By Hilary White

Los Angeles Religious Education CongressLOS ANGELES, February 27, 2007 ( – March 1-4, the Los Angeles Catholic archdiocese is hosting its annual Religious Education Congress, the largest such event in the US and one that has for years drawn criticism from Catholics around the world.

Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the weekend Congress is regularly picketed by Catholics concerned that the Congress draws heavily for speakers from the ranks of well-known dissenters from Catholic teaching, especially on matters of sexual morality.

As many as 10,000 young people are expected to attend this year’s Congress. In 2006, the Congress drew 41,000 participants, including thousands of parish and school religious education teachers.

This year, as in years past, the group, Concerned Roman Catholics of America (CRCOA), is organizing a picket at which they plan to hand out leaflets giving information on the featured speakers and their opposition to Catholic teaching on such subjects as abortion, natural marriage and sexual purity.

Given the ongoing crisis in the Catholic Church over the abuse of minors by homosexual clerics, CRCOA is especially critical of the open support for homosexuality by many of the speakers. This issue is especially acute in the Los Angeles archdiocese that has thus far agreed to pay out $60 million to settle 45 lawsuits and still faces over 450 pending cases.

The speakers this year include Father Richard Rohr, a promoter of the occult “Enneagram” practice and “eco-spirituality”. Rohr is the founder and former director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico which holds “wild man initiation rituals” for men. At the all-male retreats, he says, men remove clothing and touch each other in “wounded areas.” Rohr was a featured speaker at the March, 1997, New Ways Ministry Symposium, a pro-homosexual activist group specifically banned by the Vatican.

Other Congress speakers in the same vein will include keynote speaker Father Brian Massingale, an associate professor of moral theology at Marquette University, who opposed a 2006 Marriage Protection Act that proposed to ban homosexual unions. He said, “voting ‘no’ on the marriage amendment, in my judgment, is the best way to respect all of our Catholic beliefs and values.” In 2004, Fr. Massingale told fellow priests the “new Church” will be “more sensuous and feminine.”

Edwina Gately, an author and a prominent supporter of women’s ordination will also speak. At the 1993 conference of the radical and excommunicated group Call to Action, Gately donned clerical vestments and staged a mock celebration of the Mass.

The protesters plan to be present at the Anaheim Convention Center Saturday, March 3, from 9:00 AM to around 6:00 PM.

For more information on the Anaheim CRCOA picket:

Read related coverage:
Cardinal Mahony’s Cathedral Guards Remove and Threaten Pro-life Youth During Honours for Pro-abort Mayor

Los Angeles Diocese Covered Up Sex Abuse by Priests for Decades Files Reveal