California Bishops Slam State Legislature for Honoring Anti-Catholic Hate Group

The California Catholic Conference has issued a statement condemning the state legislature’s decision to publicly honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of gay men in drag mocking Catholic nuns.

“We are in sorrow and disbelief that California legislators paid tribute to a prominent member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SPI),” the Conference declared in a statement Monday, “a group that openly commits acts of hate, misogyny, and discrimination against Catholics, our women’s religious orders, and against Christianity.”

L.A. County Supervisors Janice Hahn, from left, Kathryn Barger, Lindsey Horvath and “Sister Tootie Toot,” of the group the L.A. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, right, at the raising of the Progress Pride Flag over the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown on Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The Conference, the public policy voice of the California bishops, said that by honoring “an openly anti-Catholic group,” the state Senate and Assembly had elevated “acts of hate.”

“Lawmakers praised a member of a group that actively disrupts our Masses, events and even steals our sacred Eucharist,” the text said. “SPI holds events that ridicule our sacraments with names so crass we will spare repeating them.”

The move by California Democrats to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on the floor of the state Capitol in Sacramento followed a similar tribute paid to the group by the Los Angeles Dodgers, a measure denounced by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as well as the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Liberty.

In its statement Monday, the California Catholic Conference noted the selfless work carried out by “[o]ur Catholic women religious.”

“They gladly serve others and remain in prayer even for those who openly disparage them,” it said. “Our Sisters should be recognized for their selflessness, not ridiculed and denigrated.”

The statement went on to add that the religious order of the Sisters of Mercy previously owned “the very land where the annexed portion of the Capitol building sits.”

“And today, the State chose to support the desecration of their selfless acts and those who follow in their legacy,” it added.

California “has now greenlighted prejudiced acts of discrimination,” the statement concludes, while urging Californians to “rise above the legislature’s divisive behavior and instead seek to treat each other with the love, integrity, and dignity that every person deserves.”

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