48 September 2007
a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X
& benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,
important events have dotted the Seminary life since the last newsletter.
The first was a sad one indeed. It was the passing to eternity of
Father Patrick Fox, C.M., who had been a member of our community
in 2003 & 2004, and who was called to his reward on July 24,
2007. He received a Solemn High Requiem Mass the following Saturday
at Child Jesus and St. Joseph church in Rockdale, and was buried
here at Holy Cross Seminary. At the age of 91, after 67½ years of
priesthood, he was an exemplary model of simplicity and obedience
to the seminarians and priests alike, as well as a great inspiration
for traditional Catholics throughout Australia, for he had never
celebrated the New Mass, and had always publicly stood firm for
Tradition, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X.
mid-year examinations for the seminarians followed soon thereafter,
and were completed on Friday August 10, feast of St. Lawrence. This
was followed up by a three day mini-retreat, preached by Father
Pfluger, leading up to the ceremony of the taking of the cassock
on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our five
first year seminarians all received the cassock, two from the Philippines,
and one each from New Zealand, Kenya & India.
first year seminarians in their new cassocks after the ceremony,
together with the sacred ministers and altar servers.
Our five first year seminarians singing the Gregorian Chant
during the Mass of the Assumption on August 15,
after having just received the cassock
month, I would like to bring to your attention a recent document
from Rome that contains some important statements concerning the
very nature of the Church, known as the new Ecclesiology. Ratified
by Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, it was published by the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith on July 10. It is entitled "Responses
to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the
Church". The very existence of this document is an admission
of the need for a justification of the new teachings on the Church
since Vatican II. The document itself poses the problem:“the
novelty of many of the themes involved continue(s) to provoke theological
reflection” . If it were true that, as the first response states,
“the Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change…Catholic
doctrine on the Church” the entire document and its explanations
would have been entirely superfluous. To the contrary, as the rest
of the document in fact admits, there is something radically new
and different about the teaching of the Vatican II document on the
Church, Lumen gentium, which has to this very day frustrated
every effort to reconciled it with Catholic doctrine.
me quote at some length the relevant passage from L.G. §8:
"The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess
to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic...constituted and organized
as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church,
which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops
in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification
and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Since these
are gifts belong to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling
towards Catholic unity."
The essential part of this passage is the term "subsists
in", namely that the Church of Christ is not identical
to the Roman Catholic Church, as always taught in the past, but
instead subsists in it. The only possible explanation of this
is to teach that in some inexplicable way the Church of Christ
exists outside the hierarchical Catholic Church, namely that there
is no ecclesial emptiness outside the Catholic Church but that
the "many elements of sanctification and truth...found
outside its visible confines" indicate that there are
other churches that are in some way related to the Church of Christ.
This is the explanation given by the official document of the
French episcopal conference: "In order to understand this
text, we must remember that a first version of §8 of the Constitution
on the Church of the Second Vatican Council said that the Catholic
Church 'is' the Church founded by Jesus Christ, which could have
induced people to believe that outside of it there is nothing.
Following on the debates, in which it was pointed out that the
Catholic Church recognizes the baptism of other christians and
that we can see the action of the Spirit in them and in the communities
to which they belong, it was decided to replace the verb 'to be'
by the verb 'to subsist'".
in the bishop’s room.
Electricians insert new conduit for electrical wiring
to the new sub-boards in the accounting room.
HARMONY OR CONTRADICTION
leads in turn to the problem of reconciling this with the unicity
and necessity of belonging to the visible Catholic Church instituted
by Christ, so clearly and repeatedly declared by the Church's Magisterium.
This document is an attempt to explain away this contradiction.
In its own commentary on this document, the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith has this to say:
first sight Catholic ecumenism can be seen in a rather paradoxical
manner. With the expression 'subsistit in', Vatican II
wished to harmonize two doctrinal affirmations: on the one hand
that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions amongst Christians,
continues to exist in an integral manner in the Catholic Church
alone; on the other hand that the existence of numerous elements
of sanctification and truth outside of its organization, namely
in the Churches and ecclesial communities that are not yet in
full communion with the Catholic Church". (in DICI No. 159).
the second of the responses, that attempts a definition of the term
"to subsist in" that is sufficiently ambiguous and imprecise
as to allow both statements to be true, namely that the Church of
Christ exists in other churches and ecclesial communities, but that
it is only in the Catholic Church that it can be said to subsist.
Here is the text:
8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium 'subsistence'
means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence
of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church,
in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.
It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly
that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches
and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the
Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification
and truth that are present in them. Nevertheless, the word 'subsists'
can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely
because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the
symbols of the faith..."
distinction between "subsistence" and "existence"
is very cleverly invented, the former being with permanence, the
latter without it. The only problem is that it is an invention,
and corresponds neither with the real meaning of the words nor with
the reality. For ‘to subsist’ means ‘to have existence in’, that
is in something else, usually as in an underlying reality that continues.
To say, therefore, that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic
Church is nothing other than to say that it exists in it as the
underlying reality. But this is precisely what is said of other
churches and ecclesial communities. Furthermore, schismatic churches
and heretical sects cannot be said to lack historical permanence,
having existed for several, if not many centuries. Even if they
lack apostolic origin, such sects are a historical fact that has
existed for as long as the Church has existed and will continue
to exist until the end of time. Consequently, if it is true that
they do not contain all the elements instituted by Christ, as soon
as it is affirmed that the Church of Christ exists in them as operative
within them, it is with equal right that it should be said to subsist
contradiction is obvious. Either Church of Christ is operative within
the false churches and ecclesial communities, and consequently it
exists and subsists within them, just as in the Catholic Church,
or it is not at all operative within them. There can be no middle
term. If "the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using
them as means of salvation" (Vat II Decree on Ecumenism,
§3), then it is a sheer contradiction to say that the Church of
Christ does not exist and subsist within them. Archbishop Lefebvre
was very outspoken about this contradiction with the Church‘s constant
teaching, and had this to say:
Council took pleasure in exalting the salvific values, or the
value - period - of the other religions. Speaking of the non-Catholic
Christian religions, Vatican II teaches that 'although we believe
them to be victims of deficiencies, they are not in any way devoid
of meaning and of value in the mystery of salvation' (U.R.
3). This is a heresy! The only means of salvation is the Catholic
Church. Insofar as they are separated from the unity of the true
faith, the Protestant communions cannot be used by the Holy Ghost.
He can only act directly on the souls or make use of the means
(for example, baptism) which, in themselves, do not bear any indication
of separation. One can be saved IN Protestantism, but not BY Protestantism!
In heaven there are no Protestants, there are only Catholics!"
(They Have Uncrowned Him, p. 176)
ECUMENISM AS A CONSEQUENCE
final two responses are devoted to explaining why it is that the
term "Church" can be applied to the Eastern Orthodox,
but not to the Protestants. Given the validity of their sacraments,
and especially of the Holy Eucharist, the Eastern Orthodox are considered
to "merit the title of 'particular or local Churches'",
although separated from the Pope. Protestants do not have this right
because they "do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament
of Orders". What is radically different here is the affirmation
that any body separated from the unity of the Roman Catholic Church,
the only true Church, could truly be considered to merit the title
of "Church" or even of “ecclesial“ community for Protestants.
This in turn is governed by the invention of the notion of partial
communion with the Catholic Church by the Vatican II decree on Ecumenism
(U.R. §3), which is what allows such communities "not yet
fully in communion with the Catholic Church" to be considered
as particular churches or ecclesial communities, rather than the
religious sects that they truly are.
new ecclesiology, so ambiguous and so contradictory, is essential
to the new conception of the Church that governs the modern day
preoccupation with ecumenism, engendered necessarily and as an obligation
by the feeling that the Church of Christ does in fact exists in
these false communities. It really is absolutely fundamental to
the present crisis of identity in the Church. This is what the then
Cardinal Ratzinger had to say in 2000: "The Council distanced
itself from Pius XII (Mystici Corporis), who had said: The Catholic
Church 'is' the unique mystical Body of Christ. It is in the difference
between the 'subsists' and the 'is' of Pius XII that the whole ecumenical
problem lies" (O.R. 4/3/2000). Or again, "Therefore
the Fathers of the Council wanted to say that the Church's being,
as such, is something greater than the Roman Catholic Church"
(O.R. 8/10/2000, in Doc. Révolution No. 7, 2006)
us, then, stand firm in our defense of the traditional doctrine
on the Church of Christ, which is nothing if it is not one, holy,
Catholic and Apostolic, which is entirely identical to the Roman
Catholic Church, as every traaditional Catechism teaches: "The
Church IS the congregation of all baptized persons united in the
same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under
the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops in communion
with him". This unchanging truth we will defend, even when
betrayed by the Sovereign Pontiff and bishops whose very authority
month we are enclosing the annual cards for the list of your faithful
departed friends and relatives. Please return these by the end of
October, and we will place them on the Seminary altar for the whole
month of November, and likewise, to be included in the intention
for the monthly Sung Requiem Mass for the repose of the souls of
the Seminary’s deceased friends & benefactors. I would also
like to mention that the Seminary is looking for a teacher capable
of teaching humanities subjects at the high school level.
this feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and centennial
anniversary of the publication of St. Pius X' great encyclical condemning
Modernism, let me finish with these encouraging words of our patron
persecution of Christ and the most holy religion He founded is
raging bitterly and fiercely. At this present time, therefore,
there is a serious danger that many will be deceived by the increasing
number of errors and ultimately abandon the Faith...Let us all
humbly beg God through the intercession of the Mother of God that
those who have fallen from the path of truth may repent. Experience
has taught us that such prayers, when motivated by charity and
supplemented by the intercession of the Holy Virgin, have never
been in vain." (Ad diem illum, § 20).
in Her triumphant and Immaculate Heart,
Father Fox lying in his coffin during the all night prayer
at Child Jesus and St. Joseph church in Rockdale.
of the congregation of traditional Catholics present
for Father Fox’s funeral Mass at Child Jesus & St. Joseph.
Father Delsorte, together with Father Scott and Father Ortiz,
during the absolution over the casket that followed the
Father Scott gives the final blessing before the deposition
of Father Fox’s body
at the Holy Cross Seminary cemetery, in the company of priests,
seminarians and brothers.
COME & BRING YOUR FRIENDS!
5 day: Monday
December 3, 20071 – Saturday January 5, 2008
January 14 - Saturday January 19
Women’s 5 day: Monday September 17 – Saturday
Sept. 22, 2007
September 24 – Saturday Sept. 29
January 7 – Saturday January 12, 2008
Monday January 28 - Saturday February 2
Father Fox wearing his beloved biretta during a recent
visit to the Seminary.