No. 45 May 2007

Regnavit a ligno Deus

May 4, 2007

Dear friends and benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

The beauties of Holy Week passed, the Seminarians were able to take a well merited two-week break. Meanwhile, the Majors continued their studies, and all 35 were soon reunited in their efforts to strive for intellectual and moral perfection, to live the words of St. Paul: “If you be risen with Christ, see, the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

Seminarians outside of Holy Cross Seminary - click to enlarge

The Seminary’s five First Year Seminarians and four Pre-Seminarians for the year 2007.
  In the back row from the left to the right are Mr. Kuhn & Mr. Cameron (New Zealand), Mr. Okamura (Japan),
Dr. Suneel (India), Mr. Escamilla & Mr. Magat (Philippines),
and in the front row from left to right Mr. Nakila (Philippines), Mr. Ngaruro (Kenya) & Mr. Lomod (Philippines).
(click to enlarge)


Recent progress on the physical side has been so encouraging that I would like to present it to you in color. Work on the Seminary façade has advanced rapidly over the past month. On Holy Wednesday, the scaffolding was moved over to the south-western side of the bell tower and building, again five storeys high. The repair work to rotten wood, gutters, down pipes, and the repainting advanced rapidly, so that the scaffolding was actually removed on April 20th, with just a little trim work at ground level remaining to be done. The new look of the Seminary entrance enhances the majestic grandeur of the old building (1873) with which the Good Lord has blessed us. Meanwhile the planting of oaks around the Seminary grounds continued a pace.

            However, the great initiative of the month of April was the donation and installation of a new windmill, to replace the old windmill that has not worked for more than 25 years. The new windmill, like the old one, is used to pump water from the pond up to the Seminary reservoirs at the top of the hill, which then give the water pressure needed for Seminary use. Mr. Clement McAuliffe, long standing time of the Seminary, and windmill contractor, installed the new windmill during Holy Week.

fan of the new windmill   attaching the fan to the support frame

The fan of the new windmill being hoisted into place
by a crane rented for the purpose.

Mr. McAuliffe attaches the fan
to the support frame.


            This year marks an important centennial anniversary, one which is eminently significant for us in our present combat. It is the anniversary of the solemn condemnation of Modernism by Saint Pius X, contained in two documents. The first of these was a list of 65 errors, taken principally from the works of the well known French modernist, Loisy, whose works had been condemned and placed on the Index of forbidden books several years before. It was called a Syllabus of errors of the modernists, and was dated July 3, 1907, going by the first word in Latin Lamentabili.  

The importance that St. Pius X attached to the problem of modernism is clearly stated in the introduction:

“With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas. These errors are being daily spread among the faithful…Therefore…the following propositions…are condemned and proscribed”

 Three months later, on September 8 of the same year, St. Pius X insisted on the urgency of the danger that Modernism represents to the Church, publishing his encyclical letter Pascendi, On the doctrines of the Modernists. He there insisted on his pastoral duty, preventing him from any longer keeping silence before the “notable increase in the number of the enemies of the Cross of Christ…striving...utterly to subvert the very Kingdom of Christ” (§1), for “the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church…they lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers.” (Ib. §3) Action had to be immediate:

“That we should act without delay in this matter is made imperative especially by the fact that the partisans of errors are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom….thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, (they) put themselves forward as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the Person of the Divine Redeemer, who, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary man.” (Ib. §2)


One would have thought that after a full century the problem of modernism, defined by St. Pius X as “the synthesis of all heresies” (§39), would have been resolved. It is certainly what could logically be understood by the silence on the subject by Vatican II, by the 1993 Catechism of the Catholic Church, and by the post-conciliar Popes. This is also what could have been concluded from a discourse of then Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Presenting a 1990 document on the role of the theologian in the Church, he praised it for stating clearly for the very first time that there are Papal decisions that are changeable and temporary for they are “outdated in the particularities of their determinations” (The Angelus, June 1994, p. 23). This is his text as published in the June 27, 1990 Osservatore Romano and quoted in the Angelus: “(The document) affirms – maybe for the first time ever with such clarity – that there are decisions of the Magisterium which are not to be considered as the final word on a given subject as such, but serve rather as a mooring in the problem, and above all, also as an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of temporary disposition”. He gives three examples, all of which are pertinent: “Papal declarations of the last century on religious liberty” (=Pius IX’ Syllabus, directly contradicted by Vatican II), “the anti-modernist decisions of the Pope at the beginning of this century” (=St. Pius X’ Syllabus & Pascendi), “the decisions of the Biblical Commission to that same time period” (i.e. established by St. Pius X to root out modernist interpretations of Sacred Scripture). (Ib.) The conclusions are obvious: the Church’s temporary dispositions are now past; modernism is no longer the synthesis of all heresies; its opinions are no longer to be considered condemned and proscribed, but perfectly acceptable; its adherents are Catholics in good standing. There can only be one explanation for such a conclusion, namely that the modernist principle of the evolution of dogma was embraced by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

It is consequently surprising to hear that Pope Benedict XVI has written a book, soon to be published, entitled Jesus of Nazareth, in which he admits the gravity of an error that had been condemned by St. Pius X as a typical tenet of modernism, namely the false distinction between the historical Christ and the Christ of Faith. His preface has this to say: “From the 50s on the situation changed. The split between the ‘historical Jesus’ and the “Christ of Faith” became always greater; the one separating itself more clearly from the other. But what signification could the faith in Jesus Christ, in Jesus, Son of the living God, if then the man Jesus was to such an extent different from the way in which the Evangelists present him, and from the way the Church announces him from the Gospels?…The figure of Jesus, upon which the faith reposes, became always more uncertain, took a shape always more obscure…” (DICI §153)

The Pope goes on to explain the purpose of this new book is to counter this separation that renders the Faith so uncertain: “I wanted to try to present the Jesus of the Gospels as the true Jesus, as the ‘historical Jesus’ in the true sense of the term. I am convinced…that this figure is much more logical and from the historical point of view likewise much more comprehensible than the reconstructions that we have to face up to during these past decades” (Ib.)


It is encouraging to see that the Pope acknowledges that modernism is a problem, but alarming that he refuses to apply an authoritative solution, and that he fails to see that his own principles of evolution, undermining Tradition, refusing to accept it as a separate source of Revelation, are at the root of the radical modernism that he deplores. Would that he would renew as such the irreformable condemnations of St. Pius X concerning the person of Christ: For inasmuch as he reduces them to “temporary dispositions” he undermines their entire authority, and that of the Papacy itself. Then he would not just be expressing a personal opinion, as in Jesus of Nazareth, but would use the Church’s full magisterial power to crush heresy and error. He could start, for example, by renewing the following condemnations:

§36. The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.

§59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.

§64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be re-adjusted.”

Would that he would repeat the clear teaching of a century ago found in Pascendi, describing the theories of the modernists:

“Thus, as we have already said, we have a twofold Christ: a real Christ, and a Christ, the one of faith, who never really existed; a Christ who has lived at a given time and in a given place, and a Christ who never lived outside the pious meditations of the believer …(§31) Undoubtedly, were anyone to attempt the task of collecting together all the errors that have been broached against the faith and to concentrate into one the sap and substance of them all, he could not succeed in doing so better than the Modernists have done. Nay, they have gone farther than this, for… their system means the destruction not of the Catholic religion alone, but of all religion.” (§39)

            May God grant us the grace to celebrate this centennial anniversary with the integral and divine Faith that moves mountains, with that humility that teaches submission to the Church’s authority, remembering that “there is no road which leads so directly and so quickly to Modernism as pride” (Ib. §40). Let us love the immutable mind of the Church with the clear sightedness of St. Pius X’ prayer for “the abundance of heavenly light, so that in the midst of this great danger to souls from the insidious invasions of error upon every hand, you may see clearly what ought to be done, and labor to do it with all your strength and courage” (Ib. §57).

            Yours faithfully in Christ Our Victorious Crucified King,

            Father Peter R. Scott

singing of the Passion

            The singing of the Passion of St. Matthew on Palm Sunday, Fr. Ortiz singing the part of the Chronicler,
Reverend Mr. Claret, the Seminary’s only deacon, singing the part of the Synagogue,
and the Rector singing the part of Christ from the altar.

new windmill

            The new windmill alongside the old non-functional windmill, whilst Mr. McAuliffe makes final adjustments.

side view of the scaffolding  
second half of the scaffolding

  A side view of the scaffolding erected over the roof
that covers the enclosed verandah.

The second half of the scaffolding erected to complete
the remodeling, repair and repainting of the bell tower
and front façade.

collapsed spouting  
A close up of the bell tower.

  A view of the collapsed spouting and water damage
on the bell tower – before work began.

The end result, after completion of the work.
A close up of the bell tower.



Men’s 5 day:             Monday June 18 – Saturday June 23
                                Monday December 31 – Saturday January 5, 2008
Women’s 5 day:        Monday September 17 – Saturday Sept. 22
                                Monday September 24 – Saturday Sept. 29

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

painters at work  

Our three painters at work finishing off the final touch up details
as the repainting nears its completion.

Another view of the finish work
to the Seminary façade.

violet antependium

            The new violet antependium
recently made for the Seminary’s main chapl altar by one of its parishioners.


Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia