LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The saga surrounding a group of self-described "queer and trans nuns" took another twist Monday when the Dodgers -- who earlier rescinded an invitation for the group to participate in the team's Pride Night -- publicly apologized to the organization and again invited the group to take part in the event.
There was no immediate comment from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, but the Dodgers indicated in a statement that the group's members "have agreed to receive the gratitude of our collective communities for the lifesaving work that they have done tirelessly for decades."
"After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families," according to a team statement Monday afternoon.
" ... In the weeks ahead, we will continue to work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the ties that bind and use our platform to support all of our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family."
The Sisters organization is expected to receive a Community Hero Award during the team's Pride Night event, honoring the group's efforts to promote human rights, diversity and "spiritual enlightenment."
The Dodgers came under fire from a host of LGBTQ advocacy groups and elected officials following its decision to rescind its original invitation for the group to take part in Pride Night activities at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles LGBT Center called on the team to cancel Pride Night altogether, while organizers of LA Pride said they would not be participating in the event.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center issued a statement Monday calling the team's reversal "a step in the right direction."
"Last week's debacle underscores the dangerous impact of political tactics by those who seek to stoke the flames of anti-LGBTQ bias at a time when our rights are under attack," the center's CEO, Joe Hollendoner, said. "We must continue to stand together as a community in defense of the rights and recognition of LGBTQ+ people in Los Angeles and beyond.
"The Center is filled with gratitude to our Los Angeles community, who mobilized to support the Sisters, all of which compelled the Dodgers to ultimately do right by LGBTQ+ people everywhere. We are proud to stand with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and will join them at Pride Night to honor their many important contributions to our movement. The Dodgers' course correction and the conversations we have had with the organization's leadership since last week demonstrates the version of allyship we have come to expect from the team over the years."
The Dodgers' decision last week to withdraw its invitation to the Sisters came after complaints were raised by several Catholic organizations and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who said the group regularly disparaged Christians.
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."
The Sisters issued a statement last week 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."
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken invited the Sisters to be her guests at the Los Angeles Angels Pride Night at Angel Stadium on June 7.
"Pride should be inclusive and like many, I was disappointed in the Dodgers decision," Aitken wrote on social media.
On Monday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange criticized Aitken for extending the invitation.
"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, spokesman 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."