The L.A. Religious Education Congress (LA REC) is featuring speakers who are promoting the mental disease of gender dysphoria, commonly called "transgenderism."
In defense of the position of supporting gender dysphoria, one of the speakers, Arthur Fitzmaurice, claimed, "There are no absolutes. There is no such thing as a binary world."
Fitzmaurice is a leading proponent of normalizing the mental illness of transgenderism, and was the lead-off speaker at the conference. It's not his first time at the LA REC; he spoke at the event in 2015, where he denounced the Church for Her language on homosexuality, calling the Catechism's terminology "abusive" and "gravely evil."
Fitzmaurice began his presentation at this year's Congress by blurring the line between sex and gender, the typical first step in twisting the facts of biology. Biology is impossible to deny or do away with, so a whole new category is developed and given prominence over the basic foundation of biology.
His promotion of gender ideology is directly at odds with Pope Francis' condemnation of the same, who said in 2016, "God created man and woman. God created the world in a certain way ... and we are doing the exact opposite."
Fitzmaurice instructed the mostly friendly crowd of Catholic teachers and catechists by drawing distinctions between sex, gender, expression and orientation. He then introduced a panel of those suffering from gender dysphoria, presenting them as perfectly normal and lauding their attempts at overthrowing Catholic morality.
Church Militant has learned that Abp. Jose Gomez of Los Angeles was made aware of Fitzmaurice's presence as a speaker, as well as that of dissident priest Fr. Byron Massingale, and their push for transgenderism to be accepted and advanced as being in step with Church teaching.
The entire conference was little else than the standard approach of wooing people with personal stories and tear-filled appeals, casting the Church as a mean, uncaring institution out of touch with Her flock.
Each transgendered person claimed he or she was inspired by God to advance the cause. At one point, one of the panelists presented a powerpoint slide and asked the audience to read the slide out loud, which declared that transgenderism is a spiritual process of awakening and not a defect or disorder.
The tactic, which is the same tactic used by every liberal socialist cause going, is to present sympathetic personal stories that paint those who object to the underlying evil as uncharitable, uncompassionate bullies.
A false dichotomy is always put forth of having to choose between Church and self. And since the argument is always presented as personal and emotional, the Church's teachings are correspondingly portrayed as cold, distant, uncaring, unsympathetic.
This is the problem; there is never a presenter for the Church to counter these false claims. Of course, the argument could be made that these presentations have no place at a Congress aimed at educating teachers and catechists charged with teaching the Faith to new or young Catholics.
What is never presented or really allowed to be discussed (because it's labeled "hate speech") is the psychological and moral disorder that needs to be addressed, the need for grace to live heroic lives in the face of great spiritual and emotional struggle — in short, the cross.
But if it's going to be allowed — and remember, this is supposedly a Catholic conference — where is the authentic Catholic voice presenting the truth over and above emotion?
That this is allowed to go on, or go on without at a bare minimum a voice in support of authentic Catholic teaching, is shameful; and that shame is greatly increased by the archbishop's tacit support of this evil twisting of Church teaching.
There are many good reports of Abp. Gomez's work behind the scenes to change the culture, but on these most pressing issues of the day, he has taken a decidedly hands-off approach, refusing to support Church teaching or even defend it in this area. He has retreated into pushing for immigration reform and declaring it the most important issue for the Church in the United States.
All the speakers at the transgender conference are repeat speakers, coming back from last year's Congress. Archbishop Gomez was made aware of these speakers at last year's Congress and did nothing about it after the fact, making no declaration denouncing the content of the presentations.
In the run-up to this year's Congress, Gomez was again made aware of the conference denying and attacking Church teaching, and again did nothing in advance.
When Gomez came to Los Angeles in March 2011, appointed by Pope Benedict, many in the more orthodox corners of the Church were extremely hopeful that the modernist culture would begin to be rolled back, predominantly in the area of sexual morality and those Catholics — clerical and lay — who constantly undermine and attempt to redefine Church teaching.
Given the growing issue in the Church of the disorder of gender dysphoria, the archbishop is going to have to face this issue one way or another. Many are wondering what he's waiting for.