I attended the Catholic Identity Conference put on by the folks at the Remnant and the Catholic Family News. It appears to be attended mostly by traditionalists and folks who have a lot of problems with Vatican II. When I talked with several attendees however they all stressed that they were and wanted to be in full communion with Rome. Being in communion with Rome, however, does not require suspension of the obligation to criticize the magisterium on matters that are not settled doctrine.
I found the speakers, on the whole to be quite impressive, knowledgeable, sane, and interesting. One presentation, by a lade whose name I forget, however on the unwholesome influence of George Soros on Vatican immigration and “population” policies tended to be a bit shrill and paranoid. A talk by self-described Catholic apologist Raymond De Souza was big on phrases that told us what we wanted to hear and short on substantive argument. he other hand On tDe Souza cautioned us against ambiguity in doctrine and criticized the present Pontificate as the “pontificate of ambiguity”. He decried the culture of relativism we all live in these days. He had a good reply to Catholic optimists who constantly say “Well didn’t Christ say that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church?” Yes Christ did say that but he said nothing about the USA! Jonathan Vennari of Catholic Family News talked about “Our lady of Good Success” apparition in 1635 in South America to Mother Marianna. Mary gave Mother Marianna some prophecies about the modern era which have turned out to be true. Vennari described the intellectual trajectory of modern philosophy and theology as a decline in the idea of objective unchangeable truth and an acceptance of the idea of the “evolution of doctrine”. he claims that the New theology that informed Vat II was infected with this evolution of truth doctrine, an emphasis on subjectivity as new criterion of truth and a loss of the idea of the supernatural. He pointed to a speech by Paul VI at the end of the council where the Pope said that the church should be a servant of humanity. Pope Francis quoted that line approvingly but as Vennari points out that the Church must lead and instruct humanity if it is to truly serve humanity. Christopher Ferara’s talk was the best of the conference. It recounted reasons for hope for a revival of a true catholic ethos and culture in the USA. he pointed out that counter-revolutions have succeeded in the past such as the Bourbon restoration in France. It ultimately failed because the bourbon kings tried hard to accommodate the demands of the radicals and revolutionaries which are of course infinite. Ferara also pointed to the recent case of Hungary where the parliament just 5 or so years ago wrote and approved a brand new constitution which explicitly affirms the country’s Christian heritage and nature. It also affirmed dignity of life from conception to natural death. Under its prime minister Victor Orban Hungary has resisted importation of millions of muslims into its country, reaffirmed marriage as between one man and one woman and ensured parental rights to education of their children. In his talk, Father Putujulani of the priestly fraternity of St Peter provided a profound analysis of Luther’s theology of salvation. He said that Luther mistakenly argued that Christ does not free man from sin and instead argued that Christ saves us from the imputation of punishment due to sin. Therefore Christ does not restore human nature to its pre Edenic state. Instead Christ just provides a cloak to hide man’s sin from God’s wrath. Man is still inherently degraded in Luther’s doctrine. Grace is just a covering–not an elevation of our nature for Luther and protestantism. Fr Putujuliani also went onto to argue invoking Quas Primas and doctrines of many councils and Popes for the social Kingship of Christ where the Church is in a position in any given society to teach and instruct. The Church cannot be considered one among many religions. it must be empowered to each and instruct as that is the order Christ gave us “Go and teach the nations…”