No. 27

Regnavit a ligno Deus

April 4, 2005

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

On the morrow of his passing to his eternal reward, we cannot fail to “join in the prayer of the Universal Church at the announcement of the passing of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II”, as requested by our Superior General, “commending his soul to the mercy of God the Father and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. Yet we must also pray the Holy Ghost to enlighten the Cardinals, that they might chose a Supreme Pontiff who “will be able to take up the helm of the Church with a steady hand and make good the damage caused in the wake of the Second Vatican Council: liturgical unity and the unity of Faith have been ruined and doctrinal errors have spread amongst all the clergy”, as Bishop Fellay also requests. We cannot penetrate the design of Divine Providence that has permitted such a devastating punishment, nor does it seem possible, according to human calculations, for a Pope to be elected who is determined to make good the damage. Yet it is with Faith in the mystery of the Church, against which the gates of Hell will not prevail, that we pray for the miracle that must one day happen.

Religious, seminarians and priests during mental prayer in the Seminary chapel.


The eternal stakes at issue, and the frightening consequences of another bad choice, prompted our Superior General to repeat once more that the Society “has always disapproved of the indefatigable efforts of Pope John Paul II towards ecumenism, efforts which have led to a weakening of the Faith and of the defense of Truth.” If for the deceased Pope zeal for ecumenism was to be considered an obligation, it was not for simply practical reasons. He himself noticed that it was a one way and rarely returned favor. It was for him a question of principle, of a driving motivation to reconcile contradictories – Catholicism and the other religions, Tradition and the Revolution, Thomism and the New Theology – all on the basis of a universal Redemption.

This principle is the implicit denial of original sin and the supernatural order of grace, as outlined very clearly in §13 of his first encyclical, Redemptor hominis, explaining the Vatican II document on the Church and the Modern World (Gaudium et spes): “By His Incarnation, He, the Son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man … We are dealing with ‘each’ man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united Himself for ever through this mystery” for ”man keeps intact the image and likeness of God himself”. This is the whole problem: if all are redeemed simply by being men, God’s creatures, without any need of Faith, the sacraments or the Church, then certainly all will be saved. Ecumenism is a tragic, implicit but real denial of the entire supernatural order. Let us pray for the only solution: a Pope who is anti-ecumenical because he is convinced of the necessity of the Catholic Faith, sacraments and Church for eternal salvation.


Allow me to announce the upcoming visit of our Superior General, His Lordship Bishop Bernard Fellay, who will be celebrating a Pontifical High Mass on Tuesday April 19, at which the Tonsure will be conferred to our third year seminarians, and the major order of the Subdiaconate to our three fifth year seminarians. We hope that some of our friends may be able to attend the ordination ceremony to accompany our young men as they take these important steps towards the priesthood. I would also like to announce the upcoming pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Pauline Fathers in Penrose Park for Ascension Thursday, May 5, and the taking of the cassock, this year set for Monday August 15.

Father Daniels, Father Bourmaud, the fourteen seminarians and one lay person
who assisted at the 30 day retreat in Marlo, Victoria, in February.

Brother Xavier in kitchen

Brother Xavier, who served as cook for the 30 day retreat

This month of March brought our little community back together in its entirety. It is very encouraging to see the choir of our chapel entirely filled this year for the offices of the community. In fact, if we count the four priests, the four professed religious, the twenty Major Seminarians, the two Brother Postulants and a visiting religious, this gives 31 in the sanctuary. Our number of major seminarians has increased slightly this year, with the following breakdown: 2 in 1st year, 3 in 2nd year, 8 in 3rd year, 1 in 4th year and 3 each in 5th & 6th years – so that for the first time we have seminarians in all six years of formation. Of these, 3 are Redemptorists from Papa Stronsay in Scotland, doing a part of their studies with us, and the others, members or future members of the Society of Saint Pius X are divided by nationality: 5 from Australia, 4 from India, 3 from the Philippines, 2 from the U.S. and 1 each from New Zealand, France, and South Africa. Together with the 15 Seminarians, we are consequently 46, plus our 3 lay teachers and 2 workers. As you can imagine, every room in the Seminary is occupied, for the finishing work on the St. Joseph House is not yet completed, but continues to advance slowly but surely. Over the past month it has been the exterior waterproofing and painting, completion of the bathrooms and the installation of interior skirting that has occupied most of the time.

We have this month to say goodbye to our longest and hardest worker, Mr. Stephen Ashelford, who has been the Seminary’s general maintenance man for no less than ten years. He has been an invaluable help for the Seminary, but must now devote some time to his parents. In the meantime, I am looking for a replacement, a man with a variety of skills in building and vehicle maintenance, who would be willing to take over his tasks.

Brother Joseph supervises during the waterproofing and exterior painting
of the back (south) wall of the St. Joseph’s House, which is very prone to the weather.


Most of you understand the spiritual objectives of our Seminary: to provide an environment of silence, prayer and self-sacrifice in which pious young men can live the ideals from which religious and priestly vocations will flower, in which men of supernatural conviction can develop, in which future leaders of families and society can grow in character. It is to form, as Pope Pius XI put it in his 1929 encyclical on the Education of the Redeemed Man, “the supernatural man who thinks, judges and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with right reason illumined by the supernatural light of the example and teaching of Christ; in other words, to use the current term, the true and finished man of character”.

If all education has this goal, we have in a Seminary several choice means to bring it about: discipline and regularity, silence and mental prayer, liturgy and chant, daily Mass and weekly Confession, service of the altar and spiritual conferences, the integration of religion and other studies, the daily sacrifice of community chores, recreation, prayers and common life, in short all that is opposed to the egoistic spirit of individualism and naturalism, the bane of true, Catholic education.

Even the casual observer will see that there is nothing sad or morose, nothing introverted or introspective, nothing strained or artificial, nothing affected or put on, about these teenagers who live the balanced life of the Seminary, divided up as it is into a careful balance of prayer, chores, classes, study and recreation. Furthermore, if he looks a little closer, he will notice the intensity of purpose and the purity of intention that is applied to each of these tasks, and which the Seminarians constantly learn from the example of the religious and Major Seminarians, who have already consecrated themselves to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. Fathers or young lads interested in such a formation are invited to come and spend a few days with us and see for themselves.

Unashamedly do we profess our conviction that such a formation, although not uniquely directed at vocations at all, will produce them, simply through the positive force of its example. We are all very much aware of the fact that our traditional chapels, churches and families are only producing relatively very few vocations, and that this world-wide phenomenon is a consequence of the many facets of liberalism that are endemic to our modern, easy life style. The failure of our youth to burn with zeal for the holy ideals of poverty, chastity and obedience is but the consequence. Spiritually, the Seminary ought to be a remedy for this, not that it is restricted to those who feel they have a vocation, but simply inasmuch as encourages truly Catholic young men to become enflamed with the desire to live the evangelical counsels, according to God’s holy will for them, whether it be in the world or in the cloister.


However, frequent confusion arises concerning the academic objectives that the Seminary pursues. Striving for excellence in studies is the immediate consequence of the spiritual life, reflecting as it does the combat against sloth, the yearning to understand and appreciate the perfect order of God’s creation, of Truth and of wisdom in every domain of human thought and expression. This necessarily means a struggle against the spirit of mediocrity, consequence of the liberal “do as you like” mentality of the modern world. Not infrequently, when boys arrive here they have been rather influenced by the cavalier, casual attitude towards studies that is not infrequent in our traditional circles, as if they were not that important. Nothing could be further from the truth. We do not require of our seminarians great intelligence or even high achievement in itself, but rather that each one strive for excellence according to his own ability, achieving thus his full academic as well as spiritual potential.

Allow me to quote from one of Pope Piux XII’s last discourses, on the subject of the Catholic school in the modern world: “It would be a mistake to think that because of this (i.e. its profound spirituality) the Christian school holds specifically scholarly tasks in less esteem or has relegated them to a second place. On the contrary, the intellectual objectives, which are the aims of teaching, receive from the school’s spiritual orientation a firmness, a security, and an increased strength.” (Sept. 14, 1958). This applies certainly to the studies of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, but it does so even more to the studies of the humanities that are more directly involved in the formation of personal conviction, and that consequently enjoy a primacy in the academic formation we offer: English Expression and Literature, Latin, French and History, not to mention the initiation to Moral and Dogmatic Theology included in the Religion class.

Pope Pius XII also commented on this in a September 5, 1957 allocution to the French Seminarians: “You must rejoice first of all at pursuing classical studies, for they remain unequalled for the exercise and development of the most valuable qualities of the mind: penetration of judgment, broadmindedness, finesse of analysis and gifts of expression. Nothing helps to understand man today as much as a profound study of history. Nothing can teach one how to weigh the value of words, to grasp the nuances of an expression, the logic of an essay and the strength of an argument as well as the exercise of versions and themes in classical languages.”


This, indeed, is our goal, both for the young men who will return to the world and for those who will study for the priesthood: that they might learn how to think for themselves, understand, analyze, refute error, and communicate their ideas. It is only such thinking young men who can draw the conclusions from the principles of our Faith, whether it be to guide souls to God, or whether it be to contribute in some real way to the realization of the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, the thinking man is not the revolutionary, who goes along with the ideas in vogue, who is like a reed blown around by the shifting winds of human opinion, who embraces the indifferentist, democratic, egalitarian ideas of religious liberty and ecumenism. Such a man claims to be a thinking man, but in fact he simply repeats ad nauseam the platitudes of the majority, meaningless as they truly are, without any understanding of principles, lost in his ignorance.

If a man is to be traditional, whether he be a priest, a father of a family, the leader of a business, or a voice in society, he can only do so if he can think for himself, understand the arguments for Tradition, analyze the errors of logic in those who believe in evolutionism and who would undermine the deposit of the Faith, and refute naturalism with personal convictions concerning the necessity of the Redemption, the Church and the transformation of grace.

As men who adhere to the supernatural order, submitting with perfect docility to what has been handed down to us, it is not reason that we have to fear, but the lack thereof. For the submission and obedience of our Faith is the most reasonable thing that a man can do. To the contrary, it is the lack of true reason that makes a man forget who made him and for what purpose. It is the lack of reason that leads to the pseudo-intellectualism of rationalism, the refusal of submission to the supernatural order. Education is all about clarity of thought, making the correct distinctions, precise expression and profound ideas. They are the only answer to the ignorance of the Faith that is so characteristic of our modern world. As St. Pius X taught: “For it is not true that the progress of knowledge extinguishes the faith; rather is it ignorance, and the more ignorance prevails the greater is the havoc wrought by incredulity” (E supremi, §12). Today’s concentration of high school studies on technical and specifically scientific skills, on work-related or university related knowledge, on various kinds of specialization, is the denial of this true knowledge that education is really all about.

With the upcoming opening of the St. Joseph House, we will have openings for additional seminarians, and we hope and pray that God will send generous young lads, desirous of availing themselves of this unique opportunity. We thank you for your own prayers and support, and commend all your intentions to the Blessed Mother in our daily Rosary.

Yours faithfully in Christ Our Crucified and Risen Lord,

Father Peter R. Scott

Brother Wolff, C.Ss.R., visiting from the Redemptorist monastery in Papa Stronsay,
waterproofing and painting the interior walls of one of the rooms in the St. Joseph House.

Seminarians playing at one of their favorite lunch-time pass times –
handball in one of the Seminary squash courts.


Men’s 5 day:             Monday June 6– Saturday June 11,2005
Women’s 5 day:        Monday September 19- Saturday September 24, 2005


Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia