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Dissident priest Fr. James Martin addresses the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference in 2018.REC 2018 via YouTube.

ANAHEIM, California, March 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Concerned Catholics will protest this weekend outside the massive Los Angeles Religious Educators Congress (L.A. REC) over the scandalous presence of many pro-LGBT presenters seeking to influence young Catholic minds.   

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) claims that L.A. REC is “spreading confusion where clarity is needed,” so its members will be stationed outside the Anaheim Convention Center in order to alert participants to the heterodox elements of the conference.

“There are dangers to the faith present there,” Michael Whitcraft, TFP’s chief organizer for the protest, told LifeSiteNews.

“Many people who attend this congress have no idea of the errors that are being taught there,” he warned. He and other members of TFP want to “alert them to the terrible things that go on that they may not be aware of so that they have their guard up against dangers to the faith present there.”

“It’s not just people presenting orthodox Catholic doctrine,” said Whitcraft. “There are presenters there who are trying to mislead them and take them away from the faith.”

TFP has a different message for those flocking to the event because they are attracted to the message of the dissident speakers: “Stop trying to change the Church.”

“We have two thousand years of immutable teaching,” said Whitcraft. “It’s been the foundation for society, for all of Christian civilization. That’s something that’s not going to change.”

TFP has already asked Catholics across the nation to send letters of protest concerning the presence of the problematic speakers to José Gómez, archbishop of Los Angeles, asking him to remove the dissidents from the roster of presenters.  

Whitcraft hopes Archbishop Gómez gets the message.

“Following the teaching of John Paul II, which stated the overthrow of morality brings with it the overthrow of society, Archbishop Gómez holds a tremendous responsibility to shore up the moral errors that are being taught at this conference,” said Whitcraft.

If the archbishop fails to do so, these errors “will have a terrible, terrible trickle-down effect on all of society,” he added.

Among the problematic speakers at this year’s Congress, TFP notes:

  • Jesuit Father James Martin, who has dissented consistently from Church teaching on the family and insists Catholics must “reverence” homosexual unions, affirms transgenderism for children, and has said he favors homosexual kissing during Holy Mass.

  • Fr. Chris Ponnet, currently the director of the Office of Catholic HIV/AIDS Ministry for the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the archbishop’s spiritual director for Catholic ministry with lesbian and gay persons, has spoken openly in favor of the homosexual lifestyle.

  • Fr. Thomas Reese, who has said, “I personally think the Church’s battle against the legalization of gay marriage is misplaced. The idea that gay marriage is somehow a threat to family life or heterosexual marriage doesn’t make sense.”

  • Fr. Bryan Massingale, who at last year’s congress claimed that Church doctrine is not clear on transgenderism and that the biggest danger gender-dysphoric children face comes when the family fails to accept the child’s “reality.”

  • Dr. Arthur Fitzmaurice, a homosexual who has argued that the description of homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered” should be removed from the Catechism.

Perhaps most troubling of all, Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, is slated to speak. Mahoney was relieved of his diocesan duties after it was discovered he had covered for a sexually molesting priest, resulting in a $660-million payout to victims, the largest in Church history.

Quoting ex-gay Catholic activist Joseph Sciambra, Whitcraft notes that “the ‘mere presence’ of these speakers at an official congress of the archdiocese ‘imparts on them a certain imprimatur.’”

“The confusion has persisted long enough. It must stop now,” wrote Whitcraft. “While many thought that the problematic elements in the REC were due to Cardinal Mahony alone, this has proven untrue. The abuses have continued during the reign of his successor, Archbishop José Gómez. There is no more room for wishfully thinking that these abuses will resolve themselves. It is time to take a stand.”