Priory Magazine : Te Punga — No. 3 (Sept 2019)

St Anthony's Priory presents the third installment of Te Punga, our newsletter for friends and benefactors, including a reflection by the Prior, Fr François Laisney on the proposed law to decriminalized abortion, information about our Rosary Crusade for Life as well as pictures from the annual Bike-a-thon fundraiser. The full PDF follows the Prior's letter below.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Thou shalt call his name jesus, for He shall save his people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21) 

Our Lord Jesus Christ loves the sinners but hates sin. If He did not love the sinners, He would not have come down from Heaven and died on the Cross for their salvation. If He did not hate sin, He would not truly love sinners, precisely because sin is evil and harms the sinner. The drama of our times is that there is no more hatred of sin—no more real love for sinners. Far from being healed from their sins, sinners are comforted in their sins. Sin is “decriminalised”, and this is the greatest harm one can do to sinners: it takes away any hope of healing.

Indeed, there is no healing of sin without penance—that is, without the detestation, accusation and expiation of past sin, with the firm purpose not to commit them again. The fact that our Lord Jesus Christ paid for sin by His Sacrifice on the Cross does not exempt us from hating sin. On the contrary, we should hate sin not only because sin harms us, but even more because sin hurts Him whom we love more than ourselves! His working out our salvation does not exempt us also “to work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). He is the First Cause of our salvation and we are the secondary causes, working under and in dependence on Him, by His grace.

Sin is incompatible with the love of God. How can one claim to love God and continue to offend Him? One might say: “How could sin offend God? Is He not infinitely above our actions and immutable? Thus, it seems that sin cannot harm Him.” The truth is that sin harms us, and precisely because God loves us, therefore He detests sin. The problem is that the sinner loves his sin, and does not understand why God disapproves of it. This is the darkness of the mind that envelopes the sinner: he only considers his own subjective appreciation of sin. This is a lie: he loves apparent good, but not the real good. He does not live according to the Truth. Now God is Truth; He is the supreme Truth and supreme Goodness, and the measure of all truth and all goodness.

In his pride, modern man claims that he can make up his own truth, and that “no one can tell him what is right and what is wrong for him,” as if he were supreme, as if he were the supreme rule of right and wrong. The truth is that man is but a very little creature, evidently subject to the Law of God. It is absolutely clear that we are subject to all materials laws: laws of gravity, laws of chemistry, laws of the atom, etc. If man is subject to laws of matter, how much more to the laws of the spirit!

What prideful modern man forgets is that God’s Laws are good. They are good for us, and to follow them is much better for us than to depart from them! The Laws of God lead us to everlasting beatitude, infinite and unending bliss. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Cor. 2:9). To depart from them has also everlasting consequences, of the most dire gravity: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels!” (Mt. 25:41). Even on earth, obedience to the laws of God leads to real peace and temporal happiness—as much as one can have: and more so, the happiness to be a child of God, loved by our Heavenly Father. That happiness the Prodigal Son can have, but only when he returns to his Father. He only finds misery in his exile.

Now, it seems to me that the epitome of modern sins is abortion. There may be some more grievous sins, such as the direct hatred of God. Some may fall into the sin of abortion because of great pressures, and God knows each particular circumstance. It remains, however, objectively a terribly grievous matter, matter of a very grave mortal sin. 

In fact, there are four mortal sins included in abortion: 

  1. A mortal sin against the Fifth Commandment because of the murder of the child; 
  2. A mortal sin against the Sixth Commandment because it is the ultimate refusal of transmission of life; 
  3. A mortal sin against the Fourth Commandment because it also commands parents to care for their children and abortion is the extreme opposite of that loving duty of parents towards their children; 
  4. And a mortal sin against the First Commandment because it deprives the child of baptism. 

To these one ought to add three aggravating circumstances. 

  1. The more innocent the victim the worse the murder, and who is more innocent than an unborn baby? 
  2. The weaker the victim the worse the murder, and who is weaker than an unborn baby? 
  3. The more cruel the murder the worse it is, yet if one did to a criminal condemned to death what is done to babies in the womb, the whole world would rise in horror: dismemberment!

If abortion is not a crime, then nothing is a crime! To decriminalise abortion is to destroy all law, not only Natural and Divine Law, but even human law. There is no longer any legitimacy. There is no objective right and wrong. There is the mere imposition of the will of the stronger over the weaker. It is a return to the law of the jungle, where the stronger crushes the weaker, just because the weaker bothers and disturbs the pleasures of the stronger or whatever other motive. We cannot let this denial of the Law of God happen in our dear country.

What can we do? Penance and Prayer! Without despair, rather with Hope. We have a Father in Heaven that cares immensely for us. We have a Saviour in Heaven who died on the cross for our salvation. We have an almighty Spirit who wants to animate us and make us burning with His Love for God and for souls, to save souls from sin. And we do have a Mother assumed into Heaven, who cares for all mothers and all children and all of us. We cannot do nothing in the face of this flood of sins all over the world, and especially in our country.

I have sent an email to all the members of Parliament before the first vote on the abortion law. I attach a copy of this email to this letter. The first reading was approved. 

Upon the suggestion of Father Palko, we have started a Rosary Crusade for Life in New Zealand. We ask all of you to make a very special effort, to say the 15 decades every day as much as possible, even more if you can. Our crusade started from the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and will last until the feast of the Immaculate Conception. (That is exactly 108 days, i.e. two 54 days novenas.) 

Special events will be included in this Crusade: 

In Whanganui, we will have the Forty Hours Devotion from Friday, 13 September until Sunday, 15 September— the continuous adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in reparation for the sins against God Author of Life, especially during the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14 Sept.) and the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin (15 Sept.). We remember that the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament (Yom Kippur) was on the 14th of the seventh month (equivalent September).

In Auckland during October, we will also hold the Forty Hours Devotion.

We will have our pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes at Paraparaumu on Saturday, 12 October for these intentions.

One day before the end of the Crusade, there will be the March for Life on Saturday, 7 December.

The very last day of our Crusade is the day when Our Lady crushed the head of the ancient serpent, by her Immaculate Conception—when his pride was crushed by the most humble created person. The devil could not approach her, he had no way to wound her: she was out of his reach, by a special protection of the Word of God who was to take our human nature in her most pure womb.

Our hope is in the name of the Lord. This is a huge battle, and we are like David against Goliath. But we rely on the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, through His Mother, who is strong “as an army in battle array” as the Bride of the Canticle (Cant. 6:3). As St Joan of Arc said: “the soldiers shall fight and God shall give the victory.” Our fight “is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Eph. 6:12). Hence, we need the “armour of God” (Eph. 6:11), and the weapons of God, which are prayer and penance. Please, spread this letter among your friends and neighbours to get as many as possible to join this Rosary Crusade.

Practicalities: we would appreciate you to fill the enclosed tally sheet, or to fill it online on our site ( The essential is the actual prayers and Rosaries.

The battle is not limited to New Zealand. That battle for life is everywhere in the world today. But there is an even more important battle for the faith going on. We must not only keep the Faith for ourselves, but defend it and spread it. And for this, we denounce the continued efforts made to subvert the Faith in particular in the coming “Amazon Synod”. A Cardinal such as Cardinal Brandmüller says: “It is to be stated now with insistence that the Instrumentum Laboris [the working document] contradicts the binding teaching of the Church in decisive points and thus has to be qualified as heretical…Inasmuch as even the fact of Divine Revelation is here being questioned, or misunderstood, one also now has to speak, additionally, of apostasy.”

At the root of this apostasy is the fundamental Modernist idea that faith comes from the depth of one’s soul—the principle of Immanence—and so, faith is subjective and based on personal “faith experiences”, religious sentiment and feelings rather than on the public Revelation of God as an objective fact, independent from our feelings. St Pius X rightly saw in the principle of Immanence the radical destruction of the true Faith, the Catholic Faith. He used the full might of his Apostolic powers to fight against that “sewer of all heresies”.

The Church has the promises that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her. Neither the Amazon, nor a country, nor even a continent (Europe), nor any single person has such guarantee, neither priest, nor bishop, nor cardinal, and not even the Pope. Anyone who departs from the Faith, from the purity of the Faith, the gates of Hell prevailed against such a one. He needs to repent and return to the Father’s house. But also anyone who, because of such scandals in the Church, would leave the Church and want to have nothing to do with the Church, against such a one also would the gates of Hell have prevailed. So, within the Church, we must remain faithful to the Faith of all times, the Faith of the Fathers and to the Church of the Fathers, the Catholic Church.

So, our crusade extends to those intentions, and is so much the more necessary. Your support is most necessary.

Some important events since my last letter :

  • We had the visit of our District Superior, Fr John Fullerton, for our annual St Anthony’s procession on 16 Jun. It was a beautiful parish day, blessed with nice weather just at the right time.
  • In July we had two Ignatian retreats, one for 19 men and one for 23 women.
  • Just last month we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our secondary school, St Dominic’s College, and thanked all those who worked hard all these years for the education of our children, especially the Dominican Sisters of Wanganui and our lay teachers.
  • On Sunday, 18 August, we had the pleasure to receive Bishop Fellay for Confirmations. On the Saturday preceeding he confirmed two young ladies in Auckland and on Sunday, 22 candidates in Whanganui.

Lastly, I do need to ask for your financial support. To run this school is costly, especially since many of our classes have a small number of children. However, our next step is the need for a larger classroom for our girls’ school. Indeed, our girls’ school has been growing. This year we have 21 students in Form 1-2. They did not fit in a single room, so we had to combine two classrooms, by removing the partition between them. Next year, the girls will move up, and we will have the same problem in the next level: so we do need a new large classroom. We can do that without a bank loan, but would be practically borrowing from the savings of the Wellington Chapel. In order to reimburse the “Wellington building fund” we do need your generous help. May the Good Lord reward you a hundredfold!

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Fr François Laisney, Prior.