Founder's Spirit Conference St. Saviour's House

From our undercover correspondent, August 2018

From 10–12 August, a group of 20 serious young Catholics met at St. Saviour’s House for a broad series of conferences given by priests and professionals about remedies to what's wrong with the world.

Our founder

Fr. Philippe Pazat gave the first conference with the experience of one who knew Archbishop Lefebvre personally. Highlighting the kindness and great humility of the Archbishop and punctuating his talk with many humorous anecdotes which provoked outbursts of laughter, the life of the great defender of tradition came alive. He was not just a great figure in history, but also a counsellor and a friend. It is hard to imagine, for example, the retired Apostolic Delegate of French-speaking Africa looking for his ring in a snowball fight! Being on the frontlines of the SSPX from the start, Fr. Pazat also lamented the lack of understanding of what the SSPX stands for and why we are part of it. He impressed upon the audience that all who assist at a Traditional Latin Mass, wherever it is celebrated, owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our founder.

A true selfie

Fr. Nicholas Mary, C.Ss.R. gave four conferences. In Towards a True Image of Self, he expounded upon the nature of true humility: where a person accepts both his sins and the gifts bestowed upon him by his Creator. Not a selfie presented to the world, but a humility snapshot: the real image which God loves. We must remember to live in the present moment, ignoring the monotonous soundtrack of mournful negativity which continually plays around us. We must understand that God’s will is for us to be happy both in this world and the next; a happiness which is achieved through humility. “I truly see how weak I am, but with God I can do anything.”

Catholic millennials

The second conference, Millennial and Catholic, began with the subject of millennial narcissism which is the characteristic illness of the first digital generation. Our present time is marked by terrorism, hostility to natural law, and social media. There is an ignorance and herd mentality bringing about a flight from reality into virtual escapism. This, in turn, has provoked an identity crisis from which Catholics are not wholly immune. While our faith prevents us from sliding to extremes, we must still fight the ambient cultural ideal of ourselves and the false self-image we have created. There is also the development of pathological behaviours which has been recognised as a worldwide problem. The remedy according to experts is to build self-esteem; Fr Nicholas suggested the Catholic remedy, which is humility.

Crisis and the need for sacrifice

The third conference given by Fr. Nicholas was an eagerly anticipated answer to the question, what should we make of Pope Francis? His matter-of-fact approach to the “crisis” and the distinction between the Ordinary and Extraordinary Magisterium brought great clarity to questions concerning papal infallibility. The principal innovations of Vatican II were described as having their source in doctrinal error and resulting in a developing series of errors which force the Catholic into a position of material disobedience to preserve the faith. Papal encyclicals, the deposit of faith, dogmas, building a good conscience and the dangers of Novus Ordo Missae were all subjects of a lively discussion, as was the necessity of collective and deliberate sacrifice by the Catholic community. Our ancestors quite literally built whole parishes by their personal sacrifices.


Fr. Nicholas’ final talk was about the four levels of happiness as distinguished by Aristotle:

  • Laetus: Happiness from material objects;
  • Felix: Ego-gratification;
  • Beatus: The happiness from doing good for others and making the world a better place;
  • Beatus sublime: The happiness of heaven.

The happiness of heaven is the highest happiness which is only attainable through suffering. Despair of happiness, even the lowest happiness—from the possession of material objects—is a symptom of our modern age and a cause of the rising number of mental illnesses and suicides. Fr. Nicholas’ final challenge to the participants was to give up the internet, initially for a week, then a month. Could we live without it?

Abstraction, causes and being

Fr. Håkan Lindström and Dr. David Yates explored the relationships between the fields of philosophy, science and the faith. The morning was an odyssey touching upon the proof of Pythagoras’ theorem through geometry, the four causes (final, formal, material and efficient), potency and act (as demonstrated by Fr. Lindström’s mobile charging cable, changing from square to triangle), linear and hierarchical series of causes, and finally, the concept of Pure Act transcending all created beings and existing out of time. Scribbling furiously, the eager listeners rose enthusiastically and with varied degrees of success to Fr. Lindström’s and Dr. Yates’ challenge to their mental faculties. “Are you getting it?” they asked more than once.


Mr. Tom Neal then expounded upon the use of music to convey meaning. The intentional stress on certain words by a sequence of notes was illustrated by many examples to give many of the listeners a new understanding of liturgical music and its place in the Mass. The choir made use of this new knowledge in the beautiful harmonies sung in the votive Mass for St. Philomena.


Fr. Lawrence Barrett took us back to the eighteenth Century with a reading of the melancholy poem 'Evangeline' which describes the plight of his ancestors, the Acadians, who refused to swear an oath to the British in Canada. The resulting deportation separated families who were fated to never see each other again. Acadians of today still hold fast to their heritage. Their flag is the French tricolour with a gold star upon the blue to signify the patronage of Our Lady, Star of the Sea; their anthem is Ave Maria Stella.

Mothers in the workplace

Dr. Clare Bevan’s related her experiences as a GP, juggling her work as a medical doctor and her duties as a mother. She also recalled the boom of Catholicism in the ‘40s and its decline after Vatican II. “Being a Doctor is important,” she said, “but being a mother is the most important role on earth.” As one who had not the choice of leaving the workplace, she stressed the two principles to be applied to working life: always be ordered to the glory of God and always be faithful to family obligations. Being a Catholic in a modern workplace, is like having a "joyful secret". It can have an edifying effect and will help us to be silent, shining examples to colleagues.

She described her present role in the social care sector, revealing the "pleasant surprise" that the majority of those working in care roles are against euthanasia. She spoke of the power of a single smile from a patient with severe mental disabilities as a motivation to defend the infinite value of their lives. Her talk gave hope for the future and gave rise to lengthy discussion.

Dr. Bevan’s finished her conference with the injunction to “read, read, read”, because our formation as Catholics never ends and only a deep understanding of our faith will permit us to navigate our passage through this increasingly hostile world.

G.K.Chesterton read a great deal, but when asked, "What's wrong with the world?" he replied, "Dear Sirs, I am!"

Thanks are due to all who worked hard to make the conference a great success. It will be repeated next year.

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