Monday, July 14, 2008

What's going on at Wikipedia?

I received an email from Mr. Roger Vaste this morning which read:

I just wrote this to an Administrator at Wikipedia where I have attempted to contribute to the biography on Father Feeney. Each time I added my editorial comment, it was promptly deleted by a supporter of Father Feeney. Now I have been banned from participation in the editorial process virtually ensuring that historical revisionism will rule the day when it comes to Leonard Feeney and his hate-filled anti-Semitic legacy.

Here is my response to the Administrator who banned me:

I am saddened to see that you have banned me from participation in the Wikipedia editorial process and have decided to cater to the anti-Semitic agenda of the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire which has absolutely no relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.

Father Feeney was popularly known as "The Hate Priest." By removing all reference to this hate-filled legacy within his biography, you do a profound disservice to the wider community and fail to remain objective.

The Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire has engaged in Holocaust denial and has issued extremely virulent and hate-filled attacks against the Jewish People. For example, "Brother" Anthony Mary (aka Douglas Bersaw) has referred to them as the "Synagogue of Satan" and "Brother" Andre Marie (aka Louis Villarrubia) has said that the Jewish People have a "tendency to undermine public morals."

Since you are determined to whitewash the hateful legacy of Father Feeney and many of his followers, I will be reporting you and Wikipedia to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ADL.

Good day,
Roger Vaste

Related reading:



On a related note, is there a growing anti-Semitic movement in the Monadnock area of New Hampshire? Mr. Russell Provost has already documented at his Blog ( the fact that several hate groups (which are known for their anti-Semitism and belief in "white supremacy") are located in Cheshire County. In an article published in The Union Leader, which may be found here, authorities speculate as to whether or not anti-Semitic literature left throughout the town of Rindge, New Hampshire is the work of an organized anti-Semitic organization or movement.

I'll say it again: When is the State of New Hampshire going to treat anti-Semitism within its borders with the seriousness it deserves?


Anonymous said...

The Fr. Feeney bio at Wikipedia (which may be found here:
/Leonard_Feeney), is exactly that: a whitewash. No mention of his anti-Semitic statements made in public, no mention of the fact that the Holy Office stated explicitly that his interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus was wrong as was his disobedience to legitimate Church authority, no mention of the fact that some of those who adhere to his erroneous interpretation of the Dogma (such as the SBC in Richmond, New Hampshire) have engaged in Holocaust denial.

No, Wikipedia has apparently rejected objectivity and has chosen to side with those who would sanitize the more unpleasant aspects of Fr. Feeney's life and ideas.

Positively chilling.

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder if Wikipedia is buying into the anti-semitism of the SBC cultists and groups such as Stormfront. Boycott Wikipedia if they fail to make this right.

If they refuse to remain objective on this issue and to pander to rabid anti-semites, it is only fair to ask why this is. Could it be that this online encyclopedia sympathizes with Holocaust denial and anti-semitism? Perhaps the White Supremacy agenda?

Ian Thal said...

I documented a similar instance of Wikipedia tampering on my blog:

The controversy concerned prominent Vermont-based theatre director, Peter Schumann, whose recent work had come under criticism as anti-Semitic, and anti-Israeli. The article was revised by an individual who dismissed the controversy entirely. (I had been one of the more outspoken and widely quoted critics, so was bound by wiki-ethics not to revise the article myself.)

However, I was able to call attention to the problem and get at least some of the pertinent facts placed back in the article:

The trick is understanding how Wikipedia actually operates. Wikipedia doesn't reject verifiable facts, it's just that by nature is is vulnerable to attacks by unscrupulous vandals and that some areas are more frequently policed against such attacks than others.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thank you Ian for your insights into the workings of Wikipedia. The lack of historical accuracy is troubling from my point of view.

By way of example, the entry on Feeneyism states that, “Paul Anthony Melanson, a Catholic lay-philosopher and apologist, has characterized its theology [that of the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire] as flawed..”

However, as I have noted in so many Blog posts, this characterization is not my own. In one such post, I explained to my readers that:

"Louis Villarrubia, known to followers of the Saint Benedict Center cult as "Brother" Andre Marie, continues to insist that Father Leonard Feeney's doctrinal position on Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus was and is correct. He writes (at his Blog):

"Father Feeney died in the good graces of the Church, without even the slightest ecclesiastical censure remaining upon him. He did so without having changed his position on "no salvation outside the Church." In fact, he made no doctrinal reversals of any sort. Knowing that he maintained his dogmatic "hard line," Church officials lifted "any censures which may have been incurred" in 1972."

But this isn't the whole story. Not by a long-shot. As explained by Fr. William Most, an internationally acclaimed theologian and Scripture scholar:

"When Feeney was old, some church authorities out of sorrow for him, let him be reconciled to the Church. As part of the unfortunate looseness we see so often today, they did not demand that he recant. So he did not. As a result, some former followers of his came back to the Church. Others even today insist that the lack of demanding a recantation meant Feeney had been right all along. Of course not. We have proved that abundantly with official texts above and the texts of the Fathers of the Church." Source:

The following explains the Church's understanding of the dogma Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus and the real status of Father Feeney's doctrinal position:


Archbishop Richard J. Cushing

Given on August 8, 1949 explaining the true sense of Catholic doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church.

This important Letter of the Holy Office is introduced by a letter of the Most Reverend Archbishop of Boston.

The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office has examined again the problem of Father Leonard Feeney and St. Benedict Center. Having studied carefully the publications issued by the Center, and having considered all the circumstances of this case, the Sacred Congregation has ordered me to publish, in its entirety, the letter which the same Congregation sent me on the 8th of August, 1949. The Supreme Pontiff, His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, has given full approval to this decision. In due obedience, therefore, we publish, in its entirety, the Latin text of the letter as received from the Holy Office with an English translation of the same approved by the Holy See.

Given at Boston, Mass., the 4th day of September, 1952.
Walter J. Furlong, Chancellor
Richard J. Cushing, Archbishop of Boston.

From the Headquarters of the Holy Office, Aug. 8, 1949.

Your Excellency:

This Supreme Sacred Congregation has followed very attentively the rise and the course of the grave controversy stirred up by certain associates of "St. Benedict Center" and "Boston College" in regard to the interpretation of that axiom: "Outside the Church there is no salvation."

After having examined all the documents that are necessary or useful in this matter, among them information from your Chancery, as well as appeals and reports in which the associates of "St. Benedict Center" explain their opinions and complaints, and also many other documents pertinent to the controversy, officially collected, the same Sacred Congregation is convinced that the unfortunate controversy arose from the fact that the axiom, "outside the Church there is no salvation," was not correctly understood and weighed, and that the same controversy was rendered more bitter by serious disturbance of discipline arising from the fact that some of the associates of the institutions mentioned above refused reverence and obedience to legitimate authorities.

Accordingly, the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Cardinals of this Supreme Congregation, in a plenary session held on Wednesday, July 27, 1949, decreed, and the august Pontiff in an audience on the following Thursday, July 28, 1949, deigned to give his approval, that the following explanations pertinent to the doctrine, and also that invitations and exhortations relevant to discipline be given:

We are bound by divine and Catholic faith to believe all those things which are contained in the word of God, whether it be Scripture or Tradition, and are proposed by the Church to be believed as divinely revealed, not only through solemn judgment but also through the ordinary and universal teaching office (, n. 1792).

Now, among those things which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach is contained also that infallible statement by which we are taught that there is no salvation outside the Church.

However, this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church.
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 sacrament of penance (, 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, (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, 1. c., p. 243). 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, , in , n. 1641 ff.; also Pope Pius IX in the encyclical letter, , in , 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" (Heb. 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 the fellowship of His children" (Denzinger, n. 801).

From what has been said it is evident that those things which are proposed in the periodical , 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" (Acts 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 canons 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 authorities, and has not even feared to incur grave sanctions threatened 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 "" 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 apply 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 remain,
Your Excellency's most devoted,

F. Cardinal Marchetti-Selvaggiani.
A. Ottaviani, Assessor.
(Private); Holy Office, 8 Aug., 1949."

It is the Holy Office which has exposed Fr. Feeney's interpretation of the Dogma as flawed.

It doesn't matter what Paul Melanson thinks. I am a puff of smoke, a blade of grass, here today and gone tomorrow. It is only the teaching of Jesus Christ interpreted by His Church that matters.

Would that the SBC in Richmond understood this.

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