SOUTHERN SENTINEL

No. 13

Regnavit a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X

J.M.J.
September 20, 2003

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

You will find enclosed this month a card to be completed with the list of your deceased friends and relatives, for the repose of whose souls you would like Holy Cross Seminary to pray. I invite you to send the card back so that we can place them on the main Seminary altar for the month of November. These souls will be remembered during the three Masses that are celebrated on the altar every day. The cards will also be placed on the altar for the Sung Requiem Mass celebrated every month for the repose of the souls of the Seminary’s friends and benefactors. It is not necessary to send any donation or stipend with this list of names.


SEMINARY UPDATE

Now that we have come to the end of the second term of our school year, and the seminarians are about to start a well earned break, I thought it helpful to give you a little insight into the growth of our community during this period. A third Philippino fourth year Major Seminarian, Mr. Roy Dolotina, was transferred back from Ecône, bringing the total number of Major Seminarians to 12. At the beginning of the term six of our Seminarians left, when it became clear that they did not have the willingness or aptitude to face the serious studies required by our Minor Seminary. However, since then four new boys have joined to take their place, two Australians from the Rockdale chapel, a second boy from Hawaii, and one student from Malaysia, bringing to 13 the number of Seminarians. Around the feast of the Assumption we also had the joy of welcoming Father Frament, a fourth professor to the Seminary, as well as Father Adrian, a Carmelite priest from Malaysia, who has recently decided to become traditional, and to study traditional theology here at Holy Cross. This has brought the number of priests in residence to six, who together with the 25 seminarians, four brothers, three lay teachers and four lay workers, make up a community of 42 members.

This is no small number of persons to take care of. Our monthly expenses, combined with those involved in maintaining these large and rather rundown buildings, are beyond the means of our small number of generous benefactors, so that we are eating into our savings every month. However, we are confident that, one way or another, St. Joseph will take care of us, so that we can continue our remodeling program and enlarge the Seminary.

The two big events of this past term were the feast of the Assumption and the Family weekend for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. On August 15 our six seminarians in first year took the cassock, thereby dying to the world and giving themselves to God. The numerous faithful who came for the occasion were able to assist at some musical and dramatic entertainment, including scenes from Shakespeare put on by the Seminarians. Over the family weekend, the entire seminary with its friends and parishioners renewed the consecration of the Seminary to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, already made last year, but this year according to the formula of the consecration of the Society of Saint Pius X to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on December 8. The seminarians and staff are very grateful to those faithful who made the effort to be here for this prayerful and encouraging weekend.

playing a scene from Macbeth

Seminarians playing a scene from Macbeth at the reception in the Seminary Refectory that followed the ceremony for reception of the cassock on August 15.

 

First Year Seminarians

The six First Year Seminarians in the chapel on Friday August 15, having just received their cassocks.


DECHRISTIANIZATION & THE MORAL LAW

We have heard little of John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation from last June 28, Ecclesia in Europa, on the effects of dechristianization in Europe. In effect, the Pope there denounced the modern world’s attempt to present European culture making abstraction from Christianity. He had similar things to say on July 13, stating that modern Europe gives “the impression of a silent apostasy”, thanks to the “loss of the memory of the Christian heritage, accompanied by a kind of practical agnosticism and religious indifferentism, making many Europeans appear as…heirs who have wasted the patrimony passed on to them by history”. (Cf. D.I.C.I. §79).These are certainly very true statements, as also is the observation in Ecclesia in Europa that a “vague, barely engaging, religious sentiment has in many people taken the place of the great certainties of faith…to which is added a profound crisis of conscience and of Christian moral practice”. He then proceeds to list the principal moral disorders that are opposed to the natural law, and which are his great concern, namely the breakdown of the family, the denial of the indissolubility of marriage, the alarming drop in the birth rate, the frequency of abortion and euthanasia. He likewise mentions the apparent inability of modern man to make lasting choices in life, bringing about the drop off of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the failures with respect to and attacks on priestly celibacy.

These observations were further reinforced by a document published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on July 31 entitled Considerations concerning projects for juridical recognition of unions between homosexual persons. This document rightly condemns such unions, their intrinsically disordered nature and their incompatibility with the sacrament of matrimony, obliging Catholics to abstain from any formal cooperation in attempts to promulgate laws permitting such unions, as well as to abstain from material cooperation in their application, as much as is possible, for to do so would be “to mask fundamental values that belong to the common patrimony of humanity”. It is encouraging to see a clear condemnation of such public immorality, but discouraging to see so little understanding of the post-conciliar church’s own part of responsibility in it, by its promotion of effeminacy and softness, by its denigration of the importance of abnegation and self-denial, by its toleration of homosexuals and pedophiles in public positions, and by the exaggerated respect for the human person that ends up in its reducing morality to situation ethics, evacuating the objective foundation that these perverts refuse to accept.


IMPOTENCY OF POST-CONCILIAR HUMANISM

John Paul II is obliged by the facts to admit that, notwithstanding the humanistic optimism of Vatican II’s adaptation of the Church to the modern world, despite the “current of affection and admiration which flowed from the Council towards the modern human world” (Paul VI, Dec. 7, 1965), regardless of Paul VI’s announcement that “instead of prophecies of doom, messages of confidence be sent forth from the Council towards the contemporary world” and that “its values have not only been respected, but honored” (Ib.), the modern world is more and more in radical opposition to the Catholic Faith and Church.

It does not take a rocket scientist or a complicated reasoning process to figure out why. Simple logic ought to have led to the disavowal of the conciliar revolution in the Church, whose whole purpose was to reorient the life of the Church, directing it away from the sacred and towards the secular, away from God and towards man and towards the world, as is clearly stated in Gaudium et spes, the Vatican II document on the Church in the modern world: “It is mankind that must be renewed. It is man (not God, then), therefore, who is the key to this discussion…This is the reason why this sacred Synod, in proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming an element of the divine in him, offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs” (§3). It is difficult to understand what is noble, divine and fraternal about man who denies his Creator, crucifies again his Redeemer, despises eternity, perverts the moral law, eliminates those who are not materially useful.

However, the clearest sign of the Pope’s failure to grasp the gravity of the modern world’s attack against the Church, is the almost entire absence of any effective and proportionate remedy to such evils. The Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, for example, simply proposes a great effort of formation to bring about a true renewal of the liturgy, and the promotion of new ecclesial communities which “quite often support the ecumenical movement and open the way to interreligious dialogue; they are an antidote to the diffusion of sects; they help considerably in the diffusion of the Church’s vivacity and joy”. Indeed it cannot be imagined how such vague and ineffectual means, penetrated by modernist indifference as they truly are, could ever be a solution to the practical agnosticism, and the abandonment of the great certainties of the Faith in favor of religious sentiment that the Pope complains about.


PIUS IX’S ANALYSIS

Completely different was the response of a great Pope, Bd. Pius IX, reacting against the world’s betrayal of the Church. Not satisfied with stating the evils of the modern world, he traces them to their root, and then applies a powerful remedy. In his magnificently powerful encyclical Quanta Cura of December 8, 1864. Pius IX points out that there would not be “heresies and errors which are hostile to moral honesty and to the eternal salvation of mankind” unless it were for “the machinations of those evil men, who…promising liberty, while they are themselves the slaves of corruption, endeavored by their fallacious opinions and most wicked writings to subvert the foundations of Religion and of civil Society” (§1). It is consequently the false liberty of liberalism that is the cause.

Pius IX likewise describes the effect, in turn directly responsible for the immorality of modern society: “Religion has been excluded from civil Society, and the doctrine and authority of divine Revelation, and the true and germane notion of justice and human right have been obscured and lost” (§4). He further explains the connection, namely how it is that the principle of liberty at all costs ends up in eliminating all religion from public and social life. This connection is made by “the impious and absurd principles of what they call Naturalism” (§3), according to which:

  • the best form of society is that which has no regard whatsoever to Religion,
  • but which guarantees an inalienable right to liberty of conscience and worship regardless of what is believed (called “insanity” by Gregory XVI),
  • and which proclaims it by law.

Quanta Cura infallibly condemns these three propositions, and yet they are the three principal opinions promoted by the Vatican II document on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae), and which are the basis of that Council’s promotion of secularism and ecumenism, as well as of its denial of the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Here lies one of the most clear, radical and direct oppositions between the teachings of Vatican II, and those of the Church’s Magisterium. For as long as Naturalism engenders these false principles, there can be no return of fallen man to true morality, not even to the natural law. We can talk about dechristianization as much as we like, but for as long as personal liberty is proclaimed as an absolute, any deploring of the state of the modern world will be empty and in vain. If civil society has no duty to obey the law of Christ and the Church, neither ought men who make it up. The denial of this obvious truth, based upon the fact that Almighty God is the author of civil society just as much as he is of every individual man and of the Church, is one of the many incoherent contradictions of liberalism.


ST. PIUS X’S REMEDIES

St. Pius X understood this very clearly. He was not content with diagnosing the illness, and so perceptibly too: "Society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction…This disease is apostasy from God, than which in truth nothing is more allied with ruin…? (E supremi apostolatus §3) He immediately announced his response to the world’s denial of the supernatural order of revealed truth, of the commandments of God, of grace and of the sacraments: “We must hasten to find a remedy for this great evil…We recoiled in terror from a task as urgent as it is arduous…” (Ib.) It is then that he launched his program “of restoring all things in Christ”, responding to modern humanism with great Faith: “The interests of God shall be Our interest, and for these We are resolved to spend all Our strength and Our very life…We must use every means and exert all our energy to bring about the utter disappearance of the enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time – the substitution of man for God.” (Ib. §4,8).

The holy Pope continues, explaining the practical means to bring this about: submission to the one, true Church; formation of priests in holiness; instruction in the truths of the catechism, only solution to the loss of faith of the people; and Catholic Action on the part of the laity “which consists entirely in observing with fidelity and zeal the divine laws and the precepts of the Church, in the frank and open profession of religion, in the exercise of every kind of charitable works, without regard to self-interest or worldly advantage”. The problem was essentially the same then as it is now. After all, the errors that John Paul II complains about, namely practical agnosticism, indifferentism and substitution of religious sentiment for true Faith are a precise summary of the modernism condemned by St. Pius X in 1907.

However, St. Pius X’s practical supernatural response went much further. Not only was the diagnosis much more accurate, but the remedy was also infinitely more efficacious because entirely supernatural. For not only did St. Pius X condemn this heresy as the synthesis of all heresies, on account of its denial of the supernatural order. In addition, he furthered ordered, under strict supervision, that the following remedies be applied: Vigilance, and in particular Diocesan Vigilance Committees to seek and root out under cover modernists; the study of scholastic (Thomistic) philosophy and true, orthodox theology built on its foundation; careful scrutiny of all future priests; careful examination of all publications, with insistence on both the Imprimatur and the Nihil obstat; Censorship of bad books; Episcopal control of all publications; three yearly returns of all bishops to Rome given an account of modernism in their diocese, and finally and most powerfully the solemn anti-modernist oath to be recited as a profession of Faith before every priestly ordination. It is no secret that by 1967 all of these supernatural means had been abolished by Paul VI.

The failure of the post-conciliar Church to erect any real barrier against heresy, indifferentism and liberalism is the reason why it is incapable of inspiring any serious reaction against the frightening secularism into which the world has sunk. Let us not, however, be self-righteous. We are all in grave danger of being submerged by this materialistic, hedonistic and egoistic spirit. It is only by cultivating the spirit of mortification and self-sacrifice, by the love of the Cross, by a continual purification of our souls that we will manage to remain in the world, but not of the world. In this regard, I cannot recommend enough the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, great protection against lukewarmness, and the insidious creeping in of the spirit of the world.

Yours faithfully in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Father Peter R. Scott


IGNATIAN RETREAT DATES AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY DURING THE UPCOMING MONTHS:

COME & BRING YOUR FRIENDS!

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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