40 November 2006
a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X
of All Saints
and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,
term break during the second half of September, the Seminary is
now well headed towards the goal of the year, final exams, then
retreats in preparation for the reception of the Tonsure and every
one of the orders, culminating in the second ordinations to the
priesthood at Holy Cross, on Wednesday December 27. You are all
warmly invited to attend this ceremony, so important for the Society
and for the Church. Three deacons will receive the Priesthood of
Our Lord Jesus Christ from the hands of His Lordship Bishop Richard
N. Williamson during the Pontifical High Mass that will be celebrated
in a tent outdoors, as last year. Lunch will be provided, so that
everyone can stay back to receive the First Blessings of the newly
ordained priests, and so that we can celebrate this day together
as a feast in honor of the priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The First Masses, the following day, December 28, will be celebrated
by Fathers Johnson, Lavin and Curtis at 7:00, 8:30 and 10:00 a.m.
procession with the relic of the True Cross makes its way around
on the Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on Sunday September
held firmly in the hands of Father Juan-Carlos Ortiz.
have of necessity slowed down. However, the painting and carpeting
of the storage sacristy was completed just a couple of weeks ago,
so that the sacristans were able to move in all the sacristy items
that had been spread in diverse places. Attention is now being focused
on completing the second house for faculty members on the Seminary
grounds, whose remodeling has been ongoing for several months. However,
the tiling and plumbing in the bathroom is now completed, and finish
trim and painting are presently being done.
? PAPAL APPROVAL
I have been
asked what we ought to think of the rumors that are now intensely
circulating concerning a new Indult or Motu Proprio of Pope
Benedict XVI, supposedly approving and even encouraging a much more
general celebration of the traditional Latin
Mass. Although at the date of writing there
is no firm proof of the existence of such a document, it seems likely,
on account of the many reports, that it is at least in the process
of being prepared. It seems that the “backbone” of the document
hinges on the principle “there is only one Latin rite, with two
forms: the ordinary (Paul VI) and the extraordinary (St. Pius V)”
and that “these two forms have equal rights” (D.I.C.I.
§144), and that this would give to the Tridentine Mass the status
of “extraordinary universal rite”.
this principle is contested by the Congregation for Divine Worship,
objecting that two rites cannot coexist at the same time, and that
the very existence of the traditional rite is an enemy of reform,
for “Can a church have two rites, according to two different
appreciations of the Council?” (Ib.) The French episcopacy
is likewise concerned because “the risk of loosening the links
of full affiliation of these particular faithful with their diocesan
church does not seem to us opportune” (Card. Ricard in D.I.C.I.
Some have optimistically
interpreted this as Rome’s return to Tradition; others have hailed
it as an official approval of the work of the Society, and of its
“re-incorporation” into the conciliar church. More realistic is
the opinion that the Pope is using these rumors to create discussion
and to push consensus in a more conservative direction, allowing
greater freedom to the traditional Mass but without questioning
the new orientations of Vatican II. This would then be simply the
next stage in the constant evolution of the Church that would make
it always new, due to the constant pulling in opposing directions
of liberals and conservatives, accomplishing the inevitable Hegelian
dialectic that makes reality and that has henceforth taken the place
of the Truth. We shall see if and when Rome feels that it has found enough collegial consensus
amongst the modern bishops to actually publish such a document.
We do not question that such a document would produce many good
effects, for the more traditional Masses that are the celebrated,
the greater the blessings that will be received by the faithful,
regardless of the defect of intentions.
? EQUAL RIGHTS
is impossible to accept that the two rites should have “equal rights”.
Why? It is quite simply that one is a Catholic Mass and the other
is not. The whole question of the Faith, that the Mass expresses,
professes and nourishes, has been left out of this legalistic discussion,
and yet what could be more crucial? For as long as it is omitted,
the resolution will not be Catholic. Pope Pius XII very pertinently
highlighted the close connection that exists between the Mass and
the Faith, defining “the relationship between Faith and the sacred
Liturgy in absolute and general terms” as “Let the rule of
belief determine the rule of prayer”. (Mediator Dei,
§48). As all freely acknowledge, the Mass of Paul VI is a different
rule of prayer for it expresses a different rule of belief. The
question is simply whether or that new rule of belief places the
true, unchanging and Catholic Faith in jeopardy.
of the changes in the liturgical ceremonies and prayers introduced
by Pope Paul VI are clear to many persons who have assisted at both
Masses. The difficulty that folks sometimes experience is that of
reflecting on what the changes really mean, that is of putting them
together as a whole and seeing the systematic and logical coherency
that drives and motivates them, and consequently the differences
of Faith that underlie them. The deliberate obscurity and ambiguity
of the new Paschal Mystery theology, combined with the use of the
technique of deliberate omission to bring about a practical denial
of certain truths, exacerbate this difficulty. Nevertheless a careful
study (Cf. The Problem of the Liturgical Reform, Angelus
Press, 2001) demonstrates the close interior connection between
all the changes and the theological principles upon which they are
The first and
most obvious sign of the New Mass’s rupture with the Faith is the
exaltation of the Resurrection and diminution of the gravity of
sin, of the necessity for Penance and satisfaction and the role
of the Passion as a reparation for sin. In fact, one of the four
purposes of the Mass – expiation - has been removed from the New
Mass, just as vicarious satisfaction has been removed from the modern
explanation of the mystery of the Redemption. Christ’s death is
no longer considered as the payment to Divine Justice of the debt
of our sins (as frequently described in Sacred Scripture), but simply
as the manifestation of His love. The deliberate and consistent
omission, in numerous ways, from the New Mass to state that it is
any more than a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is tantamount
to an implicit denial of the dogma defined by the Council of Trent:
“If anyone says that the sacrifice of the Mass is only one of
praise and thanksgiving…but not one of propitiation…or that it ought
not to be offered…for sins, punishments, satisfactions…let him be
anathema” (Session xxii, Can 3).
A second rupture
with Catholic theology is the New Mass’s presentation of the Eucharist
as essentially a memorial, rather than a sacrificial act. It is
spoken of as “a memorial of the Last Supper” and of the Paschal
Mystery, by which is meant chiefly the Resurrection and no longer
the Passion. Such a memorial is said to represent the Christ’s death
and resurrection not as an unbloody renewal of the one sacrifice
of the Cross, not then as a true and proper sacrifice, but simply
in the sense that it brings Christ’s redemption and victory to mind.
Hence the acclamation of the second coming that immediately follows
the consecration. It is difficult not to see a radical rupture with
the same Canon of the Council of Trent that states: “If anyone
says that the sacrifice of the Mass…is a mere commemoration of the
sacrifice consummated on the Cross…let him be anathema”.
relic of the True Cross returns in procession to the main entrance
of the Seminary at the end of the procession.
A third rupture
concerns the very idea of Christ’s presence in the Mass.
The Real Presence brought about by transsubstantiation, by which
Christ is “truly, really and substantially” present as victim,
under the veil of the sacramental species, has been evacuated, and
devotion to the Blessed Sacrament greatly reduced. In its place
has been substituted Christ’s spiritual presence in the Word and
in the congregation or assembly where two or three are gathered
in his name. Without being a direct denial of the Real Presence,
it is nevertheless not an accident, but is a direct consequence
of a whole new notion of the sacraments. They are no longer considered
as the outward signs that give the grace they symbolize, but rather
as symbols that make sacred things present.
Thus the term
sacrament is no longer limited to the seven sacraments, but is now
applied to every visible sign that is a mystery, that is that makes
a sacred reality present by evincing an act of Faith. In this way
Christ is considered a sacrament, making God present to the believer,
and the Church is considered as a sacrament, making Christ present.
The new definition of the Church contained in Vatican II is not
an accident, but entirely in conformity with this new theology:
“The Church, in Christ, is in the nature of sacrament
– a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity
among all men” (Lumen gentium, §1).
concept of a sacrament, and reducing it to a symbol that presents
the divine, that is the occasion of a religious experience, is redolent
of immanentism, that aspect of modernism that reduces religion to
an experience of God within oneself condemned by Saint Pius X in
1907. Extending the term sacrament to all such symbols rids the
seven sacraments of the specificity that is theirs, namely of acting
ex opere operato to produce grace. Follows the constant emphasis
on other “sacraments”, such as the experience of community and of
the word of God, at the expense of the seven sacraments. Is this
not dangerously close to Protestantism, and is there not a danger
of falling under one or other of the following anathemas?:
shall say that there are more or less than seven (sacraments)…let
him be anathema”
shall say that these sacraments have been instituted for the nourishing
of the Faith alone…let him be anathema”
shall say that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain the
grace which they signify, or that they do not confer that grace…let
him be anathema”
shall say that by the said sacraments of the New Law, grace is
not conferred from the work which has been worked (ex opere operato),
but that faith alone in the divine promises suffices to obtain
grace: let him be anathema” (Canons 1, 5, 6, & 8; Session
vii, Council of Trent).
examples can be given to illustrate these points – whether it be
the prayers of the Ordinary of the Mass (e.g. omission of the Offertory),
whether it be the proper prayers of the collects (e.g. omitting
the fear of judgment or hell or the need for purification from sin),
whether it be the gestures (omission of most of the signs of the
Cross and genuflections), whether it be the church’s configuration
(e.g. place of the altar and tabernacle), whether it be the absence
of any precautions to prevent desecration of particles containing
the Real Presence (e.g. Communion in the hand and no purification
of chalice and paten). But above all, if we maintain the big, overall
picture, we will understand why it is that the New Mass is a grave
danger to the Catholic Faith, why it lacks the integral profession
of Faith that is essential to the Sacred Liturgy, and consequently
why it is evil, lacking the good that it ought to have.
we cannot accept to have two Masses side by side. We cannot attend
traditional Masses celebrated by priests who still celebrate the
New Mass, or who do not see any problem with it. We cannot accept
to regularly share altars and churches with the post-conciliar Mass.
We must continue to revendicate the rights of Tradition, namely
that there is only one true, Catholic, Latin right Mass and it is
the Tridentine Mass, and it is the complete profession of the Catholic
Faith and the rejection of the errors of Vatican II. Here lies the
reason why our Superior General, Bishop Fellay, has consistently
refused to compromise with the Roman authorities and look for any
other than the true solution to the crisis.
Let us at the
same time maintain our Faith that God will not abandon His Church,
and a supernatural hope that does not rely upon human means, nor
expect a resolution of the crisis from such political endeavors
as this new Indult (if it ever appears). Our hope is in our sovereign
high Priest, priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech,
who has not and will not abandon His Church, nor leave it without
the true Mass and sacraments. Our hope is in his Holy Mother, Co-Redemptrix
& Mediatrix of all graces, who will continue to apply her Divine
Son's infinite merits to our souls by her all powerful prayers.
Sacristans clean the newly remodeled storage sacristy
in preparation for the moving in of liturgical items on October
Mr. Jonathan Anthony,
moves vestments into the newly installed vestment chest
in the storage sacristy.
sacristan, Mr. Mark Hardess,
moves a variety of liturgical items
into the storage sacristy on October 14.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
make a note of the following public events, in which all our friends
and benefactors are invited to participate:
to the Minor Orders and to the Subdiaconate.
Masses of newly ordained priests.
Father Robert Michael Johnson
Father Michael James Lavin
Father Christopher Richard Curtis
IGNATIAN RETREAT DATES AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY DURING THE UPCOMING
COME & BRING YOUR FRIENDS!
5 day: Monday
January 1 – Saturday January 6, 2007
January 15 – Saturday January 20
Women’s 5 day: Monday
January 8 – Saturday January 13
January 29 – Saturday February 3