Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP, Speaks at the Catholic Identity Conference in Weirton, WV, Sept 28-30, 2012

Catholic Identity 2012 Panel
Catholic Identity 2012 Panel

A wide variety of Catholic faithful gathered together in Weirton, WV, for the 2012 Catholic Identity Conference from September 28-30, 2012, including our own Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP. Saturday began with Fr. Pendergraft offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.

Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Saturday, offered by Father Pendergraft, FSSP
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Saturday, offered by Father Pendergraft, FSSP

Later in the morning, Mr. Michael Matt began the conference with “Faith, Family, and Freedom;” a talk on the threats to the Catholic Faith in the modern secular world. He spoke of the advances of the Traditional Latin Mass throughout the world and the growing anti-Christian voices attempting to silence Our Lord in this world.

Mr. John Vennari spoke on the six components of Liberal Catholicism as outlined by Msgr. Fenton in 1958, who explained the aims of liberalism well before the Second Vatican Council was called. It was Msgr. Fenton’s contention that liberalism in the Church has become so widespread that it is pervasive and almost invisible. Mr. Vennari stated that Msgr. Fenton’s prophetic warning about liberalism in the Church was necessary because Blessed Pius IX had warned that such liberalism would lead to the ruin of religion and prevent us from meriting the blessings of God. Mr. Vennari also spoke on the Church’s relationship to Judaism and the practical problems that can occur with interfaith dialogue.

John Vennari Speaking on Fr. Fenton's Six Components to Liberalism
John Vennari Speaking on Msgr. Fenton’s Six Components to Liberalism

Mr. Christopher Ferrara’s talk was entitled “Flatland,” and spoke of the modern nation-state that sees human beings only as voters and workers or consumers, and ignores the primary focus of the moral life, which is intrinsic to man. Mr. Ferrara explained this two-dimensional approach ends up in the atomization of society, wherein the citizen ultimately answers only to the state and leaves behind the rich social complexity that was Christendom. Mr. Ferrara explained that we have the key to free ourselves from this hideous flatland, if only we would use it.

Dr. John Rao next discussed precedents in history when there was great crisis in the Church, where there would be a small group of Catholics relatively unknown, perhaps even to each other, who would be the beginning of a great restoration. During such periods, there is often confusion between what is genuine Tradition, and what has become mere (and perhaps corrupt) custom that is mistaken for Tradition. When those fighting to restore genuine Tradition begin to make their presence felt, they are often resisted by those who have become attached to mere custom.

Mr. James Vogel concluded the afternoon presentations with an overview of the life of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the history of the Society of Saint Pius X through the present time, including what role the SSPX serves in the Church today.

James Vogel Speaking on Archbishop Lefebvre
James Vogel Speaking on Archbishop Lefebvre

The conference ended with dinner on Saturday evening, whereafter which our Fr. Pendergraft gave a presentation that called for an ever-increasing fidelity to the Faith and an increase of prayer and sacrifice. His talk centered around Blessed Jacinta of Fatima as an example of heroic sacrifice.

Participants completed their weekend on Sunday morning with a Missa Cantata, once again offered by Fr. Pendergraft, at Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church, in Weirton. Father Pendergraft’s and the other participants’ talks can be purchased from Catholic Identity 2012, on CD.

Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday, with Father Pendergraft FSSP
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday, offering by Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP

November 1, 2012