No. 23

Regnavit a ligno Deus

November 1, 2004

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

            It is our special duty here at Holy Cross to thank God on this All Saints’ Day. For it is both the first time Holy Cross Seminary has witnessed ordinations to the subdiaconate, and also the 34th anniversary of our Society. Indeed, if Archbishop Lefebvre had not obtained the canonical approval of the Society of Saint Pius X on November 1, 1970, then we would not have had the honor of the visit of His Lordship Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, nor in fact would this Seminary even exist. These were indeed my reflections as today I witnessed the Bishop invite our three young Philippino Levites to take the decisive step towards the altar, step upon which their whole life hereafter will depend: “If you receive this order, you will no longer be at liberty to recede from your resolution, but you will be obliged to serve God perpetually, to serve Whom is to reign; and with His assistance to observe chastity, and you will be bound to the ministry of the Church forever.”  


It is certainly a very moving experience to see this commitment of three entire existences, of three complete lives, to the practice of perfect chastity, to the recitation of the Church’s prayer of the breviary eight times a day, to the complete and exclusive service of Holy Mother Church. It is the permanency and totality of a vow that cannot be changed, it is the awe-inspiring responsibility that a young man takes upon himself, it is the profession of the capacity of human liberty to commit itself forever, that bring to a full realization the immortality of the soul and the determination to place its eternal salvation above every other consideration. One cannot help but feel one’s whole being inspired, one’s whole self lifted up, at the sight of such a profound overturning of the fatalistic determinism of modern psychology, that would make a man a victim to his passions and self interest. It is this commitment alone, to obedience and chastity, that makes it possible for the future priest to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. By their consecration to God, therefore, subdeacons are especially set aside for the practice of the holy virtue of religion in its culmination on the altar.

It is in virtue of this offering alone that the subdeacons, approaching the altar for the preparation of the sacrifice, can become “tireless and watchful sentinels of the heavenly army in Thy holy sanctuary, as the Bishop prays, that they “may be able to minister worthily in the Divine Sacrifices, and serve the church of God, that is, the body of Christ, grounded in the true and Catholic Faith”.


If we thank God on this anniversary of the Society, it is especially for the practice of the virtue of religion that it was founded to promote in its members, and that all our souls and all our families desperately need. The Archbishop made this perfectly clear in our statutes, when he wrote, concerning the virtues of members: “This charity (towards the Holy Trinity) will arouse hunger and thirst for the virtue of justice, giving to God first of all what is due Him through the virtue of Religion. Interior dispositions of devotion, of adoration, of prayer will help them to perform with the greatest perfection the most sublime act of Christian prayer – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” (VI,2) It is the practice of this virtue that is necessary to the fulfillment of the Society’s purpose: “the priesthood, and whatever pertains to it and nothing but that which concerns it” (Ibid. II,1), or as Bishop Charriere, of Fribourg, put it in his decree of erection of this day, 1970: “We implore the blessings of God on this priestly Fraternity in order that it may attain to its principal purpose which is the formation of holy priests”.

Indeed, there can be no doubt about it that the essential difference between the true Mass and the New Mass, between Catholic spirituality and the modernist spirit of the post-conciliar church, lies in the presence or absence of this virtue of religion.


According to the modern way of thinking, religion is that assembly of prayers and acts that makes a person feel close to God, that gives within his being an experience of the Transcendent One. The Catholic religion is considered good because the sense of the community, of mutual support, toleration, peace and kindness gives a feeling of God within, which good feeling makes going to church worthwhile and profitable. However, the Protestant religions are also considered good because they give a personal relationship with Jesus. Likewise, Islam, that gives a sense of the Unity and the Omnipotence of God in His justice. Likewise, can some positive experience be found in every religion.

This modernist concept of religion was condemned by St. Pius X in his 1907 encyclical Pascendi, condemning the theory that religion is but a development of the religious sense, namely that God is presently in a living manner in every man, and that this sense of God emerges from man’s subconsciousness to conscious thought, and that in this way every religion, including the Catholic religion, is established. It follows from this that all religions are good, although not equally good, and that what really matters about a religion is not so much what it teaches or what it does, but how it fulfills man’s subjective needs and desires, that is whether or not it allows him to come to the personal experience of religion that is within every man. Allow me to quote the appropriate passage of the encyclical:

“It is thus that the religious sense, which through the agency of vital immanence emerges from the lurking-places of the subconsciousness, is the germ of all religion, and the explanation of everything that has been or ever will be in any religion…This, then, is the origin of all, even of supernatural religion. For religions are mere developments of this religious sense. Nor is the Catholic religion an exception…In hearing these things we shudder indeed at so great an audacity of assertion and so great a sacrilege. Any yet, Venerable Brethren, these are not merely the foolish babblings of unbelievers. There are Catholics, yea, and priests too, who say these things openly; and they boast that they are going to reform the Church by these ravings!” (§10)

These words of our holy patron were indeed prophetic. The reform raved about has taken place, on the basis of the new concept of religion, and it is the New Mass, and all that goes along with it.


Entirely contrary is the Church’s teaching concerning religion. It is a moral virtue, allied with the virtue of justice. It is the virtue that orders us to God, by which we acknowledge God in His sublime excellence and infinite perfection by the submission of reverence that we owe to His Divine Majesty. Consequently the practice of religion is not essentially an experience or an interior feeling.  It is a debt that we owe, and that we must long to pay, at least in as much as we can, for no creature can really pay such a debt. However, if it is true that the fact that we must pay such a debt is written into the natural law, and is expressed by man’s natural sense of religion, the actual payment of that debt is only possible through the law of grace, based upon divine revelation, that reveals to us the God-man, Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of Whom and Whose Church no man could pretend to repay such a debt.

Furthermore, if it is true that religion does not benefit God in any way, but that its purpose is to benefit man, by directing all his actions towards the Divine Majesty, by giving him the means to submit his will and life to the commandments of God and His Holy Will and to share in the divine life, it does not follow that religion is for man, or that man ought to be the center of religion. No, if religion benefits man, it will only do so by submitting him to God. For nothing else but reverence and submission can entirely order man to the infinite Divine Majesty, according to God’s plan.

Religion is, then, in no way ordered to man’s feelings, consciousness or experience. It is entirely to reestablish among men the objective honor, reverence, submission and service that are due to Almighty God, as Our Divine Savior did so perfectly on the Cross. It is for this reason that the Cross of Our Lord is necessarily the center of our holy religion.

The modern revolution, embracing the condemned modernist conception of religion, is clearly demonstrated in the Vatican II document On the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes. This infamous decree, that purports to promulgate the new humanism, redefines the purpose of religion throughout, namely that “It is man, therefore, who is the key to this discussion” (§3), that “Believers and unbelievers agree almost unanimously that all things one earth should be ordained to man as to their center and summit” (§12), and that consequently religion is the means by which “man can fully discover his true self” for “man is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake” (§24). What happened to the greater honor and glory of God, that even Our Lord came to manifest (Jn 17:1 ss.), stating that “if I glorify myself, my glory is nothing” (Jn 8:54)?

These new subdeacons are a living testimony to the objective virtue of religion, their very lives expressing the debt of reverence towards the Divine Majesty, that they will henceforth have the obligation of repaying publicly, in the name of the Church, by their daily recitation of the prayers of the Divine Office. Their devotion is not one of sentimental experience, but one of total consecration, belonging, offering themselves to the Most Holy Trinity, in union with and imitation of Our Divine Savior’s perfect act of religion, offering himself to His Father on the Cross to expiate our sins, or as St. Paul puts it: “as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness” (Eph 5:2). Their respect in performing the sacred ceremonies of the Mass likewise reflects the “reverence” on account of which Christ was heard, and the “obedience” that he learned by the things which he suffered (Heb 5:7,8).

In fact, Archbishop Lefebvre insisted that his seminarians’ souls be entirely animated with the virtue of religion, in union with the Sacrifice of Our Lord renewed and continued on the altar, and that this reverent submission be the heart of their whole life in the Seminary and thereafter: “The young seminarian entering the seminary should force himself to penetrate with all of his soul the life of prayer which unreservedly hands him over to Our Lord and to the Holy Trinity, placing his mind in subjection to Revelation…, placing his will and his entire soul under the impetus of charity of the Holy Ghost, in imitation of Jesus Christ” (Spiritual Journey, pp. 28,29).


We have also to thank God for the ongoing progress made on the St. Joseph House. All the essential new plumbing and electrical wiring is now completed, new insulation has been installed throughout, including sound insulation between the rooms, new floors have been completed and old ones repaired, and most of the concrete rendering inside and out is now complete. We are at the stage of interior finishing, but it is proving to be rather lengthy. Fire codes require two layers of special fire-resistant plaster board on the ceilings. However, the installation of this gyp rock is a lengthy and labor intensive process, being very generously done by our Brothers and volunteer workers.

Unfortunately, I am obliged through circumstances to make an appeal on behalf of some of our seminarians. Since many of their families are very poor and from third world countries, they cannot pay the tuition and board, although it is only $4,000 per year. Moreover, I am obliged to provide health insurance for foreign seminarians, who are not covered by Medicare, at a cost of $467 per month. Several of our seminarians have generous benefactors who help out with some of these expenses. However, there are not enough of them to cover the need, which means that some seminarians are considerably in the red towards the Seminary. Any generous soul who would like to sponsor a part of a seminarian’s tuition or health insurance, or who would like to make a one time contribution towards them, is invited to contact me.

Finally, I thank you for being so many to return the cards to list the names of the faithful departed to prayed for on our altar. If there are any of you who did not receive this card (for we ran out of them), please do not hesitate to ask for one, since we have had more printed. You can be sure that our seminarians will be doing their utmost to gain the plenary indulgence for the faithful departure by visiting our cemetery to pray for the faithful departed for the next eight days.

Yours faithfully in Christ the King, and Mary, Queen of All Saints,

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