No. 47July 2007

Regnavit a ligno Deus

July 16, 2007

Dear friends & benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

It was just one week after returning for the second term that we received the welcome news of Benedict XVI’s long awaited Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, granting limited permission for the celebration of the traditional Mass, traditional rites of the sacraments and traditional breviary. We sang a Te Deum in gratitude for this victory in our struggle for the integrity of the Catholic Faith. Meanwhile, the work on improving our buildings has continued apace. The doors and woodwork on the Philosophy classroom have been repaired and repainted, as well as one window replaced. A fourth cell is in the process of remodeling. A garden has been created around the statue of St. Michael. Most importantly five sub-boards providing power to the main building (Sacred Heart wing), have been replaced as part of an ongoing and expensive plan to replace all the defective and dangerous old wiring in the building.


I am happy to attach to this letter Bishop Fellay’s explanation on the occasion of the Motu proprio. It is true that this document does not directly affect those of us who have always been convinced of our right to the traditional Mass, but it is a major victory in our combat for the Church, and will, over a long period of time, be an important step in the return to Tradition. The most extraordinary and astonishing admission, made both in the document itself, and in the Pope’s letter to the world’s bishops, is that the traditional Mass was never abrogated. This means that since 1969 the traditional Mass has always been perfectly permissible, regardless of what we have constantly been told to the contrary. These are the Pope’s own words: “As for the use of the 1962 Missal as an extraordinary form of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle was always permitted”. The Pope even goes further. He goes so far as to say that it could not have been abrogated: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”


What a contrast this is to the statements of Pope Paul VI, who whilst never formally stating the abrogation of St. Pius V’ Quo Primum, nevertheless constantly maintained that the New Mass had “force of law” (April 3, 1969), that it would “replace” (April 6, 1969) the traditional Mass as of November 30, 1969, and that it was consequently obligatory. This is how categorically he described the obligation of this obedience, faced with objections, in his general audience of November 19, 1969: “The reform about to be implemented, then corresponds to an authoritative mandate of the Church. It is an act of obedience, an attempt by the Church to maintain Her true nature. It is a step forward in Her authentic tradition. It is a demonstration of fidelity and vitality to which we all should render prompt adherence…We shall do well to accept it with joyous enthusiasm and to implement it with prompt and unanimous observance”. (Davies, Pope Paul’s New Mass, p. 557). He was to repeat the same obligation in his discourse to the Consistory on May 24, 1976: “The adoption of the New Mass is certainly not left to the free decision of the priests and faithful…The New Ordo was promulgated to take the place of the old one.”

Until now, these statements have never been changed, but rather maintained by the Roman authorities. We are particularly grateful for this document because it is an admission that Paul VI was wrong, that he had a false notion of the Church’s tradition (that he invoked for it) and was in contradiction with St. Pius V. In fact, this Motu proprio is a direct contradiction of Paul VI. We saw this abandonment of post-conciliar reforms for the question of the translation of the “pro multis”, and now we have seen it with obligation of the New Mass. We can expect to see it in other areas of doctrine and practice that are in contradiction with the Church’s Tradition. However, it is particularly ingenuous, if not hypocritical, for Benedict XVI to now pretend that Paul VI never wanted to make the new rite obligatory, by this misleading statement: “At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal.” In truth, Paul VI foresaw no such “possible use”.


Does this mean that Benedict XVI has suddenly become traditional? Not at all. This Motu proprio freeing the celebration of the traditional Mass from the stigma of illegality is nevertheless not a blanket permission. It is only allowed in certain circumstances, and is not to be allowed in public and in parishes unless it be “where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition” and who requests it (Art. 5, §1) or for special circumstances. The size and interpretation of “a stable group of faithful” is deliberately left ambiguous, but it seems to indicate that the group must already exist, and that the pastor is not to create it. It also states that, apart from the eventual possibility of personal parishes just for the traditional rites, only one Mass on Sundays and holy days is permitted in the traditional rite (Art. 5, §2).

However, most damning is Benedict XVI’s response to the fear, that he considers unfounded, that the use of the traditional rite of Mass will not cause division, for it does not call into question, he says, the authority of Vatican II. His gratuitous assertion does nothing to allay the bishops’ fear. Does not the traditional Mass express the un-ecumenical integrity of the Faith so effectively undermined by Vatican II? In any case, why would anyone want to celebrate it if it were not to call into question the liturgical reform of Vatican II? The pretense that it is but to be an “extraordinary form” of the Roman rite, for there are but “two uses of one and the same rite” is equally unconvincing nor does it do anything to change the reality.

The Pope goes further in his promotion of the New Mass. Not only does he claim that the “ordinary form” of the Roman liturgy remains the Mass of Paul VI, but he goes on to praise its sacredness, all the while deploring the “arbitrary deformations” that the creation of the new Missal made possible. “Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.”


