SOUTHERN SENTINEL

No. 34 February 2006

Regnavit a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X

J.M.J.

February 1, 2006

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

The group picture with three new deacons and four new priestsThe group picture with three new deacons and four new priests

At the end of the priestly ordination ceremony, the entire community of seminarians and priests
gathered together with Bishop De Galarreta in the Sacred Heart courtyard, along with the ministers of the ceremony,
and the four newly ordained priests and three newly ordained deacons, standing in front.


What a great Christmas it was for us here at Holy Cross. We witnessed Christ, Sovereign High Priest, coming down upon the dry land of Australia, and communicating a participation in his priesthood, through the hands of His Lordship Bishop Alfonso De Galarreta. The pontifical ceremonies started the instant the bishop arrived at the Seminary from the airport, on Christmas day, for he was accompanied by all the clergy for the pontifical blessing of the granite crucifix recently erected in the center of the cemetery.


ORDINATIONS

The next day, feast of St. Stephen was the day for the promotion of two seminarians to the Tonsure, for the ordination of eight to the first Minor Orders, namely those of Porter and Lector, and of one seminarian to the second group of Minor Orders, those of Exorcist and Acolyte. The Pontifical High Mass for the occasion was celebrated in the tent on the Seminary grounds, in which special lighting and acoustics had already been installed for the following day’s ceremony. However, the historical event in the Seminary’s history was the first priestly ordination ceremony of December 27, feast of St. John the Evangelist. Around 700 faithful and 25 priests from all over Australia, and even from overseas, were present for the ceremony, during which the four deacons received the imposition of hands, the consecration of their own hands with the Oil of the Catechumens, the power to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass for the living and the dead, and the commission to forgive sins, and professed obedience to their legitimate superiors.

Fathers Ghela, Fallarcuna and Dolotina, all from the Philippines, and Father Taouk, of the Maronite rite from Sydney, then all gave their first blessings individually to all the faithful who gathered around them to request this grace. The preceding administration of the diaconate to the four subdeacons who had just finished the fifth year of their Seminary formation was somewhat overshadowed, despite the importance of this grace and this step towards the altar. The following day, feast of the Holy Innocents, was the day of the First Masses, that succeeded one another throughout the morning.


blessing cemetary cross

Bishop De Galarreta blesses the granite crucifix in the Seminary cemetery
on the afternoon of Christmas day.


In his homily Bishop De Galarreta spoke of the historically supernatural importance of the ordinations, and of our duty to remain faithful to the inheritance of our founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, by living the fruits of the Holy Ghost of which he was such a good example, and by maintaining Tradition, by which alone we can be faithful to the mystery of Christ, true God and true man, to his priesthood, and to His universal royalty, that the Archbishop taught us to defend without compromise. But, the bishop pointed out, the love of the Cross and the Mass is not enough if not combined with devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in particular to her Immaculate Heart, the remedy given for the evils of our times. He consequently called for a Crusade to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both in our traditional groups and then everywhere that we can, that the devotion to the Immaculate Heart might be the banner, the exceptional means, by which we are to vanquish and obtain all the graces of conversion, perseverance, salvation and sanctification that we so much need.

The weeks of January passed at the Seminary with great peace, as one retreat succeeded immediately on another, with four Ignatian retreats for a total of 79 retreatants, and a priests’ retreat as well. The new year for the Seminary is due to start on February 4 with ten new, carefully selected, Seminarians entering into the first year of the four year program. Consequently we are looking for an additional teacher. We also ask for your prayers for the seminarians’ perseverance and for our fidelity in giving them the supernatural formation that will nourish in their souls a profound love of the Church and of the interior life.

New priests with candles in hand

The four newly ordained priests kneel with their candles after the imposition of hands
and the consecratory Preface that made them priests.


INTERPRETATION OF VATICAN II

I would like to take advantage of this newsletter to inform you of a discourse of singular importance, given by Pope Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia on December 22, as the official summing up of the year that has just passed. The issue that must retain our attention is his analysis of the importance of the Second Vatican Council, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, and in particular of the two opposing interpretations of this Council now prevalent in the Church, one of which he considers unacceptable. This issue is of capital importance, for it is the defense of Vatican II that is the driving force between the modernist revolution in the Church, and our refusal of its novelty that is the essential point of opposition to the authorities presently in Rome.

