SOUTHERN SENTINEL

No. 2
September 2002
Regnavit a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X

J.M.J.
September 3, 2002
Feast of Saint Pius X

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

After less than two weeks back "down under" I feel it my duty to write you a few lines, as of a southern sentinel. For indeed the seminarians stand on guard in this, as in all the Society's seminaries, by their prayers and studies preparing for the battle, filling their souls with the solid doctrine and sanctity of life that our holy patron saint invites priests to live, that by these means they might contribute to his plan of restoring all things in Christ. May we from our peaceful country oasis be your sentinels also, and may this letter continue to sound the alarm, warning you against the spirit of the world and the illusions of "your adversary the devil, (who) as a roaring lion goes about seeking someone to devour" and encouraging you to "Resist him, steadfast in the Faith, knowing that the same suffering befalls your brethren all over the world" (I Pet 5:8 & 9).

Gratitude

Allow me first of all to say how much I have been edified in the few days since I arrived at the Seminary: first of all by Father Daniels, secondly by the seminarians, and thirdly by you, our generous faithful. Father Daniels who served the Seminary so faithfully for eight years, and who rightly enjoys all your respect and esteem, has done everything in his power to ensure a smooth transition. I am full of admiration for all the work and especially all the improvements that he has done at the Seminary, as well as for all the pastoral work that he managed to accomplish at the same time. I will probably flop around in his very large shoes for quite some time, but I will certainly do all in my power to maintain his initiatives.

The departing seminary Rector, Father Daniels, with Father Scott to his right,
on the front steps of the seminary after Father Daniels' Solemn High Mass of departure on Sunday August 25.


Secondly, I am edified by the seminarians, who might be only four in number, but who manage nevertheless to maintain the complete liturgical life of a Seminary, as well as to accomplish all the duties involved in running a Seminary. May they persevere in their excellent spirit of self-sacrifice. Finally, I have been most encouraged by the generous welcome and support that you have shown to me, as you did for Father Daniels. May God continue to reward you for your generosity towards your seminary. The formation of future priests is the greatest privilege and responsibility that a priest can have, chosen by God to be the instrument for bringing into being the cause of the sanctification of souls, and not just the sanctification itself. Pray that this vessel of clay might be faithful in the truly awesome task imposed upon it.

Clearly it is not an efficient use of the Society's priests and facilities to have a Seminary for only four seminarians. However, the Superior General has decided that the Seminary must continue. Consequently, one of my responsibilities must be to do all that is humanly possible to build up the Seminary. In this I am entirely dependent upon your prayers. Every vocation, in this time of worldly attachments, of materialism and of sentimentality, is a miracle of grace, and such miracles are only obtained by sacrifices and persevering prayer. I dare, therefore, to ask you for a favor, namely that you recite one decade of the Rosary every day, or offer up one of the decades of your family Rosary every day, that God might raise vocations from this great southern land, and from the surrounding Pacific and Asian countries at whose disposition the Seminary stands.

Seminary

In order to help in this domain Holy Cross Seminary will be opening a Seminary next February. Father Daniels had announced it to you and done much of the preparation. He described it as a college. However, the high school students will be obliged to live the seminary rule, and maintain the same spiritual obligations as the seminarians. It truly will be a Seminary, that is a high school Seminary, and so we have decided to call it what it really is. High School boys aged 15 and older will be eligible. They do not have to believe that they have a vocation, for very few vocations are clear at that age. However, they do have to be open to the possibility of a vocation, and they do have to want the best possible spiritual formation for a Catholic life. The discipline, liberal arts formation and spirituality will be a great asset to any young man, even if it not be God's will for him to follow a vocation, no matter what his profession or calling in life. It is our hope that given these propitious circumstances, the Seminary will recruit vocations for the Major Seminary, as was frequently the case before Vatican II. Two traditional Catholic certified high school teachers and former seminarians from Holy Cross have been hired to teach, and an independently established curriculum and independent testing will be used, so that those who decide not to continue with seminary studies will have the necessary certificate to pursue other tertiary level studies. Inquiries can be addressed directly to me.

Campos

Some folks have asked me what we are to think of the recent consecration (August 18) of Father Fernando Rifan as bishop to succeed Bishop Rangel as head of the traditional priests of the diocese of Campos. Although in itself it is a good thing to hear of Rome's approval of a "traditional" bishop, this whole episode is nevertheless permeated with a profound sense of disappointment. Father Rifan had been the secretary of H.E. Bishop Antonio Castro De Mayer, and was very familiar with his firm stand against modernism. His numerous and very supportive visits to the Society over the years left no suspicion of the legalism and political compromise into which he would eventually lead the 23 Campos priests.

Yet Father Rifan it was who secretly negotiated the deal that left the Campos priests out in the cold: unable to speak out against the evils of the New Mass, shut out from condemning the errors of Vatican II, silenced from standing up against the liturgical and doctrinal abuses of the Novus Ordo taking place in their own diocese, crushed so as to be powerless to condemn the Ecumenism that is destroying the one true Church (as after Assisi II last January), under orders to stay within their little diocese, and neither to go elsewhere nor to initiate any further apostolates in their own diocese without the permission of the Novus Ordo Ordinary, paralyzed by being placed under the Congregation for the Clergy, under the direction of the modernist Cardinal Re. Truly for the sake of "legality", they have sacrificed their very right to fight for the preservation and for the good of the Church, and to combat its self-destruction. It is true that they can still celebrate the true Mass, administer the sacraments, and preach the Gospel in their parishes, and that they will continue to save souls. However, no longer can their priestly actions resound throughout the whole Church, no longer can they be a catalyst for Tradition, no longer are they a light "upon the lamp-stand, so as to give light to all the house" (Mt 5:15). Is it any wonder that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos considers this deal a resounding, encouraging and joyful victory?

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos

Father Rifan received his reward. It was from the hands of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos himself that he received his miter, from the very same cardinal who in his last letter to Bishop Fellay of April 5, 2002 clearly indicated his refusal to discuss any issues of substance concerning the crisis in the Church: "It would not serve a useful purpose, it seems to me, to continue our dialogue by direct or indirect writing…". (p. 20) This is the same Cardinal who maintains that our differences concerning Vatican II are but "dialogues concerning theological detail" and that there is no question of a conversion of Rome to Tradition (p.7).

This is the same Cardinal who admitted "the fact that your Fraternity certainly was not spreading any heretical doctrine and did not maintain schismatic attitudes", but who a couple of pages later accuses us of "a frontal attack on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, including the Pope", refusing to accept that we can talk about a "conciliar" church that has abandoned the truth, and accusing us of denying Papal infallibility and the indefectibility of the Church (when in fact the supernatural miracle is that the Church continues despite the infiltration into its very bosom, and that the Pope remains capable of using his infallibility despite his own personal modernism).

This is the same Cardinal who refuses to accept that we have the right to judge the current Pontiff on the basis of earlier Councils and Popes in the Church, but simply asks to "presuppose that he also possesses the Catholic Faith" (p. 13). One wonders what we are supposed to "presuppose" concerning his ecumenical activities that are a practical denial of the unicity of the Church. This is the same Cardinal who, in the height of contradiction and misrepresentation compares us to every heretic and schismatic in the history of the Church: "No heretic or schismatic, throughout history, has said he is wrong. They always thought that it was the Church that was wrong". (When has any Society priest said that the Church is wrong? In fact it is precisely because the Church was always right that we are doing what we are doing.)

This is the same Cardinal who maintains, in the same letter, that to refuse the New Mass is to refuse the power of the Church over the sacraments, as if the Church had the power to destroy the sacred and undermine the Faith. This is the same Cardinal who hypocritically accuses us of looking to our "own special advantage rather than to the unity of the Church" (p.17) at the same time that he states that "there are those in your ranks who no longer have the true Faith", maintaining in the very same sentence that he "never wanted to promote the division of the Society of Saint Pius X" (p.18 & 19).

The point of these few lines is to demonstrate to you that the appointment of one "traditional" bishop does not at all means that the crisis in the Church has come to an end. The truth of the matter is that it continues to worsen both at home and in Rome. As just one example, who could have imagined just a few years ago, a Catholic bishop calling for an end to the discipline of clerical celibacy, on the absurd and specious grounds that priests have to be married to be chaste. And yet this is precisely what Bishop Pat Power, Auxiliary of our own diocese of Canberra-Goulburn did on Sunday August 25. It only goes to show the total absence of spirituality in the modern social worker priests, and that if a Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos tries to say that we cannot speak about a "conciliar" church then he has his proverbial ostrich head buried in the sand.

However, let none of us presume our fidelity to the unchanging and truly Catholic Church. It is only by the grace of God and by the power of prayer that any of us can persevere. It is with trepidation that we, priests, brothers and seminarians, strive to maintain the seminary as the powerhouse that will light your way through the reefs of this world. Support us by attending the Ignatian retreats when you can and recruiting others also. The next women's retreat is September 29 - October 4, and the next men's retreat is December 26 - 31. The dates for the remaining retreats and boys' camp this summer will be published next month.

Yours faithfully in Christ the King and Mary our heavenly Queen,


Father Peter R. Scott
Rector


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