No. 17

Regnavit a ligno Deus

March 2, 2004

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

We are now one month into the new academic year, which began for us on the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, February 2. For starting on that day all 12 Major Seminarians gave up four weeks of their summer break for an intensive Latin session. Also on that day began this year’s Seminary. We started the year with 20 Seminarians, and 2 pre-Seminarians (who have finished high school, but who are completing additional preparation before entering the Major Seminary), seven studying at A level and 15 at IGCSE level. Of these 22, 11 are new, and 11 have returned of the 13 who finished their last school year here. Their breakdown by nationality is as follows: Australia 11, Malaysia 4, U.S. 3, New Zealand 2 and one each from Mexico and France.

St. Joseph House

A front view of the St. Joseph House with loads of garbage in front.


This increase in enrollment, along with the several additional students expected to arrive in the next couple of weeks has produced a minor growth crisis. 36 seminarians is our maximum capacity, and this does not allow for any spare rooms. A kind benefactor has enabled us to temporarily resolve this occupancy problem by donating three bunk beds, so that several Seminarians can share rooms, increasing our capacity by three. However, it demonstrates the obvious fact that we must overcome our space limitation this school year.


The permanent resolution of this problem is the remodeling of the St. Joseph House, formerly the barn. This solid triple brick 130 year old building has been entirely stripped over the past few weeks, cleaned out of all debris, rotten flooring, old wall board, insulation, rusting bathroom facilities and the like, so that a complete new interior remodeling job can be accomplished. Work started with the pouring of cement for a raised platform necessary for the upstairs fire exit, as well as the opening up holes for doors and windows, and the bricking in of unneeded openings. The next step is the laying of a protective layer over the ground to stop rising damp from destroying the new floor as it did the old one. After this will follow the extension that will be built on the upper level above the bathrooms and the workshop, to be followed in turn by the replacement of the tiles, which are broken in very many places, with a new colorbond roof over the entire building.

The remodeled St. Joseph house will provide for 22 bedrooms, and a large recreation room for the Seminarians. It is urgent that it be completed this school year, or at least by next January. If not, we will be in the unfortunate position of having to turn candidates away. Consequently, I would like to use this opportunity to make an appeal. I appeal to skilled workmen, who might be able to donate one week of their time to work on this project. I also appeal for funds, for the Seminary is presently lacking the additional $200,000 needed to bring this project to completion.

I would like to repeat the offer of dedicating rooms to donors who kindly offer a donation of $10,000 towards this project, and of commemorating this donation with a brass plaque asking for prayers for the donors. Three families have taken me up on this offer, and their generosity is very much appreciated. Donations to the Holy Cross Building Fund are tax deductible for income tax purposes.

remodeling the barn

A view of the upper level of St. Joseph House, entirely stripped for remodeling.


I would also like to remind you of the raffle that our benefactors are presently organizing. The prize for this raffle is a return airfare to London on Japan airlines, including one free night in Tokyo. Tickets are available for $50 each, or 4 for $100 or 10 for $200 or 30 for $500, and can be purchased by mailing a check made out to Holy Cross Seminary Raffle Account to Mrs. Pat Abdoo, P.O. Box 328, Eastwood, N.S.W. 2122. The deadline is Easter Sunday, on which day the raffle will be drawn. Proceeds will go towards the remodeling of St. Joseph house. I have confidence that God will send us the means to bring this project to completion in His own good time, … but I pray that it will be this year. The community is praying the daily prayer to St. Joseph for this intention.


It is my duty to inform you of an important development that took place during the month of January, that was made public by our Superior General, Bishop Fellay on February 2. It consists of a new theological study on Ecumenism, entitled From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy, mailed to all the Cardinals of the Catholic Church, and presented to the public on the feast of the Purification. You might wonder what is new about such a study, for the Society has consistently and repeatedly manifested its opposition to the conciliar practice of Ecumenism. There are two relevant responses to this question. The first is that Ecumenism is now being promoted more and more publicly, and at an exponential rate. Secondly is the fact the theological analysis can deepen our understanding of the profound perversity and danger to the Faith that lie in Ecumenism. Bishop Fellay explains this in these words: “This work of theological criticism was initiated by our founder himself, and has never ceased. However, it is now more necessary than ever, and will continue to be in the years to come, for these errors are now producing more and more poisoned fruits”.

Some people think that it is presumptuous of the Society and its priests to tell the Cardinals and the Pope how to perform their duty. They have responded with questions such as; ‘What right have they to dictate in such matters?’, and ‘Do they think that they can perform the role of the Vicar of Christ?’ Without any doubt such reactions show a lack of appreciation for the gravity of the crisis in the Church. However, the temerity of such erroneous judgments is demonstrated by the cover letter addressed to the Cardinals, which accompanied this theological study. Bishop Fellay, his assistants and the Society’s bishops had this to say:

“Conscious of belonging by right to this same Church, and ever desiring to serve her more, we beg of you to do all that is in your power to give to the present Magisterium, as soon as possible, the centuries old language of the Church, according to which ‘the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it’ (Mortalium animos, Pius XI). The Catholic Church will then become again the lighthouse of truth and the port of salvation in the midst of the world that risks its ruin because the salt has lots its savor.

Please, your Eminence, do not believe that we would want in any way to take the place of the Holy Father, but rather we await from the Vicar of Christ the energetic measures necessary to liberate the Mystical Body from the morass in which a false ecumenism has sunk her. Only he who has received the full, universal, and supreme authority over the entire Church can perform these salutary acts. From the successor of Peter, we prayerfully hope that he would hear our humble appeal for help…”. I ask you if there is anything in such expressions that is not fully and entirely Catholic, that is not docile, submissive and respectful of authority, as strong and unshakable as are the convictions of Faith that underlie them.

Holy Cross Seminary

A view of the new sign installed this past month,
and welcoming visitors at the entrance to Holy Cross Seminary.


Others have suggested that the moment is not propitious for such a study on Ecumenism, on account of the discussions with Rome, which allow for the possibility of a practical arrangement, that a doctrinal confrontation against Ecumenism will not help. Bishop Fellay answers this objection: “The discussions with Rome are presently dead, on account of the pure and simple refusal with which Rome responded to our request for freedom for the traditional Mass. For we consider this freedom as an preliminary requirement, indispensable for all further discussion.”

In the same interview the Bishop goes on to explain that there cannot be a practical arrangement that is not based upon a doctrinal foundation, and that does not propose a solution to the generalized apostasy that the Pope himself, in his recent exhortation on the Church in Europe, admitted is taking place: “According to my way of thinking, it is to be practical, and in any case to be realistic and efficacious, to desire to give solid foundations to our discussions, and these foundations, whether one wants to admit it or not, are doctrinal. Pragmatism is not synonymous with ‘ostrich politics’, and such voluntary blindness, turning a deaf ear to questions of principle, could only produce a deliberately deceptive agreement.”

However, it is ultimately the very large part that Ecumenism has played in the abandonment of the Catholic Faith by so many Catholics over the past 40 years that is the reason why the Society had no choice but to make a further public statement and study on the question. This is how Bishop Fellay explains it: “The same dramatic realities are obvious to everyone, to the Pope as to us. We are in a time of silent apostasy, from which we can only escape by a return to the Church’s Tradition. The response to silent apostasy must be heard with a strong and clear voice. Before the extent of the evil, we cannot be satisfied with ineffective half-measures. If we were we would ultimately become accomplices of the evil that such measures might calm, but without ever wanting to eradicate it”.

This is also clearly stated by the above-mentioned explanatory cover letter, which, commenting on the Pope’s own observance of “silent apostasy”, “practical agnosticism” and “religious indifference” in Europe has this to say: “Amongst the principal causes of this tragic state of affairs, how can we not put in the chief place the ecumenism that was officially initiated by Vatican II and promoted by John Paul II? In the avowed purpose of establishing a new unity, and in the name of a will to ‘see rather than which unites us rather than that which divides us’, is established the pretense to sublimate or to reinterpret to put aside specifically Catholic elements that appear to be causes of division. The constant and unanimous teaching of Tradition, which states that the Mystical Body of Christ is the Catholic Church and that outside of it there is no salvation, is thereby despised…”.


The Society’s superiors go on to explain that modernists who are promoting such ecumenism deny Catholic doctrine, and that consequently we cannot be in union with them inasmuch as they do this, but we must radically separate ourselves from such heterodoxy, entirely destructive of the supernatural Catholic Faith as it is. For the Catholic Faith is either believed in its entirety on the basis of the authority of God Who reveals, or it is not believed at all, there being no intermediary position. “We can never be in communion with the promoters of such an ecumenism which leads to the dissolution of the Catholic Church, that is Christ in His Mystical Body, and which destroys the unity of the Faith, the true foundation of this communion. We do not want the unity wished by this ecumenism, because it is not the unity wished by God, it is not the unity that characterizes the Catholic Church…We are persuaded that the Church cannot correspond to her divine mission if she does not begin to renounce openly and to firmly condemn this utopia which in the words of Pius XI, ‘completely destroys the foundations of the Catholic Faith’ (Mortalium animos)”.

Allow me to simply quote from the conclusion to this long and thoroughly documented study: “Ecumenism is revolutionary, and it affirms itself as revolutionary. One remains impressed by the succession of texts that remind us of this: ‘The deepening of communion in a constant reform…is without a doubt one of the most important and distinctive traits of ecumenism’ (John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint, §17)…In these sorrowful circumstances, how can we not hear the cry of the Angel at Fatima: ‘Penance, penance, penance’? In this utopian dream, the coming back to good sense must be radical. One must come back to the wise experience of the Church, synthesized by Pope Pius XI: ‘The union of Christians cannot be attained other than by favoring the return of dissidents to the only true Church of Christ, which they have had the misfortune of leaving’ (Mortalium animos)”.

If it is true that we, traditional Catholics, are all horrified by these joint religious experiences and ceremonies with non-Catholics, it is equally true that we have much to learn from the Society’s combat against this evil. We must learn to appreciate more the supernatural and unique character of our Catholic Faith, that we might no longer take for granted this extraordinary gift of God, but that praying our act of Faith every day, we might continually renew our gratitude for this virtue that alone can open to our soul the possibility of eternal life. May we daily responding to Our Lord’s promise, “If thou cast believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” with these words of true Faith: “I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief” (Mk 9:22 & 23). May this Lent bring in our souls an increase in the submission, obedience, docility of true fidelity, denied by Ecumenism, that opens up the panorama of eternity to our souls.

Yours faithfully in Christ Our Lord,

Father Peter R. Scott


A view of the new tombstones at Holy Cross Seminary cemetery,
placed this past month over the graves of Mr. Frank Lowry and Miss Joyce Kelley.



Menís 5 day: ††††††††††††Monday June 14 - Saturday June 19
                                Monday June 21 - Saturday June 26, 2004
Womenís 5 day:††††††† Monday September 20 - Saturday September 25
Menís 5 day:†††††††††††††Sunday December 26 - Friday December 31

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Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia