October 1, 1994
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
October, month of the Holy Rosary, and today some seminarians are taking part in a "National Rosary March" being organized locally in Winona. However, the Seminary will not be officially taking part. Interesting question — why not?
The problem is not what it might often be, namely some kind or other of naturalism, because the flyer announcing the Rosary March announces also its supernatural motivation: "...to save both America and the world, to obtain the conversion of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to establish the Reign of Christ the King, to obtain the conversion of all Americans to the Roman Catholic Faith, to restore the Traditional Family; and to perform public reparation for sin." It could be one of our own Society of St. Pius X Catholics who drew up such a programme.
Nor is the problem what again it could easily be, namely one of activism. True, the flyer begins a little disagreeably with the title "Calling all cowards", as though anyone not taking part in the March is faint-hearted or not willing to do something to defend their Faith. Nevertheless, "praying fifteen decades of the Rosary as we walk down the main streets of our towns" is primarily prayer, with little action as such, and with little indication of that spirit of revolt or anger which can, from a Catholic point of view, mar many otherwise apparently well-intentioned marches or parades.
Nor is the problem one of more pressing duties of state.. Indeed seminarians have an absolute duty to study and pray in isolation from the world for, normally, six years to prepare themselves to go back into the world as priests of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but mid-day Saturday they can easily take an early lunch, with minimal interruption of studies, and with fifteen decades of the Rosary said into the bargain.
Nor is the problem one of collaboration or involvement with the Novus Ordo, insofar as the March is being organized, says the flyer, by a group of lay people and surely any such layfolk who believe in public rosaries have the Catholic Faith. And if any Novus Ordo clergy are present and are - naturally enough - invited to take a lead, surely seminarians present can be diplomatic enough to let no action on their part deter any official clergy from taking part in a public Rosary March!
Then where is there a problem? Answer: seminarians being taught and learning to believe the fullness of Catholic doctrine are coming into possession of a treasure beyond price, that Faith without which it is impossible to please God and so to get to heaven. Now it is true that anybody taking part in a public Rosary March must have some Catholic Faith at least, and that all such people should benefit from contact with seminarians being armed with the fullness of Faith. However, the risk is that few such people may grasp the importance of the fullness of integral Catholic doctrine, and so the seminarians could be exposed to a kind of temptation of "TRADECUMENISM": let all of us who believe in the Rosary just get together, and all will be well; let all of us who love the Mother of God concentrate on the things that unite us and not dwell on the things that divide us, after all we are all Catholics, are we not?
That is how seminarians might be tempted to begin devaluing what makes the specific Mission and value of the Society of St. Pius X, namely its guarding the integrity of Catholic doctrine.
This importance of doctrine, on which follows the need for so-called Traditional Catholics to shun religious fellowship even with so-called conservative Catholics (except to make them see the error of their ways), is difficult for many people today, even Catholics, to understand.
Let us think for a moment. A Catholic is a Catholic (i.e. much better placed to get to Heaven than if he were not a Catholic) not by his sex, age, intelligence, or any such thing, but by what he believes, meaning not what he makes up in his own mind, but by what he knows to be true in matters of God.
Thus a Catholic knows firstly that one God exists, and that to associate with atheists on the supposed common ground of benevolence to mankind, while excluding God, is to live a lie and a blasphemy - because anything good at all in man comes only from God. Secondly he knows that God once (only once) took flesh and became man, the God-man Jesus Christ, and that to associate with other religions on the basis of a supposed common belief in God, excluding Jesus Christ, is to live a lie and a blasphemy against the goodness of God who took infinite pain to come down to earth for us men and for our salvation. Thirdly the Catholic knows that Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, came down amongst us not only once in the Incarnation but also every time Mass is validly celebrated, in the mystery of the Real Presence, and that to associate with other "Christians" on the grounds of a supposed common belief in Christ, is to associate in a lie if these "Christians" insult God (at least objectively) by their refusal of the doctrine of the Real Presence.
These are three classic examples, what one might call the first three classic stages, of the principle whereby to refuse Catholic doctrine is to insult God. Thus he who denies the Real Presence, for instance, gravely under-estimates the true love of God. Alas, many Catholics today do not understand this primacy of doctrine, which is a primacy of divine reality, because they put man and his fellowship in front of the interests of God.
However, let us suppose the principle is understood, at least in theory. Then since Vatican II we may say the principle has been carried at least two stages further forward in practice:-
Fourthly, a Catholics knows (but not by authority - there is the problem!) that the Second Vatican Council departed from Tradition, and that to associate indiscriminately with Novus Ordo "Catholics" on the basis of a supposed common "Catholicism" is to associate in a lie and a blasphemy if these "Catholics" insult God (at least objectively) by trampling on Catholic Tradition.
Fifthly, a Catholic knows (this is even more controversial, but, day by day, events prove Archbishop Lefebvre to have been right) that the "conservatives" who put themselves back under Rome around or after the fateful Consecrations of June, 1988, also thereby departed from Tradition, and that to associate in friendship or solidarity with them is implicitly to betray the Catholic Faith by saying in actions if not in words that the Faith is something that today's Roman Protestants are capable of guarding - for who protects a child by throwing him amongst thieves? So whoever does throw a child amongst thieves, what value does he put on the child? And if he thinks thieves are not thieves, what is his judgment worth? And if he pretends they are not thieves, what is his honesty worth? In any case the child is ruined.
Dear friends, this letter has often (and recently) taken us "Traditionalists" to task for our laziness, complacency, vanity, hypocrisy, all the sins in the book! For, subjectively, we are all of us poor sinners, and we are liars if we deny it (I Jn I,8). Objectively however, we are carriers of glorious Tradition, the fullness of Catholic Truth. Our own misery as carriers makes no less glorious the Truth we carry, indeed the more lowly we may (must) think of ourselves, the more highly by contrast we should uphold the Truth.
In that case the seminarians may go down the hill to join with all other devotees of the Rosary and of the Mother of God, and they may mix with there to do them all the good they can, but the greatest good they can do them - always with all due prudence - is to give them to understand that, fourthly the Novus Ordo, and fifthly its "conservative" branch, are: not adequate ways to honour the Mother of God or to serve her Divine Son.
"With the Rosary and the Scapular one day I will save the world", said the Mother of God to St. Dominic. If anyone wishes for an audio tape of the Rosary to help them pray at home, the 15-decade Rosary with the Litany of Our Lady has been recorded by the Society of St. Pius X in Ontario - write - with the number of tapes required ($10 each) to Queen of the Holy Rosary, P.O. Box 44538, Scarborough, Ontario MlK 5K3, Canada.
For details of three Traditional Catholic Pilgrimages led by Society priests next May, June and July from New York, two to Italy and one to the Holy Land, contact Mr. and Mrs. Robert di Cecco at 114 Paugussett Circle, Trumbull, CT 06611, Tel (203) 261-1133.
For departed souls dear to you, put names on the enclosed cards and send them to us to be put once a month on the Seminary's altar for inclusion in a Requiem Mass, but please make any accompanying donation (not necessary) quite clearly distinct from any stipend for any other Masses to be said.
Lastly, if you have missed the Seminary letter for July, August and September, and if you are sorry to have missed it, this is the last time we are using the old unslimmed mailing-list, so if you do not wish to be a victim of our dieting, if you wish to be kept on the Seminary's mailing-list, you must now drop us a line.
Pray the Rosary through October. God bless you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,