Cast of Characters at LA Catholic Education event

religion | Feb 26, 2009 | By Stephanie Block

The 2009 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Cardinal Roger Mahony, features a number of speakers Catholic and non-Catholic who have departed from Catholic teachings in a number of areas. Here follows a brief list with descriptions of some of the most prominent.

Dr. Thomas Beaudoin: Connected to the dissident movement Voice of the Faithful; at 2006 LA-Religious Education Congress, challenged Vatican Instruction that restricts homosexuals from the priesthood.

Fr. Patrick Brennan: Call to Action speaker; challenges Church on male-only priesthood, celibacy, and the “right” to dissent against Church doctrine.

Fr. Michael Crosby: Call to Action speaker; believes repressive Church teaching about sexual morality is responsible for its pedophile issues.

Fr. John Cusick: Co-host of Chicago ’s Theology on Tap; Young Adult Ministry at which he brings dissenting speakers (among them, Fr. Pat Brennan). Appointed by (then) Governor Rod Blagojevich to the Executive Ethics Commission of the State of Illinois .

Fr. Ken Deasy: Script advisor for the irreverent movie “Bruce Almighty”; author of Get Off the Cross: Someon e Else Needs the Wood; publicly questions Church positions on celibacy, same-sex marriage, and divorce.

Msgr. Ray East: Pax Christi award recipient – Pax Christi is a Call to Action COR group

Sr. Fran Ferder: Call to Action speaker; - claims that “rigid orthodoxy” has facilitated the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse; - Teaches that the homosexual life style is not a deviance, but a healthy alternative lifestyle. - Co-director of TARA: Therapy and Renewal A ssociates. - Co-author Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality, which says: “Whether we are married or single, young or old, divorced or remarried, male or female, gay or straight, celibate by choice or by circumstance, each of us is called to make the long and arduous journey of claiming our sexuality with reverence and integrating it with responsibility.”

“Spirituality without sexuality is a phantom.” - Co-authored Partnership: Men & Women in Ministry that says: “The mobilizing metaphor of this council document (Lumen Gentium, specifically its description of the Church as ‘The People of God’) remains the image of the church as a community of faith in history. The result has been a revolution in Catholic consciousness that is stronger than our words and deeper than our symbols. It is a shift from understanding the church primarily as the hierarchical institution to experiencing it as a community of disciples. It is a way of recognizing the primordial dignity of baptism as the basis for all mission and ministry.” However, in fact, Lumen Gentium stresses in chapter 3 that the Church is hierarchical.

Sr. Barbara Fiand: Theologian teaching that women should be priests; wants a “faith relevant for these arid times” based on “contemporary experience lest our precious story wither”

Fr. Richard Fragomeni: In a 1998 talk, “The Holy Spirit Who Speaks Through the Prophets,” acknowledged the apostolic tradition but says today the Spirit speaks “in the charismatic community of the baptized” and “in the mouths of the marginalized: in women’s communities, in liberation communities, in advocacy communities for those who speak out for the unborn and for those on death row, those who speak for freedom and liberation and away from the oppression caused by gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or age.”

He referred to the Spirit as “She.” In an accompanying interview, he explained the pronouns “he” and “she,” he said, “do not capture the fullness of the person of the Spirit, who is neither male nor female. In a theological discourse like this I wanted to draw attention to that. I would be just as wrong to call the Spirit he or she. And I didn’t want to call the Spirit ‘it’ because the Spirit is a person. So I deferred to the female pronoun because for so long we have deferred to the male pronoun, and I just wanted to shatter people’s imagination.”

Dr. Greer Gordon: Challenges Church teaching about homosexuality, celibacy, and the priesthood;

Thomas Groome: Call to Action – and related Voice of the Faithful – speaker; challenges Church authority, male-only priesthood, masculine pronouns for God (including Jesus)

David Haas: Contemporary Church music composer who published Dear Sister God, and presented a music workshop at which he and his ex-wife, composer Jeanne Cotter, informed the participants of their “duty” and “responsibility” to purge their parishes of “exclusive language” in the liturgy.

Marty Haugen: A Protestant contemporary church music composer whose music is popular in Catholic liturgies

Fr. John Heagle: Works with Sr. Fran Ferder. Teaches that the homosexual life style is not a deviance, but a healthy alternative lifestyle. - Co-director of TARA: Therapy and Renewal Associates. - Co-author Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality, which says: “Whether we are married or single, young or old, divorced or remarried, male or female, gay or straight, celibate by choice or by circumstance, each of us is called to make the long and arduous journey of claiming our sexuality with reverence and integrating it with responsibility.”

“Spirituality without sexuality is a phantom.”- Co-authored National Catholic Reporter article (5/12/02) in which he states “Central to a more inclusive, open system, is, of course, the need to welcome sacramental ministers from all li festyles and both genders.”  Co-authored Partnership: Men & Women in Ministry that says: “The mobilizing metaphor of this council document (Lumen Gentium, specifically its description of the Church as ‘The People of God’) remains the image of the church as a community of faith in history. The result has been a revolution in Catholic consciousness that is stronger than our words and deeper than our symbols. It is a shift from understanding the church primarily as the hierarchical institution to experiencing it as a community of disciples. It is a way of recognizing the primordial dignity of baptism as the basis for all mission and ministry.” However, in fact, Lumen Gentium stresses in chapter 3 that the Church is hierarchical.

Fr. Brian Massingale: Opposed a 2006 Marriage Protection Act that would have banned homosexual unions

Dr. Megan McKenna Call to Action and Pax Christi speaker – Pax Christi is a Call to Action COR group; challenges supernatural interpretation of scripture; belittles importance of Church teaching on sexuality, marriage, and issues related to gender and abortion by arguing “in the light of the plight of the world, or the teachings of Jesus in the Scriptures, [these are] not the issues that we will be judged on if we are Catholics/Christians.”

Fr. Chris Ponnet: Pax Christi speaker and Co-Chair Pax Christi USA, Los Angeles Chapter – Pax Christi is a Call to Action COR group

Sr. Barbara Reid: Feminist – gave a 2005 “sermon” on Church unity, concluding “we have seen God: in the beauty and pain of her cosmos….in the power of her Word, proclaimed by her preachers. For the Risen One is with us and in us, drawing us all into ONE."

Stephanie Block is the editor of Los Pequenos - a New Mexico-based publication. Her columns are made possible by the sponsorship of generous individuals who believe information about the development and dissemination of progressive ideology needs to be more widely understood. Please fell free to share -- acknowledging authorship -- these articles with others. If you would like more frequent publication of Stephanie Block's work, tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Catholic Media Coalition - PO Box 427 Great Cacapon, WV 25422 Attn: Progressive Watch

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