No. 39 September 2006

Regnavit a ligno Deus

September 7, 2006

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

Allow me to begin with a little news to keep you, our generous benefactors, without whom we could not survive, up to date with happenings here at Holy Cross Seminary. The mid-year exam period for the seminarians came to an end on Friday August 11, after exams in Dogma I & II & Moral Theology for the theologians, and in Cosmology, Metaphysics and Apologetics for the philosophers. A three day retreat followed, preached by Father Karl Pepping, who flew up from Corpus Christi in Tynong especially for the occasion. The seminarians were all very grateful for these three days, dedicated to prayer and meditation on the Sacred Heart.

postulant and seminarian walking with habit over arm
On August 15 Brother Postulant, Mr. Michael Murnane, on the left,
and seminarian Benedict Gill on the right, enter into the chapel,
each with his habit to be blessed folded over his left arm.


On the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, a joint ceremony took place. The one first year seminarian, Mr. Benedict Gill, took the cassock, and the one brother postulant, Mr. Michael Murnane, took the habit and the name in religion of Brother John. The ceremony was a moving one as they left the chapel in lay clothes with their newly blessed habits over their arms, returning fully clothed as a religious and seminarian in collar, cassock and cincture. Brother John also pronounced an oblation, promising to live the life of a Society brother during the time of his novitiate, which started on that very day. He also received a crucifix, “sign of the Passion” as a “defense against adversity and everlasting standard of victory”.

This lengthy ceremony was well attended with faithful coming from Melbourne, Sydney and Tynong, and Father Black, the District Superior, in attendance, along with Fathers Pepping and Robinson. All the faithful were then invited to lunch with the community in the Refectory, as a celebration. After the lunch came some dramatic entertainment, in the form of a skit and the production of the first act and a half of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth by Mr. McDonnell’s Literature students. All enjoyed greatly the production, that had been well prepared over many months. Two weeks later, on the feast of Saint Pius X, September 3, the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen was established here at Holy Cross Seminary, with 15 of our altar boys promising to serve on the altar reverently, intelligently and punctually for the greater glory of God and the salvation of their souls.

Meanwhile, the self-contained bungalow apartment for a staff member at the rear of the workshop has been brought practically to completion, and will soon be ready for occupation. After receiving new kitchen cabinets, and a exterior door, the entire apartment, formerly a junk depository in deplorable condition, is now fully furbished – and waiting for a generous volunteer to occupy it. The other area of work has been the storage sacristy. After assembly of the new sacristy cabinets, it was necessary to hang new doors, cut new skirting boards, scrape, sand and paint the ceiling and walls. This job is presently ongoing.

We were also happy that the electricians finally arrived to place new main electrical wiring from the main board to the various sub-boards throughout the building. Further large sections of wiring will also have to be replaced in the near future, but at least we now have a good connection to the main electrical supply, that we will not lose.


It has long astonished me that so few are the vocations who come from this lucky country that has so much going for it, and in which life is so easy, comfortable and contradiction-free. Would they not be a most reasonable return to God, who has been so generous to us? Moreover, it is such a blessed life here at the Seminary, having the privilege and leisure, as we do, to think, reflect, study and pray in all tranquillity and continually on the only real issues that ought to preoccupy our lives on this earth, on the truths and life that prepare for heaven. One would think that young men would be beating on our door, requesting entrance, asking to become a part of this oasis of supernatural conviction and love. Why is this so manifestly not the case? Why are there so few amongst our young people who have the supernatural idealism of the Gospel, so attractively presented by Our Divine Savior himself: “If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mt 19:21)?

I do not believe that it is lack of prayers, for traditional Catholics are constantly praying for vocations. Nor is it a lack of Faith in the Catholic Church or in the supernatural realities that our eternity depends upon. Nor is it the lack of respect for the dignity of the priesthood and the religious life, both greatly appreciated amongst our faithful. Nor is it, simply speaking, a lack of generosity.

Brother receives a crucifix

Brother John, after taking the habit and promising to keep the rule
during the year of his novitiate, receives a blessed crucifix.


The reason  is, it seems to me, a lack of will, determination, commitment, resolution, an absence of the willingness to commit oneself once and for all for a great cause. It is the lack of the magnanimity, the depth of the truly Catholic soul, who refuses the easy answer, the half-hearted solution to the big question of the purpose of his existence. It is the inconsistency of the soul who cannot give a total answer to Our Lord’s invitation, as is so well expressed by St. Benedict in the Prologue to his rule:

“To thee are my words now addressed, whosoever thou mayest be, that renouncing thine own will to fight for the true King, Christ, dost take up the strong and glorious weapons of obedience…our hearts shall be enlarged, and we shall run with unspeakable sweetness of love in the way of God’s commandments; so that, never abandoning his rule but persevering in his teaching in the monastery until death, we shall share by patience in the sufferings of Christ, that we may deserve to be partakers also of His kingdom. Amen”.

If we ask ourselves why this inability to commit is so characteristic of the times in which we live, we must admit that it is the all pervasive influence of the liberal environment that surrounds us. The false modern notion of liberty, interpreted as the “right” to do what one wants (instead of the faculty of choosing the right means to do good, as taught by Pope Leo XIII), has undermined our awareness of the absolute necessity of authority and law, rooted in God’s eternal law as they are, without which we could not be free, but rather slaves of sin. Hence we are slow to appreciate the precious pearl of religious and priestly obedience, the blessed constraints of a rule of life and of a community towards which we must contribute. Hesitant and reluctant in our submission to others, we have in turn difficulty in taking responsibility, and hence of committing ourselves. Fascinated by his own free will, is it any wonder that the young traditional Catholic man is unwilling to take the ultimate responsibility, the public worship of God in the one true religion, and that unique participation in God’s fatherhood for the eternal salvation of souls?

After the ceremony on August 15, with Brother John to the right and
Mr. Gill to the left, along with the Rector and ministers.


This in turn exacerbates the weakness that is inherent in fallen human nature, and that we call the wounds of original sin. We all experience these wounds, the loss of the natural inclination to virtue with which God made us. However, the seeking of self, of freedom, of independence aggravates this disorder, as do repeated actual sins. Hence the four wounds: blindness and indifference to truth in the mind, self-centeredness in the will, weakness in accomplishing difficult things and fourthly disordered concupiscence, the particular difficulty in governing the desire for pleasure, the satisfaction of the senses. We are all aware of how much these wounds pervert the world around us. However, we are less aware of how they pervade even our traditional families. It seems to me that it is this weakened nature, to which the healing remedy of Catholic doctrine, of grace, of mortification, is not sufficiently nor consistently applied, that is the root of the terrifying deficiency of vocations from which traditional Catholicism is presently suffering. The tragic thing is that wherever we look around us, we see is complacency. Just a few priests are concerned about the crisis of vocations. Many of our faithful do not see the tragedy – that Tradition is not rising victorious, that we cannot be the missionaries we ought to be, that the Church’s holiness is not shining forth as it ought, simply through the lack of true soldiers of religion.

"bloody hands"

During a scene from Macbeth, seminarian Ben Besaw
expresses the regret of a soul for it dastardly crime (of murder).


Is there anything that we can do to help promote vocations, on which the future expansion of Tradition entirely depends? Otherwise worded, is there any remedy that we can apply to alleviate these wounds of original sin? Most assuredly. The following words of Archbishop Lefebvre concerning them, directed to seminarians, apply to all vocations:

“Would that priestly souls enter courageously into the spiritual battle to heal their souls of these wounds and to learn to become doctors of souls by their preaching, by the prayer of the Holy Mass, by the Eucharist, and by the sacrament of Penance. Retreats are a powerful means for diminishing the blindness of souls and for healing the other wounds.” (Spiritual Journey, p. 50)

The most effective means that each one of us can take to promote vocations is consequently to lead a life that is entirely and coherently Catholic, resisting the incoherence of liberalism in every domain of life. We will do this not only by praising and practicing obedience and submission, but especially by despising the spirit of the world and its vain worship of freedom, success, pleasure and possessions. It is only then that we will have a true understanding of the mystery of the Cross, and will be able to say with St. Paul: “But as for me, God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal 6:14). To quote Archbishop Lefebvre again:

“Without knowledge of these elementary truths (on the wounds of original sin), one cannot comprehend the Catholic spirituality of the Cross, of sacrifice, of despising temporal goods so as to be attached to eternal goods.” (Ib. p. 51)

There is indeed one thing that almost all of us can do; and it is to follow an Ignatian retreat. If you have the opportunity, for the sake of your soul do not pass it up, nor hesitate to encourage your children and friends to do attend also. These exercises are incomparable in their power, in their effectiveness in bringing us to live the Catholic life in its integrity and to overcome our regular compromises with the world. Who, indeed, would not long to be an apostle of the priestly and religious life, of the vocations that will always remain the infallible sign of the Church’s sanctity, after pronouncing these words at the heart of his retreat, when he offers himself in the service of Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Eternal King and Universal Lord:   

“Eternal Lord of all things, I make this offering with Thy grace and help, in the presence of Thy infinite goodness and in the presence of Thy glorious Mother and of all the Saints of Thy heavenly court, that it is my wish and desire, and my deliberate choice, provided only that it be for Thy greater service and praise, to imitate Thee in bearing all injuries, all evils, and all poverty both physical and spiritual, if Thy most Sacred Majesty should will to choose me for such a life and state”.

I remind you of the retreat dates attached at the end of this newsletter and vehemently invite you to take advantage of them, as the numbers in attendance are somewhat down. You will also find included the prayer card for the repose of the souls of your deceased relatives and friends. These cards are renewed every year, and so I ask you to complete them again. We will place them on the main altar throughout the month of November, and every month when we sing the Requiem Mass for the repose of the souls of our deceased friends and benefactors.

Yours faithfully in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Father Peter R. Scott

truck dumping coal

           The delivery of 12 tons of black coal that was used to augment the wood
  in heating parts of the Seminary during the winter.


Please make a note of the following public events, in which all our friends and benefactors are invited to participate:

Priestly Ordinations.

Sat. Dec.23:

9:30 a.m. Ordinations to the Minor Orders and to the Subdiaconate.
  Wed.Dec. 27: 9:00 a.m. Priestly Ordinations.
  Thur. Dec.28:   First Masses of newly ordained priests.



Men’s 5 day:             Monday January 1 – Saturday January 6, 2007
                                Monday January 15 – Saturday January 20
Women’s 5 day:       
Monday January 8 – Saturday January 13
                                Monday January 29 – Saturday February 3

Group of altar boys outsideGroup of altar boys outside

A shot of all the new members of the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen
with the Rector and minister after the Mass of  reception on the feast of Saint Pius X

boys receiving medals of the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen

The giving of the medal to two of our altar boys, joining the Archconfraternity.

installing kitchen cabinets

Mr. Pekolj completes some finish work in the kitchen of the newly furbished bungalow apartment.

Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia