NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - At an upcoming conference, Catholic thinkers will ask if the American experiment has failed.
The 2018 Catholic Classical Studies Conference is scheduled for Saturday, May 12 at the King's College in New York City. The conference's theme is "Dreaming Up a New America: The Decline and Fall of the American Republic?"
Church Militant reached out to an organizer of the conference, Lovina Ikenga. She heads a Catholic homeschooling co-op in New York. She emphasized the importance of classical education, saying, "Studying the great authors of antiquity really helps to make one understand that there is nothing new under the sun."
Ikenga added, "St. Augustine exhorted us, "Tolle et lege!" [Latin for "Take and read!"] My hope is that this annual conference will have people doing just that."
She mentioned her own background in the classics and claimed that studying Roman history had sent her down the path that led her to enter the Catholic Church in 2015.
Asked about the target demographic for the conference, Ikenga explained, "The target audience is primarily practicing Catholics ages 18+. But we also don't want to preach to the choir! So for this year's event, we've also targeted, within the tri-state area, politically conservative and 'religiously inclined' people."
Church Militant asked if she could name a few examples of the kinds of problems afflicting the United States today. She said, "The privatization of Christianity and leftist education are each within their own right the sine qua non for the breakdown of the state. They are the fuel and oxygen for the flames that seek to completely destroy our civilization."
She also wrote, "I want to add that the leftist education that has infiltrated our civilization (if we can still call it that!) is producing generations of culturally illiterate people. But most profoundly, it is the denial of the Church and her teachings that has created the cultural and even functional illiteracy within America."
The conference's keynote speaker will be Dr. Paul Kengor from Grove City College, a private liberal arts college located in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Church Militant reached out to Kengor for comment. He wrote:
My keynote address is based on my book, Dupes. That book was originally released in 2010 but just this week was re-issued in paperback for a revised/second edition. The book focuses on how the far Left — namely, Communists, Marxists, cultural Marxists, radical socialists — have long successfully sought to exploit the softer Left, i.e. non-Communist liberals. At first blush, that might strike people as a largely or solely political-ideological topic but unfortunately it isn't. The sad reality is that the extreme Left has very cynically misled, manipulated and duped many traditional Americans and Christians and Catholics over the last century. They've done this by shrewdly peddling slogans like "social justice," "tolerance," "equality," "diversity," while they engage in a fundamental transformation and redefinition of human nature, of everything from marriage and family to sexuality and gender.
Kengor continued, "Now, here's the good news: For the vast majority of the history of early Communism and the Cold War ... the institutional Catholic Church was courageous and brilliant and clearly Holy Spirit-led. I'll discuss this in my second presentation at the conference, which is titled 'How the Catholic Church Confronted and Defeated Communism and Socialism.'"
He went on to clarify, "And at the same time, this didn't mean and still doesn't mean that there haven't been some or many Catholic laymen and laywomen and Church officials who weren't duped and don't continue to be duped by the far Left."
Kengor noted, "The smoke of Satan has clearly affected certain elements of the Church. That's undeniable."
"Still today," Kengor said in an email on Thursday, "the far Left continues to dupe trusting Christians who don't know when and how they're being targeted. We must be gentle as doves but wise as serpents."
A promotional video for the conference posits the question, "So we may not have had much of a say in founding America but could it be up to Catholics to save her?"
The video continues, "After 240 years, it should be clear to the most casual observer that this country is in deep — trouble."
The narrator also asks, "Do we have an obligation to salvage the Republic or should we just 'start over?'"