His first admission is that Vatican II resulted in confusion in some way like that which followed the Council of Nicea, whose definition of the consubstantiality of the Son began 55 years of contest amongst Arian and semi-Arian heretics and against Catholics. He furthermore admits that Vatican II has been accepted with difficulty in large parts of the Church, even until the present time. He asks himself the question why, and answers that “everything depends in reality on the correct interpretation of the Council”, blaming the refusal to accept the authority of the Council on a false interpretation. The truth is in fact the exact opposite, as Archbishop Lefebvre observed when he repeatedly stated that Vatican II must be interpreted in the light of Tradition, meaning thereby that any novelties contrary to Tradition must be rejected. (Cf. They have uncrowned Him p. 183 ss).


INTERPRETATION OF DISCONTINUITY

This is the Pope’s distinction. He first of all exposes what he sees as being a false interpretation of Vatican II, that he calls “the interpretation of discontinuity and rupture”, an interpretation encouraged by the Mass media and modern theologians. According to this interpretation there is a real rupture between Vatican II and the pre-conciliar Church, which rupture is not always apparent in the letter of the texts of the Council, which is why supporters of this theory make reference to the spirit of the Council, that goes beyond the letter. According to this interpretation, the letter of the texts would be a compromise made to obtain the votes of the Fathers (How could anyone who has ever read the history of the composition of the texts of the documents ever doubt this?). Yet the real spirit of Vatican II is be found in the novelties that are the fruit of the written text, although not always clearly stated, and that have been promoted in the name of the written text. The Pope goes on to condemn such an interpretation, pointing out that it would be impossible for the Fathers of Vatican II to bring about such a change in discontinuity, this being opposed to the divine constitution of the Church: “The Fathers did not have such a mandate and nobody could have given it to them…for the essential constitution of the Church comes from the Lord”.

The Pope is certainly right in this remark, a final condemnation of Vatican II once an interpretation of discontinuity is accepted. However, the question of the letter and the spirit of Vatican II is not a new one. Archbishop Lefebvre often wrote and spoke about it (Cf. Ibid. p. 171ss), pointing out that the distinction is a false and artificial one, and that it is indeed the spirit of Vatican II that is manifest in the texts, and that the effort to condemn the “spirit of Vatican II” in the name of the texts is doomed to failure, for the texts themselves contain, in germ, the novelties that make up the spirit of Vatican II. In fact, this interpretation of the modernists that Vatican II is in manifest rupture with the Church’s Tradition is obviously and manifestly true not only on account of the many explicit contradictions on such issues as the Social Kingship of Christ, Religious Liberty, Collegiality and Ecumenism, but also on account of the radical disruption in the life of the Church, for example by the undermining of the sacredness of the priesthood and the holy sacrifice of the Mass that are the consequence of its spirit of dialogue with non-Catholics.


INTERPRETATION OF REFORM

The Pope’s attempt to salvage Vatican II is then the real reason for this discourse, in which he develops his own interpretation of Vatican II. It is the second possibility, that he calls an “interpretation of reform” or “renewal in continuity”. Yet even in his attempt to maintain that Vatican II is a teaching in continuity with the past, expressing the deposit of the Faith in a new way, he cannot help but admit the appearance of rupture, for example in Paul VI’s promotion of a new humanism, and the new relationship that now exists between the Church and the Faith on one hand, and mankind and the world on the other. He admits the appearance of contradiction between Vatican II’s acceptance of the spirit of modern times and Pius IX’s “severe and radical condemnations of liberalism” in the 19th century, between the traditional teaching on the union of Church and State and the Vatican II teaching on religious liberty, between the Church’s traditional attitude to other religions and ecumenism.

However, all of this is admitted simply to maintain that it is only an apparent discontinuity, but not a real one, for these decisions of the Church, he maintains, are just as contingent and changeable as the contingent, changing, historical facts that they depend upon. Necessarily included amongst changeable teachings are the condemnations of “certain concrete forms of liberalism or of liberal interpretations of the Bible, which must necessarily be themselves changeable precisely because they refer to a determined reality that is in itself changing”. In one stroke of the pen all the Church’s condemnations of liberalism are wiped away.

Here is the theoretician of Vatican II at his best, logically thinking things through, and explicitly maintaining that the condition for accepting Vatican II in the most conservative way possible is that truth is changing, the Church’s teaching is changing and that the past condemnations of the Magisterium are presently of no value at all. Yet, he maintains, this is not a discontinuity with the past, despite all appearances to the contrary: “It is clear that, in a certain sense, a discontinuity has become effectively manifest, in which, nevertheless, once the different distinctions between concrete historical circumstances and their requirements have been established, it became apparent that the continuity of principles had not been abandoned…It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity on different levels that consists the nature of true reform”.

We are very grateful to this ardent defender of Vatican II for clarifying the condition for accepting the Council, as absurd as it truly is: We must accept that the principles (whatever they are) cannot change, but the Church’s teachings can and must. We must accept thereby that no decision or teaching of the Church prior to Vatican II (or afterwards, for that matter) can stand by itself, for it might depend upon some changing reality. Moreover, since there is no doctrinal teaching, doctrine or anathema that was pronounced outside a precise, particular, changeable, historical circumstance, it means that there is no teaching of the Church that is in itself not subject to reform. Is this not the denial of the Church’s Magisterium? Benedict XVI’s response to this would be, of course, that we must hold fast to the “principles” contained in that Magisterium. But what are they? Who determines them? If the condemnation of liberalism is dependent upon a contingent circumstance, why not the definition of transsubstantiation by the Council of Trent, for was this not the Church’s response to the contingent, historical event of Protestantism and its denial of the Real Presence?

Truly we are grateful that the Pope has attempted this honest justification of the novelties of Vatican II. Yet he entirely defeats his purpose. Admitting that the Church’s essential constitution cannot change, which the radical modernists deny, his option of renewal in continuity necessarily means a change in the Church’s essential constitution. This discourse is of historical importance, for it focuses attention, perhaps for the first time, on the whole question of whether Vatican II really had the power to promote such novelties. Much good can arise from the debate that it will engender.


THE NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY

Meanwhile the consequence of accepting such change explains why Benedict XVI is presently having such difficulties in eliminating just some of the excesses of the liberal, charismatic movement called “The Neocatechumenal Way”. Rome has twice tried to insist that they follow liturgical rules, but has tamely given in to grant them two years to do away with such practices as sitting around a “table” for the eucharist and breaking it from a large loaf and sharing cups in a seated position, and having lay people give testimonies, or a dialogue with the people as the sermon at Mass, just to name just a couple of abuses that are used everywhere in their 20,000 communities. Another of the abuses is the exclusive use of Eucharistic Prayer No. 2 of the New Mass. If it truly were Catholic, expressing the Catholic Faith adequately, and not evil, how could its use, even exclusive, be condemned? Despite two warnings they are apparently determined not to obey to these most basic of injunctions. But can they not, alas, use the Pope’s own distinction between principles and practical changeable applications to justify their own scandalous and sacrilegious practices? Can they not quote the spirit and letter of Vatican II in their favor, for example the exaltation of personal subjective conscience over the objective law and the priesthood of the faithful over the ordained priesthood?

As for us, let us do all in our power to maintain our fidelity to the unchanging teachings of the Catholic Church, its true Magisterium, and to promote devotion to the Blessed Mother, who alone has crushed all heresies in the Church. May we all be instruments in the promotion of the Crusade of devotion to the Immaculate Heart, that we may play our part in restoring all things in Christ.


Father Peter R. Scott
Rector

Fr Fallarcuna's Consecration of Hands

Bishop De Galarreta anoints the hands of Father Fallarcuna
with the Oil of the Catechumens.


IGNATIAN RETREAT DATES AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY DURING THE UPCOMING MONTHS:

COME & BRING YOUR FRIENDS!

Menís 5 day: †           Monday July 10 Ė Saturday July 15
Womenís 5 day:††††††† Monday January 30 – Saturday February 4
                                
Monday September 18 Ė Saturday September 23


View of the altar and ministers as the Bishop prays for the newly ordained priests
during the ceremony of ordination.


Father Dolotina recites the words of consecration
of the Sacred Body of Our Divine Savior for the first time
during his Sung Mass in the tent on Wednesday December 28, feast of the Holy Innocents.

 

 
Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia