Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why Mr. Peter Vere, J.C.L. is wrong

It has often been asserted by followers of the late Father Leonard Feeney that they possess a "right" to defend his erroneous interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus and that this "right" has been affirmed by Church authorities. In fact, at the website of the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, a letter from Mr. Peter Vere, a canon lawyer and Catholic journalist, has been posted to convince others of this claim.

In this letter, which was written to "Brother" Andre Marie (the "Prior" of this community which has absolutely no canonical status in the Catholic Church), Mr. Vere writes:

"Dear Brother Andre Marie, I hope this letter finds you and the other brothers well. Allow me to apologize for taking my time in responding to your last letter. I wanted to be thorough in my response - especially since you have asked if my response might be made public, of which I have no objection. Please note that while I do not speak on behalf of the Church in an official capacity - given that I do not hold office with a tribunal or ecclesiastical entity that has been asked to investigate this question - what follows is my professional opinion as a canon lawyer.

To recap our last exchange, you wrote: “I'm wondering if you are able to put in writing something testifying to the lawfulness of holding Father Feeney's position as a Catholic in good standing with the Church. Back in January, you agreed to do this. Again, I'm not asking you to vouch for our canonical situation here in the Manchester Diocese; I'm simply asking for the expert opinion of a canon lawyer on the larger question.”

To begin, as you point out, the question concerning your canonical status with the Diocese of Manchester is separate from the question concerning Fr. Feeney’s status as one who died in full communion with Rome, as well as the status of his spiritual descendants who hold to his same position. Before we proceed to the larger question, I would just like to assure you of our family prayers that in God’s time the question of your canonical status resolve itself favourably. Should you require my assistance at that time, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Having said that, let us move to the larger question. It is clear from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) promulgated by Pope John Paul II that the Church currently promotes a less exclusive understanding of the dogma “Outside the Church no salvation” (EENS) as well as the effects of desire for baptism (BOD) and pre-baptismal martyrdom for the faith (BOB). Lest I be accused of bias in my canonical opinion, I want to note up-front that I personally accept the teaching on these issues outlined in the CCC.

However, that is a debate for another time. The question currently before us is the following: What of those, like the spiritual descendants of Fr. Feeney, who hold to a more restrictive understanding on these issues? Are they Catholics in good standing with the Church? The answer is yes for a number of reasons:

1) There is no question Fr. Feeney died in full communion with the Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI lifted Father’s excommunication while Father was still alive, and there is no evidence that Father recanted his understanding of EENS, BOB, or BOD. The actual lifting of Father’s excommunication was executed by Fr. Richard Shmaruk, a priest of the Boston Archdiocese, on behalf of Bishop Bernard Flanagan of Worcester. While visiting Boston about ten years ago, I spoke with Fr. Shmaruk and he personally corroborated the events that led to him reconciling Fr. Feeney with the Church. On pages 259 to 262 of his book They Fought the Good Fight, Brother Thomas Mary Sennott diligently chronicles the reconciliation of Fr. Feeney, as well as the subsequent reconciliation of several of Father’s spiritual descendants. Brother Sennott quotes from two respectable Catholic news sources (The Advocate and the Catholic Free Press). I have independently confirmed the quotations and context of the primary sources. Brother Sennottt also notes that Father’s memorial mass was celebrated by Bishop Bernard Flanagan in the Cathedral of St. Paul, Worcester. This would have given rise to scandal had Father not been fully reconciled with the Church. Br. Sennott’s book received an imprimi potest from Bishop Timothy Harrington of the Diocese of Worcester, meaning the book is free from doctrinal or moral error. Thus unless one is willing to declare oneself BLEEP! or sedeprivationist, the evidence is overwhelming that Fr. Feeney died in full communion with the Church without recanting his position.

2) Most of Fr. Feeney’s spiritual descendants have been reconciled with the Church without having to renounce or recant their interpretation of BOB, BOD, or EENS. This was the case with those who reconciled in 1974 and would go on to found St. Benedict Abbey in Still River, as well as the sisters of St. Anne’s House in Still River who reconciled in 1988, and most recently with St. Benedict Centre in Still River who reconciled under Br. Thomas Augustine, MICM. Regarding the last group, I should note they had achieved a sacramental reconciliation long before their juridical reconciliation. This was the subject of the first paper I ever wrote as a young licentiate student in canon law. While researching this paper in 1997, I visited the various communities descended from Fr. Feeney and the Harvard student movement, noting with interest how despite no formal reconciliation at the time, Br. Thomas’s community had an in-residence chaplain appointed by the Bishop of Worcester. I also noted with interest that the Bishop visited the community regularly, and that he also confirmed the community’s children. In reading canon 844, sacraments should only be shared with non-Catholics under the most strict and extenuating of circumstances. It is clear, that in keeping with canon 213, the Diocese of Worcester was ensuring for the pastoral and sacramental care of Brother Thomas’s community as if they were Catholics. It was similarly clear from talking to Br. Thomas Augustine, as it was from talking to Mother Theresa next door at St. Anne’s House, that each of these communities still held the same interpretation of BOB, BOD and EENS as Fr. Feeney. With regards to the 1988 reconciliation of Mother Theresa, MICM and the sisters of St. Anne’s House in Still River, Fr. Lawrence A. Deery, JCL, at the time the Diocese of Worcester’s Judicial Vicar and Vicar for Canonical Affairs and acting in his official capacity, wrote the following: “1) The Sisters were asked to ‘understand’ the letter of the then Holy Office dated 8 August 1949. They were not asked to ‘accept’ its contents. 2) The Sisters were asked to make to make a Profession of Faith. Nothing else was required [...] In our discussions with the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] it seemed rather clear that proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views. Summarily, Mother Theresa and her community in no manner abandoned Father Feeney’s teachings.” Need I remind you that the man who was Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the time of this consultation is now Pope Benedict XVI, the Church’s Supreme Pontiff? 3) In 1988, Mr. John Loughnan, a layman from Australia who happens to be a friend of mine, wrote the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED) requesting clarification on several controversies surrounding the SSPX. Mr. Loughnan also inquired as to the status within the Church of Fr. Feeney’s followers. Concerning this last question, Msgr. Camille Perl, secretary of the PCED, replied to Mr. Loughnan as follows in N. 343/98 dated 27 October 1998: “The question of the doctrine held by the late Father Leonard Feeney is a complex one. He died in full communion with the Church and many of his former disciples are also now in full communion while some are not. We do not judge it opportune to enter into this question.” While not wishing to engage in this controversy, Msgr. Perl clearly confirms that Fr. Feeney died in full communion with the Church, and that several of his spiritual descendants who hold his same doctrinal interpretations are in full communion with the Church. Such a statement is clearly within the mission of the PCED as this commission was established by Pope John Paul II to oversee the reconciliation and well-being of traditionalists within the Church.

On that note, the evidence is clear: while the position held by Fr. Feeney and his spiritual descendants may be controversial, holding these positions does not, in itself, place one outside of the Catholic Church. In short, it is clear from the Church’s current pastoral and canonical practice that the Church considers this an internal controversy, and that she acknowledges the good standing of most of those who uphold a restrictive interpretation of EENS, BOB and BOD."

Pax Christi,
Pete Vere, JCL

While it is good that Mr. Vere acknowledges (and accepts) the Church's authentic teaching regarding the dogma Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, a teaching which he admits is "clear from the Catechism of the Catholic Church," he is simply wrong in his assertion that one may reject the Church's interpretation of the dogma in favor of Father Feeney's rigid [and rejected] interpretation and that "proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views."

First of all, what are we to make of his argument that Father Feeney (and some of his followers) "reconciled" with the Church? In his excellent refutation of Fr. Feeney's rigid interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, Fr. William Most, an internationally acclaimed Scripture scholar and theologian writes: "In the late 1940s Leonard Feeney, S. J. began to teach that there is no salvation outside the Church. He was correct in saying that there were official teachings, even definitions, on that score. But his tragic error came when he adopted Protestant method, thinking that in that way he would be one of the only true Catholics! We spoke of his protestant method with good reason. First, he was excommunicated for disobedience, refusing to go to Rome to explain his position. Then the Holy Office, under Pius XII, sent a letter to the Archbishop of Boston, condemning Feeney's error. (It is known that Pius XII personally checked the English text of that letter). In the very first paragraph pointed out what is obvious: we must avoid private interpretation of Scripture -- for that is strictly Protestant. But then the letter said we must also avoid private interpretation of the official texts of the Church. To insist on our own private interpretation, especially when the Church contradicts that, is pure Protestant attitude...

What the disobedient Feeney said amounted to this: he insisted that all who did not formally enter the Church would go to hell. Hence he had to say, and he did say, that unbaptized babies go to hell. Further, all adults who did not formally enter the Church - get their names on a parish register - would also go to hell, even if they never had a chance to hear there was a Church, e.g., those in the western hemisphere during the long centuries before Columbus. Therefore Feeney consigned literally millions upon millions to hell, even though He gave them no chance. Not just the documents of the Church as interpreted by the Church should have kept him from this: merely common sense, and the realization that God is not only not a monster, but is infinitely good - that alone should have stopped him. We have, then, most ample reason for calling his error tragic. Even the sexually immoral do not deny that God is good. Feeney does worse than they."

Why then was Fr. Feeney not required to recant his erroneous interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus? Fr. Most explains:"When Feeney was old, some church authorities out of sorrow for him, let him be reconciled to the Church. As part of the unfortunate looseness we see so often today, they did not demand that he recant. So he did not. As a result, some former followers of his came back to the Church. Others even today insist that the lack of demanding a recantation meant Feeney had been right all along. Of course not. We have proved that abundantly with official texts above and the texts of the Fathers of the Church." (http://www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/FEENEY.txt).

And what do we make of Mr. Vere's claim that "proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views"? First of all, those who hold to the Church's understanding of the dogma are not holding to a "liberal" view. They are holding to Christ's view as made known through the Magisterium of the Church. Therefore, we should immediately dispense with any childish attempt to portray this as some sort of battle between "conservatives" and "liberals." Rather, it is a question of whether we hold to the Church's teaching or choose instead to adopt that protestant attitude which Fr. Most referred to.

In his Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, No. 113, Pope John Paul II teaches us that, "Opposition to the teaching of the Church's Pastors cannot be seen as a legitimate expression either of Christian freedom or of the diversity of the Spirit's gifts. When this happens, the Church's Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission, insisting that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected."

By arguing that Catholics who hold to Father Feeney's erroneous interpretation of EENS "should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who accept the Church's authentic interpretation," Mr. Vere is in effect suggesting the very opposite of what Pope John Paul II taught. He is saying that opposition to the teaching of the Church's Pastors can be seen as a legitimate expression of Christian freedom and the diversity of the Spirit's gifts.

Should Catholics be free to choose which interpretation of EENS to hold? Not according to the Church herself. In a Letter of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing given on August 8, 1949 we read: "Your Excellency: This Supreme Sacred Congregation has followed very attentively the rise and the course of the grave controversy stirred up by certain associates of 'St. Benedict Center' and 'Boston College' in regard to the interpretation of that axiom: 'Outside the Church there is no salvation.' After having examined all the documents that are necessary or useful in this matter, among them information from your Chancery, as well as appeals and reports in which the associates of 'St. Benedict Center' explain their opinions and complaints, and also many other documents pertinent to the controversy, officially collected, the same Sacred Congregation is convinced that the unfortunate controversy arose from the fact that the axiom, 'outside the Church there is no salvation,' was not correctly understood and weighed, and that the same controversy was rendered more bitter by serious disturbance of discipline arising from the fact that some of the associates of the institutions mentioned above refused reverence and obedience to legitimate authorities.

Accordingly, the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Cardinals of this Supreme Congregation, in a plenary session held on Wednesday, July 27, 1949, decreed, and the august Pontiff in an audience on the following Thursday, July 28, 1949, deigned to give his approval, that the following explanations pertinent to the doctrine, and also that invitations and exhortations relevant to discipline be given: We are bound by divine and Catholic faith to believe all those things which are contained in the word of God, whether it be Scripture or Tradition, and are proposed by the Church to be believed as divinely revealed, not only through solemn judgment but also through the ordinary and universal teaching office (Denzinger, n. 1792).

Now, among those things which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach is contained also that infallible statement by which we are taught that there is no salvation outside the Church. However, this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church..."

Notice the wording here? The Church was being crystal clear, "..this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it." But, unable to accept this judgment of the Holy Office, followers of the late Father Leonard Feeney will go to great lengths to convince themselves that opposition to the teaching of the Church's Pastors is somehow "legitimate." This even though the Holy Office stated clearly that "it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church."

When one wants to justify one's own dissent from Church teaching, the Church's voice grows more and more faint. Dissent has a way of clogging the ears. The wording of the Holy Office in the above-quoted letter leaves absolutely no "wiggle room" whatsoever. Catholics are not free to understand the dogma in another sense but must understand it in "that sense in which the Church herself understands it."

No one, not even a "canon lawyer and Catholic journalist," may argue otherwise.

Related reading: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-philip-lawler-accept-churchs.html

15 comments:

Ellen Wironken said...

Mr. Vere is really asserting that Catholics have a right to dissent from Church teaching. If Catholics were really free to reject the Church's understanding of this dogma, then we would have to allow for dissent with regard to the Church's understanding on a host of other issues.

Mr. Vere just doesn't make sense.

Pete Vere said...

Actually, no.

What I'm saying is that we cannot be more rigid than the Church in applying canon law. Rome obviously feels this should be handled internally. Who am I to set myself above the Holy See?

Meredith said...

Dissent is dissent. Mr. Melanson, you have done an excellent job of refuting this canon lawyer. His dishonesty is appalling. On the one hand he admits the Church teaches one thing with regard to EENS in the Catechism, on the other he insists that it is licit to believe otherwise.

The Catechism then is reduced to merely one set of opinions which men and women may consider among others and then choose which they are to accept.

How is Vere really any different from Curran or McBrien? The items of dissent may be different, but not the nature of the dissent.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Actually Mr. Vere, you advanced the notion that "proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views."

I refuted your argument and did so using the Church's teaching. Not only did Pope John Paul II teach us that, "dissent, in the form of carefully orchestrated protests and polemics carried on in the media, is opposed to ecclesial communion and to a correct understanding of the hierarchical constitution of the People of God" (No. 113) but he also insisted that, "no damage must be done to the harmony between faith and life:the unity of the Church is damaged not only Christians who reject or distort the truths of the faith but also by those who disregard the moral obligations to which they are called by the Gospel (cf. 1 Cor 5:9-13)" (No. 26).

You're wrong. And by attempting to justify those who refuse to accept the Church's understanding of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus and who prefer the erroneous opinion of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney, you do a disservice to the Church.

Pete Vere said...

Paul, if you are the Catholic gentleman you claim, then at least be honest about the context from which you pull quotes.

You state: "Actually Mr. Vere, you advanced the notion that 'proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views.'"

The words from the quote were not my own, as clearly indicated in the letter to Br. Andre Marie. They were the words of a respected canonist with the Diocese of Worcester, upon consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I verified the quote with both the diocese and a competent dicastery of the Roman curia.

If you think you know better than those who the Holy Spirit has put above us as the Church's pastors, then good luck to you. However, I learned long ago that the Church has her reasons for why she does things.

Stewart said...

Mr. Vere is not on solid ground and he knows it. He has tried to justify dssent from Catholic teaching and is placing himself in a very dangerous situation within the Church.

Pope John Paul II told the U.S. Bishops: "It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a 'good Catholic' and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the Bishops of the United States and elsewhere."

The Saint Benedict Center in New Hampshire, which you correctly note has no canonical status in the Church, has freely acknowledged at their own website that Rome has ignored their petitions to be recognized canonically.

Why is this so? Because of their stubborn refusal to accept the Church's understanding of EENS, not to mention their anti-Semitism.

Michael Cole said...

Pete Vere quotes Fr. Deery as having said, "it seemed rather clear [in conversations with the CDF) that proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views."

What utter nonsense! Show us a document Mr. Vere which states this. The Holy Office indicated to Archbishop Cushing that we must accept the Church's understanding of the dogma.

Mr. Melanson has produced a Church document which refutes Fr. Deery - and by extension your argument.

Produce a document from the CDF or Cardinal Ratzinger which allows for Catholics to hold to Fr. Feeney's interpretation of the dogma or be silent.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Mr. Vere, I am very much a Catholic gentleman. What is in question is whether or not you are. Your dishonesty is just incredible. You quoted from the Rev. Lawrence A. Deery, JCL, as part of your argument that the "spiritual descendants of Fr. Feeney" are Catholics in good standing with the Church.

Fr. Deery said that, "In our discussions with the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] it seemed rather clear that proponents of a strict interpretation of the doctrine should be given the same latitude for teaching and discussion as those who would hold more liberal views.."

The key phrase here is "it seemed..clear that.." But how can this be when the Holy Office had clearly stated otherwise? Fr. Deery was merely giving his opinion. An opinion which (in light of the teaching of the Church) was incorrect. The Holy Office trumps Fr. Deery. As does the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

You quoted from Fr. Deery because you agreed with him. Now you are trying to evade responsibility for your failed argument.

You conclude your comment with a very insulting tone: "If you think you know better than those who the Holy Spirit has put above us as the Church's pastors, then good luck to you."

This asinine comment is particularly ironic since it is your argument which contradicts the teaching of the Church. Whereas I accept the teaching of the Church's Magisterium regarding dissent from Church teaching, you apparently do not. If you did, you would not have quoted from Fr. Deery in this context.

Again, I would remind you of the words of Pope John Paul II: "dissent, in the form of carefully orchestrated protests and polemics carried on in the media, is opposed to ecclesial communion and to a correct understanding of the hierarchical constitution of the People of God" (No. 113)

The Holy Office was clear: "this dogma is to be understood as the Church itself understands it. For Our Savior did not leave it to private judgment to explain what is contained in the deposit of faith, but to the doctrinal authority of the Church."

If you insist that the CDF contradicted this official teaching of the Church's Magisterium in the course of conversations with Fr. Deery, then I challenge you (along with Mr. Cole) to produce a document or letter corroborating your claim.

I'm not the one who considers himself wiser than the Church's Pastors Mr. Vere. I accept the teaching of the Holy Office. It would appear that you would prefer the opinion of a canonist to the teaching of the Holy Office.

What would that suggest about you?

Alzina said...

Pete Vere needs to explain how he understands these words of the Holy Office "this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it."

But just as Philip Lawler wouldn't answer the difficult questions, Pete Vere probably won't either. It's just not convenient.

What is it about the phrase "must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it" that he finds so difficult to comprehend?

Samantha said...

I don't see any Catholic clergy or Canon Law experts in this country defending Feeney's interpretation of extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Why do you suppose this is? And while we're at it, why aren't priests and religious flocking to the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond? And why aren't more people joining their community as "religious"? I think we all know the answers to these questions.

This group is not affiliated with the Church. It is not the work of the Holy Spirit. It is a cult.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Mr. Vere writes, "The question currently before us is the following: What of those, like the spiritual descendants of Fr. Feeney, who hold to a more restrictive understanding on these issues? [the dogma EENS] Are they Catholics in good standing with the Church? The answer is yes.."

But Mr. Vere is engaging in dishonesty. The Holy Office, in its letter to Archbishop Cushing regarding this whole controversy, stated clearly: "..let them who in grave peril are ranged against the Church seriously bear in mind that after 'Rome has spoken' they cannot be excused even by reasons of good faith. Certainly, their bond and duty of obedience toward the Church is much graver than that of those who as yet are related to the Church 'only by an unconscious desire.' Let them realize that they are children of the Church, lovingly nourished by her with the milk of doctrine and the sacraments, and hence, having heard the clear voice of their Mother, they cannot be excused from culpable ignorance, and therefore to them apply without any restriction that principle: submission to the Catholic Church and to the Sovereign Pontiff is required as necessary for salvation."

Feeneyites cannot be excused from culpable ignorance. By refusing to accept the Church's understanding of the dogma, such people "are ranged against the Church" and (now that Rome has spoken) "they cannot be excused even by reasons of good faith."

This is the teaching of the Holy Office. But not only has Mr. Vere rejected this teaching, arguing that the "spiritual descendants" of Fr. Feeney are in "good standing with the Church," he has insulted me for defending the teaching of the Holy Office by implying that I am somewhat less than a Catholic gentleman for standing with the Church.

Mr. Vere's stubborn refusal to accept the teaching of the Holy Office on this matter says it all. So does his lack of charity.

Stewart said...

Fr. Most is right. The "reconciliation" of certain Feeneyites was a pastoral mistake. In fact, I submit the "reconciliation" was largely a fraud.

When we confess our sins to a priest, we are supposed to have a firm purpose of amendment and we are supposed to be contrite. The Feeneyites "reconciliation" was hardly that.

In order for authentic reconciliation to take place, there must be contrition and a "firm purpose of amendment." Allowing the Feeneyites to "reconcile" without having to recant only encouraged them to obstinately remain in their disobedience.

But the teaching of the Holy Office still holds true. Having set themselves against the Church, Feeneyites are not in communion with the Church.

Anonymous said...

From Neil Rangel
Goa, India

ndjsrangel@yahoo.co.in



I believe in the strict interpretation of the EENS dogma as the only correct one.Fr Feeney was wrong in proposing that explicit desire of the sacrament of baptism can justify.(He obviously may not have wanted to contradict the Trent canon on initial justification) Nothing like that happens: only the water of baptism can do that.In this aspect, a small portion of the Trent canon(that justifies "baptism of explicit desire") is erroneous and heretical..same with the canons on spiritual reception of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Our Lord provided for no other form of baptism; just the one of water. Baptism of explicit desire and of blood are herseies. If you didnt get the water; you simply were not predestined to receive it. Anyone who seeks the Truth and is honest: God will lead him to the Catholic Church..even send an angel to get him baptised. Baptism of desire and blood are what I'd call a slap on the face to God..denying His omnipotence!!A whole line of Pontiffs since several centuries have slapped Him enough for Him to punish us all: look at the miserable state of the Roman Catholic Church today!!The lack of a water baptism in a clear sign of reprobation. Water baptism alone incorporates one into the Catholic Church.Nothing else can do that.Till you get the water baptism, you are not a Catholic.
Concerning EENS:

Only Roman Catholics are truly Christian.The rest are pseudo-Christian and they should be directly told that; they have no right of any kind to call themselves Christian. We alone have the Apostolic Faith and no one else. It is a grave mistake to say that anyone else has the Apostolic Faith. There is only one Church and no other. The others are false churches. By recognising anyone else as Christian one also acknowledges that Christ and His Mystical Body are divided.
It goes without saying that there is no salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church under any circumstances whatsoever; as no Sanctifying Grace is given outside the Catholic Church. You are either in or out and cannot be connected in any other way to the Church. So only baptised Catholics can have the hope of being saved. Our Lord and the Apostles taught us nothing else. Unfortunately this greatest Truth of the Catholic Church has been progressively diluted.Certain writings of Pius IX, the Pius X catechism, Pius XII's Mediator Dei and also the infamous Protocol Letter condemning Fr Feeney, are all heretical.With VC2, the worst has come. The first Jansenist proposition condemned in Autorem Fidei could not be more true, since ancient times and especially now in our times of such great indifferentism.
I have come to believe that the only test of one's Catholicism is belief in the absolute EENS dogma. This is the only real indication that the Holy Ghost resides within you as well. Christ suffered and died to set up the Catholic Church simply because only those within who believed could be saved... no one can be saved outside it. The story of Noah's Ark comes to mind: only those within were saved..everyone else perished. The same is true for the Catholic Church. Only those within can hope for salvation. That's why we continue to remains Catholics!

Concerning infallibility: no teaching should be considered infallible if it contradicts the absolute EENS dogma and the absolute need for water baptism to get incorporated into the Catholic Church.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Mr. Rangel, you write that: "Only Roman Catholics are truly Christian....Certain writings of Pius IX, the Pius X Catechism, Pius XII's Mediator Dei and also the infamou Protocol Letter condemning Fr. Feeney are all heretical. With Vatican II, the worst has come."

To you sir, the following words from the Holy Office apply: ".. let them who in grave peril are ranged against the Church seriously bear in mind that after 'Rome has spoken' they cannot be excused even by reasons of good faith. Certainly, their bond and duty of obedience toward the Church is much graver than that of those who as yet are related to the Church 'only by an unconscious desire.' Let them realize that they are children of the Church, lovingly nourished by her with the milk of doctrine and the sacraments, and hence, having heard the clear voice of their Mother, they cannot be excused from culpable ignorance, and therefore to them apply without any restriction that principle: submission to the Catholic Church and to the Sovereign Pontiff is required as necessary for salvation."

Apparently you consider yourself to be some sort of ersatz Magisterium or Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Jesus promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against His Church. But you are suggesting that Jesus' promise was really a lie. If, as you assert, the Magisterium of the Church has succumbed to heresy, then hell has prevailed against the Church.

You do see how illogical your position is don't you? You condemn Protestantism while embracing it!

leo2eddie said...

Being a Roman Catholic & a lover of the Bible, I have great trouble with these cults saying that there is no salvation outside of The Church. I know that God wants us all to be one with Him in His Church, but His permissible Will and His great mercy will bless & save the ones that don't know any better. My adopted dad was not Catholic, but on his death-bed, he once again gave his life to Jesus. One year later, Jesus gave me a vision of my dad & Him together. Just before his death and during his funeral, we were given many signs that we did not ask for, showing that God had mercy on him. If it was not for non-catholic Christians, I would not have taken Jesus as my Lord & Savior, but would have just been a "normal every-day American catholic. Why didn't the Apositles teach us to join the Church of Jesus to be saved? They said to believe on the Lord Jesus. As for me, I believe in the Roman Catholic Church & ALL that She teaches. May God have mercy on the cold-hearted people that show no mercy themselves to the non-catholic Christians and the Jewish people. JMJ

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