No. 54 April 2008

Regnavit a ligno Deus

March 31, 2008
Feast of the Annuntiation

Dear friends & benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

          Last month we started the Major Seminary year with 18 Major Seminarians and one Brother Postulant, with the breakdown by nationality being four each from Australia and India, two each from New Zealand and the Philippines and one each from Great Britain, France, the U.S., Japan, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Three seminarians are in first year, six in the two year Philosophy cycle, and nine in the three year Theology cycle. This is a very satisfying increase of four over last year. Together with the 12 Minor Seminarians, this gives a total of 31 presently in formation. In addition we expect another Brother Postulant and four pre-seminarians to arrive in the coming weeks. Please keep these young levites in your prayers that they might persevere in the holy life they have chosen.

The entire community gathered together with Father Alain Nély in the Sacred Heart courtyard.


          I would like to announce that we have finally received the $50,000 of the  Commonwealth Water Grant that was awarded to the Seminary last year. It was granted for the construction of a concrete tank of 150,000 litres to collect roof water to be used in the laundry. Meanwhile, we have just installed two new 9,000 litre drinking water tanks, one at the back of the kitchen, and one behind the St. Joseph House, to guarantee our supply of drinking water for times of drought. As we will be digging trenches in the coming weeks and months to install all the necessary connections from our roofs, we are going to profit from the occasion to replace the old water line that goes from the pump house by the pond up to our main storage tanks. This old line is rusted and leaking in many places. Holes in the line have been repaired many times, and it is long overdue for replacement. In the meantime our workers have also been working also on repainting the outside of the chapel, repairing cracks in the school building with helix screws, as well as completely remodeling the interior of the bell tower.

          I would also like to take the opportunity of thanking all of you who purchased tickets in this year’s Seminary raffle, our major annual fundraiser and especially Mrs. Abdoo who once again organized it. I would also like to mention that we have two books or Archbishop Lefebvre’s available on CD on MP3 format, Open Letter to Confused Catholics, and A Bishop Speaks. They are available for $30 each, including postage, with proceeds to go to the support of the seminarians from Southern Africa.

Priests, Major Seminarians and Brothers together with Father Nély.


          It is difficult to be positive in a knowledgeable assessment of the state of the Church, in particular in Rome, which from being “mistress of truth” has become the irrigation channel for all the modern errors. However, the Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on December 14, 2007 has some very surprising admissions. In fact, it dares point out that a contradiction has surfaced between the Vatican II novelty of religious liberty, and the Church’s mission to teach all nations (Mt. 28:19):

“There is today, however, a growing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lord unheard and ineffective. Often it is maintained that any attempt to convince others on religious matters is a limitation of their freedom….It is enough, so they say, to help people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion; it is enough to build communities which strive for justice, freedom, peace and solidarity. Furthermore, some maintain that Christ should not be proclaimed to those who do not know him, nor should joining the Church be promoted…”  (§3).

          It was in an attempt to resolve this contradiction, while retaining Vatican II, that the need for an explanation of the New Evangelization was felt: “to clarify certain aspects of the relationship between the missionary command of the Lord and respect for the conscience and religious freedom of all people” (Ib.), that is to attempt to show that the modern teaching on religious freedom, dialogue and ecumenism is not in fact in contradiction with Our Divine Savior’s command to teach, as it appears to be.

          This is a fundamental admission of the loss of Catholic identity and of the failure of the Church to make converts, as well as a condemnation of “the relativism and irenicism prevalent today in the area of religion”(§13). It is an admission that the post-conciliar church is doomed if nothing changes. At stake is nothing less than “the legitimacy of presenting to others - so that they might in turn accept it - that which is held to be true for oneself” (§4). The Note gives an explanation of how this legitimacy can still be maintained, while yet retaining the principle of religious liberty. It quotes John Paul II’s encyclical on Faith and Reason, which states that “man denies his fundamental capacity for the truth” if “a legitimate plurality of positions has yielded to an undifferentiated pluralism, based upon the assumption that all positions are equally valid, which is one of today’s most widespread symptoms of the lack of confidence in truth” (Ib.). It is consequently not the acceptation of different, opposing and contradictory religious opinions that it sees as the problem, but only a certain kind of acceptation, which would lead to relativism. A fine distinction, indeed.


          Before evaluating this explanation, it is important for us to understand what is meant by the “new evangelization”, and how it differs from the traditional notion of the Church’s mission of teaching. This new expression was consecrated by Pope Paul VI’s 1975 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi. It refers to a new way of presenting the Gospel, different from preaching and teaching, and much more extensive than these, which is supposedly more adapted to the modern world in which we live. Although no clear definition can be found, Pope John Paul II, in his 1994 book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, gives it a place of great importance. He explained, in fact, that the very concept of evangelization is a historical one, “the encounter of the Gospel with the culture of each epoch” (p. 108), and so consequently one that changes accordingly to historical circumstances. It is consequently “linked to generational change” as an “ever renewed encounter with man” (Ib. p. 113). The New Evangelization is the fruit of the 1975 Synod of Bishops, and is defined by John Paul II as “a response to the new challenges that the contemporary world creates for the mission of the Church” (Ib. p. 114). It has “nothing in common with” either restoration or proselytism. But it is not pure pluralism and tolerance either (Ib. p. 115). It is “a proclamation of the Gospel capable of accompanying man on his pilgrim way” (Ib. p. 117).

          But what does this really mean in practice? It means substituting for the teaching and public profession of the Faith (the traditional manner of handing down divinely revealed Truth) modern means: personal witness, sharing from person to person, dialogue and ecumenism. It is the expression of our inalienable right and duty to religious liberty (Note, §10), by which “an individual‘s personal conscience is reached and touched“(Op. cit. §11). It is closely connected with Ecumenism, and consequently requires listening, and seeking to understand the beliefs, traditions and convictions of others, in which partial agreement can be found through dialogue (§12), and thus it brings about an enrichment, not only “for those who are evangelized; it is also an enrichment for the one who does the evangelizing, as well as for the entire Church. For example in the process of inculturation” (§6). Unbelievable! It is not only the person who dialogues with the heretic, schismatic, unbeliever, agnostic or communist who is supposedly “enriched“, but the Church Herself, Teacher of divine truth!

          I think that by now you have the picture. We are dealing with a natural sharing process, that builds up a certain human sense of oneness and community on a purely natural level, rather than the direct teaching of supernaturally revealed truth. It is a human phenomenon of dialogue, corresponding to a man’s desire to have others share in his goods (§7). It is consequently not specifically Catholic, but something that any other religious person can practice, and is a form of naturalism. This is how it differs from the traditional preaching of divine truth, as St. Paul commands St. Timothy, regardless of what anyone might think or say about it: “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine” (2 Tim 4:2).


          There is a “theological” basis for this new teaching, and it can be found in the Vatican II document on religious liberty, Dignitatis Humanae, §1 & 3, quoted in §5 of this Note. The principle of religious liberty is thus stated: “Truth can impose itself on the mind of man only in virtue of its own truth”. This false principle is the denial of all role of authority, especially necessary in the communication of Divine Revelation, taught to us by the authority of the Church itself, without which we could not have the assurance of infallible truth at all. The inviolable rights to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are the immediate consequence of this false principle, and consequently exist even in those who are in error and “who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it”, as Vatican II explicitly states (D.H. §2).

          Hence the conclusion concerning the new evangelization that this present Note quotes: “The search for truth, however, must be carried out in a manner that is appropriate to the dignity of the human person and his social nature, namely by free enquiry with the help of teaching or instruction, communication and dialogue. It is by these means that men share with each other the truth they have discovered, or think they have discovered, in such a way that they help one another in the search for truth” (D.H. §3). The equality of all religions in such exchanges is entirely manifest. Is this not the “undifferentiated pluralism” of which the Note complains? Is this not the source of the “relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de facto (= in practice) but also de iure (= in principle), which the Note admits endangers the Church’s missionary work (§10). Is it not this “respect for religious freedom” that makes “us indifferent towards truth and goodness”, as the Note deplores (Ib.)? Indeed, pluralism is by definition “undifferentiated”, maintaining the equality of all opinions. It is what pluralism is.


A huge 24 ton shovel begins to dig the hole
for the Seminary’s new water storage tank.

The end result of the digging. A 12 meter square hole well
on a slope below the level of the Seminary,
into which the concrete tank will be poured.


          In his book They have uncrowned Him, demonstrating how the Liberalism of Vatican II leads to apostasy, Archbishop Lefebvre comments on the text from Dignitatis Humanae quoted above:

“The Council puts searching into the first place, ahead of instruction and education! Reality, however, is otherwise; children get strong religious convictions by a solid education; and once they are acquired, anchored in the minds and expressed in religious worship, why search any more? Moreover ‘unrestricted research’ has very rarely led to religious and philosophical truth. The great Aristotle is not immune from errors. The philosophy of open investigation results in Hegel. And what is there to say of supernatural truths? Speaking about the pagans, here is what Saint Paul writes: ‘How will they believe, if no one preaches to them? And how will anyone preach to them, if missionaries are not sent? (Rm 10:15). It is not the search that the Church must proclaim, but the need for the mission: ‘Go and teach all nations’ (Mt 28:19); such is the order given by Our Lord. How many souls will be able to find the truth, remain in the truth, without the help of the Magisterium of the Church? This free searching is a total unreality, at bottom a radical naturalism. And in practice, what is it that distinguishes a free searcher from a free thinker?” (p. 175 & 176).

          The modern doctrine on the New Evangelization is nothing more or less than the practical application of the Vatican II teaching on religious liberty, the denial of the Church’s right and duty to teach authoritatively all men, by Christ’s command, under pain of eternal damnation: “Preach the Gospel to every creature…he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mk 16:15, 16). It is the proclamation of man’s supremacy, his right to chose for himself. That is why the Note admits that a private individual can convert “as an expression of freedom of conscience and religion”, and objects to the title of proselytism being given to such conversions (§12). However, it does not admit that the Church can preach such conversions, and as also the strict obligation of becoming a member of the one, true, Catholic Church, under pain of eternal damnation. This would indeed be considered as proselytism, which is why proselytism was condemned in 1993 in the Balamand agreement, with the approval of Rome. Here precisely lies the contradiction. All rights are based on personal conscience and religious liberty. This means that they are subjective and relativist. Given such a foundation, it is entirely preposterous to complain of how relativism is destroying the Church. But this note does precisely that. What blindness to auto-destruction!

          Let Archbishop Lefebvre guide us with the following words:

“This spirit has never been that of the Church. On the contrary, the missionary spirit has always been openly to show the sick their sounds, so as to heal them, to bring them the remedies that they need. To stand before non-Christians, without telling them that they need the Christian religion, that they cannot be saved except through Our Lord Jesus Christ, is an inhuman cruelty” (Ib. p. 181).

          In this time of Paschal joy let our Faith remind us that “if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (I Pet 4:13).

          Yours faithfully in Christ Our Risen Savior,

          Father Peter R. Scott


Taking of the cassock: Friday August 15 Feast of the Assumption: 10:30 a.m.
Ordinations to the Subdiaconate and Minor Orders: Friday September 12 Feast of the Holy Name of Mary: 9:30 a.m.
Family Weekend:   Saturday September 13: Solemnity of Our Lord of Sorrows
  Sunday September 14: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross


Men’s 5 day: Monday June 16 - Saturday June 21, 2008
Monday December 29 - Saturday January 3, 2009
Monday January 12 - Saturday January 17
Women’s 5 day: Monday September 15 - Saturday September 20, 2008
Monday January 5 - Saturday January 10, 2009
Monday January 26 - Saturday January 31

          Repairs to the classroom wing, where the extrerior wall had separated from the interior walls.
New bricks, helix bars and cement were used to re-attach
and solidly fix the walls together and to the foundation.

          The operator of the hydraulic shovel kindly offered
to fell a couple of massive old dead pine trees on the property,
of which one is seen here biting the dust.
Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia