Overhyped ‘Declaration of Resistance’ issued…
A Case of Mistaken Identity: Semi-Trad Conference tries to be Catholic in Opposition to the ‘Pope’
Eric Frankovitch, John-Henry Westen, and Michael Matt during a press conference Oct. 1, 2022
This past weekend, from Sep. 30 to Oct. 2, 2022, American recognize-and-resist traditionalists held an event called the “Catholic Identity Conference” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (official web site).
Not unexpectedly, it was very well attended, being one of the few ways every year the semi-traditionalist crowd can gather together to reassure each other that they’re on the right track, regardless of what the “Pope” says — or the sedevacantists.
Its line-up of speakers included familiar semi-trad personalities such as Michael J. Matt of The Remnant, who also served as master of ceremonies for the symposium; John-Henry Westen of Life Site; historian and academic John Rao; and attorney and commentator Christopher Ferrara, among others.
In addition to four traditionalist priests (one independent, one of the FSSP, one of the IBP, and of the SSPX), the speakers also included the famous Kazakh auxiliary ‘Bp.’ Athanasius Schneider; the ever-elusive ‘Abp.’ Carlo Maria Viganò, retired Vatican nuncio to the United States (via Zoom); as well as the Maronite chorbishop Anthony Spinosa, who is rector at a basilica and shrine in Ohio.
The theme of the conference was: “Traditionis Custodes & the Great Reset: Where do we go from here?”. The event had been heavily promoted by The Remnant:
The busy schedule posted at the official conference web site included sundry talks with somewhat provocative titles, including: “Empty Graves: Francis’s Missionary Genocide”; “All Hands on Deck: Francis’ War on God and History”; “Vatican Disappearing Act: Is the Pope Pro-Life?”; and “Pope of Surprises: Chaplain to the New World Order.”
One of the conference highlights was the live interview with ‘Abp.’ Carlo Maria Viganò, who participated via video conference from an undisclosed location:
- Transcript: Michael Matt Interviews Archbishop Vigano LIVE at the Catholic Identity Conference (The Remnant)
Roughly a week ahead of the Catholic Identity Conference, on Sep. 22, the organizers had published a news release announcing that a press conference would be held during the event to issue a formal “Declaration of Filial Resistance” against the agenda of “Pope” Francis (Jorge Bergoglio). The press release stated:
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – At 4:30PM on Saturday, October 1, a press conference will take place at the Catholic Identity Conference (CIC) in the Grand Ballroom of the Doubletree By Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Greentree (500 Mansfield Ave).
Three prominent lay Catholic spokesmen will present articles of charitable resistance against the Vatican and the Pontificate of Pope Francis.
There will be three 5-minute interventions, each covering a different and separate aspect of formal resistance on behalf of practicing American Catholics.
Intervention 1) Resistance to Pope Francis’s recent violation of natural justice (Traditionis Custodes), which constitutes religious discrimination against practicing Catholics.
Intervention 2) Resistance based on Francis’s undermining of the Church’s established moral theology on contraception and divorce (Amoris Laetitia).
Intervention 3) Resistance based on the Vatican endorsement of the World Economic Forum agenda, including climate change hysteria (as laid out in Laudato Si) as well as the worldwide lockdown (including of churches), all of which constitute crimes against God and humanity.
After the interventions, there will be a 30-minute session in which presenters will take questions from members of the press.
(Source; formatting given.)
Furthermore, the press release listed contact information for one Tess Mullins as the media liaison for the event.
The “[t]hree prominent lay Catholic spokesmen” turned out to be Eric Frankovitch, organizer of the conference, John-Henry Westen, and Michael Matt. Although the latter two will be familiar to those who frequent semi-trad and similar web sites, Mr. Frankovitch, who is an attorney in West Virginia, is largely unknown.
A full video of the one-hour press conference has been released by The Remnant:
The full text of the press conference, albeit without the questions and answers at the end, has also been published:
- “Press Conference Issues Declaration of Filial Resistance to Globalist Agenda of Pope Francis” (The Remnant)
In his prefatory remarks at the press conference, Matt underscores that “we present our articles of resistance as lay Catholics who have no intention of leaving the Church but who feel obligated in conscience and before God to raise these objections for the good of our Church in crisis.”
Never mind that on his web site, The Remnant, he has repeatedly published articles that say things like these:
The Novus Ordo regime—what I have been calling Newchurch—left the company of the Catholic Church the moment Traditionis Custodes went into effect. Newchurch removed itself from the protective canopy of the Mass and installed itself as a separate, false church in opposition to the Bride of Christ. …Newchurch has nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Newchurch’s prayers are now insults to the Living God.
(Jason Morgan, “Say Your Prayers, Francis Church!”, The Remnant, Apr. 12, 2022)
These lines were penned by Remnant contributor Jason Morgan, who, interestingly enough, was also one of the speakers at the Catholic Identity Conference this year — go figure!
When Michael Matt, then, says he has no intention of leaving “our Church in crisis”, one must ask what church he is talking about — the Catholic Church or “Newchurch”? Given how Morgan describes Newchurch, it sounds like the church Matt is a part of and refuses to leave is Newchurch. That, at least, is the church he is resisting so eagerly. Perhaps he and Mr. Morgan should first have a chat about what ecclesiology they believe in. It’s obviously not the traditional Catholic ecclesiology from before Vatican II.
Further in his remarks, Matt recycled some of the “golden oldies” of recognize-and-resist traditionalism, including the “St. Paul resisted St. Peter to his face” argument, the famous St. Robert Bellarmine “it is licit to resist” quote, and the false “abusive father” analogy. Interested readers can find all three of these refuted here:
- The ‘St. Paul resisted St. Peter to his Face’ Objection
- St. Robert Bellarmine’s Teaching on Resisting a Pope
- The Errors of Athanasius Schneider (see point II.6 regarding the “bad dad” argument)
The first intervention given at the resistance press conference was that of Eric Frankovitch. His topic was the Traditional Latin Mass and Francis’ 2021 decree Traditionis Custodes.
In an effort to refute Francis’ premise that adherents of the Traditional Mass in the Vatican II Church aren’t sufficiently accepting of the Second Vatican Council and the “New Mass”, Frankovitch argued:
…we invite the press to take note of the fact that the vast majority of so-called “Traditional Catholics” today attend Latin Masses celebrated by diocesan Catholic priests who also offer the New Mass. Therefore, far from disrupting unity within the Church, a substantial majority of Traditional Catholics—in cooperation with their diocesan pastors and under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum—provide one of the most unique examples of unity, mutual liturgical enrichment, and bridge-building in the Catholic Church today.
Apparently, then, the Catholic Identity Conference endorses “bridge-building” with nefarious Newchurch — that “separate, false church in opposition to the Bride of Christ” — and its liturgical horror show, the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI, if that’s what it takes for them to be allowed to have their Traditional Mass. In recognize-and-resist traditionalism, one just never knows what is to be recognized and what resisted.
In any case, Frankovitch concluded his brief address by stating:
We believe that Pope Francis’s prejudicial bias against the rightful liturgical aspirations of Traditional Catholics constitutes a violation of natural justice that rises to the level of religious discrimination against Traditional Catholics.
We loyal sons and daughters of the Church nevertheless pray for Pope Francis by name at every Traditional Latin Mass without fail, even though we feel dutybound in conscience to publicly resist his unjust actions against the Traditional Latin Mass specifically and against Catholic Tradition in general.
Precisely what that resistance will look like, however, he did not say.
The second intervention came from John-Henry Westen. He presented a laundry list of egregious Francis scandals, beginning with the night of his election on Mar. 13, 2013. At one point he made reference to “the heretic Cardinal Walter Kasper” — something to keep in mind for next time you find semi-trads arguing that no one is a heretic, or can be known to be a heretic, until there is a trial and/or a church declaration.
Westen’s conclusion was: “Shall we not join with these heroic bishops and the many learned priests, religious and laity who have begun to resist Pope Francis? If we care about the faith, about our children, and about Francis’s own soul, we must.”
Although there are indeed a few Novus Ordo bishops who have opposed Bergoglio in some manner, or have been criticized by him for trying to exercise their ministry in a fashion resembling Catholicism, let’s make sure we don’t get the wrong impression of the facts. Compared to the total of 5,612 living bishops in the Vatican II Church (incl. the Eastern rites) at this time, almost nobody publicly takes the recognize-and-resisters’ side. Westen himself references only eight in total, and that’s being generous: “Cardinals” Raymond Burke, Robert Sarah, and Gerhard Ludwig Müller; as well as “Bishops” Salvatore Cordileone, Joseph Strickland, Athanasius Schneider, and Henry Gracida.
Even if, for the sake of argument, we were to consider all of these to be ultra-orthodox opponents of Francis; and even if, likewise for the sake of argument, we were to double their number to ensure we are not forgetting any other “good guys”; then we would still end up with a total of only 16 such resister bishops, which amounts to 0.29% of the world’s episcopate.
Why is this important? It is important for the sake of maintaining a proper perspective for evaluating how seriously to take this resistance movement. Sometimes we will hear semi-trads on social media or such web sites as One Peter Five, The Remnant, or Crisis Magazine talk about how Francis would have to be condemned or deposed by an imperfect council — as if there were even the remotest chance of such a thing happening, considering how few bishops, when compared to the world’s total, actually side with them to begin with.
And as for those “many learned priests, religious and laity” Westen references — yes, there are some, and they may be a significant number if viewed only from within the recognize-and-resist bubble. But here, too, the number is infinitesimal in relation to the entirety of the Novus Ordo hierarchy.
The third intervention was given by Michael Matt. His topic was Francis’ enthusiastic cooperation with the globalists — names such as Jeffrey Sachs, Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, and George Soros — and their nefarious, anti-Catholic programs. In addition, Matt also criticized some of Bergoglio’s heresies and doctrinal errors.
Towards the end of his brief talk, Matt stated that “we have no choice but to remain faithful to the traditional teaching of the Church as reiterated by the constant teaching authority of the magisterium.” Apparently, though, for Matt that “traditional teaching of the Church as reiterated by the constant teaching authority of the magisterium” somehow doesn’t include the Catholic teaching on the Papacy, which clearly rules out both the possibility as well as the necessity of a recognize-but-resist position with respect to the Pope and the lawful Catholic hierarchy in communion with him:
To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor. In this subordination and dependence lie the order and life of the Church; in it is to be found the indispensable condition of well-being and good government. On the contrary, if it should happen that those who have no right to do so should attribute authority to themselves, if they presume to become judges and teachers, if inferiors in the government of the universal Church attempt or try to exert an influence different from that of the supreme authority, there follows a reversal of the true order, many minds are thrown into confusion, and souls leave the right path.
And to fail in this most holy duty it is not necessary to perform an action in open opposition whether to the Bishops or to the Head of the Church; it is enough for this opposition to be operating indirectly, all the more dangerous because it is the more hidden. Thus, a soul fails in this sacred duty when, at the same time that a jealous zeal for the power and the prerogatives of the Sovereign Pontiff is displayed, the Bishops united to him are not given their due respect, or sufficient account is not taken of their authority, or their actions and intentions are interpreted in a captious manner, without waiting for the judgment of the Apostolic See.
(Pope Leo XIII, Letter Epistola Tua to the Archbishop of Paris, 1885)
Matt concluded his intervention as follows: “We beg the Holy Father to listen to the cries of his scattered sheep and become shepherd to them once again.” Ah, but he is being a shepherd of sorts, they’re just refusing to follow him because they know where he is leading them: to hell.
That consideration alone should suffice to make them realize that he cannot possibly be a valid occupant of that office which was established by our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls, such that, although not every papal utterance is of course infallible, nonetheless every official papal teaching is guaranteed to be safe for Catholics to follow. Hence Pope Pius XI taught that “a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord” (Encyclical Casti Connubii, n. 104).
Matt’s final statement was: “But until that happens, we, his most loyal subjects, have no alternative but to resist him to the face for the sake the Church and the salvation of the souls, including that of Pope Francis himself.”
To be clear: Of course it is right to oppose the evil teachings, laws, and policies of Jorge Bergoglio. However, it is wrong to do so while insisting that he is the Pope of the Catholic Church because such an idea is extremely harmful to Catholic doctrine, and it also undermines the credibility of Catholicism. The Papacy is not just a label — it is a divinely-established office of universal monarchical spiritual power over all Catholics, and this has real consequences for the Church and for souls. It does untold damage to the Faith and to souls to bend and twist the Catholic teaching on the Papacy until Bergoglio can be made to fit into it. It is also terribly inconsistent and self-defeating, for one cannot change (or “rethink”) the Papacy and at the same time uphold and defend the traditional Catholic Faith. It is as impossible as trying to borrow one’s way out of debt.
There can be no Catholic identity against the Pope. That is because the ultimate criterion determining one’s Catholic identity is communion with the Supreme Pontiff:
For any man to be able to prove his Catholic faith and affirm that he is truly a Catholic, he must be able to convince the Apostolic See of this. For this See is predominant and with it the faithful of the whole Church should agree. And the man who abandons the See of Peter can only be falsely confident that he is in the Church. As a result, that man is already a schismatic and a sinner who establishes a see in opposition to the unique See of the blessed Peter from which the rights of sacred communion derive for all men.
This fact was well known to the illustrious bishops of the Eastern Churches. Hence at the Council of Constantinople held in the year 536, Mennas the bishop of that city affirmed openly with the approval of the fathers, “We follow and obey the Apostolic See, as Your Charity realizes and we consider those in communion with it to be in communion with us, and we too condemn the men condemned by it.” Even more clearly and emphatically St. Maximus, abbot of Chrysopolis, and a confessor of the faith, in refer ring to Pyrrhus the Monothelite, declared: “If he wants neither to be nor to be called a heretic, he toes not need to satisfy random individuals of his orthodoxy, for this is excessive and unreasonable. But just as all men have been scandalized at him since the chief man was scandalized, so also when that one has been satisfied, all men will doubtless be satisfied. He should hasten to satisfy the Roman See before all others. For when this See has been satisfied, all men everywhere will join in declaring him pious and orthodox. For that man wastes his words who thinks that men like me must be persuaded and beguiled when he has not yet satisfied and beseeched the blessed Pope of the holy Roman Church. From the incarnate word of God Himself as well as from the conclusions and sacred canons of all holy councils, the Apostolic See has been granted the command, authority and power of binding and loosing for all God’s holy churches in the entire world.” For this reason John, Bishop of Constantinople, solemnly declared — and the entire Eighth Ecumenical Council did so later — “that the names of those who were separated from communion with the Catholic Church, that is of those who did not agree in all matters with the Apostolic See, are not to be read out during the sacred mysteries.” This plainly meant that they did not recognize those men as true Catholics. All these traditions dictate that whoever the Roman Pontiff judges to be a schismatic for not expressly admitting and reverencing his power must stop calling himself Catholic.
(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quartus Supra, nn. 8-9; underlining added.)
Communion with the Roman Pontiff — insofar as there is one, of course — is what guarantees not only one’s orthodoxy but also one’s proper integration into the Mystical Body of Christ. That is the point of the Papacy.
The Catholic teaching on the Papacy is not merely a wishlist of things the Pope is supposed to do — it is a description of what the Pope, as Pope, actually does. When, therefore, in Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 4, the First Vatican Council proclaimed that “the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles”, it wasn’t drawing a red line for the Pope that he had better not cross; it was describing how the Holy Ghost assists the Roman Pontiff in guarding the Deposit of Faith and preventing him from teaching novelty.
The semi-traditionalists, because they want to squeeze Bergoglio into the papal office, are forced to water down the Papacy to such an extent that the office becomes practically meaningless, virtually indistinguishable from any other human institution. Wittingly or not, the recognize-and-resisters drag down the papal office to the status of a Protestant pastor, whose teachings and laws are sifted by each believer to ensure they are actually orthodox, correct, and salutary, lest one should be led astray by him and be ruined eternally. If that were how the Papacy worked, who would need it? To what end would Christ guarantee perpetual successors in the primacy if that’s all it meant?
Thus, for all their blustering about defending traditional Catholicism and not deviating from the Faith even one iota, the truth of the matter is that, regardless of their intentions, the recognize-and-resisters are actually betraying the Faith they mean to uphold. At the same time, by stubbornly clinging to the idea that Francis is a valid Pope, they are undercutting their whole program of resistance, because if the Catholic teaching about the Pope is true and Francis is one, then their resistance is not only pointless but also morally wrong and indeed an acute danger to their very salvation.
There is no escaping it: The semi-trads’ position is self-defeating, and that is a sure sign that it is wrong. Their symposium, therefore, may be able to accomplish a lot of things, but it certainly won’t do anything to establish, clarify, or defend the Catholic identity.
Nevertheless, the conservative Novus Ordo news and analysis site The Pillar decided to take the Catholic Identity Conference seriously and interviewed some of the organizations of the event, with interesting results. Challenged with some probing (but entirely reasonable) questions concerning their meeting, the organizers were quick to qualify and relativize the nature and objective of their much-touted resistance:
…[Eric] Frankovitch told The Pillar that while the conference takes issue with policies promulgated by Pope Francis, it does not intend to oppose the pope personally, or treat him with disrespect.
“We want to do this with respect and fraternity…we want to call attention to things that aren’t good for the Church. Not good for parishioners that attend [Traditional Latin] Masses, and not for the Church in general.”
“So it’s not intended to be as combative as it sounds … Is it opposition to some of the pope’s policies? I mean, absolutely, but not to him as a person,” Frankovitch, a West Virginia attorney, told The Pillar.
While the lawyer insisted that attendees at the Catholic Identity Conference are faithful Catholics, he conceded that the idea of “formal resistance” to the pope – as expressed by conference organizers in a press release – could seem to run counter to that idea.
“And that’s not the intention,” he said. “I mean, I didn’t write [the press release], but maybe it could have been worded better … Maybe it should have been some something like ‘opposition of the pope’s policies.’”
“That might have made it more clear,” he said
Asked about a section of the press release which accused the pope of endorsing “crimes against God and against humanity,” Frankovitch distanced himself, telling The Pillar, “I can’t speak to that. That’s not what I’ll be talking about.”
(“Papal ‘resistance’ not meant ‘to be a Protestant revolution,’ conference organizer claims”, The Pillar, Sep. 30, 2022)
Could it be that their heavily-promoted resistance is more bark than bite, after all?
Alas, asking the convention’s press liaison Tess Mullins didn’t help to clear up the confusion:
After the press conference was announced, organizers of the Catholic Identity Conference seemed to have made some effort to distance themselves from the “formal resistance” plan.
[Tess] Mullins told The Pillar that while the press conference would take place during the Catholic Identity Conference, appeared on the conference schedule, and had been announced on conference letterhead, it was not actually a part of the conference.
And while Mullins used a Catholic Identity Conference email address, offered to supply conference press credentials, and was identified to The Pillar by the Catholic Identity Conference as a conference spokesperson, she insisted that she was not formally affiliated with the conference, and neither was the “articles of resistance” press conference.
The press conference speakers would speak for themselves, Mullins insisted, and not on behalf of the Catholic Identity Conference.
Unfortunately, for copyright reasons we cannot quote The Pillar‘s article in full, but we highly recommend that everyone read the entire thing because it contains many more details and other amusing tidbits.
On the issue of whether they believe their “Pope” to be a Catholic or a heretic, Frankovitch was quick to emphasize just how middle-of-the-road the vast majority of resisters supposedly was:
The lawyer said that while some speakers at the Catholic Identity Conference have said Pope Francis is “not Catholic” or have accused the pope of heresy, “that’s not the attitude at all” in “most diocesan and traditional order parishes.”
“Certainly, most everybody’s more conservative than the pope, but everyone acknowledges he’s the pope. And they can disagree with him on certain of his policies — bringing in Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi — I mean we resist that. It’s not good stuff.”
“And you know, you can pick on either side. You can go to the other side, and the very liberal leftist, and, well, they say crazy things as well,” he said.
But those accusing the pope of heresy do not speak for most traditionalist Catholics, Frankovitch said — even if they do speak at the Catholic Identity Conference.
It’s good to know the semi-trads do not take the extremely silly position of us nutty sedevacantists, who think that the blasphemous sodomy-affirming apostate in the Vatican is not the Vicar of Christ on earth. How dare we?! No, at the extremely moderate Catholic Identity Conference, people don’t even believe Francis is a heretic, at least not most of them. Never mind that two of the featured speakers there — “Bp.” Athanasius Schneider and John-Henry Westen — are signatories to the Sep. 16, 2022, accusation of heresy against Francis. Oops!
Are you dizzy yet?
What doesn’t make things any easier for the resisters is that, although the conference was held in Pittsburgh, “Bishop” David Zubik — whom the semi-trads “recognize” as the both valid and licit local ordinary there — did not approve of the event:
…while the conference will take place within its territory, the Pittsburgh diocese said Wednesday it has nothing to do with the event.
“The Diocese of Pittsburgh is in no way affiliated with this event. The diocese does not support, endorse, or encourage people to attend this event,” diocesan spokesperson Jennifer Antkowiak told The Pillar.
(“Pittsburgh diocese: ‘Catholic Identity Conference’ not endorsed by Catholic bishop”, The Pillar, Sep. 28, 2022)
Yet, that would have been the proper way for the semi-trads to establish their supposed Catholic identity: demonstrate communion with the local bishop, who is himself in communion with the Bishop of Rome. That’s how it works in the Catholic Church, but clearly not in the Do-It-Yourself Church of resistance traditionalism. We call them semi-traditionalists for a reason.
It is true, of course, that the Catholic Identity Conference did have a few Novus Ordo bishops as featured speakers, but these do not have their own dioceses to govern even, much less are they the proper pastors for the diocese of Pittsburgh. Catholics do not have the option of scouring the globe and then picking out a bishop or two they personally happen to like or agree with and cling to them instead of the lawful authority in charge of their actual territory. But then, no doubt, that is simply one more thing the semi-trads simply “resist”. Unfortunately, though, such a convenient “resistance-on-demand” approach is not at all orthodox, for it makes each individual Catholic his own governing authority, the final arbiter of what is to be believed and done — including such crucial matters as what liturgical worship is pleasing to the Most Holy Trinity, where to find valid and licit sacraments, what saints are safe to venerate and imitate, and so forth.
While, then, within their own circles the Catholic Identity Conference with its episcopal participants, special press conference, and ‘Declaration of Resistance’ may look incredibly impressive, it will barely elicit a yawn from Francis. He simply doesn’t care about their “resistance”, because as long as they recognize him to be a valid Pope, they are no threat to him, because all the de facto power he wields stems from people’s belief that he is the Pope.
Francis is not the Pope, however. The apostate Bergoglio is simply guilty of spiritual identity theft; although he remains a great and acute danger to souls insofar as people mistakenly accept him as Pope because in any ecclesiastical battle, the Pope, being the Vicar of Christ and supreme shepherd of all Catholics, wins necessarily. That is how Jesus Christ set up the Church, with the Papacy as an absolute monarchy (although that term has to be understood in the proper sense).
The semi-trads find themselves in the absurd position of trying to maintain a Catholic identity by opposing the Pope — the man they think is the Pope and whose validity they apparently have no intention of calling into question — not merely as a private individual but precisely in his capacity of being the head of the Church, in the exercise of his office, specifically his magisterium, his laws, his liturgical discipline, and his ordering of the Church.
The fact that three relatively unknown laymen have now sat down together and held a press conference virtually no “Catholic” news outlet that doesn’t already agree with their position even bothers to cover — the only exception being The Pillar — in order to announce to the world that they vehemently disagree with Francis, is practically of no consequence. A lot of people who claim to be Catholic disagree with all sorts of things from the Novus Ordo Church, and it makes no difference to anything.
For more critical evaluation of this Catholic Identity Conference and the faulty theology behind it, please listen to our latest podcast, TRADCAST EXPRESS 162, which is devoted entirely to this topic (run time is 31 minutes):
The organizers and supporters of this event may make themselves believe that their symposium and their press conference with its resistance declaration have dealt a serious blow to the Vatican, but that is simply a pipe dream. We might say it is more akin to a little dachshund barking furiously at an elephant.
In the final analysis, the Catholic Identity Conference is little more than a pep rally for semi-trads. It is popular among their own because it allows people to meet, get to know, and listen to like-minded individuals providing mutual comfort and support in the battle. Again, one can sympathize on a human level, but theologically the whole thing is a dead end because it is an inherently self-contradictory endeavor: The Catholic identity ultimately comes from communion with the successor of St. Peter.
Theologically, it is evident that the semi-trads are a total mess. And how could it be otherwise, considering they are attempting to square the circle by having a non-Catholic Pope who must be resisted for one to maintain a genuine Catholic identity?
It would be mistaken, however, to think the Catholic Identity Conference was a total waste of time. In fact, there is one lesson to be learned from all the madness:
There can be no Catholic identity in communion with Jorge Bergoglio.
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