No. 24

Regnavit a ligno Deus

December 1, 2004

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

Last month I brought you news of the first ordinations to the Subdiaconate here at Holy Cross Seminary. However, just a few days later, His Lordship Bishop Tissier de Mallerais ordained the same three young Philippino seminarians to the Diaconate, the second of the Major Orders, in which the young clerics draw closer yet to the altar, assisting at the offering of the sacred mysteries, and receiving the power to preach, to baptize and even to administer Holy Communion in cases of necessity. On the same day, two of our seminarians received the clerical tonsure, and three received the Minor Orders of Exorcist and Acolyte. It was on November 6 that they received these powers, and the following day that we were able to celebrate our first Solemn High Mass with seminarians as deacon and subdeacon. Now our little Seminary is complete, and the fullness of the liturgy that this enables us to put into practice is a great encouragement for the entire community.


Indeed, this month brings with it the preparation for the examinations that will bring the year to an end. We are ending the year with 16 Major Seminarians, namely 6 theologians, 8 philosophers and 2 in the year of spirituality. In addition we have, 3 pre-Seminarians and 17 Seminarians. One Major and two Seminarians left during the course of this semester, but a new Seminarian from Indonesia recently arrived to join the community. Brother Joseph’s remodeling of the St. Joseph House is now winding down. The hanging of the double layer of gyp rock is mostly finished, although it was a labor intensive and expensive process. All the finish work remains to be done. However, we have emptied the building fund, and most of our regular fund, and we refuse to borrow money. So we must now wait for God to send the generous donations that we need to finish off this project. In the meantime, we are very grateful for our lay workers, whose donation of their time is a great help and inspiration to us, and will allow us to continue forging ahead, although at a slower pace. We also plan to have a working bee on Saturday January 8, to which all able-bodied men are invited.


The sad news, that many of you have already heard, concerns Bishop Rifan and the once-traditional priests of Campos, Brazil. On September 8 Bishop Rifan, in former times the right hand and secretary of H.E. Bishop De Castro Mayer, concelebrated the New Mass and received Holy Communion at it, along with the other bishops of Brazil. Moreover this Mass, celebrated on the occasion of the centennial of the crowning of the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida, was not just any Novus Ordo Mass. It was scandalous because of the many additional sacrileges that occurred during the celebration; namely Communion in the Hand, Communion administered by women only (who administered Holy Communion to priests, if you please), women in the sanctuary alongside the bishops, use of a ridiculously large host, the size of the Cardinal’s head, use of the formula of consecration “shed for you and for all”, appearance of a nearly naked woman depicting Eve and a discourse by a Communist politician affirming that democracy is in the Gospel.

However, the worst is not just that Bishop Rifan participated actively in the fullest possible way in such a sacrilegious ceremony, but that the priests of the Society of Saint John Vianney in Campos are now justifying such an “occasional” participation, as a manifestation of their unity with the Holy Father, and with the Catholic Episcopacy, and their recognition of the new rite as the “official rite of the Latin Church”. Moreover, they further add, that if we were to admit that “the New Mass is in itself invalid or heretical or sacrilegious or heterodox or sinful or illegitimate or non-Catholic, we must draw the theological conclusions…, namely that for decades every day an illegitimate and sinful worship has been offered to God…and that the gates of Hell have prevailed against the Church”.


It is their failure to make the necessary distinctions that is at the root of their error of logic. There are, in the new liturgy, varying degrees of sacrilege and danger to the Faith, depending on the circumstances and the way it is celebrated. However, this does not mean that it is always and necessarily all bad, heretical, invalid, heterodox or non-Catholic. Being made up by a fusion of Protestant and Modernist conceptions with elements of Catholic Tradition, all covered over by the confusion of ambiguity allied with some external appearances of Catholicity, it lacks the perfection that it ought to have, namely that of fully expressing the Catholic teaching on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as defined by the Council of Trent. This is why it is evil, for evil is the absence of the perfection or goodness that a thing ought to have. Hence the New Mass is evil in itself: - not just because of some abuses, but because even as published by Rome, its ability to attain its goal, the greater honor and glory of God and the salvation of souls, is radically overturned.

The New Mass undermines, destroys, weakens, dilutes the Faith in all that is Sacred, in the Real Presence, in the Sacrifice of the Cross, in the divinity of Christ, all the things that ought to strengthen and build the supernatural life of grace. It cannot attain its end of giving due glory to God, for it does not adequately express the Catholic Faith, which is the root of the salvation that the Mass applies to our souls. Nevertheless, to affirm that the New Mass is evil in itself, is not to say that everything in it is bad or non-Catholic, or that it is invalid, heretical and heterodox, or that it is non-Catholic in the sense that those who celebrate it are not Catholics, or no longer have the Catholic Faith. Hence to affirm that the New Mass is evil in itself, is certainly to affirm that it is illegitimate and objectively sinful, but not at all that the gates of Hell have prevailed against the Church. No, it is to affirm that evil has entered into the Church, has corrupted the liturgy, has perverted it from its true goal to the practice of humanism, naturalism and social justice.


Consequently, to affirm that the New Mass is illegitimate and sinful is not to affirm that there is nothing Catholic left, that those who use it have all lost the Faith, that no graces can be received by those who use it in good faith, nor that all Novus Ordo Catholic are heretics going to Hell. Far from it, we all know many good and confused souls, who feel that they have no choice. This does not, however, change the fact that if they save their souls, it will be despite all the novelties and changes introduced into the Mass, and not because of them; it will be despite the Protestant and Modernist confusion of the New Mass, and not because of it.

Consequently, it is perfectly possible to condemn the New Mass as evil, to refuse to celebrate or concelebrate it even one time, as did Archbishop Lefebvre in 1976, to denounce it as illegitimate and sinful, to consider that it is in no way the official rite of the Latin Church, without refusing Communion with the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops who, alas, celebrate it. No, the Church is suffering its Passion, it is suffering on account of the false ideas, the weakness and tragic betrayal of its supernatural mission by many of its members, including its visible head, as in the time of St. Peter himself. However, the gates of Hell have not prevailed, nor ever will they, for God will never allow the Church Herself, with the full and proper authority of her Magisterium, to teach error, nor to fail in her mission of supernatural sanctification, despite the weakness of her members.

We owe a great deal to Michael Davies (R.I.P.) for his defense of Tradition over the years. However, it is sad to note that the priests of Campos base themselves upon his thesis that the New Mass is neither sacrilegious nor evil in itself to justify this participation in the New Mass. This logic is unquestionably correct. Once one accepts that the New Mass is not bad, nor offensive to God, nor destructive of the Faith, but simply less good than the traditional Mass, then one has the obligation to assist at it or participate in it if required to do so. This ceremony is the consequence of a theory blatantly opposed to common sense.

To demonstrate this radical about face, allow me simply to quote two of the 62 reasons prepared by the priests of Campos “why in conscience, we cannot attend the New Mass”:

Because the New Mass is not an unequivocal Profession of Catholic Faith, which the traditional Mass is, but rather ambiguous and Protestant. Therefore since we pray as we believe, it follows that we cannot pray with the New Mass in Protestant fashion and still believe as Catholics!

Because we recognize the Holy Father’s supreme authority in his universal government of Holy Mother Church, but we know that even this authority cannot impose upon us a practice which is so clearly against the Faith: a Mass that is equivocal and favoring heresy and therefore disagreeable to God.


However, this leaves one further question unanswered. How is it that these 25 priests from Campos, who for 33 years refused all collaboration whatsoever with the New Mass, who put together these famous reasons for refusing to assist at or collaborate in the New Mass, who so well defended the canonical status of traditional priests, persecuted precisely because of their refusal to celebrate the New Mass, have suddenly changed their tune? It was not the death of Bishop De Castro Mayer, 11 years before this compromise took place, nor the need of a bishop, for the Society of Saint Pius X had provided them with one. It was quite simply the political exchange, the compromise required in return for the recognition of their Apostolic Administration. It truly was the devil’s tail. Not only were they forbidden all missionary work outside the diocese, not only were they subject to the diocesan bishop in all their apostolate in Campos, but not they are forced to positively cooperate in the New Mass, and to justify it as well.

Father Cottier, O.P., personal theologian of Pope John Paul II, had predicted this more than two years ago, at the time of Bishop Rifan’s consecration, when he stated: “We must wait a little before asking for other acts indicating that they have come around to our way of thinking: for example, participation in concelebrations in the reformed rite. Here, we must show patience…Unity rediscovered in the bosom of the Church contains in itself an internal dynamism that will bear its fruits”. Prophetic statements indeed. It is sad to note that it took the Fraternity of St. Peter 11 years to accept Protocol 1411, obliging them to celebrate or concelebrate the New Mass if called to do so by the Novus Ordo bishop, but that it only took the Campos priests 2 years to arrive at the same position. Rome’s politics are very clear: Bring them back in with a canonical status, and then exercise sufficient pressure to get them to cave in, and even to justify themselves. This is nothing less than a complete victory for modernism.

The Roman authorities would, of course, like to do the same thing with us. However, they have been prevented from doing so by Bishop Fellay’s wise insistence that he will not even consider the discussion of a canonical status until they admit publicly that all priests have the right to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass. If Rome accepted this, it would mean that they would acknowledge that nobody could be forced to celebrate the New Mass, and that we would have every right to contest its legitimacy, its doctrinal orthodoxy, and the preposterous assertion that it is the official Latin rite, and to defend the Catholic position that it is evil in itself and that it has been corrupting the Catholic Faith for 35 years, and continues to do so.


However, in these matters, let us never forget that our strong convictions will not do us any good, if we do not defend them with great humility. It is not because of any merit or virtue of our own that we are traditional, that we have convictions, that we believe in supernatural reality, the mystery of the Holy Mass, and can see through the humanism of the modern church that empties out the supernatural. It is a special grace of God that we have received. How we must thank God constantly for it, and not condemn those who are confused, in disarray, who are disturbed, who lack clearsightedness, but rather pray for them. We are not members of a political party, nor must we defend our positions as such. We do not have a platform, nor are we on a campaign trail. We do not even want to see ourselves grow in importance, influence, power, impact. We long to decrease, disappear, vanish from the public eye, that Christ might increase, following the example of St. John the Baptist.

We pray that the Church’s supernatural greatness might shine forth, and that this devastating naturalism might be shown for what it really is. We simply long to be faithful sons of the Church, doing our part where God has placed us, whether it be on a convent, monastery, seminary, a traditional parish, in a family, in a workplace – to be unworthy instruments of the life of grace and sacrifice that prepares for heaven and that is so admirably summed up in the Holy Mass. If such were our frame of mind, if we truly understood our need for authority, if we really grasped that the present crisis in the Church is a crisis of conscience precisely because it is a crisis of authority, how easily would we avoid the bitterness and hostility that characterizes our modernist opponents.

May God bless your humble zeal, as you do all in your power to promote the true Mass. Please keep us in your prayers, and if you are able to attend a retreat, do so. The number of inscriptions is down this summer, and there are many openings. We all need the conversion of an Ignatian retreat, namely a radical new perception of the reality of the relationship of our soul with eternity, with our Divine Savior and heavenly King, and with his Holy Mother. Also, do not hesitate to ask if you would like a copy of the 62 reasons flyer mentioned above.

May the Divine Infant fill you all with many blessings this upcoming festival of Christmas, on which day my three Masses will be offered for the generous benefactors without whom we could not survive, and may His Immaculate Mother guard you always under her mantle.

Father Peter R. Scott


Men’s 5 day:             Sunday December 26 - Friday December 31, 2004
                                Monday January 10 – Saturday January 15, 2005
                                Monday June 6– Saturday June 11,2005
Women’s 5 day:        Monday January 3 – Saturday January 8, 2005
                                Monday January 24 – Saturday January 29, 2005
                                Monday September 19- Saturday September 24, 2005


Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia