Originally, I had intended on participating in whatever protest there would be at Dodger Stadium of the team’s recent enthusiastic embrace of anti-Catholicism.
Two of my dearest friends, men who are better Catholics than I am, were all in, and I had told them that I was, too. But as the week of the event drew near, I began to have reservations. I am not a huge fan of organized protest marches of any ilk. I am not a “joiner” by nature. I have participated in my share of rosaries in front of abortion clinics, as well as eucharistic processions around them. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of verbal abuse tossed from passing cars and people on the street. I know the drill, and was ready, willing, and able to take the “medicine” that comes with such events.
Planning changes for the event began to sow doubt. I did not have a firm handle on who exactly was organizing the protest event and what the tenor was going to be. Those who would be marching began posting snarky things, wondering why bishops were not doing what the marchers thought they should do. Other posts suggested cowardice on their part, and that is when I distanced myself.
There was another crucial factor in my decision. I have a serious case of outrage fatigue. I have an Irish nature, so I am quick to anger and short on thoughtfulness. If I wanted to, I could stay outraged 24/7 between things happening inside and outside the Church. There is a perverse sense of satisfaction that living like this produces, but it is as short-lived as it is destructive.
Yet there is biblical evidence of and an argument in favor of justified anger. It can even come with some name-calling. Jesus was no shrinking violet when he warned about “broods of vipers,” “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and the money-changers in the Temple who had turned his Father’s house into a “den of thieves.”
Even though there exists much biblical provenance supporting dissenting voices at those who so openly mock what we, as Catholics, hold sacred, something held me back from full participation in the protest outside Dodger Stadium. In so many ways, what the Dodgers and their Pride Night represented was a fastball-down-the-middle for some to show righteous indignation.
I am confident that was the motivation of my two friends, and most of the people who gathered on the corner of Vin Scully Avenue that Friday afternoon. Video of the event showed plenty of banners of the Blessed Mother and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Seeing them made me glad, and I applaud the seriousness of faith those who went to the streets demonstrated.
So, where was I that Friday afternoon? Amid my wavering about what to do, the answer came not from above but from Duarte (although perhaps both can be true), where the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles have a holy presence. I get a lot of emails from these remarkable women. They are special to my family. We are in their debt for the gentle, loving, and Christ-centered care they so beautifully gave to our mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s.
The Carmelite nuns, real nuns, had invited me and my wife to follow the counsel our archbishop gave: to gather on that dark Friday in prayer. This was a chance to pray for our priests, to pray for those unreal “nuns” that they may find the road to their liberation and to kneel before the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There was a Mass, a holy hour, and a eucharistic procession. It certainly looked like a divine communication to me. I love being around these real nuns because of their generous spirit and their joy.
Happiness fades. It is slippery especially when attached to such unbiblical things like pride. True joy, on the other hand, like the kind these incredible women exude, is so much deeper and fulfilling.
What a blessing my wife and I had to be among them in Duarte on that Friday night, to pray together to seek closeness to God and once off my knees, to feel renewed, spent and knowing I was right where I needed to be when not-so-holy things were happening on a baseball field overlooking downtown Los Angeles.