Year after year the Religious Education Conference (REC) in Los Angeles produces a new raft of horror stories: accounts about speakers who gleefully dismiss the established teachings of the Church, cheered on by an audience composed largely of people who are paid, by one American diocese or another, to instruct young people in the Catholic faith. Why does Archbishop Gomez tolerate this festival of dissent? I don’t know.

This year, Joseph Sciambra reports, a priest who works in the Los Angeles archdiocese exhorted parochial-school teachers to “affirm” 2nd and 3rd-graders who announce that they are exploring a different gender identity or sexual preference. To encourage little children in that direction strikes me as a form of child abuse. In fact the word “millstone” pops into my mind. Still that advice was not the most shocking statement that Father Chris Ponnet made.

According to Sciambra’s report, Father Ponnet said:

I assume when I walk into a Catholic mass at a Catholic school, that 40% if not more are non-Catholics….So I try to figure out how to say a Catholic mass without the word Jesus. It’s an interesting approach. Most of my Catholic friends begin to wonder whether I’m Catholic.

A priest who can celebrate Mass without mentioning the name of Jesus (and isn’t it interesting that he speaks of the “word,” Jesus?) clearly is not intent on the re-presentation of Christ’s Sacrifice. How can he act in persona Christi if he sees the Lord as an unwelcome guest at the event? This priest, by his own words, raises questions about whether he actually intends to perform the Eucharistic Sacrifice—thus, whether he is celebrating a valid Mass.

Full story at Catholic Culture.