Wed Feb 7, 2001 - 12:15 pm EST

WASHINGTON, Feb 7, 2001 ( - Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, who dissents from church teaching on issues of homosexuality, and the ordination of women has caused at least two Catholic dioceses in the US to boycott the National Catholic Education Association convocation. The yearly NCEA event usually draws thousands of Catholic schoolteachers and religious educators from around the country for four days of workshops and general sessions. This year the dioceses of Peoria and Pittsburgh have opted out.

The Catholic News Service reports that in a memo sent to his staff last October, Father Kris Stubna, education secretary for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, stated that “several objectionable speakers” were slated for the NCEA convention, “most notably Sister Joan Chittister.” Acting with the approval of Bishop Donald D. Wuerl he sent a memo Nov. 22 to school and catechetical staff advising that diocesan staff would not attend.

Msgr. Steven Rohlfs, Peoria’s vicar general and chancellor wrote a similar memo to pastors, principals, directors of religious education and chaplains in the Peoria Diocese. “Unfortunately, this year we are not assured that authentic Catholic teaching will be presented throughout the programs of the convocation,” he wrote. “It is with great regret that Bishop Myers has decided that in light of the above concerns Catholic educators in the Diocese of Peoria will not be sponsored for their participation in the convocation this spring.”

The NCEA has been known to frequently present speakers with very liberal social and religious views to North American Catholic teachers attending its huge conferences. This current action against the conference by two dioceses may signal a new trend by U.S. bishops to finally rein in the NCEA excesses.

See the Catholic News Service coverage at:

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