Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Among the many beautiful feasts that are celebrated during the month of September, there is one of particular importance for our seminarians-the feast of the North American Martyrs on September 26.
St. Issac Jogues, St. Jean de Frebeuf, St. Charles Garnier, St. Gabriel Lalemant, St. Noel Chabanel, St. Jean de Lalande, St. Anthony Daniel, and St. Rene Goupil left France for the New World, and after a brief stay in Quebec and Three Rivers began their amazing mission to convert the Huron, Algonquin, and the Iroquois Indians. They endured many hardships, trials and sufferings living amongst these savages in order to overcome their barbarous and superstitious ways and to bring them to a knowledge of the true God and practice of a civilized Christian life.
So great was their faith and so courageous was their fortitude that their missionary endeavors culminated in heroic martyrdom. St. Issac Jogues was tortured so brutally that after his escape and return to France, his fellow Jesuit religious could hardly recognize him. Pope Clement VII granted him permission to offer Mass despite the extreme mutilation of his hands; the Pope said it was only right that a martyr for Christ should drink the Blood of Christ. Upon his return to North America, St. Issac Jogues was martyred near the present site of Auriesville, New York.
In our own times, our priests must truly be missionaries to provide the Mass and the Sacraments and to spread the true Faith to Christ's scattered flock. Besides the responsibilities in their own particular parishes, they must travel to distant Mass centers in other surrounding states. This requires a spirit of sacrifice, generosity, and a true spirit of sacrifice, generosity, and a true zeal for souls.
The Priest's Way to God, written by a Franciscan priest. In it he exhorts seminarians to a life of holiness: "Ecclesiastics are the chief organs of the Holy Ghost and the ordinary channels of grace in the Church. If the organs are healthy, if the channels are pure, the Divine Life circulates freely and abundantly."
Another important lesson that our seminarians must learn is the necessity of order. St. Augustine once said, "Order is our guide to God and whatever comes from God is always well ordered." And St. Bernard remarked, "He who lives according to rule, lives according to God." How important it is that our seminarians form the habit to live according to a schedule. One day as priests, they will have many cares and responsibilities and by means of a daily routine they will use their time well and accomplish all that is required of them. Our seminary has be3en very well regulated by a definite schedule. Day in and day out, year after year, the seminarians follow the same routine for rising and retiring, their prayers and studies, their manual labor, and their meals and recreation. Thus they learn that time is precious and that there is no time to waste in the service of God.
On another note, how wonderfully Almighty God has provided for us in these most confusing and difficult times. Many of today's heresies and errors that have devasted the flock of Christ were exposed and refuted by the last true popes who governed the Church.
One example is the error or religious liberty promulgated in 1965 at the Vatican Council II in the decree Digintatis Humanae. Nearly one hundred years earlier, Pope Pius IX, in his Syllabus of Errors (1864) clearly condemned that false religions have a natural right to publicly promulgate their errors in society. The teachings of Pope Pius IX were reiterated by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Liberatas (1888). In the same year, Pope Leo XIII, cognizant of the efforts of the enemies of the Church, to infiltrate and to destroy the Church from within, issued Motu Propior his Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel in which he warned: "...these most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the Spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been sed up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered."
At the beginning of the 20th century Pope St. Pius X identified and refuted the errors of Modernism in two different teachings, the decree Lamentabili (1907) and the encyclical Pascendi (1907). Despite his exposure of the dangers of Modernism, the modernists' cause continued to spread and, in order to eliminate the possibility of these errors spreading to the clergy, this saintly pontiff drew up and published "The Oath Against Modernism" and required that all clergy who were to advance to major orders as well as all pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors and professors in seminaries take this oath.
As we look at the Conciliar Church of Vatican II, we find that the very errors condemned by Pope St. Pius X are so prevalent. To name a few of these modernist errors: dogmatic relativism which holds that dogmas change with the times' and erroneous concept of faith as a blind sentiment of religion welling up in individuals' subconscious; a textual criticism of Sacred Scripture which questions the veracity of the world of God; and lastly an erroneous concept of the Sacraments as mere symbols and signs instituted only to foster faith.
Today the most prevalent error of the Conciliar Church is false ecumenism. This is the erroneous belief tht all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy and must come together and share their "truth" with each other. This error has been especially manifest in the so called "Assisi Meetings," where all the religions of the world (Hindu, Buddhists, Moslems, etc), under the auspices of the Conciliar Church, come together to pray for world peace.
How wonderfully God has provided us guidance in our times with the teachings of Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos (1929). The Pope eloquently demonstrated that there is but one religion revealed by God through Jesus Christ the Son of God and no other religion has the Divine proof of miracles and prophecies. The Son of God founded one Church which He commissioned to teach all nations, all things whatsoever He commanded and which He promised to be with to the consummation of the world (Matt. 28:19). Pope Pius XI condemned false ecumenism as it is based on the erroneous belief that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy and he further declared that the promotion of this false ecumenism is tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God, in other words, apostasy.
Finally, we have in the encyclicals of Pope Pius XII the clear teachings of the Catholic Faith on the Church and the liturgy. This is especially important for us today because the Conciliar Church has erroneously taught that "the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church." [ed. note: also see Griff Ruby's masterful "Down the Yellow Brick Road to Apostasy: the Lumen Gentium Syndrome] In other words, they claim that the Church of Christ extends beyond the Catholic Church and is not exclusively identified with the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Mystici Corporis (1943), explicitly taught that the true Church of Jesus Christ is the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church. In the area of the liturgy, Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical Mediator Dei (1947), not only expounded the Catholic Faith on the sacred liturgy but also warned about the errors of those who would alter the liturgy. The very things he warned about have been implemented in the Novus Ordo "mass" and the other sacraments.
We indeed live in confusing times. How necessary it is that we look to the true popes prior to Vatican II who have given us the clear teachings of our Catholic Faith to be our guide in these times of the Great Apostasy (II Thessalonians 2:3).
With my prayers and blessing.
Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI