Asked Questions About Holy Cross Seminary
What is it about the spirituality of the Society of Saint Pius X
that I should want to go to a Society Seminary to receive a priestly
of the Society of Saint Pius X is centered on the Mass, only what
concerns the Mass, and everything that concerns the Mass. It consequently
focuses on what is most important, for it is the Mass that is the
center of Catholic life and worship. Furthermore, the Society's
spirituality cannot be understood in abstraction from the present
crisis in the Church, which it is the Catholic teaching of the Council
of Trent that the modernists have so viciously attacked. The Society
is necessarily militant, and this combat for the Faith, and the
continual effort to live the Faith in its entirety are inseparable
from the spirituality of the Society of Saint Pius X. It is consequently
a profoundly supernatural spirituality, and that only real answer
to the widespread abandonment of the true notion of the Catholic
priesthood which is at the root of the present crisis.
What makes Holy Cross Seminary in Australia a
good place for a young man to attend?
All of the
Society's seminaries are international, and consequently not limited
to one country, but are an image of the universality of the Catholic
Church. Holy Cross Seminary is no exception to this, receiving candidates
from a variety of countries. However, the Seminary is modeled on
the Society's mother house of Ecône, in all its details, as
well as in the principles of formation. Its purpose is to pass on
to the seminarians the spirit given to the Society by its holy founder,
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Holy Cross Seminary also has the advantage
of having only a small enrollment of students, of being in the country
and in an out of the way place, that makes it very favorable to
prayer and study.
What questions should I ask myself to find out whether I should
devote myself to God by coming to Holy Cross Seminary?
There is one
overwhelmingly important question that overrides all others. It
is: Do I truly, of my own free will, and for no other motive than
the love of God, want to consecrate myself to His service, with
all the sacrifices that this entails. A vocation depends essentially
on this question. The rest depends upon the objective judgment of
your superiors. However, as for your own judgment of yourself, examine
your intentions as see if this is your pure desire.
questions are best answered by your confessor or spiritual director:
such as whether or not you know how to pray and to meditate, whether
or not you have sufficient love of the Mass and of spiritual things,
whether or not you have the ability to study, to serve others with
patience, to control your passions and the like. Nobody can answer
these questions for himself, and so everybody needs to speak to
a trusted priest or spiritual director to ensure that he has all
the necessary requirements, along with the good intention.
Why should I choose a traditional formation in the Society of Saint
Pius X, rather than simply try to get by in the "mainstream"
or post-Vatican II church?
You will not
receive a formation at all in the Novus Ordo. Instead you will receive
a smattering of different elements or truths taken here and there,
along side with monumental errors. All studies are treated in the
form of comparative philosophy or theology, as if there were not
one that is true and all the others that are false.
of the Society of Saint Pius X give a true formation that is a consistent
instruction in the Faith and in the virtues necessary to live the
Catholic life. It is this formation that enables true virtues to
be formed in the soul, both intellectual and moral. Tradition-minded
Catholics who go through the modernist system are self-taught or
autodidacts. They do not receive the spirituality and life of the
priesthood, and are separated from the handing down of the Catholic
life. If some elements can be found in books, the greatness of the
priestly life and vocation cannot. It is handed down. The man who
attempts to go through the system will eventually compromise on
principles or Faith simply as a way to get by.
he is not openly professing the entirety of the Faith, which is
our first obligation in virtue of the First Commandment. He is forced
to "submarine" and not declare his true convictions. He
is living a lie, and is a hypocrite simply to get ordained. God
will not bless this lack of honesty and simplicity, and those who
do this will eventually fall into the traps of compromise with the
world. A man needs every bit of support and help that he can find,
in order to become a worthy priest.
How do I know that I am called to be a priest?
You do not know.
All that a young man can do is to pray for a vocation, strive to
do all that he can to follow a regular interior life, and follow
the advice of a trusted spiritual director.
a person can only know that he has the correct disposition to follow
a priestly formation. He is no way a judge of whether he has the
necessary aptitudes, namely the necessary virtue, striving for perfection,
intellectual ability, capacity for hard work and for study, leadership
skills, psychological and spiritual equilibrium and so on. Only
his superiors can judge all these questions. Consequently, in following
a call to a vocation, it is crucial that a young man entrusts himself
of a congregation or bishop that he trusts, and that he is willing
to accept their judgment on whether or not he has a vocation. The
only way to know for sure that one is called to the priesthood,
is to hear the voice of the bishop calling out one's name in the
ceremony of priestly ordination. A young man should not want to
know so much if he actually is called to the priesthood, but if
he has the generosity necessary to accomplish all that God asks
Should the recent publicity concerning priestly pedophilia discourage
me from following a priestly vocation?
The answer to
this question depends upon a man's character. If he is weak and
sentimental by nature, and given over to a display of affection,
then he is effeminate. The priesthood is not for him, and he must
renounce every effort to attempt it. He will fail as a priest, for
he does not have the necessary qualities and leadership. A man who
has a physical attraction to boys and other men has an impediment
to a priestly or religious vocation. He does not have a vocation,
and must not attempt to enter, for if discovered this tendency will
result in his immediate dismissal.
spiritual man who is strong in character, and neither sentimental
nor effeminate, and who has no attraction to boys or young men,
should not allow the media's attack on the Catholic priesthood to
discourage. The world has never understood chastity, and is not
about to do so now at the beginning of the 21st century. The man
who is called to live a life of perfect chastity must expect to
be a contradiction to the modern world.
How long is the formation to become a priest at Holy Cross
in all the Seminaries of the Society is six years, a first year
of Spirituality, two years of Philosophy and three years of Theology.
What liturgy is used at Holy Cross Seminary?
is offered up only in Latin, the traditional language of the Latin
rite church. The Divine Office is recited in Latin and the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass is the traditional Latin Mass, as codified
by St. Pius V in Quo Primum in 1570, after the Council of
Is the New Mass of Pope Paul VI allowed at Holy Cross Seminary?
with the statutes of the Society of Saint Pius X, no priest may
celebrate the new, reformed rite of Mass at Holy Cross Seminary,
and the Seminarians are forbidden to attend this new rite, under
any conditions whatsoever. The reason for this is that the New Mass
does not adequately express the Catholic Faith, but has been profoundly
influenced by protestant theology, as pointed out in the Ottaviani
Intervention. It is destructive of the Faith, it is evil and it
is incompatible with a true priestly formation.
What is the Divine Office?
This is what
St. Benedict calls the Opus Dei, the work of God,
namely the different prayers of the Church that punctuate the day,
and through which honor, glory and adoration are rendered to the
Most Holy Trinity. It is also called the Breviary, for this is the
name of the book that contains the prayers of the Divine office
that Subdeacons, Deacons and Priests are bound to recite every day.
What parts of the Divine Office are recited in community
at Holy Cross Seminary?
of the Society of Saint Pius X state that the offices of Prime,
Sext and Compline must be recited in community in all the houses
of the Society, and so it is done at Holy Cross Seminary. Prime
is recited recto tono at (or Lauds on Sundays and holy days of Obligation),
and the office of Sext at The office of Compline is sung every evening at
Does the Seminary have a rule of silence?
be kept in the seminary at all times that are not times of recreation.
Times of recreation include the hour after lunch from
until and the 40 minutes after supper from
until , as well as a ten minute break between
classes. At all other times, conversations must be held at a whisper.
Grand Silence exists from Compline until after Breakfast the next
day. Talking is strictly forbidden during this period.
How does a Seminarian keep such a strict rule of silence?
It is a question
of recollection. The principal goal of the Seminary is to make Seminarians
into men of God. This is only possible if they are to maintain a
continual spirit of prayer. Silence is the test of this. A seminarian
who does not love the silence is not recollected as he ought to
be, and does not belong in the Seminary. Seminarians who are recollected
treasure the silence as the safeguard of their interior life of
prayer, as well as of their intellectual life of serious thought
on the major issues of our Faith.
Could you summarize a Seminarian’s schedule for me?
followed by Meditation and the Angelus
followed by chores
Benediction or Way of the Cross
followed by Grand Silence
Do the Seminarians play sports?
are encouraged to get the exercise that they need, and consequently
they play soccer, volleyball, basketball and other sports during
the Wednesday and Sunday afternoon recreations. These recreations
are obligatory, and all seminarians must leave the Seminary building
during this time.
16.Do the Seminarians have a distinctive dress?
Once the Seminarians
receive the cassock, which is on the feast of the Assumption of
the Blessed Virgin Mary during their first year at the Seminary,
they are bound to wear the cassock, which is a sign that they have
chosen Almighty God as their part and inheritance, and that they
desire to die to the world that God might use them for His greater
honor and glory and for the salvation of souls.
17.Are there any age limits for entrance to Holy Cross Seminary?
The age limits
are prescribed by the Society’s statutes, and are from 18 – 35 years.
Rarely will a dispensation be given.
18.How does a person apply for entrance to Holy Cross Seminary?
should be made through the District Superior of the country in which
a young person lives. No application will be accepted without the
approval of the District Superior, or without a letter of recommendation
from a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X. Once approval from
the District Superior has been obtained, the applicant must send
the Rector a Curriculum Vitae, or story of his life, including
his work and study background, his spiritual journey, and the reasons
why he believes that God might be calling him to the priesthood.
The District Superior of his delegate will send the letter of recommendation
separately, indicating the exclusion of all impediments. However,
these two documents do not suffice. The Rector will then send the
formal application forms and request additional documentation to
determine if a young man is a suitable candidate for studies at
Holy Cross Seminary.
19.Is there a minimum educational requirement for entrance to the
Studies at the
Seminary are at University level. Consequently, the same requirements
exist for entrance to the Seminary as for entrance into University.
A young man must have obtained his certificate of graduation from
high school, and must demonstrate sufficiently good grades to give
a real hope of success in the demanding and abstract studies of
20.Can I come and visit the Seminary?
All young men
who are contemplating the possibility of a priestly vocation are
welcome to visit the Seminary, assist at some classes, and spend
a shorter or longer time in the community. Experience has demonstrated
that this personal experience of Seminary life is very helpful in
discerning a true vocation. They must, however, obtain the authorization
of the Rector beforehand.
21.Do the Seminarians take vacations?
receive a ten week vacation during the summer, from Christmas until
the second week of March. During this time, they are bound to spend
at least one month doing an active apostolate, as approved by the
Rector. The rest of the time they are encouraged to spend with their
families, or in the Society’s priories. They also receive a two
week break at the end of the first term in June, and at the end
of the second term in September.
22.Does a young man have to know Latin before entering the Seminary?
of Latin before entering the Seminary is extremely useful. However,
remedial classes in Latin are available for those Seminarians who
lack fluency in this sacred language.
23.Are there ordination ceremonies at the Seminary?
punctuate the life of every Seminary. In the Society’s Seminaries
the Tonsure is received in second year, the orders of Porter and
Lector in third year, the orders of Exorcist and Acolyte in fourth
year, the Subdiaconate and then the Diaconate in fifth year, and
the priesthood at the end of the sixth and final year of Seminary
24.Who teaches the Seminarians?
priests make up the teaching faculty of Holy Cross Seminary. Presently, the faculty is composed of the Rector
and three other priest professors. Each of them received their priestly formation in a seminary of the Society of St. Pius X,
and pass on that formation as well as their own priestly experience to the seminarians.
25.To whom may I address my questions?
be addressed directly to the Rector, either by calling the Seminary
at (02) 48 29 51 77, or by sending a fax to (02) 48 29 51 73 or
by sending a letter to P.O. Box 417, Goulburn, N.S.W. 2580 or by
sending an e-mail to [email protected].