Why, then, did Benedict XVI issue this Motu proprio? What is his motive? He seems to be in full contradiction with himself. He is making this big effort to allow the traditional Mass, and yet at the same time he states that what he really wants us is for us to accept the holiness of the New Mass. The answer is in the “positive reason” he gives for it, namely “interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church”. It is not really at all for the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre, as the Indult had been, for Benedict XVI discounts those who do not accept “the binding character of the Second Vatican Council”.

The reconciliation that he seeks is much deeper. It is a doctrinal and liturgical reconciliation with the Church’s past; it is the effort to show continuity, to prove that there is “no contradiction”, “no rupture” that is his entire focus. If the Church is to stay Catholic, if it is to continue to exist, it cannot be in rupture or contradiction with itself, as the modernists with their aggiornamento stated after Vatican II. What was once said to be a novelty must now be regarded as living tradition, in continuity and not in rupture with the past. Tradition is called living because it is no longer the passing down of an objective deposit of Faith, but is of its very nature changing. Living tradition is evolution with continuity, and so likewise is truth, dogma and liturgical worship. The peaceful coexistence of both forms of the liturgy, new and traditional, and the consideration that they are but two uses and not two rites, is supposed to prove the continuity, to establish the fact of non-rupture, just as the coexistence of Vatican II and preexistent teachings on the necessity of belonging to the Church is proof of non-rupture.

This is the reconciliation that must be established at all costs. Contradiction there cannot be, according to the Pope’s Hegelian mindset, as long as we are mutually understanding and accepting. For truth, reality and sacredness lie in the continuous changing process, in the “living” aspect of Tradition as much as in its content. The value and sacredness of the liturgy does not consist in certain ceremonies, prayers, gestures, but in the way they are lived and experienced. The objective opposition between the symbolism and meaning of the traditional rite and the new rite is not relevant. They are two uses, for they represent one living experience. The actual coexistence of both uses is absolutely crucial to establishing the Pope’s point that in fact there has been no rupture; a reconciliation deplored by truly traditional Catholics and modernist bishops alike.


But, you might say, surely we can attend these Masses. They will be traditional Masses. They are not Indult Masses, for they no longer presume a special indult or permission, but are based upon the correct principle that the traditional rite was never abrogated. The Motu proprio itself does not attach any explicit and unacceptable conditions, as did the Indult. This delicate question can be resolved on two levels, one doctrinal and one liturgical. The first consideration is doctrinal. If we have won a battle for the celebration of the true Mass, we have not yet won it with respect to the profession of the true Faith, uncontaminated by the errors of Vatican II. Our attendance at Mass must be a profession of this true Faith, whole and entire. Hence the obligation of assisting at the Masses of those priests who stand up against the errors of Vatican II and refuse the idea of “non rupture”.

The second consideration is liturgical. Benedict XVI assures the Novus Ordo bishops of their ultimate control: “Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop…the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene”. Furthermore, he encourages the assistance at each of the two opposed rites. In fact, he goes so far as to propose that they be mixed in the same celebration, a confusing desecration not even permitted under the Indult: “For that matter, the two forms of the usage of the Roman rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal.” The mind boggles at the consequences of such a principle, the practical application of which the Ecclesia Dei commission is supposed to study. The principle of alternating and mixing celebrations seems important to the Pope to establish non rupture between the two “uses”. However, it would inevitably greatly weaken the traditional Faith and the convictions of the faithful. It is for this reason that Archbishop Lefebvre, when giving profound reasons why our faithful ought not to attend the Indult Mass, pointed out that they must not attend the traditional Masses of those priests who still celebrate the New Mass, and who are not determined to combat the evils of the New Mass. These were his precise words in 1985:

“Generally speaking, we counsel the faithful against attending the Mass of those priests who have abandoned the combat against the New Mass. It is much to be feared that one day they will be obliged by their bishop to also celebrate the New Mass, to celebrate both Mass, and even to concelebrate, to accept giving Communion in the hand and of celebrating Mass facing the people. All of these things are entirely repugnant to us, and that is the reason why we counsel the faithful not at attend the Masses of these priests…As for us, it is always the same advice: we think that one ought not to go to these Masses because it is dangerous to affirm that the New Mass is just as good as the old one.” (Quoted in La messe de toujours, p. 431)

These words apply absolutely literally to the situation of Masses celebrated by non-traditional priests in parishes under this Motu proprio. As much good as such Masses will certainly do for those who are still in the Novus Ordo, and as much as we ought to encourage our Novus Ordo acquaintances to request their celebration, so much ought our faithful not to attend, even if they have no other Sunday Mass available. It would be an unacceptable compromise to attend the Masses of priests of the new rite, who celebrate and administer sacraments according to the new rite, or who are at least willing to do so. It would be precisely to cooperate in the Holy Father’s iniquitous policy of a reconciliatory non-rupture, a clever way to mix a little honey with the bitter pill of Vatican II, so that we might swallow it down without even realizing it.

Let not these realistic considerations, however, dampen the gratitude that Bishop Fellay requests that we have towards Almighty God first, and Archbishop Lefebvre second, who have permitted this victory. The Good Lord will bring much more good out of it than we could imagine, and will draw souls to the unchanging truth of Catholic Tradition.

Yours faithfully in the Eucharistic Heart of Christ the King,

Father Peter R. Scott

Letter of the Superior General of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X

Dear faithful,

The Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of July 7, 2007 reinstates the Tridentine Mass in its right. In the text it is clearly acknowledged that it had never been abrogated. Thus fidelity to this Mass – for the sake of which many priests and lay people have been persecuted or even penalized for almost forty years – this fidelity never was a disobedience. Today it is merely a matter of justice to thank Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre for having maintained us in this fidelity to the Mass of all times in the name of true obedience, and against all the abuses of power. There is also no doubt that this recognition of the right of the traditional Mass is the fruit of the very many rosaries addressed to Our Lady during our Rosary Crusade last October; we must now know how to tell her our gratitude.

Beyond the re-establishment of the Mass of Saint Pius V in its legitimate right, it is important to study the concrete measures issued by the Motu proprio and the justification given by Benedict XVI in the letter accompanying the text:

- By right, the practical dispositions taken by the pope must enable the traditional liturgy – not only the Mass, but also the sacraments – to be celebrated normally. This is an immense spiritual benefit for the whole Church, for the priests and faithful who were up to now paralysed by the unjust authority of the bishops. However, in the coming months it will be good to observe how these measures are applied in fact by the bishops and parish priests. For this reason, we will continue to pray for the pope so that he may remain steadfast after the courageous act he has done.
- The letter accompanying the Motu proprio gives the pope's reasons. The affirmation of the existence of one single rite under two forms – the ordinary and the extraordinary forms --, of equal rights and especially the rejection of the exclusive celebration of the traditional liturgy, may, it is true, be interpreted as the expression of a political desire not to confront the Bishops' Conferences which are openly opposed to any liberalization of the Tridentine Mass. But we may also see in this an expression of the "reform of the reform" desired by the pope himself, and in which, as he himself writes in this letter, the Mass of Saint Pius V and of Paul VI would fecundate each other.

In any case, there is with Benedict XVI the clear desire to re-affirm the continuity of Vatican II and the Mass issued from it, with the bimillenary Tradition. This denial of a rupture caused by the last council – already made manifest in his address to the Curia on December 22, 2005 – shows that what is at stakes in the debate between Rome and the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X is essentially doctrinal. For this reason, the undeniable step forward made by the Motu proprio in the liturgical domain must be followed – after the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication – by theological discussions.

The reference to Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X made in the accompanying letter, as well as the acknowledgment of the testimony given by the young generations which take up the torch of Tradition, clearly point out that our constancy to defend the lex orandi has been taken into account. With God's help, we must continue the combat for the lex credendi, the combat for the faith, with the same firmness.

+ Bernard Fellay
Menzingen; July 7, 2007



Women’s 5 day Ignatian: Monday September 17 – Saturday Sept. 22
Women’s 5 day Marian: Monday September 24 – Saturday Sept. 29
Men’s 5 day Ignatian: Monday December 31 – Saturday January 5, 2008
Women’s 5 day Ignatian: Monday January 7 – Saturday January 12

TAKING OF THE CASSOCK: Wednesday August 15: 10:30 a.m. All are invited for the Solemn High Mass and for the luncheon that will follow.

FAMILY WEEKEND: Saturday September 15, Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, and Sunday September 16, Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. All our friends are invited to attend. The schedule is:
Saturday 15: 10:30 a.m. Marian & Rosary Procession
Solemn High Mass
1:00 p.m. Lunch provided for all the faithful in attendance
3:00 p.m. Audio-visual presentation on Catholic Architecture by Mr. Saborido
5:30 p.m. Exposition for all night adoration
Sunday 16: 10:30 a.m. Procession with the relic of the True Cross
Solemn High Mass of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
12:30 p.m. Bring your own picnic lunch & barbecue
1:30 p.m. Annual soccer tournament



Menís 5 day: †           Monday June 18 – Saturday June 23
Womenís 5 day:††††††† Monday September 17 – Saturday Sept. 22
                                Monday September 24 – Saturday Sept. 29

Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia