Dissident speakers at LA Religious Education Congress

Catholic group plans protest at Los Angeles Religious Education Congress

ANAHEIM, March 17, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ – “We call on faithful Catholics to come join us in protesting the Los Angeles Archdiocese’s upcoming dissent-fest, the Religious Education Congress,” said Kenneth M. Fisher, chairman of Concerned Roman Catholics of America. “We need to warn thousands of Catholics that they’ll hear speakers who spread doubts about Church teachings on abortion, homosexuality, contraception, women’s ordination and the pope’s authority.”

Fisher announced that on Saturday, March 24, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., his group will protest the annual Religious Education Congress, the world’s largest training event for Catholic schoolteachers. (The Religious Education Congress is slated for the Anaheim Convention Center, March 22-25. The Saturday leafleting will take place outside the Center’s main exhibit hall.)

“The Religious Education Congress will have speakers with long track records of dissent against the Church’s teaching,” Fisher noted. “They’ll tell Catholic educators what to teach. Then the teachers will infect countless innocent Catholic children with their errors.”

Fisher said CRCOA members will hand out flyers that expose speakers who dissent from the Church’s teachings.

The 185 Religious Education Congress speakers include:

A priest who’s said he’s “not anti-choice,” has publicly discussed his genitals, and has criticized the idea that truth is superior to dissent.

A priest who says the Church needs “public models” of “healthy gay priests for Catholics to reflect on,” to counter “the stereotype of the gay priest as child abuser.”

A professor who subtly undermines Church teachings on papal authority, sodomy, contraception and women’s ordination.

A nun who’s taught that “ordinary genital self-touch can be very important” for children.

A laicized priest who wants not only women priests but also women bishops.

The rest of the article:


I must admit that I was kind of hoping that Archbishop Gomez would be more interested in providing some shepherding to this gathering than had occurred previously. Perhaps he’s still getting organized and assessing his troops?

I was in a liberal catholic volunteer program and we were required to go. The first year I ended up going to heretical talk and was shocked. I was going to write the bishop but never did. I feel better knowing I was not the only one offended by having such outlandish speakers.



I’ve been going to Congress for 15 years, maybe longer. I haven’t run into any dissidents yet, though perhaps you can find them if you look. I am in Anaheim now and am looking forward to my sessions on RCIA, scripture, spirituality, and other topics.

Perhaps some of these “holier than the archbishop” types should try attending Congress and take advantage of the prayer times, the music, the liturgies, the workshops, and the opportunity to come together in a huge group of active, involved, committed Catholics. It is a great way to build both individuals and the greater community.

Here is a quote from someone that attended the REC last year:

“I am a Catechist in the Los Angeles area. I attended the Congress for the first time a couple of years ago at the encouragement of the Religious Ed Director of our parish. All catechists are encouraged to attend. I cannot explain how shocked I was when I signed up for a Young Adult Panel and it turned out to be a biased number of YA speakers, all talking about the Church needing to be changed from the inside, supporting redefining marriage, etc.”

Even one heterodox speaker at such a Conference is too many. Here is a link to an article about just one of the speakers that will be there, Orlando Espin :


New Ways Ministry, an outreach effort to homosexuals denounced by US bishops because it rejects Catholic teachings on human sexuality, held its “Seventh Annual Symposium on Catholicism and Homosexuality” from March 15-17. Among the speakers at the symposium was University of San Diego professor of systematic theology Orlando Espin.

Espin has been scheduled to present two workshops at the 2012 Religious Education Congress (REC) in Anaheim.

Two quibbles. The silence of Archbishop Gomez on this event to date hardly constitutes an endorsement on his part, so don’t act like it is. As the shocking scandals of recent years prove, the episcopal level of the sacrament of Holy Orders does NOT guarantee that bishops will lead well by personal example. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of Archbishop Gomez, just a reminder that even St. Peter didn’t always live out in action the holiness he was divinely commissioned to teach (inapproriately shunning the unclean meat eaters being an example).

Second, I am surprised that you have attended for 15 years and can’t recall any examples of invited speakers obviously working to undermine church teaching. Really? Nobody agitating for womyn priests? No gay activists seeking to legitimize the lifestyle? Nobody promoting liturgical disobedience? No continued preaching of liberation theology after its clear denunciation by Rome? No Wiccan experimentation?

I’m sure it comes as a shock, but no, I haven’t heard speakers on any of those topics.

This morning I heard a talk on how to involve more parishioners in adult faith formation, how to reach different groups in the parish and meet their needs. This afternoon I heard one on RCIA and how to better implement the rite in our parishes. I missed one workshop on John’s gospel because I got delayed in the exhibit hall looking at books both for my own edification as well as materials we could use in the parish.

I already have some ideas to implement and this was only the first day. And there are tens of thousands of people here who are all going back home with ideas and inspiration.

And that’s what it’s about.

I watched two speakers live via the internet and didn’t hear anything that was even vaguely dissident.

At least they aren’t doing any Dorito Masses this year.

That’s a vile accusation. Prove it or retract it.

Was that directed at me? If it was, don’t shoot the messenger. I’m surprised you never heard of it being in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Just Google, “Dorito Mass Religious Education Congress Los Angeles October 21, 2003.” and you’ll find plenty.

I just Googled what you said.

a. The one site that comes up says that a Dorito was used. I say prove it. It looks like a fractioned host to me.

b. It says it’s at the Religious Education Congress at the Cathedral. Congress is held in Anaheim, probably 30-40 miles from the Cathedral.

c. It says it’s in October. Congress is held in the Spring.

I say your claim is rubbish. It’s vile. And making such claims about Masses at Congress shows the mindset of the people who criticize Congress and its speakers. Lots of rubbish, no proof. Any further discussion on my part is pointless, so I’m out of here.

Being from the same Archdiocese as you, I remember when it happened - back in 2003 and the hoopla and controversy it started back then. It was even remembered and mentioned on these forums back on January 28, 2005 which I included in my original post - here’s the link again: forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=428506&postcount=16

Here are some other links on page one of Google:

July 7, 2005: traditio.com/nos.htm
April 10, 2006: angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=75135&sid=05deaf8706fef0156f1bd454c924801b
April 2011: shrineofourladyoflasalette.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html

I do agree with you that doing a is a vile way to celebrate the Mass. Even so, my comment that I was glad that:

still stands, and I will not retract it.

Thank you for helping to expose what has and continues to go on at REC. I pray as time goes on that our new Archbishop weeds out the dissident speakers. Here is a link to footage from this year’s REC:


What is the intent of the teaching? Personally as a convert it sounds pretty good to me because most Catholics, even school teachers, often can’t defend the Church’s teachings. Regardless of the issue if you don’t know the counter arguments or haven’t been exposed to them they can throw you off guard and you don’t know what to say. To impressionable teenagers this sign of weakness and doubt, not having a good answer to why can be critical. I’m not saying others know theirs more but it seems like everyone like to attack us.

A person stopped by my house this weekend to invite me to Easter at her Baptist Church. I told her that I was raised Baptist then was almost a Presbyterian Minister but eventually found my way home to the Catholic Church and we would be attending at our Parish on Easter. She looked kind of scared and said she use to be Catholic but became Baptist. She hurried off and said God Bless. She obviously didn’t want to talk about it…

The Church is continaully loosing people because we Catholics can’t tell someone why the Church teaches as it does… and yes there are reasons besides “that just what the Church says.” There are beautiful reasons that we need to be able to share but the enemy is crafty, if you don’t know what they are, how can you prepare. I’m sure that the person who came to my door, she was about 50 I would guess, was never taught why and thus she probably feel to the lies, and they are indeed lies, about the Church that the Baptist often tell to “save” people from Catholicism. If we can’t defend against other Christians to bring people closer to Christ, not that they don’t have Christ, just not the full Truth of the Church, how can we defend against secular attacks? You can’t just bury your head in the sand and only pray about it. Definitley pray but we should prepare ourselves as well. California sounds like a good place to start IMHO.


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