This year’s SSPX West Coast Conference theme addressed the ideas of courtship and dating, and included addresses given by three priests of the Society of St. Pius X on that topic.
The conference had broad appeal to young adults and parents with young-adult children interested in gaining the correct disposition toward courtship and dating.
The event began at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club at 8:00 AM with a High Mass celebrated by Fr. Steven McDonald, who is currently the Second Assistant to the SSPX District Superior of the United States, and sung by the Our Lady of Fatima parish choir. After the Mass, the attendees enjoyed a cup of coffee and a chance to visit with each other while the staff and those organizing the event readied the former makeshift chapel into a conference hall. When all was ready, those present sat down and partook in a splendid breakfast.
Following the meal, the attendees gave their attention to Mr. Stephen Pearson, who commenced the conference proceedings. After some preliminary remarks on the topic of courtship and dating, Mr. Pearson introduced Fr. Patrick Crane, the Retreat Master at the Immaculate Conception Church and Academy in Post Falls, as the first speaker.
Fr. Crane’s presentation was largely dedicated to defining and illuminating the concept of chivalry, which is essential to the ideas of courtship, dating, and marriage and which is heavily distorted by the modern world to be an effeminate, snobbish, and unnecessary ideal. He showed that instead it is derived from Christian military tradition and that it guides men and women to better fortify themselves and each other. He showed that ultimately chivalry provides the world with an “armed force to defend unarmed truth.”
After Fr. Crane’s remarks, Mr. Pearson introduced the next speaker, Fr. Jonathan Loop, principal of the Immaculate Conception Church and Academy. In his talk, Fr. Loop addressed the important question of when to court. He began by briefly summarizing the goals of a good courtship, which must be kept in mind when studying this topic, before laying out certain financial, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual concerns to be considered before starting a courtship. He also showed that the question of when to court is not necessarily a question of age, but of maturity and feasibility.
After Fr. Loop’s talk, the attendees were invited to partake in the lunch buffet, take a breath of fresh air on the patio overlooking the golf course, or simply chat about the contents of the previous two presentations.
Following lunch, Mr. Pearson ascended the podium once more to introduce the last speaker, Fr. McDonald. Fr. McDonald’s talk ended the day with an analysis of the purpose of courtship. He showed that courtship is primarily a time for discernment with the ultimate end of better attaining God and eternal salvation and explained that this discernment is concerned with the question of whether or not the people courting each other are meant for each other by God. He showed that the courtship is a time for growth, virtue, sacrifice, and fidelity—a time for growth in knowledge of oneself, of the other, and of God.
Mr. Pearson followed these informative talks with concluding remarks on the symposium, and the conference officially closed at around 2:15 PM with a Rosary led by Fr. McDonald.
Special thanks to the speakers for dedicating their time and energy to this event. Also, thanks to the Columbia Edgewater Golf and Country Club for again hosting this event. Lastly, thanks to Fr. Loop and the Our Lady of Fatima Holy Name Society for coordinating the event.