32 November 2005
a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X
and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,
I am happy to include our Superior General’s letter to the
Society’s friends and benefactors worldwide, written for the
centennial of the birth of our founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre,
on November 29, 1905. May we retain the clear-sighted vision that
so characterized him. I would like to thank you for the generous
response to last month’s appeal, that has enabled us to keep
up with our bills, not the least of which has been the failure of
one of our electrical sub-boards in the Sacred Heart wing of the
folks have become a little overexcited at the news of Bishop Fellay’s
meeting with the Pope, a few recent facts are in order. The thirty-five
minutes with the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X
does not compare particularly favorably with the “several
hours” of “constructive dialogue” of the Pope
with Hans Kung on September 24 last. The notoriously modernist Swiss
theologian, and former colleague of Benedict XVI on the theological
faculty of the very liberal university of Tubingen was condemned
by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1979 for his
errors with respect to Papal infallibility, and thereby suspended
from teaching in Catholic institutions. Kung had tried unsuccessfully
for a quarter of a century to have a similar private audience with
John Paul II. The meeting with Benedict XVI apparently did not involve
a discussion of Kung’s condemned error and his recantation,
of which there is no question, but was rather a dialogue on two
subjects: the relations between the sciences and faith, and Kung’s
system of planetary ethics, namely universal Ethics values for all
religions, based upon the principle: “There can be no peace
amongst the nations without peace between the religions. There can
be no peace amongst the religions without dialogue between them.
There can be no dialogue between the religions without a fundamental
investigation within each one.” Such was the principle of
Kung accepted by the 1993 World Congress of Religions in Chicago
as the basis for a planetary ethics. Is it any wonder that Benedict
XVI has rapidly acquired the reputation of being a “Pope of
dialogue”, a “builder of bridges”. (Cf. DICI §122)
SYNOD OF BISHOPS
was the content of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist that took
place in Rome during the first three weeks of October, solemnly
opened by Benedict XVI on October 2, and attended by 250 bishops,
and 100 invited participants and observers, including 12 non-Catholics.
It would have been the perfect moment to promote the traditional
Mass, to restore the use of Latin, altars facing God, the central
focus on the tabernacle on the main altar and Eucharistic devotion
(one Maltese bishop spoke on the advantages of Perpetual Adoration),
to speak of the grave lack of reverence to the Blessed Sacrament,
to abolish Communion in the hand, and by lay ministers (requested
by Archbishop Lenga from Kazakhstan) and so many other sacrileges,
to restore frequent Confession (mentioned by Cardinal Castrillon
Hoyos) and remind Catholics of their obligation to be in the state
of grace, under pain of receiving Holy Communion sacrilegiously.
Little was heard of these subjects.
body for the Pope devoted itself rather to expressing a wide range
of divergent opinions on matters that preoccupy liberals:
inter-communion with non-Catholics, its essential role in dialogue
and in ecumenical practice and the conditions that ought or ought
not to be imposed. Eleven of the non-Catholic observer also spoken
on this theme, requested this inter-communion.
- The administration
of Holy Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, for as
Archbishop Dew of Wellington put it, “Our Church would be
enriched if we were able to invite dedicated Catholics, currently
excluded from the Eucharist, to return to the Lord’s table”.
- The ordination
of married men to remedy the lack of priests, for as Bishop Brown
of Hamilton put it so glibly, “Why does it seem possible
for former married priests of the Anglican communion to be ordained
and to become Catholic priests, whereas former Catholic priests,
dispensed of their vow of chastity are not authorized to fulfill
- The increased
role of the laity in the Liturgy on account of the lack of priest.
promotion of inculturation, “for the Eucharist merits to
receive the best of our cultures” said Bishop Onaiyekan
from Nigeria (What about our Catholic culture, and our Gregorian
Chant, one might well ask).
- The problem
of the lack of participation in the Eucharistic prayer part of
the Eucharist, as a consequence of which it “has proved
to be the anticlimax” (Bishop Risi from South Africa).
what such an exchange of opinions could possibly seek to accomplish,
and why the opportunity was not seized upon to make authoritative
and categorical statements to remedy the manifest grave loss of
respect and devotion for the Blessed Eucharist. Only one explanation
seems possible: the preoccupation with dialogue, perceived as a
solution. Yet exchanges of opinion can only produce mutual understanding
and acceptation. They cannot produce consensus, nor consequently
unity. It is only the exercise of authority, based upon the Faith,
that can reconstitute the supernatural order, the honor due to our
Eucharistic King, the central role in the Catholic life of this
Most Blessed Sacrament, Mystery of Faith, fountain of unity, focus
of our adoration, source of our thanksgiving, inspiration for all
true Love, root of our hope to obtain all blessings, only effective
reparation for our numerous sins. Let us pray for the universal
restoration of the traditional Mass, only full and adequate expression
of our Faith in the inestimable blessing of the Sacrifice and Sacrament
of the Most Holy Eucharist.
in Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament,
Father Peter R. Scott
Seminarians lined up with bicycles donated by our butcher, on one
of their Wednesday afternoon outings.
Seminarians at work peeling vegetables after breakfast, together
with the Seminary cook, Mr. Guy Finnie, whose example of peace,
calm and hard work is always a great inspiration to them.
SUPERIOR GENERAL’S LETTER TO
FRIENDS & BENEFACTORS NO. 68
Dear Friends & Benefactors,
In a few weeks
we shall have the great joy of celebrating the centenary of the
birth of our venerated founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. What
an extraordinary figure this tireless missionary presents, missionary
first of all in Africa to bring the Gospel, and then missionary
in Europe and the whole world so that the Catholic Faith might be
preserved whole and entire.
We would like
to dwell upon his magnificent stature and the profound virtues that
characterized him throughout his life, but in light of the audience
we had at the end of August with Pope Benedict XVI, we shall be
content to reproduce a document that sheds light both on the wisdom
and perspicacity of our founder, as well as upon the rule which
guided him and which we, too, wholly espouse.
In 1966, thus
just a year after the Council's close, Archbishop Lefebvre responded
to questions posed by the Prefect of the Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani,
on the situation in the Church in the following letter:
I dare say that
the present evil seems to me something very much more serious than
the negation or placing in doubt of any one truth of our faith.
It manifests itself in our day by an extreme confusion of ideas,
by the disaggregation of the Church's institutions, religious institutes,
seminaries, Catholic schools, and, finally, of what had been the
Church's permanent support; but it is nothing other than the logical
continuation of the heresies and errors which have been sapping
the Church for the last several centuries, especially since the
liberalism of the 19th century, which has done its utmost, no matter
the cost, to reconcile the Church and the ideas that culminated
in the French Revolution. In the measure that the Church has opposed
these ideas, which are contrary to sane philosophy and theology,
it has advanced; on the contrary, the least compromise with these
subversive ideas has provoked an alignment of the Church with civil
law and risked making it a slave to civil society.
time groups of Catholics let themselves be attracted by these myths,
the Popes courageously corrected them, instructed them, and, if
need by, condemned them. Catholic liberalism was condemned by Pius
IX, modernism by Leo XIII, Sillonism by St. Pius X, communism by
Pius XI, and neo-modernism by Pius XII. Thanks to this admirable
vigilance, the Church was strengthened and developed. Conversions
of pagans and Protestants were very numerous, heresy was completely
routed, and the States accepted legislation in keeping with Catholic
groups of religious imbued with these false ideas succeeded in spreading
them through Catholic Action, and in the seminaries thanks to a
certain indulgence on the part of bishops and the toleration of
certain Roman dicasteries. It was from among these priests that
bishops were soon to be chosen.
It is in this
context that we must situate the Council, which, through the work
of the Preparatory Commission, was preparing to proclaim the truth
in the face of these errors in order to make them disappear for
a long time from the Church's midst. It would have spelled the end
of Protestantism and the beginning of a new, fruitful era of the
But this preparation
was odiously rejected in order to make way for the worst tragedy
the Church has ever suffered. We have witnessed the marriage of
the Church with liberal ideas. It would be to deny the evidence
and to shut one's eyes not to affirm courageously that the Council
allowed those who profess the errors and tendencies condemned by
the Popes named above to legitimately believe that their doctrines
were henceforth approved.
One can and one unfortunately must affirm that, in a general way,
when the Council innovated, it shook the certitude of the truths
taught by the authentic magisterium of the Church as belonging definitively
to the treasure of Tradition.
Whether it be
the transmission of the bishops' jurisdiction, the two sources of
Revelation, the inspiration of Scripture, the necessity of grace
for justification, the necessity of Catholic baptism, the life of
grace among heretics, schismatics and pagans, the ends of marriage,
religious liberty, the last things, etc.: on all these fundamental
points, the traditional doctrine was clear and unanimously taught
in Catholic universities. Now, numerous Conciliar texts on these
truths henceforth allow doubts.
have been rapidly drawn and applied to the life of the Church:
- Doubts about
the necessity of the Church and the sacraments lead to the disappearance
of priestly vocations.
- Doubts about
the necessity and the nature of the “conversion” of
every soul lead to the disappearance of religious vocations, the
ruin of traditional spirituality in the novitiates, and the futility
of the missions.
- Doubts about
the legitimacy of authority and the duty of obedience provoked
by the exaltation of human dignity, the autonomy of conscience,
and of freedom shake all societies starting with the Church, religious
societies, the dioceses, civil society, and the family.
The normal result
of pride is the burgeoning of the concupiscence of the eyes and
of the flesh. Perhaps one of the most frightful observations to
be made about our epoch is to note to what a level of moral degradation
most Catholic publications have descended. They speak without the
least reticence about sexuality, birth control by any means, the
legitimacy of divorce, of co-education of dating, of dances as a
necessary part of Christian education, of priestly celibacy, etc.
- Doubts about
the necessity of grace in order to be saved provoke the undervaluing
of baptism and its postponement, and the abandonment of the sacrament
of penance. Moreover, this especially involves an attitude of
priests and not of the faithful. The same goes for the Real Presence:
it is the priests who act as if they no longer believed by hiding
the Sacred Host, by suppressing all marks of respect towards the
Blessed Sacrament and all the ceremonies in Its honor.
- Doubts about
the necessity of the Church as the unique source of salvation
and about the Catholic Church as the only true religion originating
in the declaration on ecumenism and religious liberty, destroy
the authority of the Church's magisterium. Indeed, Rome is no
longer the unique and necessary “Magistra Veritatis”.
the facts, it is necessary to conclude that the Council has favored,
inconceivably, the diffusion of liberal errors. Faith, morals, and
ecclesiastical discipline have been shaken in their foundation according
to the predictions of all the Popes.
of the Church is rapidly advancing. By an exaggerated authority
given to the episcopal conferences, the Sovereign Pontiff has rendered
himself ineffectual. In a single year how many painful examples
of this have we witnessed! Still, the Successor of Peter, and he
alone, can save the Church.
Here are the
solutions recommended by Archbishop Lefebvre:
Let the Holy
Father surround himself with vigorous defenders of the Faith; let
him designate them in the important dioceses. Let him deign, by
important documents, to proclaim truth, pursue error without fear
of contradictions, without fear of schisms, without fear of questioning
the pastoral dispositions of the Council.
May the Holy
Father deign: to encourage the bishops to uphold faith and morals,
each in his respective diocese, as befits every good pastor; to
support the courageous bishops, encouraging them to reform their
seminaries and to restore studies according to St. Thomas; to encourage
the general superiors to uphold in the novitiates and communities
the fundamental principles of Christian asceticism, especially obedience;
to encourage the development of Catholic schools, a doctrinally
sound Catholic press, associations of Catholic families; and, finally,
to reprimand the instigators of errors and reduce them to silence.
The Wednesday allocutions cannot replace encyclical letters, mandates,
and letters to bishops.
it is bold of me to express myself in this way! But it is from a
burning love that I write these lines, love of God's glory, love
of Jesus, love of Mary, love of the Church and of the Successor
of Peter, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ....
been said, and even today there is nothing to add or remove from
this remarkable analysis of the logical consequences of the Council,
replaced in its historical context, and of the reforms that were
then on the horizon, and even of the depth of the crisis which had
struck the Church and from which she has still not escaped, held
fast by the principles with which the Council and the popes have
We think quite
frankly that the solution to the problem that the Society creates
for Rome is intimately linked to the resolution of the crisis which
has struck the Church. The day that the authorities again look with
a benevolent eye and with hope upon the Church's past and her Tradition,
they will be able to get beyond the rupture caused by the Council
and to be reconciled with the eternal principles on which the Church
has been built for twenty centuries; they will be able to draw strength
and to find the solution to the crisis. And then there will no longer
be a Society of Saint Pius X “problem”.
That is the
reason for our discussions with the Holy See. That is the fundamental
problem. The new Mass and the Council are just the tip of the iceberg
that has struck the barque of the Church; the spirit of the Council
proceeds from liberalism, from Protestantism, and, ultimately, from
the revolt against God which will mark the history of men until
the end of time. What would be the point of an accord that would
consist in letting oneself be sunk by the iceberg.
thank you for all your prayers and generous sacrifices. All of that
is very precious to us. In our visits to Rome and in all our activities,
we rely very much upon them. Please be assured in return of the
seminarians' prayers and ours at the foot of the altar in thanksgiving
for your unceasing generosity.
On the Feast
of St. Michael
September 29, 2005
+ Bernard Fellay
May Our Lord's
sacrifice be your daily support! May the Immaculate Heart of Mary
be your protection and refuge. With all my gratitude, I bless you.
of the Seminarians relaxing, reading Geographic magazines
in the recreation room of the St. Joseph House during the evening
of the Seminarians playing pool,
also in new the recreation room downstairs in the St. Joseph House.
IGNATIAN RETREAT DATES AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY DURING THE UPCOMING
COME & BRING YOUR FRIENDS!
5 day: † Monday
January 2 – Saturday January 7, 2006
January 16 – Saturday January 21
Womenís 5 day:††††††† Monday January 9 – Saturday January
January 30 – Saturday February 4
IMPORTANT UPCOMING EVENTS
Engagements in the Society of Saint Pius X
Thursday December 8, 2005: 10:30 a.m.
to the Tonsure and Minor Orders
Friday December 23, 2005: 9:30 a.m.
to the Diaconate and Priesthood
Tuesday December 27, 2005: 9:00 a.m.
Masses of newly ordained priests
Wednesday December 28, 2005:7:00, 8:00, 9:00 & 10:00 a.m.
faithful are warmly invited to participate in all these important
in the life of the Seminary and of the Society of Saint Pius