2017 LA Religious Education Congress Pushes Dissent on Sexual Morality

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 22, 2016   

Event hosts speakers who are pro-gay, pro-transgender and pro-unchaste sex

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LOS ANGELES (ChurchMilitant.com) - The 2017 Religious Education Congress (REC) hosted by the archdiocese of Los Angeles is again hosting speakers with pro-gay, pro-transgender and pro-unchaste messages delivered to Catholic educators and youth alike.

The four-day event, scheduled for February 2017 in Anaheim, will host pro-LGBT speakers like Arthur Fitzmaurice, resource director for the dissident Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry (CALGM). Objecting to the Church's teaching that homosexual behavior is "intrinsically disordered," Fitzmaurice accused the Church, saying, "It is gravely evil language."
 
 
The REC was started in 1968 by Cdl. Roger Mahony, the infamous archbishop of Los Angeles who paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in sex abuse claims to people who were victims of his homosexual priests. He will be a guest speaker at the 2017 REC.
 
The Congress was begun as an institute for religious education teachers but has since grown to include people of all vocations and different faiths. The event boasts of roughly 200 speakers, more than 300 workshops, 16 various liturgies, and exhibits of religious art, music and other publications.
 
Overseeing the event now is Abp. Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. The event continues to be notorious for its liturgical abuses, including liturgical dancing, and for offering workshops on transgenderism that openly question Church teaching on gender ideology and homosexuality. 
 
Last year Abp. Gomez stunned the faithful by having a gay couple bring up the gifts at the closing Mass and then blessing the adopted son of the gay couple. The entire event was televised throughout the archdiocese, with the camera lingering on the same-sex couple as they proceeded to the High Altar.
 
Past speakers of the REC include Fr. Richard Sparks, C.S.P., who in 2000 spoke to some 18,000 Catholic educators on Catholic sexual morality. During the recorded talk, he said of Our Lord, "Jesus had to go through puberty. … He might have even had a prom date with Mary Magdalene. They might have even necked a little in the back seat of a car. … He might have even petted her once or twice."
 
In spite of the blasphemous remarks, the archdiocese invited Fr. Sparks back the following year. This time he spoke about the physical intimacy between Joseph and Mary. "Now all I'm saying is — even if they didn't have sex, did they ever neck? Or did they maybe cuddle and snuggle? Did he ever sort of fondle his wife? Did she ever kind of fondle him?"
 
A repeated guest is Fr. Greg Boyle, a dissident priest who publicly supports so-called same-sex marriage and women's ordination. Another priest, Fr. Bryan Massingale of the archdiocese of Milwaukee, participated in the REC last year. At a progressive Pax Christi Conference in 2013, Massingale wrote, "For the young people I teach, equality for gays and lesbians is their civil rights issue. ... For young people, the litmus test of the credibility of a religious institution is their stances on LGBT rights."
 
There are many speakers at the event who are not only pro-gay but who dissent from basic Church teaching regarding chastity. One such youth leader in the Los Angeles diocese made a video in which she says, "For me being LGBT has been a gift and has been a blessing." They hold that chastity is kept even when living contrary to Church teaching, which they believe can change.
 
Archbishop Gomez was recently elected vice president of the U.S. Bishops' Conference.
 

 

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Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli