’s religions.” 

However, not only are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence taunting Christianity, they are ridiculing the work of women in religious life.

Having worked closely with many Catholic sisters as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, I have observed their selfless and courageous efforts in some of the most difficult parts of the world. 

Consider the brave and courageous work of Talitha Kum, a network of women religious across 92 countries on 5 continents who serve thousands of human trafficking survivors and provide training to women religious. This incredible network has reached thousands of people through anti-trafficking awareness campaigns, educational programs, international conferences, and vocational training.

Sister Gabriella Bottani, the former international coordinator for Talitha Kum, is one of the many inspirational women in religious life who bring hope and healing to the suffering. Sister Gabriella was honored as a 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report Hero by the U.S. Department of State for her lifetime of dedication to combatting human trafficking that has saved countless lives. 

Before taking on a leadership role at Talitha Kum, Sister Gabriella played a crucial role in advancing anti-trafficking efforts in Brazil by serving vulnerable children and women in disadvantaged areas, in addition to leading a national campaign against human trafficking during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Throughout her career, Sister Gabriella’s work has inspired generations of anti-trafficking advocates.

Additionally, Sister Orla Treacy, the head of the Loreto Rumbek Mission and recipient of the 2019 International Women of Courage Award, bravely stands on the frontlines of conflict in South Sudan, a country besieged by civil war, insecurity, and starvation.  

At the Loreto Rumbek Mission, which includes a co-educational primary school, a boarding secondary school for girls, and a primary health care center, Sister Orla and the Loreto Sisters offer girls between the ages of five and 20 the opportunity to chart new courses for their lives by receiving a holistic education in a safe, supportive, and caring community. 

Consider Sister Alicia Vacas Moro, a Comboni Missionary Sister and registered nurse, who was awarded the International Women of Courage Award by the U.S. Department of State in 2021. 

Sister Alicia oversaw a medical clinic in Egypt for eight years, where she treated 150 low-income patients every day. Later, she moved to the biblical town of Bethany, where she established training programs for women and kindergartens for children in an impoverished Bedouin community. When COVID-19 first erupted across the world, Sister Alicia’s immense courage led her to northern Italy at the height of the pandemic to treat and care for the sick.

Women religious selflessly dedicate their lives to courageously serving others around the world.  These are the Catholic sisters that the Los Angeles Dodgers should honor.