The Catholic Identity Conference in Weirton, WV

By Allan Gillis

What a wonderful experience for an old “rad-trad grump”!   I flew down to Pittsburgh Friday morning, picked up my rental car and drove southwest to the cozy little hamlet of Weirton, West Virginia.  There the folks at The Remnant Newspaper had assembled a great stable of Catholic writers and speakers.  The theme seemed essentially to be a look at Fatima, 100 years later…   in light of the current Church crisis.   Very, very interesting stuff!

I’m not going to write a play-by-play as I know I wouldn’t do justice to many of the speakers.  You can subscribe to (and I encourage you to!) the online recorded talks given. See their website:  www.remnantnewspaper.com

Let me just share briefly my impressions of some people and some ideas of mine as to the experience.

I met Michael Matt and he is a dynamo.   Clearly very passionate about his faith (our faith) and clearly a dedicated and loving dad.  Many of his brood were there in different roles i.e. greeting conferees, audio/visual technical help and various logistical tasks.  The kids in turn seemed to be surrounded by a friendly warren of same-aged kids helping out.  It was real nice seeing the younger folk taking part in this conference!  Let me be emphatic here; there were a good 20% of the attendees under the age of 40 years old!  It wasn’t just us old farts!

I made a point of meeting Chris Ferrara.  Gracious and witty!   Sharp tongue and pen!  A riot of a man.

John Rao …    a towering intellect and quite well-read.

Elizabeth Yore…  wielding a stinging pen and a rather humorous, righteous indignation.

It seems that this group meets yearly. But, it had an aura of “newness” about it.  I did take a random look online at several websites that reported on the same conference of years gone by and the accompanying photos showed far, far fewer people there in the past.  So, take my word for it – this thing is growing exponentially!

It felt so nice to be around a few hundred people that saw the world and the Church in a similar way as I do.  I fight a degree of skepticism as I grow older.  I feel sometimes frightened by the rapidity of decay in the culture.  Our civilization is on fire.  The Devil is waxing bold.  I worry about my children and grandchildren.  What will become of them?  Will they be able to build and hold onto a faith in Jesus Christ?  Will they cleave to truth?  …or slide under the mud of the mundane or slowly rot with the dis-believing soul-dead?  My task is to pray them into Heaven and set an example of holiness, honesty and self-sacrifice.   I found many, many others at this conference that have the exact same sense!  It felt nice.

There was a Extraordinary-Form Mass all three days (2 on Sunday!) just down the road in a BEAUTIFUL old Catholic church!  Delightful!  Bishop Athanasius Schneider celebrated Friday evening’s Mass in Steubenville (10-15 minutes west of Weirton) at St.Peter’s

Here are a few photos from St.Peter’s website in Steubenville (click to enlarge):

the gorgeous altar:

the incredible schola:

I salute the whole team at The Remnant and shall endeavor to wrestle out on my keyboard a few issues that I faced and ideas that I had at the conference.

One thing that really occurs to me is that we traditionalists must be scaring the shit out of some of these unbelieving bishops across Europe and these United States.  As Bishop Schneider said: “thank God for the internet”!  We’re successfully connecting with, communicating with and continually encouraging one another in the faith and ancient traditions of Holy Mother Church.  Modernism be damned!

Ave Maria, Ora Pro Nobis!

 

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