A Veteran Exorcist Reacts to the LA Dodgers’ Mockery

To have pity for lost souls and to pray for them, while defending our faith and Our Lord, is to follow a long, holy Christian tradition.

Fra Angelico, “The Mocking of Christ,” ca. 1437-1446
Fra Angelico, “The Mocking of Christ,” ca. 1437-1446 (photo: Public Domain)

Turn the other cheek, Jesus told us. Speaking up for our faith and proclaiming Christ was also a biblical directive: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

I was expecting a fire-and-brimstone reaction but was advised to turn the other cheek and pray for our persecutors when I called Msgr. John Esseff for his opinion regarding the Los Angeles Dodgers’ plan to give a “Community Heroes” award on June 16 to the LA chapter of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. They are a group of “drag queens” who mock actual Catholic sisters.

Msgr. Esseff turns 95 in June and celebrated 70 years as a priest on May 31. He is an exorcist, still gives retreats to seminarians and priests, officiates at Mass and was a spiritual director to Mother Teresa.

I filled him in on the details about the disturbing behavior of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, their grotesque faces and names such as Sister Erotica Psychotica and Sister Selma Soul, which reveal an entrenchment in Satan’s rebellion against God.

According to their website: “We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.” But there’s nothing funny about their drag performances featuring sexualized scenes toward the representation of Jesus on the cross and acting out disgusting behaviors as nuns. It is the inverted world of Satan, lashing out at Jesus and mocking real Catholic nuns who dedicate their lives to worshiping God, growing in humility and serving others.

The Dodgers could have given an award to actual nuns, but instead, they created a quagmire for themselves. After outrage from the initial invitation, the Dodgers rescinded it and apologized for offending some of their fans. Then, after backlash from the American Civil Liberties Union and all the usual alphabet groups, the Dodgers groveled and apologized again — but this time to the drag sisters, saying they would indeed be honored for their “life-saving work.”

And what is their life-saving work? Who is alive today thanks to these satanic sisters? They raise money on their website for LGBT-related causes and “diverse communities and groups that have a common interest in human rights, people of every gender, gender identity, race, class, age and sexual orientation.” After collecting donations, they give out grants of typically $250 to $1,000. What a pittance compared to the real-life saving work of Catholic nuns who dedicate themselves to a life of poverty and chastity, including a life of prayer, teaching, providing health care and serving the poor in so many ways.

Msgr. Esseff was silent a moment after I said they were being honored for doing good work in the community.

“I seriously doubt that they do good work,” he said. “It’s disgusting but also a cause for sympathy. People who take the time to ridicule and make fun of and to blaspheme — or whatever they think they are doing — are really in some sense recognizing the genuine, the true and the real.”

Msgr. Esseff explained that this was another case of attacking the Church through imitation, just as black masses imitate and mock actual Catholic Masses. The devil recognizes what is true and holy and hates it.

“I would look away,” he said. “Even as an old man, people make fun of me, even to my face, but what I find is that those people are so unhappy.”

“But they are blaspheming Jesus,” I pointed out.

“Jesus has been blasphemed before,” he responded. “What did he do when they blasphemed him on the cross? He loved them all the more. That’s when he gave his life for us. Those who crucified Jesus thought they were doing good work at the same time. They were probably being kind and charitable to other people. It depends on what you call love. What Jesus did on the cross was to love the entire world.”


Many Layers of Persecutors

Msgr. Esseff reminded me to follow Jesus along the way he showed us. In my disgust, I had forgotten to pity and pray for the offenders. There are so many to pray for. There are also the Dodgers team executives, whose cowardice gave in to the LGBT militants’ demand to be honored.

Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, asked to meet with the Dodgers’ administration. CatholicVote is planning a $1 million ad campaign to boycott the ball club for honoring an anti-Catholic hate group. Burch was told by a Dodgers executive that he did not have time to meet with him until after the Pride night. Seems the LGBT militants have a stranglehold on them.

While we pray for our persecutors, there is another level — those who bash Catholics for daring to object to this. Los Angeles Times columnist Gustavo Arellano ridiculed Catholics for protesting the Dodgers’ choice to honor a Catholic hate group, as if that makes us the haters.

Should you give solace to the meek, alms to the poor, comfort the shunned people Jesus surrounded himself with and advocated for again and again?
Or should you just hate?
As a progressive-minded Catholic who reads and hears the other side to challenge my own views, I’ve shaken my head in sadness as those on the right have largely chosen the latter.

One Twitter user wrote: 

Catholics had a choice this week of where to direct their ire. That so many chose to condemn a drag queen group dressing as nuns while remaining silent about the Archdiocese of Chicago gross undercount of abusers (per IL AG) speaks volumes. Missed priorities. Crows squawk on.

He removed it later when responses revealed the ignorance of his statement. Twitter user @KevinAshtook took him to task multiple times:

‘Catholics can’t criticize this thing because priests did bad things’ is such a brain-dead take. First of all, nobody thinks it’s okay what those priests did. We all agree it was awful. We all condemn it.
Secondly, those priests and bishops were going AGAINST the Church’s teaching. It’s diametrically opposed to the mission of the Church. Whereas some of these other groups see sinful behavior as the foundation of who they are.

Speaking against hate and blasphemy in defense of Jesus is not necessarily opposed to Msgr. Esseff’s advice to follow the example of Jesus, although he chooses not to react to such things. He urged that we should keep love in our hearts even in challenging circumstances. To have pity for lost souls and to pray for them, while defending our faith and Our Lord, is to follow a long, holy Christian tradition. The names and faces have changed, but it’s nothing new.

‘Dodger Stadium’

Origins of LGBTQ+ Ideologies and Father’s Day (June 17)

Baseball, LGBTQ+ pride, a troupe of men grotesquely dressed in nuns’ habits receiving honors for their so-called charity and other men dress in women’s jerseys receiving top prizes in women’s competition. Then Father’s Day thrown into the middle of this. These are the marks of the month of June. How did we get into this madness and where do we go from here? Two authors and fellows at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering, join us to offer their insights.