by Alexander Slavsky • ChurchMilitant.com • March 19, 2018
LOS ANGELES (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics in California are sounding the alarm over the heterodox content promoted at the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (LA REC).
The 2018 REC was hosted by the archdiocese of Los Angeles under Abp. José Gómez. It was held between Thursday and Sunday and featured a number of dissident, pro-gay speakers, including Fr. James Martin, Fr. Bryan Massingale, Arthur Fitzmaurice and Fr. Greg Boyle.
Members of Church Militant's L.A. Resistance chapter attended the REC on Saturday, carrying signs and interacting with other participants. One of the members, 90-year-old Donald Kohles, carried a sign that read "Gomez Phony as Mahony."
Cardinal Roger Mahony, former archbishop of Los Angeles, started the REC in 1968. He was released in 2013 from all administrative and public duties in the archdiocese of Los Angeles by Gómez, following claims he failed to protect young people from sexually abusive priests between 1985–2011.
Kohles also protested in front of the Los Angeles' Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels each Sunday from March 4–18 before and after the 10 a.m. Mass.
He "sought the advice of the Holy Spirit and decided to take [to] the streets ... with only the Truth as armor" and carried his sign after meeting with Gómez in November, who dismissed his concerns over the REC's "acceptance of the practice of homosexuality."
Kohles told Church Militant that he also handed Gómez a two-page document last month that included a Vortex episode titled "The Pope and Sodomy" and a letter criticizing the archbishop for his "promotion of the gay agenda" in Los Angeles.
Another L.A. Resistance member, Jason Perez, who also attended the REC along with Kohles, told Church Militant:
A lot of people who stopped by didn't really know who James Martin was, and a lot of them frankly seemed kind of clueless about what was going on in the Church. They didn't really understand what James Martin's angle was or where he was coming from, but there were some priests who actually did know who he was and who were praising him.
Martin is best known for his attempts to normalize homosexuality. He has said chastity is not required of homosexuals, Catholics should "reverence" gay "marriage," "transgender" children should be able to register for religious education under their preferred sex and people who have left the gay lifestyle do not live an "integrated life."
Last year, Massingale distorted Church teaching on Catholic morality at the REC, using passages from the pope's exhortation on marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia, to support his claim that Catholics are duty-bound to "do the best they can, even if it goes against Church teaching."
He has rejected Church teaching that God created us male and female and claimed that the Church can support transgenders' "true gender identities."
Fitzmaurice also supports transgenderism, distinguishing between sex, gender, expression and orientation at last year's congress. He also brought in a panel of people suffering from gender dysphoria, normalized their illness and praised their subversion of Catholic teaching.
At the REC in 2015, he rejected Church teaching on homosexuality, referring to the Catechism's language as "abusive" and "gravely evil."
Boyle advocates for so-called same-sex "marriage" and women "priests." He said in an interview in 2013, "Does God feel like same-sex marriage could it happen, I don't think anybody who has a connection to God, and God's understanding and depth of compassion who's going to say no."
On women "priests," he said, "For the Church to say, 'I'm frightened that women will be ordained,' that's honest, say that — but don't say it's a grave sin, because that's nonsense."
The congress started as an institute for religious education teachers but has since expanded to include people from all vocations and different faiths. The event hosts nearly 200 speakers, more than 300 workshops, 14 different liturgies and book and CD signings.
Taking control over the REC in 2011, Gómez has continued to allow dissident speakers while permitting liturgical abuses, including liturgical dancing during Mass.
Last year Michael Voris approached Gómez to make him aware of the scandal and confusion caused by conference speakers' promotion of homosexuality. When asked about his encounter with Gómez, Voris explained, "I saw him and said that one of the speakers, Fr. Massingale, said the Church's teaching is that you don't have to follow Church teaching. The archbishop responded very flatly, 'Oh?'"