No. 8

Regnavit a ligno Deus

April 1, 2003

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

These past couple of weeks we have finally now seen our little Seminary more or less complete for the 2003 school year (although we have still several overseas candidates waiting for their visas to be approved). It was on March 8 that our five returning Major Seminarians, in years 2 - 4, began their school year with a retreat preached by Father Laisney, and on March 15 that six first year Major Seminarians began their retreat, preached by Father Couture, District Superior of Asia and of exactly half of our Major Seminarians. Just today a seventh arrived, bringing us up to a total of 12 Major and 15 Seminarians. We are truly an International Seminary, and this not just according to the disposition of our Statutes (for Archbishop Lefebvre wanted all our Seminaries to be international), but in actuality, since our 4 Priests, 4 Brothers and 27 Seminarians come from the following 10 countries: Australia (17), U.S. (5), India (4), Philippines (2), Samoa (2), Great Britain (1), New Zealand (1), France (1), Columbia (1), Nigeria (1). May it stay that way, for it truly reflects the universality of the Catholic Church.

A view of the 35 members of the community,
priests, brothers and seminarians, all gathered in the Sacred Heart courtyard,
around the statue of the Sacred Heart.


This growth of the Seminary has brought with it a concern that is not immediate, but may well become urgent. It is that these large majestic buildings do not have as many cells for seminarians as it may appear from the outside, and that presently we have the possibility of taking only, at the most, another seven or eight seminarians. With the continued growth anticipated for 2004, if we were to do nothing, we would be faced with the prospect of having to turn young men away. It is for this reason that I propose the remodeling of our "barn". This separate two-story structure is in need of complete renovation in order to become a suitable living area. One of the original buildings on the property, dating back to the 19th century, it is also one of the most solid, being constructed with 13" thick triple brick walls at a time when buildings were meant to last. Plans are presently being finalized that will allow for one priest’s apartment and 21 individual seminarians’ rooms, as well as maintaining the present recreation room. It would be the particular domain of the Seminarians, so as to maintain the separation from the Major Seminarians provided for in Canon Law. This is certainly a most ambitious project, and we wonder how it can be brought to fruition. However, I do not believe that Divine Providence wants us to turn young men away, and I have the implicit and complete trust that, in His Goodness, He will find a way for this project to be completed by February 2004, thus adding 50% to the capacity of Holy Cross Seminary.

            Furthermore, I would like to take the opportunity of thanking all the generous volunteers that make the continuing of Holy Cross Seminary possible. These include our four permanent resident lay workers, and the three resident teachers for the Seminarians. They also include the ten generous woman and five men who came for the working bee on Saturday March 29, whose major project was the cleaning, scrubbing and painting of the kitchen. Indeed with the Seminarians all on their assigned cleaning and maintenance duties, the Seminary was as if overcome by a swarm of busy ants, in contrast with the usual tranquillity of prayer and study. The next working bee is scheduled to take place on Saturday June 14. Our friends are warmly invited to join the fun.


            We are now entering the time of the Passion, in which being struck by a profound grief at seeing the Just one persecuted by His enemies even until death, we will understand much more the kindness, condescension and humility of the Son of God, inspiring us with such overwhelming confidence. By the time that you receive this letter you will be enjoying the fruits of this holiest of the Church’s seasons, repeating with the Church: "How admirable is Thy goodness towards us! O how inestimable is Thy love! Thou has delivered up Thy Son to redeem a slave. O truly necessary sin of Adam, which the death of Christ has blotted out! O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer" (The Exultet of the Paschal Vigil). You will have a renewed understanding of how necessarily complimentary are the Passion and the Resurrection, each one incomplete alone, but together making up the great mystery of our Redemption.

            Such remains the reality of the Church, and we certainly will never profit from the divine life of grace by which Church lifts us up through the traditional Mass and sacraments, if we do not also understand today’s mystery of iniquity. This is the betrayal and abandon of His own, by which Christ is now persecuted in His mystical body, as he was during the Passion in His physical body. Now, as then, those who make Our Lord suffer the most are not the enemies who directly attack Him, but the friends who abandon Him. This is what St. Peter understood when he resolved to weep over his sins for the rest of his life, and again when stopped leaving Rome, running from martyrdom, Our Lord asked him the famous question "Quo vadis", "whither art thou going?", question that forced him to return.


The weakness of those privileged with the Faith has always been the greatest strength of the Church’s enemies, and the only way in which any heresy can make headway. It was the case with the most well known heresy, that of Arianism, which continued to spread for 60 years and more after it had been officially condemned by the Council of Nicea. The semi-Arians considered the fighting over one "iota" is insignificant, tolerated the Arian compromise, and refuse to profess that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, of the same nature, but simply said that He is of like nature. It was also the case with Protestantism, which could only make progress in countries where it could take advantage of the weakness and indifference of princes who did not care, such as in Germany and England, but unheard of in countries where it met with a firm, stiff, uncompromising resistance, such as in Spain and Italy.


It was also the case with the heresy of Jansenism, rampant in the French Church of the 17th & 18th centuries, and this long after it had been officially condemned by Pope Clement XI in 1713. In 1952 Bishop De Castro Mayer wrote an interesting article on this very subject, in which he pointed out the essential role of Jansenism throughout the 18th century in preparing the way for the French Revolution. It became, as he points out, a fifth column inside the Church: "Actually, the anti-Church did not position all of its disciples in the explicitly heterodox ranks; a great number of them were positioned even within the Catholic cadre"This fifth column’s objective was to sap and undermine Catholic reaction". They managed to achieve this goal by the help of sympathizers within the French hierarchy: "The Church’s Jansenist enemies apparently tried to remain within her breast in order to have done with Her. Their Pharisaic rigorism distanced the faithful from the sacraments. They subjected Pontifical decisions to sophistic critiques and, in doing so, birthed ‘opinionism’ and ‘Catholic liberalism’, both of which extol individual freedom to think whatever one wishes, so that everything is but a matter of opinions that can be true or false".

The question remains as to how the Jansenists could have created such favorable conditions for the development of a fifth column of this kind. As Bishop De Castro Mayer points out, it was by the creation of a "third force", a group of churchmen who would pretend to be men of peace, striving to be neutral in the conflict between Rome and the Jansenists, all the while creating the illusion that they were in agreement with Rome. Their acceptation of the Bull condemning Jansenism was more lip service than reality. Furthermore, they accused Rome of exaggeration and intransigence, and maintained that the Jansenists would peaceably disappear if the anti-Jansenistis would cease their opposition and if the Holy See abstained from all forms of a personal brand of harshness. The end result was the infiltration of a large number of crypto-Jansenists into the hierarchy, given that King Louis XV had been won over to the policy of the third force. This spirit of independence and of compromise produced the loss of the supernatural spirit, intellectual pride, contempt for the sacraments and for the Mass, and ultimately rebellion against divine order and rationalism in the French Revolution and its sequels. None of this would have been possible if it had not been for the weakness of Catholics, and in particular the ecclesiastics of the third force, who desired to avoid all conflict.

The creation of a similar indifferent third force was also the response to Leo XIII’s 1899 condemnation of Americanism, the U.S. hierarchy pretending that this error exalting freedom of religion, the separation of Church and state and the natural, active virtues did not exist in their dioceses, and that consequently the condemnation did not apply. The fruits of such irenism, or peace at all costs, were to be seen in the exportation of the principles of religious liberty by Father John Courtney Murray to Vatican II in 1962.


The modernists’ response to Pascendi was no different was no different to that of the Jansenists to the Bull Unigenitus. They went underground, putting on the appearance of orthodoxy, and the weakness of Catholics enabled this to happen. If the whole hierarchy had had the lion-hearted and energetic courage of St. Pius X this apostasy would not have reared its ugly head 50 years later. In fact, only three years after his monumental encyclical against modernism, St. Pius X felt obliged to issue a Motu Proprio with a long list of practical measures to be used to stop the infiltration of modernists and their ideas. In Sacrorum Antistitum (1910) the holy Pope pointed out that the modernists had not ceased agitating "nor have they ceased to recruit followers to the extent of forming an underground group. In this way they are injecting the virus of their doctrine into the veins of Christian society". He ordered, amongst a host of other measures, that Vigilance Committees "shall watch most carefully for every trace and sign of Modernism both in publications and in teaching". He then made obligatory the anti-modernist oath "to preclude any possibility of a stealthy infiltration of Modernism". If only he had been listened to, and the oath had been taken seriously! St. Pius X concluded by explaining why he was impelled to impose such drastic measures as the Motu Proprio contained: "We feel moved to this by the gravity of the evil which is daily growing and must be checked at any cost. We are no longer dealing, as at the beginning, with opponents ‘in sheep’s clothing’, but with open and bare-faced enemies in our very household, who, having made a pact with the chief foes of the Church, are bent on overthrowing the Faith".

It is manifest that the post-conciliar revolution of Vatican II, that Cardinal Ratzinger so rightly called the French revolution in the Church, is no less a consequence of the weakness and indifference of Catholics to modernism, than the French Revolution was of French Catholics to Jansenism. This is the agony of the Church’s Passion, and we must remember that if we seek peace at all costs, that if we desire to stand indifferent and neutral on the sidelines of such a conflict, then we will not be a part of the solution, but very much a part of the problem. Any attempt to be spiritual without being profoundly anti-modernist is sentimental deception, and a sure sign that one is lacking the supernatural spirit.

It was because Bishop De Castro Mayer had so clearly understood from history past cowardly compromises, and the danger of indifferentism to error and heresy, that he was able to see so clearly through Vatican II He thus identified its spirit with that of the enemies of the Church, just as St. Pius X had done with the protectors of the modernists infiltrating the Church in his own time: "A fundamental dogma of the Catholic Church is that it is absolutely necessary for salvation" But Vatican II determined precisely the contrary as an incontestable doctrine: every man has the deep-seated liberty to adhere to the religion of his choice. With this antithesis being laid as a foundation, similar structures opposed to the Church’s teaching will necessary be built on top. For this reason we maintain that Vatican II shows itself to be a anti-Church. The consequence is that he who adheres to Vatican II without restriction, by this very fact separates himself from the true Church of Christ." (Bishop de Castro Mayer in Heri et Hodie, §33).

Let us then be a part of the Church’s glorious resurrection, its victory over modernism, by our uncompromising rejection of every kind of indifferentism. Let our opposition to liberalism be the sign of our love for all that is supernatural, of our love for the Faith in its integrity, root of all justification, and of our love for the life of divine grace, applied to our souls by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. May this Blessed Virgin Mary, who alone has crushed all heresies throughout the entire world, be our inspiration in this endeavor, and may she teach us that, without the love of integral Catholic truth, our interior life will be reduced to the level of sentimental piety. May she obtain for all of us here at Holy Cross Seminary the determination, strength and perseverance to continually fight under the standard of her Divine Son after which the Seminary was so providentially named.

Yours faithfully in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Father Peter R. Scott




Men’s 5 day:             Sunday June 15 - Friday June 20
Women’s 5 day:        Monday September 22 - Saturday September 27
Men’s 5 day:             Friday December 26 - Wednesday December 31
Women’s 5 day:        Monday January 5 - Saturday January 10, 2004
Men’s 5 day:             Monday January 12 - Saturday January 17
Women’s 5 day:        Monday January 26 - Saturday January 31

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Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia