Friday, December 30, 2005

The Catholic League on "Pope Joan."

Taken from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights:

December 29, 2005
Tonight, ABC’s “Primetime” will air a segment, “On the Trail of Pope Joan,” that raises questions about the possible existence of Pope Joan. Catholic League president Bill Donohue weighed in today:

“ABC has been busy questioning the divinity of Jesus for years, what with its infamous ‘Search for Jesus’ specials. In May of this year, it went back to the well again with a ‘20/20’ episode questioning the resurrection of Jesus. Correspondent Elizabeth Vargas told viewers: ‘Whether the resurrection proclaimed by the disciples was physical, metaphysical, or simply a hallucination—the dreams of grieving followers,’ is not known. In other words, Christians have likely been duped. And tonight we learn that we’ve been duped again—a woman pope ruled in the ninth century.

“Diane Sawyer not only wants us to believe in Pope Joan, she takes us to exact street where she processed. ‘Fact or Fiction’ she exclaims! Indeed, Sawyer tells us that Pope Joan gave birth while processing. Pope Joan, she says, dressed in male garb, but this is not an historical anomaly: Sawyer shows us a picture of a woman dressed as a soldier in the U.S. Civil War and then proclaims, ‘Which brings us back to Joan.’ But of course. Another segue could have been little girls dressed up as GI Joe on Halloween, but that might have unsettled the sure-mouthed Sawyer.

“Sawyer does not interview either Paul Johnson, the world renowned historian and author of ‘The Papacy,’ nor does she interview Eamon Duffy, the brilliant historian from Cambridge and author of the magisterial volume, ‘Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes.’ Had she done so they would have laughed in her smug face. So who does she rely on? Donna Cross and Mary Malone. Cross wrote a novel about the mythical Pope Joan and has no standing among scholars. Malone is an ex-nun who lost her faith and hates the Catholic Church. ‘I can no longer pray,’ she said in 1996, ‘because of the language, and because it seemed so essential as the core of the tradition that God be male.’

“In other words, ABC’s gospel has no room for Jesus but plenty of room for Pope Joan. We could squeeze more truth from a used-car salesman than we could from these people.”


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI's Urbi et Orbi Message


“I bring you good news of a great joy for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11). Last night we heard once more the Angel’s message to the shepherds, and we experienced anew the atmosphere of that holy Night, Bethlehem Night, when the Son of God became man, was born in a lowly stable and dwelt among us. On this solemn day, the Angel’s proclamation rings out once again, inviting us, the men and women of the third millennium, to welcome the Saviour. May the people of today’s world not hesitate to let him enter their homes, their cities, their nations, everywhere on earth! In the millennium just past, and especially in the last centuries, immense progress was made in the areas of technology and science. Today we can dispose of vast material resources. But the men and women in our technological age risk becoming victims of their own intellectual and technical achievements, ending up in spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart. That is why it is so important for us to open our minds and hearts to the Birth of Christ, this event of salvation which can give new hope to the life of each human being. Wake up, O man! For your sake God became man” (Saint Augustine, Sermo, 185. Wake up, O men and women of the third millennium! At Christmas, the Almighty becomes a child and asks for our help and protection. His way of showing that he is God challenges our way of being human. By knocking at our door, he challenges us and our freedom; he calls us to examine how we understand and live our lives. The modern age is often seen as an awakening of reason from its slumbers, humanity’s enlightenment after an age of darkness. Yet without the light of Christ, the light of reason is not sufficient to enlighten humanity and the world. For this reason, the words of the Christmas Gospel: “the true Light that enlightens every man was coming into this world” (Jn 1:9) resound now more than ever as a proclamation of salvation. “It is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of humanity truly becomes clear” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). The Church does not tire of repeating this message of hope reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which concluded forty years ago. Men and women of today, humanity come of age yet often still so frail in mind and will, let the Child of Bethlehem take you by the hand! Do not fear; put your trust in him! The life-giving power of his light is an incentive for building a new world order based on just ethical and economic relationships. May his love guide every people on earth and strengthen their common consciousness of being a “family” called to foster relationships of trust and mutual support. A united humanity will be able to confront the many troubling problems of the present time: from the menace of terrorism to the humiliating poverty in which millions of human beings live, from the proliferation of weapons to the pandemics and the environmental destruction which threatens the future of our planet. May the God who became man out of love for humanity strengthen all those in Africa who work for peace, integral development and the prevention of fratricidal conflicts, for the consolidation of the present, still fragile political transitions, and the protection of the most elementary rights of those experiencing tragic humanitarian crises, such as those in Darfur and in other regions of central Africa. May he lead the peoples of Latin America to live in peace and harmony. May he grant courage to people of good will in the Holy Land, in Iraq, in Lebanon, where signs of hope, which are not lacking, need to be confirmed by actions inspired by fairness and wisdom; may he favour the process of dialogue on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere in the countries of Asia, so that, by the settlement of dangerous disputes, consistent and peaceful conclusions can be reached in a spirit of friendship, conclusions which their peoples expectantly await. At Christmas we contemplate God made man, divine glory hidden beneath the poverty of a Child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger; the Creator of the Universe reduced to the helplessness of an infant. Once we accept this paradox, we discover the Truth that sets us free and the Love that transforms our lives. On Bethlehem Night, the Redeemer becomes one of us, our companion along the precarious paths of history. Let us take the hand which he stretches out to us: it is a hand which seeks to take nothing from us, but only to give. With the shepherds let us enter the stable of Bethlehem beneath the loving gaze of Mary, the silent witness of his miraculous birth. May she help us to experience the happiness of Christmas, may she teach us how to treasure in our hearts the mystery of God who for our sake became man; and may she help us to bear witness in our world to his truth, his love and his peace.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Christmas Prayer

HAIL, and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires
(mention request[s] here).

Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.


Friday, December 23, 2005

A Thought


"It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”- Charles M. Province, U.S. Army

Camille Melanson


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

James Carroll’s Historical Revisionism

Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, reminded us that "the various critical attitudes attacking ab intra, internally, the Church, her institutions and structures, and ecclesiastics and their activities...was certainly due to various causes and we are furthermore sure that it was not always without sincere love for the Church. Undoubtedly one of the tendencies it displayed was to overcome what has been called triumphalism, about which there was frequent discussion during the Council. While it is right that, in accordance with the example of her Master, who is ‘humble in heart,’ the Church also should have humility as her foundation, that she should have a critical sense with regard to all that goes to make up her human character and activity, and that she should always be very demanding on herself, nevertheless criticism too should have its just limits. Otherwise it ceases to be constructive and does not reveal truth, love and thankfulness for the grace in which we become sharers principally and fully in and through the Church. Furthermore such criticism does not express an attitude of service but rather a wish to direct the opinion of others in accordance with one’s own, which is at times spread abroad in too thoughtless a manner" (RH, No. 4).

Mr. James Carroll should reflect very carefully upon these words. For in his zeal to promote a Christian faith which offends no one, his criticism of the Church has exceeded any "just limits" and has degenerated into historical revisionism and bad logic. In an editorial for The Boston Globe, he writes, "The dispute over whether it is appropriate, in public, to say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ puts me in mind of Cardinal Richard Cushing. He was my boss when I was Catholic Chaplain at Boston University, and I loved him. In the early 1950's, Cushing forced one of the great changes in Catholic theology by excommunicating Father Leonard Feeney for preaching on Boston Common that ‘there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.’ As is true of today’s exclusivist claims for a Christian meaning of ‘the holidays,’ there was an undercurrent of antisemitism in Feeney’s exclusivist claim for Catholicism. An inch below all Christian triumphalism is special contempt for Jews who reject the idea that Jesus is the saving Messiah. Robust assertions of the one meaning of the winter celebration are a version of the claim that there is only one way to God. Jews may not accept that, but how dare they forbid the dominant Christian culture from celebrating its dominance."

First of all, the Church has never taught that membership in the Church is required of all men under all circumstances. Therefore, it is dishonest for Mr. Carroll to assert that Cardinal Cushing "forced one of the great changes in Catholic theology." In a letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing dated August 8, 1949, the Holy Office explained that, "The infallible dictum which teaches us that outside the Church there is no salvation, is among the truths that the Church has always taught and will always teach. But 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....Of those helps to salvation that are ordered to the last end only by divine decree, not by intrinsic necessity, God, in his infinite mercy, willed that such effects of those helps as are necessary to salvation can, in certain circumstances, be obtained when the helps are used only in desire or longing. We see this clearly stated in the Council of Trent about the sacrament of regeneration and about the sacrament of penance The same, in due proportion, should be said of the Church insofar as it is a general help to salvation. To gain eternal salvation it is not always required that a person be incorporated in fact as a member of the Church, but it is required that he belong to it at least in desire and longing."

The teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments" (No. 1257) does not represent a "change" in the perennial teaching of the Church. For example, Peter Lombard (1095-1160), taught that Christ has not made his grace dependent on the sacraments: "Ad excellentiam potestatis Christi pertinet quod ipse potuit effectum sacramentorum sine exteriori sacramento conferre" (Sent. IV d I c 5). But this does not suggest that we should ignore the great importance of the sacramental path to salvation in the Church which is the Mystical Body of the Incarnate Son of God and which He founded as a means for our salvation. Such an attitude would be disastrous.

Weaving a story as fascinating and intricate as The Da Vinci Code (and just as idiotic), Mr. Carroll continues with his fiction: "Why was Cardinal Cushing the one to force this change? Cushing’s sister Dolly, an MTA toll taker, was married to Dick Pearlstein, who, with his father Louis, ran the haberdashery that was on the way to being Boston’s best men’s store, which it remains. Cardinal Cushing was often in the Pearlstein home, and he had ample occasion to experience his brother-in-law’s innate goodness. There came to be no question for Cushing as to whether his sister’s beloved husband was beloved of God. That Dick Pearlstein was Jewish - a ‘non-Catholic’ - ceased to have decisive meaning, and Cushing began to take Feeney’s ‘orthodox’ preaching as an insult to his own family. An abstract principle of theology was upended by the sort of cross-group interaction that had become common in America."

What a lovely story about American pluralism overcoming the ugly "bigotry" and "rigid fanaticism" of the Church with love and a message of "tolerance." Problem is, not a shred of it is true except for the fact that Fr. Leonard Feeney had indeed reduced the doctrine of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus - "Outside the Church there is no salvation" - to the absurd. In fact, Fr. Feeney and his followers had also mistranslated the Latin. For when the Latin Word "extra" is combined with a preposition, it is properly translated as "without." This is significant because, as Pope John Paul II reminded us in his best selling book "Crossing the threshold of Hope": "The Council speaks of membership in the Church for Christians and of being related to the Church for non-Christian believers in God, for people of goodwill (cf. Lumen Gentium 15-16). Both these dimensions are important for salvation, and each one possesses varying levels. People are saved through the Church, they are saved in the Church, but they always are saved by the grace of Christ. Besides formal membership in the Church, the sphere of salvation can also include other forms of relation to the Church....This is the authentic meaning of the well-known statement ‘Outside the Church there is no salvation.’ It would be difficult to deny that this doctrine is extremely open. It cannot be accused of an ecclesiological exclusivism. Those who rebel against claims allegedly made by the Catholic Church probably do not have an adequate understanding of this teaching." (pp. 140-141).

How do we know this story is false? Well, once again, the Church had never taught Fr. Feeney’s interpretation of the dogma Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. And then we have the word of Joseph Dever, the well-known novelist and one-time feature writer for the Boston Sunday Herald. In his book "Cushing of Boston: A Candid Portrait," Mr. Dever writes that, "In any event, Cushing’s failure to get the Red Hat in 1946 had nothing to do with the Feeney affair, since ‘the contumacious Irishman,’ as Evelyn Waugh once called the latter, did not become defiant of ecclesiastical authority until the early fifties. When we asked Cardinal Cushing about the Feeney case, he threw up his hands in wry alarm and exclaimed: ‘I had nothing to do with it!’" (p. 143).

So much for Mr. Carroll’s fictionalized account of the Fr. Leonard Feeney affair and his claim that this unhappy episode served as some sort of catalyst for a change in Church teaching. What of Mr. Carroll’s belief that we should jettison the words "Merry Christmas" at this time of year and replace this Christian greeting with "Happy Holidays," since the former represents a form of "Christian triumphalism" and "special contempt for Jews who reject the idea that Jesus is the saving Messiah"? It is Mr. Carroll’s contention that the greeting "Merry Christmas" is just another example of a "dominant Christian culture..celebrating its dominance."

If this be true, why then does he advocate the use of "Happy Holidays" as an alternative? After all, by his own admission, "The word means holy." To which he adds, "I recognize in the derided word ‘holidays’ a welcome signal of respect for everyone." Really? What about atheists who feel dominated and excluded by others who wish them a "holy day"? Shouldn’t we respect their feelings as well? And while we’re at it, perhaps we should re-fashion those signs at the zoo which read "Caution: Man-eating lion." After all, lions eat women as well don’t they? I could continue. But you get the idea.

This is a predominantly Christian nation. Therefore, most of us are going to acknowledge our Lord during this season in which we honor His birth. If Mr. Carroll has a problem with this, perhaps he should relocate to a Muslim country where there is so much more respect for diversity and religious freedom.

Paul Anthony Melanson

More thoughts on Baptism of Desire

Pope Innocent III


"To your inquiry we respond thus: We assert without hesitation (on the authority of the holy Fathers Augustine and Ambrose) that the priest whom you indicated (in your letter) had died without the water of baptism, because he persevered in the faith of Holy Mother the Church and in the confession of the name of Christ, was freed from original sin and attained the joy of the heavenly fatherland. Read (brother) in the eigth book of Augustine's City of God where among other things it is written, "Baptism is ministered invisibly to one whom not contempt of religion but death excludes." Read again the book also of the blessed Ambrose concerning the death of Valentinian where he says the same thing. Therefore, to questions concerning the dead, you should hold the opinions of the learned Fathers, and in your church you should join in prayers and you should have sacrifices offered to God for the priest mentioned." (Denziger 388).

St. Augustine

"I do not hesitate to place the Catholic catechumen, who is burning with the love of God, before the baptized heretic..The centurion Cornelius, before Baptism, was better than Simon [Magus], who had been baptized. For Cornelius, even before Baptism, was filled with the Holy Ghost, while Simon, after Baptism, was puffed up with an unclean spirit." (De Bapt. C. Donat., IV 21).

St. Thomas Aquinas

Article 1, Part III, Q. 68:

"...when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism."

Roman Martyrology:

January 23: At Rome, St. Emerentiana, Virgin and Martyr, who was stoned by the heathen while still a catechumen, when she was praying at the tomb of St. Agnes, whose foster-sister she was."

April 12: At Braga, in Portugal, St. Victor, Martyr, who, while still yet a catechumen, refused to worship an idol, and confessed Christ Jesus with great constancy, and so after many torments, he merited to be baptized in his own blood, his head being cut off."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Prayer to the Holy Family

DOMINE Iesu Christe, qui Mariae et Ioseph subditus, domesticam vitam ineffabilibus virtutibus consecrasti: fac nos, utriusque auxilio, Familae sanctae tuae exemplis instrui et consortium consequi sempiternum: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

LORD Jesus Christ, who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Timely Reminder

The following is from Spirit Daily:

The night before...

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town
Not a sign of Baby Jesus was anywhere to be found.
The people were all busy with Christmas time chores
Like decorating, and baking, and shopping in stores.
No one sang "Away in a manger, no crib for a bed".
Instead, they sang of Santa dressed-up in bright red.
Mama watched Martha Stewart,Papa drank beer from a tap.
As hour, upon hour,the presents they'd wrap
When what from the T.V.did they suddenly hear?
'Cept an ad.. which toldof a big sale at Sears.
So away to the mall they all flew like a flash...
Buying things on credit...and ! others with cash!
And, as they made their way home
From their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?Oh, no... not at all.
Their lives were so busy with their Christmas time things
No time to remember Christ Jesus, the King.
There were presents to wrap and cookies to bake.
How could they stop and remember who died for their sake?
To pray to the Savior...they had no time to stop.
Because they needed more time to "Shop til they dropped!
"On Wal-mart! On K-mart!On Target! On Penney's!
On Hallmark! On Zales!A quick lunch at Denny's
From the big stores downtown to the stores at the mall
They would dash away, dash away,and visit them all!
And up on the roof,! there arose such a clatter
As grandpa hung icicle lights up on his brand new step ladder.
He hung lights that would flash.He hung lights that would twirl.
Yet, he never once prayed to Jesus...Light of the World.
Christ's eyes... how they twinkle!Christ's Spirit... how merry!
Christ's love... how enormous!All our burdens... He'll carry!
So instead of being busy, overworked, and uptight
Let's put Christ back in Christmas and enjoy some good nights!
Merry Christmas, my friends!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

There are many Catholics who wish to dialogue with others or to evangelize them and who forget this powerful reminder from God's Holy Word:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.

And if I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

And if I dole out all my goods, and if I deliver my body that I may boast but have not love, nothing I am profited.

Love is long suffering, love is kind, it is not jealous, love does not boast, it is not inflated.
It is not discourteous, it is not selfish, it is not irritable, it does not enumerate the evil.It does not rejoice over the wrong, but rejoices in the truth

It covers all things, it has faith for all things, it hopes in all things, it endures in all things.
Love never falls in ruins; but whether prophecies, they will be abolished; or tongues, they will cease; or knowledge, it will be superseded.

For we know in part and we prophecy in part.
But when the perfect comes, the imperfect will be superseded.
When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I reckoned as an infant;
when I became [an adult], I abolished the things of the infant.

For now we see through a mirror in an enigma, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know as also I was fully known.

But now remains faith, hope, love,
these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

Would that all could remember these words.


The Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, NH and Baptism of Blood and Desire

Dialog based on truth?

In the December, 2005 edition of the Mancipia, a newsletter produced by the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, Brother Andre Marie, M.I.C.M. writes: "..what is it that the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have to offer the Holy Father as our sovereign head on earth. Rather than merely bemoaning the sad state of affairs in the afflicted Mystical Body, we present to him the alternative: dialog based on truth, dialog (with 'the world,' with 'science,' and with other religions) carried out by those who have 'grasped' and adored the Catholic Thing - who wholeheartedly believe and profess all the dogmas of the Faith, including the absolute necessity of the Church for salvation - and whose 'words follow' from that. Knowing that grace is necessary to profess the Faith, we will never rely on our own arguments. Like St. Paul, we are palpably aware that 'neither he that planteth is any thing, nor he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase' (1 Cor. 3:7)." (p.5).

And yet Brother Andre Marie and his comrades at the Saint Benedict Center do rely on their "own arguments." For they reject the Church's teaching on Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. In a letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing of Boston dated August 8, 1949, the Holy Office explained the Church is necessary for salvation because such is the command of Christ and because the Church is a necessary means for salvation. However, the Holy Office also explained that the Church is such a means only by divine institution and not by intrinsic necessity and that, as a consequence, membership itself in the Church is not required of all men under all circumstances.

This letter explained that:

"The infallible dictum which teaches us that outside the Church there is no salvation, is among the truths that the Church has always taught and will always teach. But 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."

Brother Andre Marie and his mentor (Brother Francis) may consider themselves to be some sort of ersatz Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but here on planet earth the Church founded by Christ teaches that, "Of those helps to salvation that are ordered to the last end only by divine decree, not by intrinsic necessity, God, in his infinite mercy, willed that such effects of those helps as are necessary to salvation can, in certain circumstances, be obtained when the helps are used only in desire or longing. We see this clearly stated in the Council of Trent about the sacrament of regeneration and about the sacrament of penance." (Letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing).

This is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:


1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

At the Saint Benedict Center, the "Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary" reject this understanding of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus and prefer instead to embrace their "own arguments" while insisting that Holy Mother Church is wrong and must accept their narrow interpretation of the dogma. An interpretation which would relegate all non-Catholics to an eternity in Hell.

The Church has always taught Baptism of Blood and of Desire. The Council of Trent, in its Canons on the Sacraments in General (Canon 4) taught that:

"If anyone shall say that the sacraments are of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them (sine eis aut eorum voto), through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification; let him be anathema."

And this same Council, in its Decree on Justification (Session 6, Chapter 4), taught that:

"In these words a description of the justification of a sinner is given as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of the 'adoption of the Sons' (Rom. 8:15) of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected except through the layer of regeneration or a desire for it, (sine lavacro regenerationis aut eius voto) as it is written: 'Unless a man be born again of the water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter in the kingdom of God' (John 3:5).

St. Alphonsus de Liguori (Doctor of the Church), in Book 6 of his Moral Theology, wrote:

"But baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true Baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt...Now it is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon 'Apostolicam De Presbytero Non Baptizato' and the Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 4, where it is said that no one can be saved 'without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it.'"

The 1917 Code of Canon Law On Ecclesiastical Burial (Canon 1239.2) stated: "Catechumens who, through no fault of their own, die without Baptism, are to be treated as baptized."

Commentary on the Code: "The reason for this rule is that they are justly supposed to have met death united to Christ through Baptism of Desire."

And what does the great St. Augustine have to say? This Father and Doctor of the Church, whom Brother Andre admits "discussed religion with the pagans of his day" and "aggressively dismantled their arguments," addresses this issue in his City of God:

"Those also who die for the confession of Christ without having received the laver of regeneration are released thereby from their sins just as much as if they had been cleansed by the sacred spring of baptism. For He who said, 'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,' (John 3:5) by another statement made exceptions to this when He said no less comprehensively: 'Everyone...that shall confess me before men, I will confess before my Father who is in Heaven.' (Matthew 10:32)."

It is noteworthy that while Brother Andre Marie exhorts readers of his column in the Mancipia to initiate a dialog in which the faith is presented "zealously, with conviction, and with excitement," there is no mention of love - of charity. This will come as no surprise to those who are even remotely familiar with Fr. Leonard Feeney and the origin of the Saint Benedict Center. The noted Catholic author Evelyn Waugh wrote in a letter that the most disturbing event he saw in Boston involved his visit to Fr. Leonard Feeney, S.J., at Harvard:

"I went one morning by appointment and found him surrounded by a court of bemused youths of both sexes and he stark, raving mad. All his converts have chucked their Harvard careers and go to him only for all instruction. He fell into a rambling denunciation of all secular learning, which gradually became more and more violent." (The Letters of Evelyn Waugh, ed. Mark Amory, (New Haven: Ticknor and Fields, 1980), 291-292.

Here are some examples of Fr. Feeney's idea of "dialog":

"The Jews have taken over this city..." (Report by Grace Uberti from 14 September 1952, Feeney Collection, Archives, Archdiocese of Boston, Brighton, Mass).

"I would rather be a bad Catholic than any Jew in existence." (op. cit, 19 October 1952).

"Every Protestant hates the Jews. Harvard loathes Jews. That is why they got a new President - to keep the Jews away. I don't hate Jews for the reason he hates them. I hate them because they hate Jesus. They hate Jesus because they are Jews!" (op. cit 9 August 1953).

"Those kikes are from Hillel House. I warn you of what the Jews are going to do to the Catholic City of Boston. In every city you see a new synagogue being built in a Christian country...If I sent Catholics over to heckle Rabbi Shubow, Fingold [Attorney General] would send the police in and have them in jail. But over here in front of the picture of the sacred heart of Mary these Jews are yelling every single filthy thing - every blasphemous word, on Sunday in a Catholic city." (op. cit 31 July 1955).

And Fr. Feeney's idea of "dialog" also included attacks on Protestants and Catholics:

"Archbishop Cushing is a heretic. I didn't say it behind his back; I said it to his face." (op. cit 28 September 1952).

"Here you have me in a Catholic city being spit at and sneered at. I would like to profess my Catholic faith in a city gone to the dogs, thanks to the Jews, Protestants and Masons, and under a cowardly leader." (op. cit 16 November 1952).

"Harvard boys are filthy. Too many Irish, too many Negroes, and too many Jews." (op. cit 8 March 1953).

Until Brother Andre Marie and the rest of the Saint Benedict Center renounces anti-Semitism and a "dialog" based on private judgment rather than Church teaching and on anger and violence rather than charity, no one is going to take them seriously.

Paul Anthony Melanson

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ste. Marie Parish in Manchester NH offering Centering Prayer

By clicking on the link provided, you will be taken to the page for Joseph House which is described thusly:

A Contemplative Retreat House279 Cartier StreetManchester, New Hampshire 03102
Voice: (603) 627-9493Fax: (603) 666-4732email:
A retreat center for contemplative prayer in the classical Christian tradition. Erected in 1905 as part of Ste. Marie Parish, it served originally as a residence for the Brothers and later for the Sisters who taught in the adjacent school. Destined for demolition in 1986, it was providentially spared and has been transformed into a charming, 21-room retreat center.

Joseph House offers regular retreats in Centering Prayer. Please read the following article for an explanation as to some of the problems presented by Centering Prayer:

Centering Prayer Meets the Vatican
It is God's choice, not ours whether we enter the sphere of the divine.

Part one
By Dan DeCelles
Contemplative prayer has a long and venerable history among the many forms of Christian prayer. Centering prayer, by contrast, is the new kid on the block. It claims to be a technique of prayer that helps a person enter quickly and almost effortlessly into contemplation. (See below for fuller descriptions of each.) According to its advocates, anyone, at any stage in the Christian life, can use centering prayer with spectacular results.

Abbot Thomas Keating, O.C., one of its main proponents, says, "To move into that realm is the greatest adventure ... a new world appears within and around us and the impossible becomes an everyday experience."

Last December the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of' the Faith warned about the dangers of blending Christian prayer and Eastern methods of meditation (e.g., Zen, Transcendental Meditation and yoga). Although Some Aspects of Christian Meditation does not single out any persons or schools of thought by name, many of its warnings apply to the centering- prayer literature, including the writings of Abbot Keating and his spiritual disciple Father Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. Both have backgrounds in Eastern meditation methods and cite those experiences favorably as instructive for today's Christians.

Early in the document the author, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, describes how the church Fathers combated early "errors" that affected the way Christians thought about prayer. He says, "Such erroneous forms, having reappeared in history from time to time on the fingers of the church's prayer, seem once more [today] to impress many Christians, appealing to them as a kind of remedy, be it psychological or spiritual, or as a quick way of finding God."

Several elements of these ancient errors find expression in centering prayer. In part two of this article, we'll look at two of these: a mistaken understanding of "union with God" and an overemphasis on the experiential dimension of prayer. First,
though, I want to call attention to the phrase "a quick wav of finding God." This phrase indicates the most obvious problem centering prayer has.

When God bestows the gift of contemplative prayer, it is normally to more mature Christians. The word "normally" is important. God is sovereign and gives his graces as he chooses, but normally he reserves this gift for those who have made some progress fighting vice and growing in virtue and in the fruit of the Spirit. This usually takes time.
Centering prayer, on the other hand, promises any Christian at any stage access to contemplative prayer. The impression its promoters give is that a person only has to read a brief description of the method, find a quiet room and, after a few minutes of "centering," experience a deep, contemplative sense of God's presence.

The promise of quick results may help to explain the popularity of centering prayer, but it cannot be dismissed as a mere sales gimmick. It is a direct antidote to what its promoters regard as a problem afflicting modem Western culture. Says Abbot Keating, "To the objection that we might be introducing contemplative prayer (to people] too soon, my answer is that our contemporaries in the Western world have a special problem with discursive meditation because of the ingrained inclination to analyze things [which] has led to the repression of our intuitive faculties.... This conceptual hang up ... impedes the spontaneous movement from reflection ... into contemplative prayer." What's needed, he suggests, is a method like centering prayer, a "means of exposing people to the actual experience ... essential to get beyond the intellectual bias."

People looking for a quick way of finding God are likely to run into two temptations that have plagued Christians from the beginning: to take a negative view of the material world, and to think contemplation is something they can attain all by themselves.
First, let's look at the proper way a Christian values the material world. God chose to come to us through the material world. He chose to reveal himself to us in the spoken words of the prophets, in his sovereign interventions in human history, and, above all, in Jesus, his eternally begotten Son, made man in time and space. He chose to redeem us through the physical death and resurrection of this man. He chose not to take us out of this world after we are united to him in baptism, but to leave us in the world. God even chose the physical sufferings we endure on this earth as a way we can draw closer to him, following in the footsteps of his Son.

It should not surprise us, then, that God wants the believer to approach him in and through the material world. "To grasp the depths of the divine," says Cardinal Ratzinger, the Christian meditates on the earthly life of Jesus. God reveals these depths "through the human-earthly dimension." When the Christian sees Jesus, he sees the Father (jn. 14:9); he grasps "the divine reality in the human figure of Jesus, his eternal divine dimension in its temporal form."
However, this sort of "human-earthly" meditation is considered a hindrance in centering prayer. "in centering prayer we go beyond thought and image, beyond the senses and the rational mind, to that center of our being where God is working a wonderful work," says Father Pennington "just sitting there, doing nothing. Not even thinking some worthwhile thoughts or making some good resolutions-just being." Abbot Keating goes further, "if you are aware of no thoughts, you will aware of something and that is a thought. If at that point you can lose the awareness that you are aware of no thoughts, you will move into pure consciousness.
Cardinal Ratzinger has reservations. He warns about methods which "try as far as possible to put aside everything that is worldly, sense perceptible, or conceptually limited." An approach of this sort to prayer may actually be "an attempt to ascend to or immerse oneself in the sphere of the divine, which as such is neither terrestrial, sense perceptible nor capable of conceptualization."

Besides the temptation to reject the material world in this approach there is another problem-indicated by Cardinal Ratzinger's use of the word "oneself" in the last quote-the temptation to ascend to God by one's own power or strength. In fact it is God's choice, not ours, whether we enter the sphere of the divine. "God is free to 'empty' us of all that holds us back .... to draw us completely into the Trinitarian life of his eternal love," but this gift is granted "not through our own efforts."

In the 16th century, Teresa of Avila noticed that as some Christians prayed they tried to stop thinking pre-mature, before God had given the grace of contemplation. In Interior Castle she said, "be careful not to check the movement of the mind ... and to remain there like a dolt." A century later, the church was confronted with a still more passive form of prayer in the teachings of Miguel de Molinos. It did not take long for "quietism" to be condemned.

Centering prayer's advocates occasionally remind their readers that contemplation is indeed a gift from God, but their clear and constant message is that God will give the gift. Every time. To everyone who uses the method. Their insistence that anyone can master the Centering-prayer technique and their virtual guarantee of success will lead many to a do-it- yourself approach to contemplative prayer. To be continued.

Centering Prayer
Rule 1: At the beginning of the prayer we take a minute or two to quiet down and then move in faith to God dwelling in our depths; and at the end of the prayer we take several minutes to come out, mentally praying the "Our Father" or some other prayer.

Rule 2: After resting for a bit in the center in faithful love, we take up a single, simple word that expresses this response and begin to let it repeat itself within.

Rule 3: Whenever in the course of the prayer we become aware of anything else, we simply gently return to the Presence by the use of the prayer word.
(Centering Prayer, by Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O., pg. 65)
Contemplative Prayer

[When Gods calls a person to contemplative prayer] the soul is no longer inclined to meditate by itself, to reason on the great truths of faith so as to arouse itself to acts of love of God. It receives "a supernatural recollection" which it could never acquire by its own efforts and "which does not depend on our own will." It is no longer the soul recollecting itself, it is God who recollects it and draws it toward the inner sanctuary. This is the beginning of contemptation, properly so called; it is infused since we cannot procure it for ourselves by our activity aided by grace.... In contemplation "the soul understands that the divine Master is teaching it without the sound of words." - - - Under this infused light "the soul is inflamed with love without comprehending flow it loves."

(Christian Perfection and Contemplation, by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., pp. 244-2.46, quotations are from various works of Teresa of Avila.)
New Heaven/New Earth, March 1990

This article may be found here:


Saturday, December 10, 2005

La Salette Center for Christian Living offering Yoga

The La Salette Center for Christian Living is offering a Yoga retreat because of "popular demand." This calls for prayer:

Coming Back by Popular Demand
Details will follow in the next calendaror Call (508) 222-8530

A Yoga Retreat
January 13-15, 2006
Cost: $165
Judith Medeiros starts the New Year with a weekend of gentle yoga and relaxation. Give yourself the gift of some quiet time and space after the hectic holiday season. Hatha Yoga involves gentle stretching exercises, rhythmic breathing and deep relaxation techniques. No experience with yoga is necessary. There will begentle yoga postures, adapted and modified for people who wish to relieve stress, relax, be revitalized, and heal. Deep relaxation techniques will include meditative time with inspirational music and Sacred Scripture.

Why is this a concern? Read the following from The New York Times:

Saturday, September 17, 2005
Christian yoga classes encourage poses and prayer
By Katie Zezima / New York Times

HAMILTON, Mass. -- When Cathy Chadwick instructed her three yoga students to move into warrior position, she didn't remind them to watch their alignment or focus on their breath. Instead Chadwick urged them to concentrate on the affirmation each made at the beginning of class after she read aloud the prayer of St. Theresa of Avila.
"Good Christian warriors," Chadwick softly said as the women lunged into the position.
Chadwick is one of a growing number of people who practice Christian yoga, incorporating Biblical passages, prayers and Christian reflections. Occasionally, teachers rename yoga postures to reflect Christian teachings or, as Chadwick did with warrior position, include religious metaphors.
Some, like Chadwick, had taken yoga classes and enjoyed the physical benefits but were uncomfortable with the fact that yoga is a Hindu practice. Others said yoga allowed them to connect with their spiritual sides, but it should be filled with their own religion.
"I feel more comfortable practicing yoga in conjunction with my faith," said Chadwick, whose class meets at Christ Church in this town 30 miles north of Boston. "When I practiced yoga before I felt I was being asked to open up to a deity, and that deity to me is a Christian deity."
A similar movement is taking place in Judaism, with teachers merging teachings or texts into yoga classes. Many who take part said Christian and Jewish yoga made the physical discipline more accessible to those otherwise unwilling to take a class for religious reasons.
Centers that teach only Christian or Jewish yoga are popping up across the country. Most classes teach hatha yoga postures, gentle enough to be performed by novices.
But critics of the alterations say that yoga is inherently Hindu, and that it is not possible to truly practice it without embracing that element.
"There is an element of superficiality or hypocrisy there," said Subhas R. Tiwari, a professor of yoga philosophy and meditation at the Hindu University of America in Orlando, Fla. "To try to take Hinduism or aspects of Hinduism outside of yoga is an affront. It's an act of insincere behavior."
Douglas R. Groothuis, a professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary, said that yoga was a Hindu practice structured to help people attain a higher spiritual state within, and that was incompatible with Christian teachings.
"I don't think Christian yoga works," he said. "It's an oxymoron. If it's truly Christian, it can't be truly yoga because of the worldviews."
The Vatican has also expressed misgivings about yoga. In a 1989 letter, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, said practices like yoga and meditation could "degenerate into a cult of the body."
Even so, the number of people who practice Christian yoga is rapidly growing, said the Rev. Thomas Ryan, a Paulist priest in New York and editor of "Reclaiming the Body in Christian Spirituality."
Ryan, who developed many of the Christian yoga techniques adopted by others, said yoga postures were vehicles for people of all faiths to invite spirituality into the heart and body.
"It is better seen as a hardware to which one brings his or her own software and one's own faith understanding to transform the practice from within, so the intention is always critical," said Ryan, who is assembling a database of Christian yoga instructors.
Myriam Klotz, a reconstructionist rabbi and co-founder of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training Institute at Elat Chayyim, a Jewish spiritual retreat center in Accord, N.Y., said she used yoga as a way to integrate the body into Judaism.
"I would like the Jewish experience to be more full-bodied," Klotz said, "and yoga is one of the best ways I have found to live a more full-bodied life. I don't mean to create a new Judiasm. It's being respectful of the yoga tradition and integrating the Jewish tradition and letting them befriend one another."
For example, if Klotz is teaching about the Jewish principle of people being grounded on Earth but stretching their souls up, she has students stand in mountain pose as a physical expression of that teaching.
Stephen A. Rapp, a Boston yoga teacher, developed Aleph-Bet yoga, a series of postures meant to represent Hebrew letters. Rapp said he saw the connection between poses and letters one day when, after he had shown his children yoga postures, he watched a scribe repair a scroll at synagogue.
For example, Rapp expresses the Hebrew letter bet in the posture Dandasana, where one sits on the ground with legs and arms straight out in front. Rapp believes postures are part of a physical yoga system into which spirituality is incorporated.
"It's the thinking about the shape and thinking about the symbol and what it means while also doing this form of exercise," he said. "It gives you a focus, an intention. You really have to have the intention correct in yoga."
But Swami Param, head of the Classical Yoga Hindu Academy in Manahawkin, N.J., said that if people could not acknowledge the Hindu element of yoga they should not bother studying it.
"As Hindus, we have no problem studying other religions," Param said, "but we give them the respect they deserve."


Friday, December 09, 2005

Mr. Douglas Bersaw quoted by a hate group

Mr. Douglas Bersaw of the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, is quoted at the website of Stormfront, a well-known hate group. This entry may be found on the internet:

Stormfront White Nationalist Community - The Curse of Cain and ...and it is also true to say, as it was recently put by Douglas Bersaw, that is, brother Anthony Mary, MICM, Prefect of The Third Order, MICM of SBC, NH: - 93k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages


The Church and the supernatural

This excellent article was written by Mr. Michael Brown and is featured at his website:

By Michael H. Brown
Striking it was, the other day, to hear from a priest who mentioned that it is now "politically incorrect" -- among priests -- to take spiritual phenomena such a weeping statues seriously.
It was striking because while it has been apparent for some time that many priests and bishops are no longer open to the supernatural, hearing it put in such terms crystallized it.
Politically incorrect.
Indeed, in the current climate, it is doubtful that apparition sites such as Lourdes in France and Fatima in Portugal would have passed muster ecclesiastically. What about Jesus Himself? Certainly, many theologians and other thinkers in the modern Church would have found it hard to believe that someone was actually going about healing the sick, casting out demons, speaking to God, experiencing apparitions, materializing wine, walking on water, calming storms, prophesying future events, raising the deceased, and Himself resurrecting.
There would have been much snickering about that -- for sure -- and so we have to ask ourselves if we as a Church are dangerously close to resembling Sadducees and Pharisees more than early-century Christians.
A hyper-skepticism and intellectualization of the Church -- the lack of a sense of the mystical -- has led to a lack of the sacred, and from this, like a dark fountain, have sprung many of the current problems in the Church, from empty pews, vacant monasteries, and bored congregants to unholy priests caught in scandal.
Sex abuse is the result of a priest who is out of touch with holiness.
Fantastic it is to say that too often the Spirit is no longer welcome in the Church. This is the root of many scandals.
In some ways, Pope Benedict XVI seems to be responding. Whether or not he will prove to be as open to the mystical as his predecessor, in the first seven months of his pontificate he has moved in a direction that seems to aim for the sacred -- promoting reading of the Bible, encouraging the use of Latin, and indicating deep concern for the wayward course of liturgical music (all the while preaching on ecumenism and love of everyone, whatever the denomination).
These are positive signs. The Pope has also tackled the issue of homosexuality in the Church. Such is relevant because when there is sin there is also a dearth of the Spirit.
Let's visit this issue for a moment: How will the new Vatican document on gays in the priesthood play out?
Whatever anyone tries to say, it sent a message that the Catholic Church is not a closet for ungodliness, and that includes homosexuality.
The Church deals with that sin with love but does not accept it and does not want sinners -- who are in need of ministry -- to lead it. Is this so unreasonable?
Yet in the U.S., as well as Australia and Canada, there already has been an attempt to "spin" the instruction. There are many who are trying to say that it allows homosexuals if they have been celibate for three years -- when what the document actually states is that anyone with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies is not right for the priesthood.
According to the document, "transitory" homosexual feelings, like those some may experience during the turmoil of youth, do not disqualify a man from the seminary -- as long as those transitory feelings have been eliminated.
The document does not repudiate men with homosexual inclinations who already are priests -- unless they are unchaste.
Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement that the answer to the question of whether a homosexual man can be a good priest "lies in the lives of those men who, with God's grace, have truly been dedicated priests."
But as for future priests, that's a different matter; the Vatican is trying to clean up a mess that began when seminaries, like society itself, devoid of a transcendental sense, began to allow for anything.
"I believe that this statement means that it is not sufficient for the seminarian to be chaste for three years," says Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist, author and contributor to the Catholic Medical Association's document Homosexuality and Hope. "He must also first know himself; that is, understand his emotional conflicts which cause same-sex attractions and have worked to resolve those conflicts. Spiritual directors can help seminarians and priests by understanding that same-sex attractions are treatable and are not genetically determined. They can encourage seminarians and priests to face their emotional pain with the Lord's help, particularly their loneliness."
This means the purging too -- the self-cleansing -- of latent homosexuality (which was specifically mentioned in an earlier Vatican document).
Very dangerous it is at this time how even some bishops have said they will still accept gays in the wake of the document, and now it seems that the Vatican must move rapidly to halt such a misinterpretation of an important document -- one that can have the effect of a renewal if and only if it is strictly enforced.
In fact, the enforcement will prove more important than the document.
Those priests who are homosexuals and already ordained are allowed to remain as long as they are celibate, but the Vatican has said they should not be in a teaching capacity at seminaries. It may be wise for Rome to take this to the next step and review bishops or cardinals who are reported to be homosexual. There are rumors in the U.S., and in South Africa was a bishop who was openly and actively homosexual, displaying himself on the internet.
How could anything more quickly quash the Spirit?
We get allegations of such and while we will not post them unless there is official action -- and while we remind all that obedience to a bishop, no matter what one suspects, is important, along with authentic love for everyone, no matter what they struggle with -- the faithful should no longer be subject to the negative effects of such leadership.
A gay person cannot minister, but rather is in need of deliverance. That should be done with both strength and love. We all have our flaws. We all need purity. We may not excuse uncleanness.
Yet one major liberal Catholic newspaper did exactly that this week, apologizing for and showing disdain for the new Vatican document and calling the Vatican's terminology "repugnant." "To all those in positions of leadership in the Roman Catholic church who also happen to be homosexual," it said, "we offer our commiseration and sorrow that once again you have been forced to hear your sexuality, an element intrinsic to your humanity, described as an objective disorder."
This same publication never reports on anything mystical.
And so the question: Is sinfulness in the Church why some tend to be antagonistic to claims of apparitions, statues weeping, and similar phenomena? Is the reason because the tears of a statue indicate that something in very wrong in our society? Is at least some of it because most major apparitions strongly affirm strict, conservative, and orthodox Christianity?
Whatever the answer, the lack of a spiritual sense has threatened to turn Catholicism into nothing more than an institution. Without purity, authentic mysticism, and the sacred, without direct contact with holiness, the Church loses its membership.
"This is one of the reasons why in some parts of the world many Catholics abandon the Catholic Church for other Christian realities; they are attracted by a simple and effective proclamation that puts them in direct contact with Christ and allows them to experience the power of his Spirit," Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the pontifical household, told Pope Benedict XVI last week.
Hyper-intellectualization, liberalism, and far too much emphasis on theology has dulled the Church, bored congregants, and opened the way for the rationalization of sin. With all due respect, when those in authority speak constantly with words like "catechesis" or in long polysyllables, we are not resembling the way the original Church spoke.
Are we not more than a doctrinal edifice?
We are. We are the Church of Christ. And that means we are the Church of miracles.
[see also: Psychology of homosexuality, part 2: gay tendencies can be healed and Are active homosexuals accepted by God?]

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Case of Fr. Leonard Feeney

The Case of Fr. Leonard Feeney [Excerpt from The Reign of Mary (winter 1992)]. . . In this very liberal climate which reigned in the United States, the students of the St. Benedict Center were particularly upset by the erroneous interpretation given to certain dogmas, especially among those involved in the Ecumenical movement. In their opinion, the false interpretation which was being given to the dogma that "Outside the Church there is no salvation," was at the basis of all this liberal teaching. And in reaction to this, they gave the same dogma a most rigorous interpretation. They were playing into the hands of the liberals. This rapidly stirred up a reaction, and in April of 1949, Dr. Maluf and three other professors, all members of the St. Benedict Center, were expelled from the Jesuit house in Boston for having taught an erroneous doctrine. They claimed that all those who were not explicitly members of the visible Church were damned, and accused all those who denied this of being heretics.

In order to explain the reasons to the press, the Very Reverend William L. Keheler, S.J., President of Boston College, declared: "They persisted in teaching, both in and outside the classroom, doctrines which contradicted the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church, ideas that fostered fanaticism and intolerance." The affair became a scandal when on April 17, 1949, Father Leonard Feeney publicly undertook the defense of these professors and their doctrine.

The following day, Richard J. Cushing, the Archbishop of Boston, without any warning to the interested parties, declared to the press that Father Leonard Feeney was suspended a divinis, in the archdiocese and the St. Benedict's Center was placed under interdict. Considering this double sanction to be against canon law, Father Feeney appealed to Rome. From then on, there was open war bewteen the priest and local authorities.

On the 8th of August, 1949, Cardinal Marchetti-Selvaggiani, Secretary of the Holy Office, wrote to the Archbishop of Boston and sent him a Declaration of this Holy Office to be conveyed to Father Feeney, which made clear the sense in which one should understand the doctrine that "There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church." Father Feeney refused to adhere to this declaration and wrote with regard to the matter that "it can be considered as having established a two-sided policy in order to propagate error." On October 28, Father Feeney was expelled from the Jesuit Order.Things remained unchanged until September 14, 1952.

At this point, the Archbishop of Boston demanded that Father Feeney retract his false interpretation and make an "explicit profession of submission" to the Roman Declaration within one month or suffer the penalty of being reduced to the state of a layman. Father Feeney, accompanied by four witnesses, presented himself before his Archbishop. He told him that his only option was to declare the letter of Marchetti-Selvaggiani "absolutely scandalous because it was frankly heretical." Then he asked His Excellency if he was in agreement with the views expressed by the Roman Declaration. He obtained the following response: "I am not a theologian. All that I know is what I am told." Then, in the presence of these witnesses, Father Feeney accused the Archbishop of failing to perform his duty, and left.

On September 24, 1952, a letter was sent from the St. Benedict Center to Pius XII, accusing the Archbishop of Boston of heresy. In October of 1952, Cardinal Pizzardo summoned Father Feeney to present himself in Rome for a hearing by the Holy Office. Father Feeney accepted on condition that they told him beforehand what the charges against him were. Not receiving any response, he did not comply. On February 16, 1953, the Acta Apostolicae Sedis announced the excommunication of Father Leonard Feeney. The following is an official translation of the Decree:
"Since Father Leonard Feeney remained in Boston (St. Benedict Center) and since he has been suspended from performing his priestly duties for a long time because of his grave disobedience to the Authority of the Church, in no way moved by repeated warnings and threats of incurring excommunication ipso facto, and has still failed to submit, the most Eminent and Reverend Fathers, charged with the responsibility of safeguarding faith and morals, during a plenary session held on February 4, 1953, have declared him excommunicated with all the effects that this has in law."On Thursday, February 12, 1953, Our Most Holy Father Pius XII, Pope by Divine Providence, has approved and confirmed the decree of these Most Eminent Fathers, and ordered that this be made a matter of public record."Given in Rome in the general quarters of the Holy Office, February 13, 1953. Marius Crovini, notary."

Since then, and in spite of the sanction of the Holy See, Father Feeney has made the St. Benedict Center the headquarters of a Society of about one hundred individuals who call themselves the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and who have undertaken to propagate this condemned doctrine about the salvation of non-Catholics, while accusing the Archbishop of Boston and all who agree with his interpretation of being heretics.

Declaration Letter to Archbishop Cushing from the Holy OfficeTHE SUPREME SACRED CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY OFFICEFrom the Headquarters of the Holy OfficeAugust 8, 1949 Protocol Number 122/49Your 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 institutes 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 judgement but also through the ordinary and universal teaching office (Denziger, 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 Saviour gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church.Now, in the first place, the Church teaches that in this matter there is question of a most strict command of Jesus Christ. For He explicitly enjoined on his apostles to teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever He Himself had commanded (Matt., 28:19-20). Now, among the commandments of Christ, that one holds not the least place, by which we are commanded to be incorporated by Baptism into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, and to remain united to Christ and to His Vicar, through whom He Himself in a visible manner governs the Church on earth.Therefore, no one will be saved who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established by Christ, nevertheless refuses to submit to the Church or withholds obedience from the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth. Not only did the Savior command that all nations should enter the Church, but He also decreed the Church to be a means of salvation, without which no one can enter the kingdom of eternal glory. In His infinite mercy God has willed that the effects, necessary for one to be saved, of those helps to salvation which are directed toward man's final end, not by intrinsic necessity, but only by divine institution, can also be obtained in certain circumstances when those helps are used only in desire and longing. This we see clearly stated in the Sacred Council of Trent, both in reference to the Sacrament of Regeneration and in reference to the Sacraments of Penance (Denziger, nn. 797, 807).

The same in its own degree must be asserted of the Church, in as far as she is the general help to salvation. Therefore, that one may obtain eternal salvation, it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church actually as a member, but it is necessary that at least he be united to her by desire and longing.However, this desire need not always be explicit, as it is in catechumens; but when a person is involved in invincible ignorance, God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God.These things are clearly taught in that dogmatic letter which was issued by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1943, "On the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ." (AAS, Vol. 35, an. 1943, p. 193 ff.) For in this letter the Sovereign Pontiff clearly distinguishes between those who are actually incorporated into the Church as members, and those who are united to the Church only by desire.

Discussing the members of which the Mystical Body is composed here on earth, the same August Pontiff says: "Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed."Toward the end of this same Encyclical Letter, when most affectionately inviting to unity those who do not belong to the body of the Catholic Church, he mentions those who "are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire," and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation, but on the other hand states that they are in a condition " in which they cannot be sure of their salvation" since "they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church" (AAS, loc. cit., 342)With these wise words he reproves both those who exclude from eternal salvation all united to the Church only by implicit desire, and those who falsely assert that men can be saved equally well in every religion (cf. Pope Pius IX, Allocution "Singulari quadam," in Denziger, nn. 1641, ff. - also Pope Pius IX in the Encyclical Letter "Quanto conficiamur mœrore" in Denzinger, n. 1677). But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: "For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews, 11:6).

The Council of Trent declares (Session VI, chap. 8): "Faith is the beginning of man's salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and attain to fellowship of His children" (Denz., n. 801)From what has been said it is evident that those things which are proposed in the periodical "From the Housetops," fascicle 3, as the genuine teaching of the Catholic Church are far from being such and are very harmful both to those within the Church and those without.From these declarations which pertain to doctrine certain conclusions follow which regard discipline and conduct, and which cannot be unknown to those who vigorously defend the necessity by which all are bound of belonging to the true Church and of submitting to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and of the Bishops "whom the Holy Ghost has placed . . . to rule the Church" (Act, 20:28)Hence, one cannot understand how the St. Benedict Center can consistently claim to be a Catholic school and wish to be accounted such, and yet not conform to the prescriptions of Canon 1381 and 1382 of the Code of Canon Law, and continue to exist as a source of discord and rebellion against ecclesiastical authority and as a source of the disturbance of many consciences.

Furthermore, it is beyond understanding how a member of a religious institute, namely Father Feeney, presents himself as a "Defender of the faith," and at the same time does not hesitate to attack the catechetical instruction proposed by lawful authorites, and has not even feared to incur grave sanctions threqatened by the sacred canons because of his serious violations of his duties as a religious, a priest and an ordinary member of the Church.Finally, it is in no wise to be tolerated that certain Catholics shall claim for themselves the right to publish a periodical, for the purpose of spreading theological doctrines, without the permission of competent Church Authority, called the "imprimatur," which is prescribed by the sacred canons.Therefore, 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 applies without any restriction that principle: submission to the Catholic Church and to the Sovereign Pontiff is required as necessary for salvation. In sending this letter, I declare my profound esteem, and remainYour Excellency's most devotedF. Cardinal Marchetti-Selvaggiani

The Catholic Encyclopedia (1910)Vol. 14, TOLERATION, J. Pohle But does the proposition that outside the Church there is no salvation involve the doctrine so often attributed to Catholicism, that the Catholic Church, in virtue of the principle, "condemns and must condemn all non-Catholics"? This is by no means the case. The foolish unchristian maxim that those who are outside the Church must for that very reason be eternally lost is no legitimate conclusion from Catholic dogma. The infliction of eternal damnation pertains not to the Church, but to God, Who alone can scrutinize the conscience.

The task of the Church is confined exclusively to the formulating of the principle, which expresses a condition of salvation imposed by God Himself, and does not extend to the examination of the persons, who may or may not satisfy this condition. Care for one's own salvation is the personal concern of the individual. And in this matter the Church shows the greatest possible consideration for the good faith and the innocence of the erring person. Not that she refers, as is often stated, the eternal salvation of the heterodox solely and exclusively to "invincible ignorance", and thus makes sanctifying ignorance a convenient gate to heaven for the stupid. She places the efficient cause of the eternal salvation of all men objectively in the merits of the Redeemer, and subjectively in justification through baptism or through good faith enlivened by the perfect love of God, both of which may be found outside the Catholic Church. Whoever indeed has recognized the true Church of Christ, but contrary to his better knowledge refuses to enter it, and whoever becomes perplexed as to the truth of his belief, but fails to investigate his doubts seriously, no longer lives in good faith, but exposes himself to the danger of eternal damnation, since he rashly contravenes an important command of God. Otherwise the gentle breathing of grace is not confined within the walls of the Catholic Church, but reaches the hearts of many who stand afar, working in them the marvel of justification and thus ensuring the eternal salvation of numberless men who either, like upright Jews and pagans, do not know the true Church, or, like so many Protestants educated in gross prejudice, cannot appreciate her true nature.

To all such, the Church does not close the gate of Heaven, although she insists that there are essential means of grace which are not within the reach of non-Catholics. In his allocution "Singulari quadam" of 9 December, 1854, which emphasized the dogma of the Church as necessary for salvation, Pius IX uttered the consoling principle: "Sed tamen pro certo...." (But it is likewise certain that those who are ignorant of the true religion, if their ignorance is invincible, are not, in this matter, guilty of any fault in the sight of God). (Denzinger n. 1647) . . . As early as 1713 Clement XI condemned in his dogmatic Bull "Unigenitus" the proposition of the Jensenist Quesnel: . . . no grace is given outside the Church. . . just as Alexander VIII has already condemned in 1690 the Jansenistic proposition of Arnauld: . . . (Pagans, Jews, heretics, and other people of the sort, receive no influx [of grace] whatsoever from Jesus Christ). . . Catholics who are conversant with the teachings of their Church know how to draw the proper conclusions. . .

Baltimore Catechism No.3A Catechism of Christian Doctrine prepared and enjoined by order of the Third Plenary Council of BaltimoreIMPRIMATURS:Archbishop John McCloskey of New York 1885Archbishop Gibbons Baltimore 1885Archbishop Michael Augustine N.Y. 1901Archbishop Patrick Hayes N.Y. 1921NIHIL OBSTATS:Rev. Remigius LaFort, Censor Librorum 1901Arthur Scanlan, Censor Librorum 1921Q. 510. Is it ever possible for one to be saved who does not know the Catholic Church to be the true Church?A. It is possible for one to be saved who does not know the Catholic Church to be the true Church, provided that person (I) has been validly baptized; (2) firmly believes the religion he professes and practices to be the true religion, and (3) dies without the guilt of mortal sin on his soul.Q. 511. Why do we say it is only possible for a person to be saved who does not know the Catholic Church to be the true Church?A. We say it is only possible for a person to be saved who does not know the Catholic Church to be the true Church, because the necessary conditions are not often found, especially that of dying in a state of grace without making use of the Sacrament of Penance.Q. 512. How are such persons said to belong to the Church?A. Such persons are said to belong to the "soul of the church"; that is, they are really members of the Church without knowing it. Those who share in its Sacraments and worship are said to belong to the body or visible part of the Church.

The New Catholic Dictionary (1929)SOUL OF THE CHURCHFrom the 16th century, the Catholic theologians expressed more definitely the theological doctrine of the distinction between the Soul and Body of the Church. . . This distinction. . . is formally expressed by Bellarmine in his study on the members of the Church. According to him, men belong to the Body of the Church by virtue of external profession of the faith, and participation in the sacraments; and to the Soul of the Church through the internal gifts of the Holy Ghost, faith, hope, and charity. He draws three general conclusions relative to the members of the Church. There are those: (a) Who belong always to both the Body and Soul of the Church; (b) Who belong to the Soul without belonging to the Body; (c) Who belong to the Body but not to the Soul. This teaching has generally been followed by Catholic theologians.

P. Pius IX Solemn AllocutionSingulari QuadamDecember 9, 1854It is to be held of faith that none can be saved outside the Apostolic Roman Church . . . but nevertheless it is equally certain that those who are ignorant of the true religion, if that ignorance is invincible, will not be held guilty in the matter in the eyes of the Lord.(Denzinger 1641,ff.)

P. Pius IX EncyclicalQUANTO CONFICIAMURAugust 10, 1863We all know that those who are invincibly ignorant of our religion and who nevertheless lead an honest and upright life, can, under the influence of divine light and divine grace, attain to eternal life; for God who knows and sees the mind, the heart, the thoughts, and the dispositions of every man, cannot in His infinite bounty and clemency permit any one to suffer eternal punishment who is not guilty through his own fault." (Denzinger 1677)

St. Bernard"De Baptismo" "What is clearer than that the will is taken for the act, when the act is excluded by necessity?"

St. AugustineTreatise on Baptism"When we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, it is the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body.""All who are within in heart are saved in the unity of the ark."

Vol. 7, HERESY, J. Wilhelm Once heresy is in possession it tightens its grip by the thousand subtle and often unconscious influences which mould a man's life. A child is born in heretical surroundings: before it is able to think for itself its mind has been filled and fashioned by home, school, and church teachings, the authority of which it never doubted. When, at a riper age, doubts arise, the truth of Catholicism is seldom apprehended as it is. Innate prejudices, educational bias, historical distortions stand in the way and frequently make approach impossible. The state of conscience technically termed bona fides, good faith, is thus produced. It implies inculpable belief in error, a mistake morally unavoidable and therefore always excusable, sometimes even laudable. . .

Vol. 6, GOOD FAITH, Joseph F, DelaneyOne who is in this condition, so far as the violation of positive law, or even, in certain junctures, of the natural law, is concerned, is said to labour under an invincible error, and hence to be guiltless. This consideration is often invoked in behalf of those who are outside of the visible affiliation of the Catholic Church. . .

Vol. 8, JUSTIFICATION, J. Pohle"But, not to close the gates of heaven against pagans and those non-Catholics, who without their fault do not know or do not recognize the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, Catholic theologians unanimously hold that the desire to receive these sacraments is implicitly contained in the serious resolve to do all that God has commanded, even if His holy will should not become known in every detail."

Vol. 2, BAPTISM, William H.W. FanningX. SUBSTITUTES FOR THE SACRAMENT. . .It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that when the baptism of water becomes a physical or moral impossibility, eternal life may be obtained by the baptism of desire or the baptism of blood. (1) The baptism of desire (baptismus flaminis) is a perfect contrition of heart, and every act of perfect charity or pure love of God which contains, at least implicitly, a desire (votum) of baptism. . .This doctrine is set forth clearly by the Council of Trent. . . and the contrary propositions are condemned by Popes Pius V and Gregory XII, in proscribing the 31st and 33rd propositions of Baius. . . It is true that some of the Fathers of the Church arraign severely those who content themselves with the desire of receiving the sacrament of regeneration, but they are speaking of catechumens who of their own accord delay the reception of baptism from unpraiseworthy motives. Finally, it is to be noted that only adults are capable of receiving the baptism of desire.

A Catholic Dictionary, Attwater(Imprimatur/Nihil obstat 1946) SALVATION Outside the Church. "Outside the Church, no salvation." This dogma refers to those who are outside the Church by their own fault. There is a command to enter the Church, which is the prescribed way to Heaven. He who refuses to join the Church which Christ founded, recognizing that Christ comanded adhesion to his Church, is in the way of perdition. But those who are in invincible ignorance will not be condemned merely on account of their ignorance. . .Those non-Catholics who are saved are in life outside the visible body of the Church, but are joined invisibly to the Church by charity and by that implicit desire of joining the Church which is inseparable from the explicit desire to do God's will.DESIRE, BAPTISM OF, is one of the two possible substitutes for Baptism of water. When it is not possible thus to be baptized, an act of perfect contrition or pure love of God will supply the omission. Such acts are a perfect and ultimate diposition calling for the infusion of sanctifying grace, and at least implicitly include a desire and intention to receive Baptism of water should occasion offer. Infants are not capable of Baptism of desire. An heathen, believing, even though in a confused way, in a God whose will should be done and desiring to do that will whatever it may be, probably has Baptism of desire. It may reasonably be assumed that vast numbers of persons unbaptized by water have thus been rendered capable of enjoying the Beatific Vision.

St. Thomas AquinasSumma Theologica Part II. Question 66. Article 11". . . a man receives the effect of Baptism by the power of the Holy Ghost, not only without Baptism of Water, but also without Baptism of Blood: forasmuch as his heart is moved by the Holy Ghost to believe in and love God and to repent of his sins: wherefore this is also called Baptism of Repentence.""The other two Baptisms are included in the Baptism of Water, which derives its efficacy, both from Christ's Passion and from the Holy Ghost. Consequently for this reason the unity of Baptism is not destroyed.""The other two. however, are like the Baptism of Water, not, indeed, in the nature of sign, but in the baptismal effect. Consequently they are not Sacraments."Article 12.". . .the shedding of blood for Christ's sake, and the inward operation of the Holy Ghost, are called baptisms, in so far as they produce the effect of the Baptism of Water. Now the Baptism of Water derives its efficacy from Christ's Passion and from the Holy Ghost, as already stated. These two causes act in each of these three Baptisms: most excellently, however, in the Baptism of Blood. For Christ's Passion acts in the Baptism of Water by way of a figurative representation; in the Baptism of the Spirit of of Repentence, by way of desire; but in the Baptism of Blood, by way of imitating the Divine act. In like manner, too, the power of the Holy Ghost acts in the Baptism of Water through a certain hidden power; in the Baptim of Repentence by moving the heart; but in the Baptism of Blood....Question 68. Article 2.". . . the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forstalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of faith that worketh by charity, whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly.

Doctrinal and Scriptural CatechismRev. P. Collot, Doctor of the Sorbonne (1904) Approved by Archbishop John Hughes, D.D., NY.Q. How [can baptism be supplied] in adults?A. Either by martyrdom or by an act of charity, with the desire of receiving it as soon as they can.Children have but one way, which is martyrdom; and adults have two, martyrdom or an act of charity, together with the desire or receiving it as soon as possible.This is the reason why it is said that there are three sorts of Baptism: the Baptism of blood, the Baptism of the Holy Ghost or of desire, and the Baptism of water, although in reality there is but one, which is that given with water, while pronouncing the words: In the name oft he Father, etc.Q. Does attrition of itself justify the sinner?A. No; but it disposes him to receive the grace of justification by absolution, in which the efficacy of the sacrament of Penance principally consists.Q. What difference is there between perfect contrition and attrition?A. !st. The one is caused by love, and the other by shame or fear. 2nd. The one justifies the sinner, and the other only disposes him for justification [by absolution].

St. Ambrose, "De obitu Valentiniani""But I hear that you grieve because he did not receive the sacrament of baptism. Tell me now what else have we if not desire and will? He in very truth had this wish that, before he came to Italy, he should be initiated into the Church and immediately baptized by me . . . . Had he not then the grace which he desired so earnestly? Did he not have the grace he demanded? Certainly, for he who demands receives. But if it is a fact that because the sacraments are not solemnly celebrated they have no value, then the martyrs if they were only catechumens would not receive the crown of glory; for no one is crowned who is not initiated. But if people are absolved in their own blood, then this man's piety and will absolved him."

The Catechism of the Council of Trent. . . should any unforseen accident deprive adults of baptism, their intention of receiving it, and their repentance for past sins, will avail them to grace and righteousness. . . . such is the efficacy of true contrition. . . that through it we obtain from God the immediate pardon of our sins.

THE CATECHISM EXPLAINEDRev. Francis Spirago, Professor of Theology(c) 1899, 1921, by Benziger Bros. (Printers to the Apostolic See)Nihil Obstat: Scanlon. Imprimatur: Archbishop Hayes, D.D.NY3. Whoever through his own fault remains outside the Church will not be saved.If, however, a man, through no fault of his own, remains outside the Church, he may be saved if he lead a God-fearing life; for such a one is to all intents and purposes a member of the Catholic Church.The majority of men who have been brought up in heresy think that they belong to the true Church; their error is not due to hatred of God. A man who leads a good life and has the love of God in his heart, really belongs to the Church, and such a one is saved, not by his heresy, but by belonging to the Church. St. Peter said: "In every nation he that feareth God and worketh justice is acceptable to Him" (Acts x. 35). . . .All who lived up to their lights were Christians, though they might have been looked upon as godless, as, e.g., Socrates among the Greeks, Abraham and Elias among the Jews. They do not belong to the body of the Church, that is, they are not externally in union with the Church, but they are of the soul of the Church, i.e., they have the sentiments which the members of the Church should have.Thus the Catholic Church has members both visible and invisible.The visible members are those who have been received into the Church by Baptism. The following are not members: The unbaptized (heathens, Jews, Mohammedans), formal heretics (Protestants), and schismatics (the Greeks), those who are excommunicated. The invisible members are those who without any fault of their own are outside the Church leading God-fearing lives."If baptism by water is impossible, it may be replaced by the baptism of desire, or by the baptism of blood, as in the case of those who suffer martyrdom for the faith of Christ.The Emperor Valentinian II was on the way to Milan to be baptized when he was assassinated; St. Ambrose said of him that his desire had been the means of his cleansing. The patriarchs, prophets, and holy men of the Old Testament had the baptism of desire; their love of God was ardent, and they wished to do all thaty He commands. God accepts the will for the deed; in this He manifests His superabundant loving kindness. But all the temporal penalties of sin are not remitted by the baptism of desire.God has imprinted the natural law on the heart of every man; this forms the fundamental rule of human actions.A young child who has done something wrong - lied, perhaps, or committed a theft, feels uncomfortable, frightened, or ashamed; though it may never have heard of the Ten Commandments, it is conscious that it has done amiss. It is the same with heathen who knows nothing about God's commandments. Hence we may conclude that there is a LAW OF NATURE in every human heart, a law not written upon it, but inborn in it; an intuitive knowledge of right and wrong. St. Paul declares that the Gentiles do by nature those things that are of the law (what the Ten Commandments enjoin), and consequently they will be judged by God according to the natural law (Rom. ii. 14-16).

Radio Replies, Vol II.Fathers Rumble and CartyImprimatur 1940 Archbishop John G. Murray722. Does Catholic doctrine allow that the soul of an unbaptized heathen can enter heaven?
Not in the case of unbaptized infants who die before coming to the use of reason and the stage of personal responsibility. The heathens who do come to the age of personal responsibility can attain to the supernatural order of grace and inherit that very heaven for which baptism is normally required on certain conditions. For example, a pagan may never have heard of the Gospel, or having heard of it, may have quite failed to grasp its significance. He remains a heathen, knowing no better, and dies without receiving the actual Sacrament of Baptism. In such a case God will not blame him for that for which he is really not responsible. At the same time, God wills all men to be saved, and will certainly give that heathen sufficient grace for his salvation according to the condition in which he is. If that heathen, under the influence of interior promptings of conscience and the actual inspirations of grace given by God, repents sincerely before death of such moral lapses as he has committed during life, he will secure forgiveness, and save his soul in view of the Baptism he would have been willing to receive had he known it to be necessary, and could he have done so. We Catholics say that such a heathen has been saved by Baptism of Desire. The desire, of course, is implicit only.

St. Robert Bellarmine "De Ecclesia Militante"". . . (again) there are those who belong to the soul [of the Church] and not the body, as [are] catechumens or the excommunicated, if indeed they have charity [state of grace], which can happen."

Council of Trent, Session VII, Concerning the Sacraments in General, Canon 4If anyone says that the Sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but superfluous, and that without them or their desire [aut eorum voto] men can obtain from God the grace of justification through faith alone, although all [Sacraments] are not necessary for every individual: Let him be Anathema.[Denzinger 847]

Story of a Soul, St. Therese of Lisiuex, Chapter OneI saw something further; that Our Lord's love shines out just as much through a little soul who yields comepletely to His Grace as it does through the greatest. True love is shown in self-abasement, and if everyone were like the saintly doctors who adorn the Church, it would seem that God had not far enough to stoop when He came to them. But He has, in fact, created the child who knows nothing and can only make feeble cries; and the poor savage with only the natural law to guide him; and it is to hearts such as these that He Stoops.

Vol. 10 CHURCH, G.H. JoyceThe Necessary Means of Salvation. - In the preceding examination of the Scriptural doctrine regarding the Church, it has been seen how clearly it is laid down that only by entering the Church can we participate in the redemption wrought for us by Christ. Incorporation with the Church can alone unite us to the family of the second Adam, and alone can engraft us into the true Vine. Moreover, it is to the Church that Christ has committed those means of grace through which the gifts He earned for men are communicated to them. The Church alone dispenses the sacraments. It alone makes known the light of revealed truth. Outside the Church these gifts cannot be obtained. From all this there is but one conclusion: Union with the Church is not merely one out of various means by which salvation may be obtained: it is the only means.This doctrine of the absolute necessity of union with the Church was taught in explicit terms by Christ. Baptism, the act of incorporation among her members, He affirmed to be essential to salvation. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark, xvi, 16). Any disciple who shall throw off obedience to the Church is to be reckoned as one of the heathen: he has no part in the kingdom of God (Matt., xviii, 17). St. Paul is equally explicit. "A man that is a heretic", he writes to Titus, "after the first and second admonition avoid: knowing that he that is such a one is . . . condemned by his own judgement" (Tit., iii, 10 sq.) The doctrine is summed up in the phrase, Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. This saying has been the occasion of so many objections that some consideration of its meaning seems desirable. It certainly does not mean that none can be saved except those who are in visible communion with the Church. The Catholic Church has ever taught that nothing else is needed to obtain justification than an act of perfect charity and of contrition. Whoever, under the impulse of actual grace, elicits these acts, receives immediately the gift of sanctifying grace, and is numbered among the children of God. Should he die in these dispositions, he will assuredly attain heaven. It is true such acts could not possibly be elicited by one who was aware that God has commanded all to join the Church, and who nevertheless should wilfully remain outside her fold. For love of God carries with it the practical desire to fulfil His commandments. But of those who die without visible communion with the Church, not all are guilty of wilful disobedience to God's commands. Many are kept from the Church by ignorance. Such may be the case of numbers among those who have been brought up in heresy. To others the external means of grace may be unattainable. Thus an excommunicated person may have no opportunity of seeking reconciliation at the last, and yet may repair his faults by inward acts of contrition and charity.It should be observed that those who are thus saved are not entirely outside the pale of the Church. The will to fulfil all God's commandments is, and must be, present in all of them. Such a wish implicitly includes the desire for incorporation with the visible Church: for this, though they know it not, has been commanded by God. They thus belong to the Church by desire (voto). Moreover, there is a true sense in which they may be said to be saved through the Church. In the order of Divine Providence, salvation is given to man in the Church: membership in the Church Triumphant is given through membership in the Church Militant. Sanctifying grace, the title to salvation, is peculiarly the grace of those who are united to Christ in the Church: it is the birthright of the children of God. The primary purpose of those actual graces which God bestows upon those outside the Church is to draw them within the fold. Thus, even in the case in which God saves men apart from the Church, He does so through the Church's graces. They are joined to the Church in spiritual communion, though not in visible and external communion. In the expression of theologians, they belong to the soul of the Church, though not to its body. Yet the possibility of salvation apart from visible communion with the Church must not blind us to the loss suffered by those who are thus situated. They are cut off from the sacraments God has given as the support of the soul. In the ordinary channels of grace, which are ever open to the faithful Catholic, they cannot participate. Countless means of santification which the Church offers are denied to them.

Pope Pius XII EncyclicalHumani GenerisAugust 12, 1950. . . although this sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith - Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition - to be preserved, guarded and interpreted, still the duty that is incumbent on the faithful to flee also those errors which more or less approach heresy, and accordingly "to keep also the constitutions and decrees by which such evil opinions are proscribed and forbidden by the Holy See," is sometimes as little known as it it did not exist. What is expounded in the Encyclical Letters of the Roman Pontiffs concerning the nature and constitution of the Church, is deliberately and habitually neglected by some with the idea of giving force to a certain vague notion which they profess to have found in the ancient Fathers, especially the Greeks. The Popes, they assert, do not wish to pass judgement on what is a matter of dispute among theologians, so recourse must be had to the early sources; and the recent constitutions and decrees of the Teaching Church must be explained from the writings of the ancients.Although these things seem well said, still they are not free from error. It is true that Popes generally leave theologians free in those matters which are disputed in various ways by men of very high authority in this field; but history teaches that many matters that formerly were open to discussion, no longer now admit of discussion.Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who hears you, heareth me"; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgement on a matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.It is true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for its belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching Authority is to be found either explicitly or implicitly in the Scriptures and in Tradition. Besides, each source of divinely revealed doctrine contains so many rich treasures of truth, that theology through the study of its sacred sources remains ever fresh: on the other hand, speculation which neglects a deeper search into the deposit of faith, proves sterile, as we know from experience. But for this reason even positive theology cannot be on a par with merely historical science. For, together with the sources of positive theology God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church. But if the Church does exercise this function of teaching, as she often has through the centuries, either in the ordinary or extraordinary way, it is clear how false is a procedure which would attempt to explain what is clear by means of what is obscure. Indeed the very opposite procedure must be used.

Pope Pius XI EncyclicalMortalium animos, Jan. 6, 1928The teaching authority of the Church in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that the revealed doctrines might remain for ever intact and might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men. This authority is indeed daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him; but it has the further office of defining some truth with solemn decree whenever it is opportune, and whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or again to impress the minds of the faithful with a clearer and more detailed explanation of the articles of sacred doctrine. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no fresh invention is introduced, nothing new is ever added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained within the deposit of Revelation divinely committed to the Church; but truths which to some perhaps may still seem obscure are rendered clear, or a truth which some may have called into question is declared to be of faith.

Vol. 10 MASS, J. Pohle. . . the Church has surrounded with certain conditions, which priests are bound in obedience to observe, the application of Mass for certain classes of the living and dead . . . For a deceased heretic the private and hypothetical application of the Mass is allowed only when the priest has good grounds for believing that the deceased held his error in good faith (bona fide. Cf. S.C. Officii, 7 April, 1875). . . In like manner Mass may be celebrated privately for the souls of deceased Jews and heathens, who have lead an upright life . . .
Added Comments: The sources in which this Catholic doctrine can be found are certainly not limited to the sources referenced here. It may even be said that the defense of this doctrine has been overdone since only a couple of these authoritative quotes should be sufficient proof for any Catholic, especially the Council of Trent, the Encyclical "Quanto Conficiamur" or the Letter from the Holy Office under Pius XII explaining the doctrine for Fr. Feeney. The last excerpt is alone sufficient to show the Church's official recognition of this doctrine in a practical way by allowing priest's to offer Mass for the souls of deceased non-Catholics. Careful note should be taken especially of what Pope Pius XII says in Humani Generis on page eleven. We can be sure that Pope Pius XII had this "grave controversy" of the Boston College in mind when he authored this Encyclical as it was written after the Declaration letter of the Holy Office, and before Fr. Feeney was excommunicated. He makes it clear that it is solely the office of the living Teaching authority to interpret, elucidate and explain that which may be only implicitly and obscurely contained within the deposit of faith. The possibility of baptism of desire in a non-Catholic is a solid teaching of our faith. However, the probability of such a thing occuring is another matter. Judging from the Church's Ordinary teaching on this it would seem that such justification by perfect love and contrition is possible but not very probable. It would seem silly, however, to expect the Church to define the degree of probability: whether it is simply difficult, very difficult, or very-very difficult, etc. This doctrine clearly shows the infinite Mercy of God and supports the teachings that God wills the salvation of all men, and that if anyone is damned it is through their own fault. The objection may be raised that the doctrine of Baptism of Desire with invincible ignorance would destroy the zeal of Catholic missionaries to convert pagans and natives. Those who think this obviously do not understand the doctrine. We only need to look at the zeal of a Catholic pastor for his parishioners. Even though his parishioners, as Catholics, are in the one true Church - "the way of salvation" - with all the means of grace at their disposal, the parish priest works with much zeal to help keep each member of his flock securely in the state of grace. Knowing this to be so, what must be the zeal of a missionary who seeks to convert savages from "the way of perdition"? The Catholic doctrine of Baptism of Desire in fact greatly supports the zeal of missionaries in their work of conversion: it gives them a greater hope that any particular savage they work with may just be one who is well disposed to do God's will and be more easily converted to the secure "way of salvation", and possibly having even the implicit desire of Baptism. It seems that the followers of Fr. Feeney at the St. Benedict Center are coming to see the light. Although they still unfortunately deny the Catholic doctrine of "baptism of desire", they no longer follow Fr. Feeney in considering it to be a heresy: In their January 1992 issue of the Crusader, the doctrine of "baptism of desire" has been classified as an "undefined theory" in which "each man has as much right to his opinion as the other." They have yet to see, however, that they are still in error and have no right to hold an opinion contrary to Church teaching on this matter.
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