No. 9

Regnavit a ligno Deus

May 5, 2003
Feast of St. Pius V

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

Allow me first of all to thank those of you who have made possible the new oriental rugs that were installed in the Seminary sanctuary on Easter Monday, and the new Pontifical Mass set, for which materials have been purchased, and which is presently being sewn in preparation for the visit of our Superior General, Bishop Fellay, this coming October. Brother Joseph is busy taking care of the maintenance required by water and plumbing problems throughout the Seminary buildings, and in particular in preparing, together with the architect, the final plans for the remodeling of the barn for the Seminarians. Work will start as soon as the plans are approved, but will only be able to continue inasmuch as St. Joseph and the generosity of our benefactors makes it possible.

The 35 members of the Seminary community, priests, brothers and seminarians,
in the chapel at the Divine Office of Prime.


This month of May is an anniversary of special importance to us, since on May 15, 1803 the first public Mass was celebrated in the colony of New South Wales by Irish convict priest Father Dixon, with the authorization of Governor King. The importance of this anniversary lies in the fact that the Incarnation and the Redemption are the central events of human history, renewed in an unbloody way in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It was the first time that public acknowledgment was given in this country to the right and duty that Catholics in Australia have to openly profess their Faith in the Mass, the public worship that Our Divine Redeemer renders to his Father on behalf of fallen humanity.

The abundance of graces and blessings that have flowed upon Catholics ever since we have been able to offer up the Holy Sacrifice as the central event in our personal moral and spiritual lives cannot be underestimated. If the Faith could have been preserved without it, the Catholic life most assuredly could not have been, for the graces necessary for the uniting of life to the Cross would have been absent. There can be no doubt that the public worship of Catholics in Australia by assistance at Holy Mass - which would become regularly possible only after 1820 (since Father Dixon’s authorization was to be withdrawn in less than a year) - certainly was, for as long as the true Mass existed, a major factor in the development of this country’s moral fibre. Nevertheless, it is to be deplored that the Anglosaxon, naturalist, Protestant and secular principles that have prevented the Faith and the Mass from having the real influence on public life that they ought to have had, have, with few exceptions, reigned supreme, and that Christ has not been allowed to be King. Such, indeed, is the logical conclusion of the Mass. If the Novus Ordo establishment, not surprisingly, seems determined to allow this anniversary to fall into oblivion, we here at the Seminary will be celebrating this 200th anniversary of the first public Tridentine Mass in Australia as solemnly as we can. We were privileged by the visit and conference of historian, Mr. Frank Carleton, on the subject. Copies of the 90 minute cassette are available for $6 each, including postage.


This year brings another important centennial anniversary, that of the election of Giuseppe Sarto as Pope St. Pius X on August 4, 1903. His Papacy had undoubtedly a major effect on Catholic public life, and in particular on the appreciation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by priests and laity alike. For if he became a great saint, it was because his supernatural perspective enabled him to understand, as few others before or since, the entirely tragic consequences of modern day secularism upon society, as he declared in his first encyclical two months after his election: “society is … suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction… - apostasy from God, this great perversity, than which in truth nothing is more allied with ruin…” (E supremi apostolatus, §3,4). Here the holy Pope laid out the program of his Papacy, the calling back of man’s public life to respect and supreme majesty and empire of God: “to restore all things in Christ and to lead men back to submission to God is one and the same aim. To this, then, it behooves Us to devote Our care.” (Ib. §8).

In his discourse of beatification of Pius X, Pope Pius XII called this encyclical a “flame of light” lifted up “to illuminate minds and enlighten hearts”, “the exact diagnosis of the evils and errors of our time, and at the same time, the means and the remedies required to cure it. What clarity of thought!” This remedy, which grew out of his love for the Church and for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by which the Church bestows its supernatural life of grace on men, was the Catholic priesthood. He knew of no better way to give Christ to a world without God than by priests, “called another Christ, not merely by the communication of power but by reason of the imitation of His works, and they should therefore bear stamped upon themselves the image of Christ” (§10). Hence the preoccupation with the sanctification of priests that characterized the Pope’s program: “of what nature and magnitude is the care that must be taken by you in forming the clergy to holiness! All other tasks must yield to this one. Wherefore the chief part of your diligence will be directed to governing and ordering your seminaries aright so that they may flourish equally in their soundness of their teaching and in the spotlessness of their morals. Regard your seminary as the delight of your hearts.” (Ib. §11) It is certainly a great consolation for the faculty here at Holy Cross, as in all the Society’s seminaries, to recall these words.

St. Pius X would come back to this preoccupation with the crucial role of the priest in the life of the Church, and for the sanctification of the faithful, many times during his 11 years as Vicar of Christ, as for example in the encyclical he wrote for the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination in 1908: “For the priest is not a person who can be good or bad in himself alone: his mode of living and his conduct have a consequent effect on the people. Where the priest is really good, what a great blessing he becomes! (Haerent animo). It is certainly providential that Archbishop Lefebvre chose him for a patron saint of a Society whose “purpose is the priesthood and whatever pertains to it and nothing but that which concerns it” (Statutes II,1) and which is “essentially apostolic, for such is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”. (Ib. I,2) The hundredth anniversary of the election of such a Pope, with such a clear vision of how the Church can help the modern, apostate world, is consequently of great consolation to us.


This year is also the hundredth anniversary of God’s calling to Himself of a great and holy priest, little known in the English speaking world. Father Emmanuel Marie André, parish priest of the tiny French village of Mesnil-St.-Loup, was greatly admired by Archbishop Lefebvre as one who knew how to put into practice the ideal of Christendom, “the work of reestablishing Christendom amongst Catholics”, as Father Emmanuel put it, or of the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ as we commonly express it. During his 53 years as parish priest Father Emmanuel rebuilt a whole parish life around the devotion to Our Lady of Holy Hope, source of all true conversion, including a shrine in her honor and two Benedictine monasteries, a parish which practiced every aspect of the Faith in its totality, sanctifying itself by the daily rhythm of the Masses and Divine Offices, actively participating in the Gregorian Chant, practicing perfect modesty and charity and abhorring worldly distractions.

Like Archbishop Lefebvre, Father Emmanuel had a great preoccupation with the danger of naturalism, seeing it as the great danger not only for the modern world, but also for the priesthood: “Blind to its own evil, nature starts to abuse its own well being. It uses God-given gifts against God Himself. Nature is endowed with reason, liberty, and senses; all these gifts are used in that insolent rebellion called Naturalism. Through this, reason succumbs to rationalism, liberty gives way to liberalism, while the senses wallow in sensualism.” (Ecclesiastical Ministry, p. 22). Like Archbishop Lefebvre, he was acutely aware of the gravity of the wounds of original sin, and that there could be no true spirituality which was not combative, which did not take into account our wounded and damaged human nature. He, in particular, deplored the disorder created by the wound of ignorance, that wound that Archbishop Lefebvre called the “most devastating” of the four wounds, being the principle upon which all liberalism is based. He repeatedly pointed out that it is not enough to simply know the catechism, and that the due remedy for the wound of ignorance will only be found when the Faith elevates and educates our way of thinking in a divine manner, so that it penetrates our every attitude and thought. The Faith must be prayed, he pointed out, “to elevate our minds to the participation in the divine mind, to that sublime domain that we call the Faith, the supernatural disposition to receive holy truths taught by the Church as revealed by God”

However, if Archbishop Lefebvre admired and recommended Father Emmanuel, it was in particular on account of his profound understanding of the priestly life, and of how it is that the priesthood can be the remedy to the problems of our secular dechristianized society. If Father Emmanuel was able to bring about such profound Catholic parish life, it was because he understood that the soul of the priestly ministry “is, without doubt, prayer or an interior union with our Lord – a union which draws from God that interior spirit, which alone can bring lasting fruit to exterior works” (Ib. p. 3). The primordial role of divine grace in all that the priest does, in what is essentially a work of cooperation with God, who remains the principal agent, is the immediate consequence: “the priest is truly an ambassador, the man charged with great affairs, the minister of God, and finally, as St. Paul says, the man of God” (Ib. p. 31). You can see why this centennial anniversary is also important for us at Holy Cross, who yearn to bring forth priests who reproduce the same supernatural vision, alone capable of bringing about the transformation of souls, of parishes, of human activities and organizations.

May this triple anniversary be an encouragement for all of us to proclaim and defend publicly the Mass of all time as the true Catholic Mass, on which the Church in this country was built, starting 200 years ago. May it help all of you to understand that it is only by gathering around your priests, supporting them in their struggle for holiness, and by praying and sacrificing for vocations, that you will be able to stand up against the perversity of a world without God. May it inspire us to fully live that most simple and profound of truths: it is not what we as individuals do that matters for the Church, but it is our prayers, our cooperation with divine grace and our spirit of Faith that will lead souls from a too human, naturalist viewpoint to the heavenly and divine one that is a preparation for heaven.

Yours faithfully in Christ Our gloriously Risen Lord,

Father Peter R. Scott



Menís 5 day: ††††††††††††Sunday June 15 - Friday June 20
Womenís 5 day: †††††† Monday September 22 - Saturday September 27
Menís 5 day: ††††††††††††Friday December 26 - Wednesday December 31
Womenís 5 day:††††††† Monday January 5 - Saturday January 10, 2004
Menís 5 day:†††††††††††††Monday January 12 - Saturday January 17
Womenís 5 day:††††††† Monday January 26 - Saturday January 31

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Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia