Dear Friends and Benefactors,
..... and another school year has quietly started, with 39 old seminarians coming back from their summer vacation, and 18 new seminarians stepping into the ranks. Of these 18, eight are from the United States. The remaining ten will, for as long as they persevere over the next six years, enjoy the hospitality of the United States, but they come from all four corners of the — pardon me the expression! — Empire — two from England, one from Scotland, two from Canada, one from Nigeria, one from New Zealand, one from Australia, two from South Africa. It is certainly this Seminary's most international in-take ever. Thank you, American benefactors, it is mostly on your backs that these young men from all over the world will work their way towards the priesthood.
Eighteen young men out of today's world! Archbishop Lefebvre would have said, eighteen miracles. Some of them have had in mind for years to give the Seminary a try, others make up their minds at the last moment. Obviously not all will reach the priesthood, but it is interesting that one can never tell in advance who will persevere and who will not. Of 1989's entry of 22, only 9 were still there after one year, whereas of 1990's entry of 15, fourteen lasted their first year. A vocation is something altogether mysterious.
Of course between eighteen young men, and the needs of hundreds of millions of souls in danger of eternal damnation throughout the English-speaking world, there is no proportion, except in God's eyes. Why is it that He is not calling many more young men to the true priesthood, or to the Society's seminaries? Firstly, of course it is not He who is to be blamed. The tales told for instance of young men's true vocations being deflected or destroyed in the training grounds of today's mainstream "Church" are nothing less than horrific. A true vocation is exactly what that "Church" does not want.
Yet still one may ask, given the world-wide emergency, why does the Lord God, whose grace is all-powerful, not reach through to more young men to lead them to where they can become true priests? A consoling thought which is hardly consoling: the young women reaching for the religious life seem, at any rate in the English-speaking world, to be even rarer than the young men. Maidens! Look around you at all those children of young families at the Tridentine Mass! Who is going to be their spiritual mother to put them on the path to Heaven? Of course we have some wonderful laywomen to teach them, but you do realize how much farther into their little souls a Sister in habit can reach? Physical mother of eight, or spiritual mother of eight hundred? The Sacred Heart needs you! You do realize how much more of a man He is to spend your life with and give your heart to than even the most wonderful Prince Charming that Hollywood could make you dream of? As the chief steward says at the marriage feast of Cana (John II,10), every other man puts out his best wine first, and it gets worse as one goes on, but with Our Lord the best wine is reserved for the last. Blessed the faithful Sister! What a happy life! What a happy death! But few seem to seek that happiness today.
Alright, but maidens apart, why such a mere handful of male vocations to that priesthood on which the Church's survival depends? A more consoling consolation: on Saturday, June 20 of 1992, if everything goes to plan, the fourth of the society's four new bishops to come to Winona, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais from France, will ordain eight seminarians to the priesthood, the largest ordination yet in any one year from the Society's American Seminary, and all eight from the United States. Mark the day down in next year's calendar and plan to come to the family occasion, both to receive great graces and to show God how grateful you are for the immense gift of each new priest.
For indeed, if the Lord God seems to be calling relatively few to the Traditional priesthood, it is surely because relatively few faithful are calling for Traditional priests. Let us not deceive ourselves. We are living through, if not the Great Apostasy itself told of in Scripture (II Thess. II), at least the dress rehearsal for it. Either, way, these days are such that unless they be shortened, no flesh shall be saved (Mt. XXIV, 22). The great mass of men are turning away from God, they do not want Him, they do not want His Church, they do not want His kind of priests, so God will not impose these by force, but as a punishment He withdraws them from among mankind, as He withdraws Himself.
He is chastising, sifting, and purifying mankind, especially His Church. It has gone into a tunnel, it looks like going through a good deal more darkness before it comes out into the light again on the other side. This tunnel is the logical conclusion of centuries of Catholics' infidelity, and it is the prophesied harbinger, by God's mercy, of an unprecedented Catholic triumph. Meanwhile He is guaranteeing that His Church does not altogether perish, so the order of the day is survival, and to the fulfilling of that purpose our eighteen young men are proportionate.
I have compared the Society of St. Pius X to the pilot light on a gas stove. When the gas is turned off, the gas-rings go dead, no cooking can be done and very little heat comes off the pilot light, but so long as one can see the pilot light still lit, one knows that the action will resume as soon as the gas is turned on again. But turning on the gas is not within the power of the pilot light itself.
The stove is the Catholic Church, the gas is the grace of God which has been turned off by the fault of men, so that one gas-ring after another has gone out, and the Catholic priesthood and the Catholic Mass have been almost extinguished. However, the Society of St. Pius X like a little pilot light is still lit, and its function is to stay lit until such time as God sees fit to turn on His grace once more, at which point the clergy and faithful of the Society and its valiant companions in arms, still lit and warmed by the true Mass, however few they be, will be on hand with the true practice of the Faith to re-ignite the multitudes of men then returning to God. It is not a question of numbers. It is a question of fidelity, or faithfulness. Pray these new seminarians keep the Faith, and we will pray the same for you, especially each evening of October at Rosary and Benediction.
I am asked what I think of events in Russia. I think the "coup" of August 19 was a fraud (Since when do only four people get killed in real tussles for power?). The leading Communists have changed little more than the name of Communism. They have lost no real power. Their ability to deceive the suicidal West foreshadows the Antichrist's future deceiving of the world. The Red Army is more dangerous than ever, continually arming, arming, arming. God is not masked (Gal. VI,7). War is the punishment of sin (James IV,1).
Do, in time, an Ignatian Retreat. As you see from the inside (not from the pre-printed outside) of the enclosed yellow Retreats flyer, the Society has opened up a new Retreat House in California, in Los Gatos near San Jose. There are now these powerful retreats year round in the East and in the West. Do not turn down the call of grace to go through these gateways to Heaven. As for the enclosed violet sheet, it reproduces two texts concerning the meeting in 1967 of Padre Pio and Archbishop Lefebvre. The first text is a pack of lies currently circulating in the U.S.A. and disturbing some souls. In the second text the Archbishop sets the record straight. Of course, responsible for the lies is not Padre Pio, but the author of the book about him.
Also enclosed the Pledge Card which facilitates regular giving to the Seminary, and which brings you this letter by first class instead of by bulk mail within the U.S.A.. Always, dear benefactors, thank you, and may Our Lord repay you.
Most sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,