Newsletter of the District of Asia

 Jan - June 2003


Dear Friends and Benefactors,

“Ipsius sunt tempora et saecula — To Him belong time and the ages” does the priest recite each year while marking the numbers of the current year in blessing the Pascal Candle. Indeed. History is there to remind us that Kingdoms, Empires, Republics come and go, but only God remains.

The recent SARS scare that recently hit nervous points in many Asian countries are, for those who have eyes to see, a reminder that “the life of man is but a vapor”. It took a short few weeks for a mysterious new virus to cut down tourism — and all that goes along with tourism, hotels, airlines in particular — by 80-85%. Singapore Airport, one of the best and busiest in the world, was almost a ‘ghost port’ at the height of the epidemic. The damage done was far worst than 9/11, and the fear still remains of a new recurrence of SARS in the coming months. In some medical milieux, the cause of this new plague would be biological warfare experimentation that would have gone wrong at one stage. One thing is sure in any case: it doesn’t take much to knock down man-made castles of cards! And to oblige man to turn to God for help!

Next August 4th, we will commemorate the centenary of the election of Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto to the Supreme Pontificate. When he was asked by the Dean of the College of Cardinals the name he wanted to choose, the newly elected Pope replied: “Because the Pope who in this century suffered most for the Church carried the name of Pius, I will take this name.” He was referring to St. Pius V, Pius VI, Pius VII, and Blessed Pius IX, all of which had courageously fought for the liberty of the Church. He could have added too “in honor of the last canonized Pope” which was the great St Pius V, the Pope of the Holy Mass, of Lepanto, of the Rosary, of the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

It will be interesting to see if the Vatican — which in 1983 marked the anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther — makes any mention of this anniversary next August. It must be said however, that recently (DICI, May 10, 2003), Cardinal Ratzinger admitted that the Catechism of St Pius X retained all its theological and educational value. Thus, groups wishing to use it, could continue to refer to it. Finally, some good news…

St Pius X was a great Pope but there was nevertheless strong opposition to his canonization. The main reason was not his condemnation of modernism — everyone praised his quick insight in this — it was more precisely how he applied in concrete the norms he had decreed for the fight against modernism. The chief act of prudence, let it be recalled, is the ‘imperium’, the command, the execution of the decision that has been made. In short then, Pius X was accused of having let fortitude overcome prudence in his desire to rid the Church of modernism at any cost. New historical research ordered by Pius XII answered thoroughly this objection, and manifested on the contrary that Pius X had acted according to a higher, supernatural prudence.

It is most interesting to know this when you think of Archbishop Lefebvre. Is not the main accusation against him a lack of prudence in the choice of means to preserve the Catholic Priesthood and the traditional Mass? How many followed him, agreed with him in the analysis of the crisis of the Church and of its solutions, until June 29th, 1988, but then took another path, considering he had done an error of judgment on June 30th, by consecrating the four bishops? Time is there to prove the Archbishop right, 15 years later. He too acted according to a higher prudence.

In the following pages, we have tried to show how providential it is that a small band of priests, fighting principally to preserve the Catholic priesthood — “the sacrament most necessary to the Church” (Catechism of Council of Trent) — has been put under the patronage of St Pius X. In fact, how ever truer than 50 years ago, is what Pius XII said: “It appears manifest today that his whole Pontificate was supernaturally directed according to a loving and redeeming plan to prepare souls to face our own struggles and to ensure our victories and the victories of future generations.” (Sermon for the Beatification of Pius X, June 3, 1951). Whether it concerns the liturgy, the honor of Our Lady under the title of Mediatrix of Graces, the One- World Church, liberation theology or more fundamentally a Christ-centered or man-centered Church, St Pius X continues to guide us in the straight and narrow path of the eternal truth, which alone will make us free.

Elsewhere in this issue, you will discover Singapore in its Catholic infancy, visited by one of Asia’s greatest Saints, St Théophane Vénard M.E.P., and how this young Mission struggled to survive in spite of the war between two of the Church’s great institutions: the Patronage of the Kings of Portugal, and Propaganda Fide, in Rome, the Congregation in charge of the Missions. In Singapore the conflict between these two powers lasted a mere 55 years, in some other Asian territories, it lasted centuries and almost destroyed the Church itself. We can see in this another sad application of the saying: The Church has always survives in spite of its clergy!

Finally, our humble apologies for the infrequency of our Asian Newsletter –‘The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Pray the Master of the harvest that He send many laborers in His harvest!”

Yours truly in His Most Sacred Heart,

Fr. Daniel Couture
Daniel Couture
District Superior


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