No. 56 June 2008

Regnavit a ligno Deus

June 2, 2008

Dear friends & benefactors of Holy Cross Seminary,

         Although the first term is nearly at its end, we received this month a third pre-Seminarian, Mr. Pillay from India, bringing to a total of 32 the number of students presently in formation.

         Now that our water collection projects are all completed (and waiting for some rain), we will be working on finishing also the cemetery chapel. I have ordered a polished black granite altar on which Requiem Masses will be celebrated in the cemetery. This altar, being stone, will be able to be consecrated. I am presently seeking a generous benefactor who might be willing to underwrite the cost of this altar.

picnic at shelter

Community picnic at Long Point Recreation area in Bungonia State Park
on May 28 after an exhausting four hour hike.


         It will be, on June 30, the 20th anniversary of “Operation Survival”, Archbishop Lefebvre’s consecration of four bishops. This is an anniversary that we must not allow to pass unforgotten, nor without the expression of our gratitude for this momentous and historical act, willed by Almighty God to be the key to the continuing of the work of Catholic Tradition. For without it neither would this Seminary exist, nor many of the Society‘s chapels and schools, nor the Ecclesia Dei communities, nor even the recent Motu proprio declaring that the traditional Mass had never been abrogated.

         We can only admire in the Archbishop the working of the gifts of the Holy Ghost,  particularly those of Understanding, perfecting Faith, and of Wisdom, perfecting his love of God and of souls. For it was truly alone and before God that he made this agonizing decision, the gifts of the Holy Ghost laying before his eyes this supernatural principle that “the formal tie with modernist Rome is nothing compared with the preservation of the Faith”, as recorded by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. It was as if, rising above all legalism, he attained the most sublime principle of all: “In the Church, the salvation of souls must be the highest law” (Cn 1752, 1983 Code).

         In fact, this is how he summarized the dilemma to the meeting  of  superiors of traditional communities on May 30, 1988:

         “Thus a moral problem is posed for all of us.

  • Must we run the rixk of contacts with this modern atmosphere in the hope of converting some souls, and with the hope of fortifying ourselves beforehand with the grace of God and the virtue of prudence, and thus remain legally united to Rome according to the letter, as we are in reality anhd in spirit?
  • Or must we, before all else, preser e the traditional family to maintain its cohesion and vigor in the Faith and in grace, considering the the purely formal tie with modernist Rome cannot be as important as the protection of this family, representing those who remain faithful to the Catholic Church?” (Fr. Laisney, Archbishop Lefebvre & the Vatican, p. 106)

         Presented in this way, the answer was clear and obvious, which is why he wrote three days later, on June 2, 1988, to Pope John Paul II: “Being radically opposed to this destruction of our Faith and determined to remain with the traditional doctrine and discipline of the Church, especially as far as the formation of priests and the discipline of the religious life is concerned, we find ourselves in the absolute necessity of having ecclesiastical authorities who embrace ou concerns and will help us to to protect ourselves against the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi” (Ib. p. 108).

         Hence the moving plea, that was central to his sermon of June 30, 1988, launching Operation Survival: “It seems to me, my dear brethren, that I am hearing the voices of these Popes - since Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII  - telling us: ‘ Please, we beseech you, what are you going to do with our teachings, with our preaching, with the Catholic Faith? Are you going to abandon it? Are you going to let it disappear from this earth? Please, please, continue to keep this treasure which we have given you. Do not abandon the faithful, do not abandon the Church! Continue the Church! Indeed, since the Council, what we condemned in the past the present Roman authorities have embraces and are professing. How is it possible? We condemned them: Liberalism, Communism, Socialism, Modernism, Sillonism.” (Ib. p. 118).


         In the remaining three years of his life, Archbishop Lefebvre did not doubt for one instant that he had made the right decision in consecrating the four bishops. This is what he had to say in a conference to priests in September 1990: “How do you expect us to have confidence in these people, who justify the denial of Quanta Cura, of  Pascendi, of the decisions of the Biblical Commission, etc… Either we are heirs of the Catholic Church, that is to say of Quanta Cura, of Pascendi, with all the Popes from before the Council, and the great majority of the bishops of that time, for the reign of Our Lord and the salvation of souls, or to the contrary we are heirs of those who strive, even at the price of a rupture with the Church and its doctrine, to admit the principles of the rights of man, based upon a true apostasy, in order to obtain a position as servants in a revolutionary world government.”  (L’Eglise infiltrée, p. 146) In the same conference, he drew the following conclusion: “Humanly speaking, I presently see no possibility of an agreement. I was told yesterday: ‘If Rome accepted your bishops and you were completely exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishops…’ First of all, they are far from accepting such a situation as that, and moreover they would have to offer it to us.  I do not think that they would be ready to do so, for the root of the difficulty is precisely that of giving us a traditional bishop. …They know very well that in giving us a traditional bishop, they would establish a traditional fortress.” (Ib. p. 149).

         Rome’s refusal to accept that there be such a traditional fortress has characterized its every effort to separate the faithful from the Society of Saint Pius X over these past 20 years, and was recently confirmed in the 2007 Motu proprio, “announcing” the non-abrogation of the traditional Mass. It was issued only for those who do NOT consider “fidelity to the Old Missal” as “as an external mark of identity”, who DO accept “the binding character of the Second Vatican Council”, who DO believe that there is “no contradiction”, “no rupture”, between the Traditional and the New Masses, and that they ought to be “mutually enriching”, for “the total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness”, to quote Benedict XVI’s own  words on July 7, 2007. He allows no place whatsoever in the Church for the acknowledgement of the harm constantly done to souls by the New Mass and by the manifest errors of Vatican II.


A group of Minor Seminarians about to set out on the hike.

A view of the Shoalhaven river before the descent
of more than 500 metres into the valley floor.


         Bishop Rifan, the only pretender to being a canonically regular traditional bishop has fulfilled all these conditions, not only by placing himself under a Novus Ordo Ordinary, but also by publicly concelebrating the New Mass and defending the novelties of Vatican II. Manifestly, then, Archbishop Lefebvre is just as right now as he was on June 30, 1988, when he declared: “If I had made this deal with Rome, by continuing with the agreements we had signed, and by putting them into practice, I would have performed ‘Operation Suicide’. There was no choice, we must live!” Likewise is the Fraternity of Saint Peter forbidden from setting itself up as a traditional alternative, as evidenced by the following declaration made by the Novus Ordo President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who performed the ordination of four priests at their Seminary in Nebraska on May 30, 2008: "While I am pleased to promote our Holy Father's will expressed in his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and invite in implementing this important document, I also invite my dear sons and brothers to strive to be an integral part of the dioceses in which you will serve; brothers of your brother priests showing deep respect for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, concelebrating with your bishops at the Chrismal Mass and when this sign of priestly communion is specially appropriate."

         Our Redemptorist friends separating themselves from the Society, claimed that by issuing this Motu proprio, the Pope “seems ready to let us do the experiment of Tradition, as Archbishop Lefebvre asked so many years ago” (website; April 28, 2008). However, the proof that the Archbishop would never have considered such frightening compromises as “the experiment of Tradition”  is the fact that he refused much less of a compromise in 1988, writing to Pope John Paul II on June 2, 1988: “Given the refusal to consider our requests, and it being evident that the purpose of the reconciliation is not at all the same in the eyes of the Holy See as it is in our eyes, we believe it preferable to wait for times more propitious for the return of Rome to Tradition…we shall continue to pray for Rome, infested with Modernism, to become once more Catholic Rome and to rediscover its 2,000 year-old tradition. Then the problem of our reconciliation will have no further reason to exist”. (Laisney, op. cit. pp. 108-109).

         The Archbishop understood very clearly that it is not possible to mix the two rites and remain truly Catholic: “When God calls me - this will certainly not be long - from whom would these seminarians receive the sacrament of Orders? From conciliar bishops who, due to their doubtful intentions, confer doubtful sacraments? This is not possible.” (Consecration sermon).  However, he also clearly understood that the role of the traditional Bishop is not simply the administration of the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders, but to profess and teach the Faith with authority, as only a Bishop, successor of the Apostles, can do: “I am simply a bishop of the Catholic Church, who is continuing to transmit Catholic doctrine” (June 30, 1988). Bishop De Castro Mayer articulated the same truth even more completely in his declaration explaining his presence at the consecrations: “My presence here at this ceremony is caused by a duty of conscience: that of making a profession of Catholic Faith in front of the whole Church…because the conservation of the priesthood and the Holy Mass is at stake, and in spite of the requests and pressures of many, I am here in order to accomplish my duty: to make a public profession of Faith.” (Ib. p. 124).

         This twentieth anniversary celebration is consequently a thanksgiving that Archbishop Lefebvre had the foresight to establish the invincible fortress of Tradition: Catholic Bishops who would guarantee that the traditional priests, seminaries, schools, faithful, works of apostolate would not become contaminated by the liberal revolution in the Church. For although they lack Ordinary Jurisdiction, they are bishops in the full sense of the word, and not just sacrament machines. They exercise the Church’s function of sanctifying through the administration of the sacraments, especially Confirmation and Holy Orders, and also through the pontifical blessings and consecrations, that are a part of the life of the Church, especially the consecration of the Holy Oils. They exercise the Church’s power of teaching, authoritatively, by preaching the entire Catholic Faith without compromise, as bishops of the Catholic Church, which teaching the rest of us are most happy to follow. They also exercise the function of governing when, in virtue of supplied jurisdiction, they are asked to apply the principles of Catholic Tradition to the modern life, in particular in the resolution of difficult questions, cases and situations.

         In thanking God for the Episcopal consecrations, we really thank God for the Catholic Church - one, Catholic, holy and apostolic - of which Archbishop Lefebvre had such a profound sense. For without the Church, Christ’s mystical body, we would be without all the special helps, providential aids, powerful means for our sanctification. Where would we be without the Mass and the sacraments, without the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary, without the sacramentals and blessings of the Church, without the devotions and prayers handed down by Tradition, without the prayers and examples of the saints, without the mystery of the Cross?

         All of this comes to us through the Church, and it is the Society of Saint Pius X, approved by the Church, that God in His Providence has chosen, at least for the time being, to continue the work of the Church, and it is only able to do so because it has bishops, and not just priests and laity. Again allow me to quote Archbishop Lefebvre, explaining how it is that the Church’s sanctity and life will continue, despite the modernist infiltration: “Certainly the Church itself guards its sanctity and its sources of sanctification, but the control of its institutions by unfaithful popes and apostate bishops ruins the faith of the faithful and the clergy, sterilizes the instruments of grace, and favors the assault of all the powers of Hell which seem to triumph. This apostasy makes its members adulterers, schismatics opposed to all Tradition, separated from the past of the Church, and thus separated from the Church of today in the measure that it remains faithful to the Church of Our Lord.” (Spiritual Journey, p. 54). We thank the Archbishop for putting into practice what he preached, and for performing the one crucial act that was necessary to halt this “apostasy”.

         We might be small in number, even after 20 years, but you can be sure that the work of Catholic Tradition is not small in its impact. The resoluteness of our convictions will eventually win the day, that the Church might escape from the agony of its present Passion. Meanwhile, let us not forget the admonition of St. Paul: “That henceforth we be no more children tossed to and from, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive. But doing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph 4:14,15).

         Yours faithfully in Christ the King,        

         Father Peter R. Scott

         A view of the ridge and peaks coming up from the bottom of the valley.
Some of the community members, having lost their way,
were forced to climb over each of these peaks, including the Rector.

         Three Philippinos, one Australian and one Malaysian take a well-earned rest during the hike.


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 (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)

Seminarians helping in the installation of the underground pipes of the water collection system last month.

home | list of newsletters


Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, Australia