54 April 2008
a ligno Deus
HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
FATHERS OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X
of the Annuntiation
& 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):
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.
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION?
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.
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
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.
huge 24 ton shovel begins to dig the hole
for the Seminary’s new water storage tank.
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:
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: “
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
Yours faithfully in Christ Our Risen Savior,
Father Peter R. Scott
UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
of the cassock:
of the Assumption: 10:30 a.m.
to the Subdiaconate and Minor Orders:
the Holy Name of Mary: 9:30 a.m.
of Our Lord of Sorrows
the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
IGNATIAN RETREAT DATES AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY:
& BRING YOUR FRIENDS!
June 16 - Saturday June 21, 2008
Monday December 29 - Saturday January 3, 2009
Monday January 12 - Saturday January 17
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
of which one is seen here biting the dust.