SOUTHERN SENTINEL

No. 3
November 2002
Regnavit a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X

J.M.J.
November 1, 2002
Feast of All Saints

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

I would like first of all to thank you for your generous response to last month’s letter, and for all the names of your departed friends and relatives. Today we placed them on the Seminary’s main altar, to remain for the entire month. These names and prayers are a great illustration of the admirable mystery of the Communion of the Saints.

SEMINARY NEWS

The main improvements going on in our buildings right now are in preparation for the Seminary. The large hitherto unused classrooms in library wing are being entirely refurbished, with new doors, dry wall, flooring, and paint, to be used by the seminarians. Also one of the two cottages on the Seminary property is being completely remodeled, to house suitably one of the teachers who will be moving here to teach the seminarians.

Meanwhile, I do have a couple of special requests for which I dare to ask help. One of our benefactors, an excellent seamstress, has agreed, free of charge, to make a gold Pontifical set of vestments for Solemn Pontifical ceremonies, in which five priests and deacons assist the bishop. The seminary does not have such a set of vestments. However, the materials would cost $7,000. For the moment the project is on hold, on account of the cost involved. However, if any benefactor(s) would be willing to help out on this particular project, then we would be able to go ahead. Secondly, the red carpet on the main altar is threadbare. I was hoping that someone might be able to tell me where we could purchase a suitable oriental rug for the altar at a reasonable price.

THE POPE’S DOCUMENT ON THE ROSARY

You will probably have heard of the October 16 Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II on the Rosary, and you may well have wondered if he has suddenly become the Marian Pope that some conservatives claim that he is. And if this is true, you will wonder how could this devotion of the Rosary possibly be compatible with Ecumenism, Religious Liberty, the universal redemption of mankind, and the push for one world religion, all of which ideas have made up the characteristic hallmark of his Papacy. Sadly to say this encyclical does not mark a turning point in this Papacy, and even worse yet, it is in the name of, and under the appearance of, promoting the Rosary, that the worst consequences of the post-conciliar revolution are effectively being implemented.   You might think that this is a rash statement, and that charity requires that we give the Pope the benefit of the doubt in such a matter. I maintain that there is no doubt, as you can see if you read the article on the subject on the Seminary website Naturalism and the Rosary - Impossible Bedfellows.

THE ROSARY IS NOW TO BE ECUMENICAL

Suffice it to say here that there is in this letter a manifest re-interpretation of the Rosary in a naturalist sense. "In effect", the Pope writes, "the Rosary is simply a method of contemplation" (28). As such, he explains, it is not essentially different from non-Christian methods of contemplation, which are likewise aimed "at attaining a high level of spiritual concentration by using techniques of a psychophysical, repetitive and symbolic nature." Consequently, he does not hesitate to state that "the Rosary is situated within this broad gamut of religious phenomena" (28).

This is an incredible betrayal of the truth: to consider that the supernatural prayer given by heaven and recommended so many times by the Blessed Mother and by the Church, is essentially no different than a natural method of centering attention, such as Yoga. Why have the Catholic Faith any more, a person could then ask. Why practice devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary if other "techniques" work just as well? Is it any wonder that John Paul II does not at all consider the Rosary as unecumenical, but much to the contrary declares that "If properly revitalized, the Rosary is an aid and certainly not a hindrance to ecumenism!" (4). Any good things that the Pope might otherwise say concerning the Rosary or the Blessed Virgin Mary are by such false assertions reduced to simple platitudes, to calm the Catholic faithful. They really do not mean anything.

If Mary is no longer the Mediatrix of all graces, if she henceforth is not to be honored as the Queen of heaven to whom everyone must submit, then devotion to her is but pious talk. If the Rosary is no longer to be the powerful weapon to conquer heresies and the Church’s enemies, then the beads are reduced to an empty symbol of some persons’ subjective pious feelings, or as John Paul II himself says: "the symbolism of the beads is to let them remind us of our many relationships, of the bond of communion and fraternity which unites us all to Christ" (36). This is all very human and nice, but it has nothing at all to do with the supernatural order of grace and with the mystery of our Redemption that the Rosary is all about.

Truly the Pope’s proposed revitalization of the Rosary is a denial of its supernatural power. All the changes that he recommends, including even in the Hail Mary itself (33) - by adding a phrase so as to make it more centered on Christ (and, it is understood, less on Our Lady) - have as their purpose to transform the Rosary into a purely natural "method". The terms Christocentric and Christological which are constantly employed throughout this letter are pseudonyms for naturalism. If he wanted to remain truly Catholic and supernatural he would not be afraid to be entirely focused on the Blessed Mother; he would not be scared of being thoroughly Marian; he would not be hesitant to belong completely to her. Then the Rosary, and his devotion to Our Lady, would most certainly hinder ecumenism.

THE NEW DECADES

However, the greatest shock to the Catholic soul in hearing about this letter is the widely publicized proposal of adding five new decades to the Rosary, the five "luminous moments" or "mysteries of light", as he calls them. What is wrong with the 15 mysteries of the Redemption? Are they not the essential expression not only of our Faith, but also of our Catholic life? How could some episodes from the Gospel, as instructive as they might be otherwise, take the place of the mysteries of our Redemption, upon the meditation of which the whole power of the Rosary rests? This is a denial of ecclesiastical tradition, again in favor of ecumenism with protestants. It is a watering down of the essence of the Rosary, as a meditation of the chief episodes in which Mary was the perfect associate of and cooperator with her Divine Son in the work of our Redemption. Are these not the mysteries that our souls need to be penetrated with in order to be able to go to heaven?

I consequently beg of you, if you want to remain Catholic and if you want to have a true, supernatural, interior life, do not dream of adding these new mysteries. Stick to the hallowed mysteries that have been handed down by Tradition, and stand firm against this tyrannical abuse of power, by which the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, is trying to destroy that which is most sacred in our Catholic Faith after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Reject these novelties, and in particular the omission of the wonderfully supernatural prayer taught to us by Our Lady of Fatima, that we place after every decade of the Rosary, which does not even merit a mention in the Pope’s letter.. Instead he proposes that the people invent a variety of different formulas, that would somehow express more fully or more perfectly than Our Lady’s prayer the fruits to be obtained from the Rosary.

Truly, this letter is beyond the limit of what Catholics can bear, and the destruction that will be wrought if anybody takes it seriously is distressing in the extreme. The only consolation is that finally many folks who are not traditional have seen through this attempt to use our heavenly Mother and her Holy Rosary to bring about the modernist work of destruction. May it open their eyes. Already attempts are being made to apply his ideas to various ecumenical experiments, such as the Ecumenical Miraculous Rosary put together by a Lutheran "to share the rosary with non-Catholic Christians in order to achieve greater unity between all Christian denominations", and in which the Hail Mary has been exchanged for a prayer called the Greatest Commandment, and the 15 mysteries have been exchanged for the 15 miracles, taken out of the Bible. (www.ecumenicalrosary.org) Can we blame him taking his cue in this way?

THE "SAINTHOOD" OF JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

Numerous other issues presently demonstrate the rapid progression of the "auto-destruction" foreseen even by the liberal Pope Paul VI thirty years ago. The worst is that it is becoming increasingly more obvious that this destruction is coming from the top down, from the Pope himself. A typical example of this was the shameful and highly questionable canonization of Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer last October 6. For due process was not followed. Not only was there no devil’s advocate, but the former members of Opus Dei who personally knew Msgr. Escriva and who attempt to register their objections, were not allowed to express their opinion. As a last resort, last September they were forced to write an open letter to the Pope, stating their position before the Truth Himself, Our Lord Jesus Christ: "...It is because we believe that the truth has been in large part hidden that we now give our testimony in order to avoid a danger for the Faith brought about by the unjustifiable reverence for the man that you have the intention of canonizing soon..." They went on to explain that they include "people who have intimately known Msgr. Escriva and who can testify to his arrogance, to his evil character, to his improper seeking of a title (Marquise of Peralta), to his dishonesty, to his indifference towards the poor, to his love of luxury and ostentation, to his lack of compassion and to his idolatrous devotion towards ‘Opus Dei’." (DICI, No. 61)

After having pointed out that the process was uncanonical and dishonest, they had this to say: "It (the canonization) will offend God. It will stain the Church forever. It will take away from the saints their special holiness. It will call into question the credibility of all the canonizations made during your Papacy. It will undermine the future authority of the Papacy". They were not traditionalists, and they were former members of his organization, but their supplication was not heard, and the ceremony took place as arranged on October 6. Their letter will certainly turn out to be prophetic, for in time they will be proven to be right in their assessment concerning Escriva as well as concerning Opus Dei that they so aptly compare to the liberal Sillon movement, rightly condemned by St. Pius X in 1910. This kind of last minute objection is unheard of in the history of the Church. How could Catholics possibly regard such a man as heroic in virtue, as an extraordinary model of Catholic spirituality, as a saint must be? For all the reasons that they give, we cannot possibly consider this "canonization" as a valid, infallible Papal pronouncement. We trust that he is in heaven, but we cannot possibly regard as a Saint this herald of Vatican II, who preached naturalism and indifferentism as early as 1928.

Another example of the ongoing destruction of Faith, is the letter of the US Episcopal Conference from last August (Reflections on Covenant and Mission) which quite explicitly stated, without any contradiction from Rome, that nowadays Jews do not have to convert to be saved: "A deeper appreciation of the eternal Alliance between God and the Jewish people...has brought about the conclusion that campaigns that would want to convert Jews to Christianity are not theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church". Of course they were doing nothing more than drawing the logical conclusion from the Pope’s 1980 statement that the Jews are "the people of God of the Old Covenant, which has never been revoked by God" (Mayence, November 17, 1980, in DICI No. 60). Truly the modern Church has lost the sense of the truth, and demonstrates very clearly that its only interest is unity, and this regardless of the truth.

Let this awareness fill us with determination to follow our traditional convictions, for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14:6), that we might truly be faithful to the Church "the pillar and  mainstay of the truth" (I Tim 3:15). Let us strive to make the Blessed Virgin Mary known and loved for herself, to whom alone it is given to crush the serpent’s head, that heretics might once again be converted, the Church exalted, and that the true Mass and sacraments be returned to Catholics everywhere.

Yours faithfully in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Father Peter R. Scott

Rector


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