The Catholic League recently learned of two anti-Catholic lectures that were scheduled at Pierce Community College in Los Angeles as part of the Encore/Oasis continuing education program. A lecture titled “The Sex Lives of the Popes” was scheduled for August 5, while “Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church” was to take place August 12. Both lectures were to be given by Charlotte Poe. Ms. Poe has no academic credentials and is described in the Pierce catalog as a “Freethinker,” a group hostile to religion in general and Catholicism in particular. Catholic League president William Donohue wrote to the sponsors of the Encore/Oasis program regarding these lectures. They were subsequently cancelled. Donohue spoke to the situation today:
“The first lecture is based on a book by Nigel Cawthorne who has been described as a journalist who appears to specialize in the sensational. The second lecture is based on a book by Emmett McLoughlin, a former Catholic priest who has made a name for himself denouncing the Catholic Church.
“Further, other lectures in the program are presented by qualified academics and do not attack other religions. Right below the two Catholic-themed lectures is listed ‘Introduction to Islam,’ taught by a professor of theology at Boston College.
“These lectures were as indefensible as one called ‘Sex Lives of Prominent Rabbis’ taught by someone with no academic credentials and who belonged to an anti-Semitic organization or one called ‘Crime and Immorality in Islam—from Muhammad to 9-11’ taught by someone with no academic credentials and who belonged to an anti-Muslim organization. The sponsors of the Encore/Oasis series realized this, apologized and cancelled the lectures. We appreciate the fact they acted quickly and responsibly. It should be noted the Catholic League never asked for the lectures to be cancelled.”