No. 57 July 2008

Regnavit a ligno Deus

June 27, 2008
Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Dear friends & benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

          I am very happy to announce the appointment of a new Rector for Holy Cross Seminary. Father Vicente Griego, American by nationality, will be taking over this responsibility in August. He is a priest of both pastoral and teaching experience, having spent the past five years as Rector of St. Mary’s Academy & College in St. Mary’s, Kansas, and the previous five years as Priory of Our Lady of Victories church in Manila. Gentle and strong, he will be loved and appreciated by the seminarians and by all of you who support the Seminary. I have also the joy of announcing the appointment of Father Joven Soliman from the Philippines as the long-awaited fifth and additional Professor here at Holy Cross. As for myself, I have been asked to found a new elementary and high school dedicated to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Wilmot, near Toronto, Canada.

priest directing choir

Father Dominique Bourmaud directs the polyphonic choir,
made up of more than half the Major seminarians,
for the singing of a polyphonic Mass of Loti on June 8.


          The past six years have been amongst the most blessed of my life. It is, indeed, a special blessing for a priest to live within the structured life of the Seminary and to have the privilege of imparting to future priests a little of the knowledge, wisdom and counsel required for the priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The formation of the souls of mediators between God and sinners is, in effect, a continual reminder of our goal, of the purpose of the priesthood, namely greater glory of Almighty God and for the salvation of souls, starting with our own.

          It was my joy to arrive at Holy Cross just at the right moment. The expansion of the Major Seminary to the full six year program in 2003, by adding three years of Theology to the preexisting three year program (one of Spirituality and two of Philosophy), has been a great blessing. It meant adding classes in Dogmatic Theology I & II, Moral Theology, Canon Law, Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, as well as extending those in Liturgy, Scripture and History to a five year cycle, for which the Professors were very generous.

          Thus has been avoided the major disruption of transfer of seminarians to the northern hemisphere halfway during formation. It has made it possible for us to live the full Seminary life in terms of liturgy and chant, with the presence of all the degrees of Holy Orders, including Deacons and Subdeacons. It has given the younger seminarians the powerful example of their older fellows, as well as stability in their own life and spiritual direction. It has enabled continuity and sharing in the various responsibilities of seminarians, including the Sacristy, Chant, Liturgy, Library, teaching of Catechism, not to mention the multitude of practical details necessary for the functioning of a religious house. Not the least of all of these benefits have been the priestly ordination ceremonies of the past three years, starting in 2005, to which will be added this year another three priests, giving a total of 11 new priests from Holy Cross in four years. With all this the Major Seminary has grown, albeit modestly, from the four seminarians present in 2002 to a number that varies from 13 and 21, now 18.

          Simultaneous with the expansion of the Major Seminary has been the development of the Minor Seminary, now half way through its sixth year of existence. Its objective has been to form young Catholic men with an open mind to a vocation, by a life integrated within the structure of the Major Seminary, but yet retaining its specificity of a general secondary education. They receive a formation, both spiritual and academic, that enables either the following of a priestly or religious vocation, or the role of leadership of Catholic men who have a profound understanding of the Social Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. The number of young men following this demanding four year formation has varied from 12 to 28 over that period of time (presently 13). This life based on supernatural principles is a serious effort to palliate the dearth of vocations here in Australia that follows on as the consequence of the indifference of our young people.  I have confidence that it will continue to bear fruit in terms of vocations (so far three have gone on to try a vocation), in God’s good time, and in proportion to the generosity of those whom God sends.

          The existence of the Minor Seminary and the presence of its teachers have also enabled Holy Cross to provide a serious and demanding formation in the humanities (Latin, English, Literature, History, Music, Religion) for the Pre-Seminarians, that is for the majority of candidates for the Major Seminary who are not yet prepared for university level studies in those subjects. It has been my privilege to watch over the development of these projects, and I count on expressing my gratitude for all the support that I have received over these years, from the Seminary Professors, priests of the District, lay teachers, and parents, from our most generous Australian benefactors and most importantly for the very edifying example of the many young seminarians who have come and gone over that time.

seminarians washing dishes

‘Pots and pans’ is the most ‘favored’ Seminary chore.
Here Mr. Rémi Picot and Mr. Mark Lomod scrub charcoal from the chef’s pots.


          In every religious community it is fidelity to the statutes and to the spirit of the founder that determines the success of the supernatural mission entrusted to it by the Church and by God. This is certainly the case at Holy Cross, whose life is determined by the Statutes of the Society and by the Rule for the Seminaries of the Society of Saint Pius X, both written by Archbishop Lefebvre. This means, for us, a spirituality focused on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as the unbloody re-actualization of the mystery of Calvary and a continual invitation to the self-immolation without which one cannot be a priest other than in name only.

          Such is the life of the Seminary, which has “to orient and directly priestly life towards that which is the essential reason for the priest’s existence; the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with all that it means, all that flows from it, all that complements it.  The Society’s members, therefore, will have a true and continual devotion towards their Holy Mass, towards its halo, the Liturgy, and towards everything in the Liturgy which expresses the Mystery that is accomplished in it. They will seek to leave nothing undone in preparing spiritually and materially for the Sacred Mysteries. A profound theological knowledge of the Sacrifice of the Mass will convince them ever more firmly that in this sublime event is realized all of Revelation, the Mystery of Faith, the completion of the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption, the whole effectiveness of the apostolate” (Stat. II; 2,3).

          The Seminary does this not only by daily Mass, by one or two Sung Masses every week, by the offices of Prime (or Lauds), Sext, Vespers (Sundays & 1st class feasts) and Compline, not only by the daily spiritual exercises of meditation, of visits to the Blessed Sacrament, of examination of conscience and of the rosary, but also by spiritual conferences four evenings a week, by weekly Confession and spiritual direction, by the monthly day of recollection, the twice yearly retreats, the entire year of Spirituality, and by the practical spiritual applications interspersed throughout all the Seminary classes, especially Liturgy, Scripture and Theology.

          The living of the Mass is the essence of Seminary life, for the Seminary rule states that seminarians “will be anxious to make the Eucharistic Sacrifice the soul of their priestly life and hence of their life as candidates for the priesthood. The whole of their prayer life and exercise of the virtue of religion will be directed towards the Sacrifice of the Mass. Prayers during the day and their meditation will express their desire to offer themselves to God with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to take part in His expiatory sufferings, to join in His praise and thanksgiving.” (I,8).

          Sometimes, I am asked what we are doing to advertize or promote vocations, as if one could advertize for them as one might advertize some kind of employment. There is only one such advertisement. It is the interior life itself, the living of the rule. The rule alone constitutes the only supernatural invitation that is effective in inspiring souls to abandon all, to come and follow our Divine Savior. No other attraction will last, except this attraction of grace, and it clearly distinguishes a traditional community from the modernist aspirations that are purely earthly and temporal: social justice and the rights of man.

          What a grace it has been to participate intimately in this application of the Society’s statutes, that consider the “formation of priests” and in particular “the holiness of the priest” as the principal of all its works (Stat. III,1). In all this we have no other desire than to be faithful to the request of the 1950 encyclical of Pope Pius XII on the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Menti nostrae): “Being in such close contact with the divine mysteries, the priest cannot but be hungry and thirsty after justice, nor not feel inspired to assimilate his life to his exalted dignity, and orient his life towards that sacrifice in which he must needs offer and immolate himself with Christ. Consequently, he will not merely celebrate Holy Mass, but will live it out intimately in his daily life; in no other way can be obtain that supernatural vigor which will transform him and make him a sharer in the life of sacrifice of the Redeemer…” (§32) “For seminarians, the interior life is the most efficacious means of acquiring the priestly virtues, of overcoming difficulties and carrying out salutary resolutions…Let them do everything in the light of divine Faith and in union with Christ, convinced that there is no other kind of life possible for him who one day must receive the priestly character and represent the Divine Master in the Church (§95).


          If many of our seminarians at Holy Cross find university level studies in Philosophy, Theology and associated disciplines a great challenge, they are nevertheless always encouraged to aim at simplicity, which not only facilitates the studies and guarantees success, but also enables a greater depth and penetration of understanding. St. Thomas Aquinas is the perfect example in this regard, as the Seminary rule states: “Every effort is made for seminarians to acquire a solid foundation in philosophy and theology, both dogmatic and moral, in accordance with the luminous teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, so often recommended by the Popes and by the Church’s Magisterium. Besides the Summa Theologica, which they will make sure to acquire, the seminarians will take it to heart to follow closely the manuals that are recommended to them…Let them habituate themselves to clarity in definitions, in their reports, and their arguments; and let them learn the basic points of knowledge before searching for erudition…”  (Ch. II).

          In the two year Philosophy cycle the seminarians study the Thomistic principles behind an understanding of the physical world (Cosmology), of man (Psychology), of moral actions (Ethics), of God (Theodicy), of Being (Metaphysics) and of knowledge (Criteriology), as well as a detailed Apologetics concerning Christ’s mission and divinity as well as the defense of the Church. In the three year cycle of Dogmatic Theology, all the doctrines of the Creed and the Catechism are defended and explained in a series of treatises, whereas in Canon Law and Theology a detailed consideration of supernatural virtues and actions is combined with the consideration of the commandments and precepts of God and the Church, of the various kinds of sins, and the mind of the Church in their regard. Thus the young priest is trained both to direct souls to sanctify and to guide the penitent in the confessional.

          In all of this, we insist on following the traditional manuals, that follow the Scholastic Method as requested by Archbishop Lefebvre, thus fulfilling the command of the Popes, such as Pius XII in the above-mentioned encyclical: “In the intellectual training of young seminarians… the greatest importance must be given to philosophical and theological teaching ‘according to the method of the Angelic Doctor’ (Cn 1366, §2; 1917 Code) brought up to date and adapted to meet morern errors. Study of these subjects if of maximum importance and usefulness both for the priest himself and for the people…It must be added that the priest…must labor mightily for the defense of the Faith by preaching the Gospel and confuting the doctrinal errors opposed to it, which are disseminated today among the people by every possible means. But these errors cannot be efficaciously fought if the unassailable principles of Catholic philosophy and theology are not thoroughly known.” (§89). Pius XII goes on to impose the scholastic method, based as it is upon clear definitions, adequate and precise distinctions, and a strict logical reasoning process, pointing out that those who depart from it “open the way to errors and confusion, as sad experience shows” (Ib. §90).

          Such is the formation given in every Seminary of the Society of Saint Pius X, nor can be be found anywhere else, alas. For as soon as the Indult communities and other conservatives accept the legitimacy of the errors of Vatican II and of the New Mass, the so-called “Ordinary form”, they necessarily abandon the spirituality of the Mass as a true and propitiatory sacrifice, they confuse man’s natural aspiration to fraternity and liberty with the supernatural mystery of the Cross, they do away with the simplicity and realistic truthfulness of the Thomistic synthesis, they abandon the clarity of the scholastic method and fall into the ever-deepening obscurity of a never-to-be-found earthly happiness. A true priestly formation is just as incompatible with the New Mass’s implicit denial of the sacrificial character of the Mass, as it is with the Ecumenism of Vatican II. For both are based upon the naturalistic belief that man being naturally good, he neither needs propitiation for his sins, nor to “work out” his “salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). This in turn is based upon the conciliar pretence that by His Incarnation Christ would have in a certain way united Himself with every man (Gaudium et spes, §22). The end result is that in the big plan of things union with Christ Crucified by the Catholic Faith, by the sacraments and the Mass, by the sanctification of one’s Cross, is considered as an optional extra (although certainly very praiseworthy), rather than a necessity for eternal salvation.


          It is for this reason, amongst many others, that the Society of Saint Pius X, is not going to give in to the ultimatum that is now being rumored on every side. It is certainly true that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos recently delivered such an ultimatum to our Superior General, Bishop Fellay, along with a barely disguised threat of a declaration of schism if the Society does not cooperate by June 30. We are being asked to accept a canonical status “without delay“, supposedly as an act of gratitude for last year’s Motu proprio, along with the promise of desisting from any criticism of the Sovereign Pontiff, from considering ourselves as if we were a “Magisterium” above him, from opposing the Society to the Church, and from continuing to wound “ecclesial charity”.

          You can be sure that our Superior General will remain on the doctrinal level, and will not yield to such political pressure. Although we could eventually benefit from a canonical status, there is no urgency, and Bishop Fellay has repeatedly stated that once the so-called “excommunications” are lifted, the next step is the discussion of the novelties of Vatican II. Cardinal Castrillon’s proposal makes no allowance for such discussion, but requires that the Society entirely give in on all doctrinal points disputed for the past forty years! One wonders whether we ought to be more astonished at his daring cunning, or more surprised at his amazing naivete, to think that, in return for his piece of paper, we would accept such a defeat of everything we have fought for. Hardly!

          If if took forty years for the Vatican to admit that the traditional Mass had never been abrogated, and if it took forty years for the Society to be vindicated on the question of the Mass, you can be sure that we have understood the message very clearly. We will stand firm on the question of the errors of Vatican II for another forty years if need be. We will be vindicated on the question of doctrine when it is acknowledged that we have the right to criticize the novelties of Vatican II, even when the Pope himself is foolish enough to embrace them; when it is acknowledged that we have the right to refer to the unchanging and true Magisterium of the Church that preceded Vatican II, as necessarily overriding the modern errors that contradict it, and this without being accused of making ourselves into a Magisterium above the Pope; when it is acknowledged that in opposing the novelties of the post-conciliar church we are not at all setting ourselves up against the Church, but to the contrary submitting ourselves entirely FOR the Church; when it is acknowledged that the true charity that is motivated by the love of souls and the Church consists in lancing the infected wound of modernism, that the Church might be delivered from the pus of heresy and error. Such is our vocation, and no threat will force our Society to budge from it.

          May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul grant to us, priests and seminarians, fidelity and perseverance in this combat, and may you, our dear friends and benefactors, upon whose prayers and sacrifices we depend so entirely, stand firm in your uncompromising support of the Truth.

          Yours faithfully in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

          Father Peter R. Scott

grotto foundation   building a grotto

The foundation for the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes,
outside the back entrance to the Seminary, near the kitchen.

Mr. Pekolj builds the walls of the grotto.


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 December 29 - Saturday January 3, 2009
Monday January 12 - Saturday January 17 (Marian retreat)
Women’s 5 day: Monday September 15 - Saturday September 20, 2008
Monday January 5 - Saturday January 10, 2009
Monday January 26 - Saturday January 31 (Marian retreat)

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Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia