The Whole Truth about Fr. Leonard Feeney, Feeneyism, Feeneyites and the Supposed Excommunication Explained and Exposed
Father Leonard Edward Feeney (Lynn, Massachusetts February 18, 1897 – Ayer, Massachusetts January 30, 1978) was an American Catholic priest, belonging to the Society of Jesus who is best known for his resistance to liberalism and defending the Catholic doctrine of extra Ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside the Church there is no salvation"), arguing that baptism of blood and baptism of desire are unavailing of the graces of water baptism, and that no one can be saved without belonging to the Catholic Church and personal submission to the Pope. He fought the Modernist agenda which spread through the world following the Second Vatican Council.
Feeneyism is the doctrinal position held by Feeneyites (and true Catholics) associated with Leonard Feeney (1897–1978), a Jesuit priest and founder of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who advocated a strict (and correct) Catholic interpretation of the doctrine extra Ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside the Church there is no salvation").
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, The Athanasian Creed, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439: “But it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believe also in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ... the Son of God is God and man... This is the Catholic faith; unless each one believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.”
Fr. Leonard Feeney was officially “excommunicated” in 1953 by “The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office” under Pope Pius XII for refusing to submit to ecclesiastical authority, but his supporters claim that the excommunication was invalid because the correct procedure was not followed and the reason for excommunicating him was not in accordance to divine Catholic faith or justice. He was reconciled to the Vatican II Church before his death, but was allegedly not required to retract his position on the doctrine in question, which is inscribed on his tombstone.
Pius XII who allowed the persecution and subsequent excommunication
of Father Leonard Feeney was by no means a staunch traditionalist.
His reforms, omissions and failures paved the way for Vatican II.
Just a few things that Pius XII did are:
- He promoted Annibale Bugnini, the author of the New Mass, and began the liturgical reform with his allowance of reforms in the Holy Week Rites.
- He promoted men like Giovanni Montini (later Paul VI) and Angelo Roncalli (later John XXIII), without which promotions these men could never have had the influence or caused the immeasurable destruction that they did.
- He taught that birth control could be used by couples by means of the rhythm method (or Natural Family Planning), which is a frustration and a subordination of the primary purpose of the marriage act – procreation.
- He allowed the persecution and subsequent excommunication of Father Leonard Feeney, whether through willful complicity, ignorance or neglect, for doing what every Catholic priest should do: preach the Gospel, defend the faith and adhere to defined dogma.
The Catholicism Answer Book [Vatican II publication], Page 93: “A famous declared excommunication took place in 1953 when the Vatican punished a Boston priest, Father Leonard Feeney, for his refusal to recant a distorted teaching on the principle of extra ecclesia nulla salus (outside the church there is no salvation). He erroneously and publicly maintained that only Catholic Christians could go to heaven and Protestants would go to hell unless they converted to Catholicism.”
This really shows the ignorance of these men. When Father Feeney was “excommunicated,” absolutely nothing was stated that the “excommunication” was for a belief he held. But that doesn’t matter to apostates like these men, because they are evil. It’s also interesting to note that heretics like this, who do not believe one bit in the necessity of Jesus Christ or the Catholic faith, are major proponents of “baptism of desire” and the “excommunication” of Fr. Feeney. That’s quite revealing about the forces behind those two ideas.
In 1972 Father Feeney was supposedly “reconciled” to what he thought was the Catholic Church (in reality it was the Vatican II sect). If Father Feeney truly needed to be reconciled, he would have had to recant any possible erroneous or heretical positions. Yet, he was never asked to do that. Anyone who is truly excommunicated for heresy must withdraw what they once held and proclaim belief in orthodoxy. But Father Feeney was never asked to take back or repent from his teaching on “Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.” Why not? Because those of the Archdiocesan establishment who arranged for the reconciliation knew the facts of the case and that Father Feeney was not “excommunicated” for heresy, but for disciplinary reasons.
But for the pre- and post- Vatican II heretics who condemned and still condemns the staunch priest Father Leonard Feeney, and despised and still despise the dogma Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation, and sowed and still sows the seeds for the Great Apostasy that is now upon us – for them it is no problem believing that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church, while simultaneously pretending to believe that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. It is no problem for these people because they are of evil (Mt. 5:37).
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio, May 27, 1832, on no salvation outside the Church: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life… You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation… Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that THIS IS INDEED THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. He says: ‘The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.’ Official acts of the Church proclaim the same dogma. Thus, in the decree on faith which Innocent III published with the synod of Lateran IV, these things are written: ‘There is one universal Church of all the faithful outside of which no one is saved.’ Finally the same dogma is also expressly mentioned in the profession of faith proposed by the Apostolic See, not only that which all Latin churches use, but also that which the Greek Orthodox Church uses and that which other Eastern Catholics use. We did not mention these selected testimonies because We thought you were ignorant of that article of faith and in need of Our instruction. Far be it from Us to have such an absurd and insulting suspicion about you. But We are so concerned about this serious and well known dogma, which has been attacked with such remarkable audacity, that We could not restrain Our pen from reinforcing this truth with many testimonies.”
In fact, as part of the “reconciliation” ceremony, Father Feeney was asked to profess one of the three Creeds of the Church. So, without any objection, he devoutly recited the Athanasian Creed. This ancient and venerable creed begins and ends with these solemn words:
“Whoever wishes to be saved needs above all else to hold the Catholic Faith; unless each one preserves this whole and entire, he will without a doubt perish in eternity. … This is the Catholic Faith; unless everyone believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.”
Therefore, Father Leonard Feeney was not “excommunicated” for teaching that outside the Catholic Church and without submission to the Roman Pontiff no one can be saved. He couldn’t be, because the Church herself has dogmatically defined this.
Rather, Father Leonard Feeney was unjustly treated and persecuted by heretical, negligent and ignorant churchmen in positions of authority who abused the authority and of the offices they held (or never held, since heretics have no authority, jurisdiction or membership in the Church) and brought up uncanonical charges of disobedience to this priest of Christ’s Church. We conclude, then, with the following summary of those binding and infallible definitions of the Church Magisterium concerning salvation that Father Feeney simply affirmed, taught, and staunchly defended as they were solemnly declared:
Outside the Catholic Church there is positively no salvation (Lateran IV: Denz. 430; ; Pope Boniface VIII: Denz. 468-69; [870, 875]; Council of Florence: Denz. 714; ; Pius IX:1716-17; [2916-17])
The Sacrament of Baptism makes one a member of the Church (Florence: Denz. 696; ; Council of Trent: Denz. 895; );
Anyone not Baptized (sacramentally) is not a member of the Catholic Church (Trent: Denz. 895; ), that is, he is not “truly incorporated into the Church” (Pope Leo IV- Council of Valence III: Denz. 324);
The Sacrament of Baptism is in water ONLY, the two (water and Baptism) are inseparable, and neither is separable from its link with the other (Pope St. Leo I: Tome-Council of Chalcedon I), and must be confessed as such (Council of Vienne: Denz. 482; ; Trent: Denz. 858; );
The Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation (Pope Benedict XIV: Denz. 1470) for adults and for children alike (Vienne: Ddnz. 482; ), and is optional for NO ONE (Trent: Denz. 861; ).
The “priests”, ecclesiastics and adherents of the Vatican II sect, as well as the priests and followers of the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI and all other independent, validly ordained traditional “Catholic” priests in this great apostasy (and those who knowing this information persist in denying this infallible dogma), as well as those who obstinately support or agree with the heretical groups, societies or sects, or the heresy advanced by these heretics, should rightly fear, as Pope Gregory XVI says, because they will without a doubt inherit a place in Hell for obstinately denying a Catholic dogma if they do not repent and convert.
Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 13), Aug. 15, 1832: “They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that ‘those who are not with Christ are against Him,’ (Lk. 11:23) and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore, ‘without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate (Athanasian Creed).”
The facts presented in this article need to be made known so that the good name of Father Leonard Feeney, M.I.C.M., can be restored among Catholics and the immutable dogma of no salvation outside the Catholic Church be once again proclaimed from the housetops that the Vatican II sect can be opposed and condemned by everyone as the heretical and apostate end times church that it really is.
Our Lady of La Salette, Sept. 19, 1846: “Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Anti-Christ… the Church will be in eclipse.”
Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, The Present Crisis of the Holy See, 1861, pp. 88-90: “The apostasy of the city of Rome from the vicar of Christ and its destruction by Antichrist may be thoughts very new to many Catholics, that I think it well to recite the text of theologians of greatest repute. First Malvenda, who writes expressly on the subject, states as the opinion of Ribera, Gaspar Melus, Biegas, Suarrez, Bellarmine and Bosius that Rome shall apostatize from the Faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism. … Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible; hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early Church.”
Anne Catherine Emmerich: “In those days, Faith will fall very low, and it will be preserved in some places only, in a few cottages and in a few families which God has protected from disasters and wars.”
Was Fr. Leonard Feeney a Heretic?
Fr. Feeney remained in religious communion with the heretics who denied the Salvation Dogma. He prayed with them and allowed others to attend their Masses. And before he died in 1978, he formally entered into religious communion with the salvation heretics by abjuring before them by making a profession of faith. The reason Fr. Feeney cannot yet be denounced as a formal heretic is because we do not know that he ever was an obstinate heretic, that he had read the Second Vatican Council’s documents, that he ever agreed with any heresy, or had access to or were aware of the other heresies committed by the apostate Vatican II antipopes, or was aware of the teaching that a public formal heretic cannot be pope.
And we do not know what catechism he used in his churches. We do not know for certain that heresy was taught in the churches under his control, or, if heresy was taught in his churches, we do not know if he himself ever approved of such heresies being taught or that he ever agreed with it being taught.
This is not the case of the current-day Saint Benedict Centers and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary because it is known that they have access to the heresies of the Vatican II Church and its antipopes and the teaching that a public formal heretic cannot be pope and yet they explicitly say there is no heresy in the Second Vatican Council and that the apostate antipopes do not teach heresy and they even explicitly teach that the Second Vatican Council is a “true ecumenical council” and that the Vatican II popes are true and “validly elected popes who retained their pontifical offices.” And they deny the solemn and the ordinary magisterium dogma that public formal heretics cannot hold offices in the Catholic Church.
St. Benedict Center Website, New Hampshire: “Q. What about Vatican II and the conciliar popes? Are they real popes? Was that council a genuine ecumenical council?... John Paul II is the presently reigning Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. His predecessors (Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul I) were also validly elected popes who retained their pontifical offices….The Second Vatican Council was a true ecumenical council since it took place under the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff.” (See Question 7 for more on Vatican II.)
St. Benedict Center Website, New Hampshire: “Q. Back to Vatican II: Didn’t it teach heresy? We do not have the authority to judge the decrees of an ecumenical council. Ultimately, it is left to the authority of the Church — that is, the pope — to separate the wheat from the chaff in the confusing, long, often tortuous (and torturous) documents of that Council.”
Notice that they hold that Vatican II was a legitimate council of the Catholic Church and that they claim to have no right to say that Vatican II taught heresy!
St. Benedict Center Website, New Hampshire: “Q. Does this mean you think the New Mass is invalid or sinful to attend? A. No, it does not. The necessary form for the consecration of the sacred Body and Blood of our Lord are present in the Missa of Paul VI. Therefore we cannot deny its inherent validity as a sacramental rite. Neither do we have the authority to "forbid" any lay person from attending it, nor to determine that a rite approved by the Church is sinful to attend.”
The statement that the New Mass has the sufficient form of consecration is a lie, but that’s not what I want to focus on here. Notice that they hold that one cannot be forbidden to attend the New Mass!
Thus they are to be considered formal heretical sects that fully recognize and approve as “ecumenical” and “binding” the heretical Vatican II documents and hence officially recognize heresies as no heresies and formal heretics and apostates as true popes or ecclesiastics, and hence all their followers must likewise be presumed to be formal heretics, even though there is a small possibility that some people attending these churches may be material heretics and unaware of the heresies rampant in the Vatican II sect.
Whoever does not denounce as formal heretics the Vatican II claimants like John Paul II as an outright apostate, blasphemer, and heretic, and condemn his crimes for what they are when they are aware of his crimes, is guilty by sins of omission; and many, in order to defend the crimes, will eventually explicitly profess heresy, whether or not they are aware of it. Well, this has happened with Br. Francis Maluf of the St. Benedicts Center in New Hampshire. A certain person, William G. Norris, called Br. Francis on February 12, 2003, 4:00-4:24 pm MST. In this conversation, Br. Francis Maluf, the superior of the Saint Benedict Center in New Hampshire, admitted to believing in the Vatican II heresy that Muslims believe in and worship the true God.
Taken From Exurge Michael Journal, Issue 19, May 2003:
Will Norris: “Brother, what about Nostrae Aetate, paragraph 3. It says that Muslims worship God. Isn’t that heresy?”
Br. Francis: “No, Muslims do believe in God, He who made heaven and earth.”
Will Norris: “But isn’t the Most Holy Trinity God? So how can you say Muslims worship God?”
Br. Francis: “I am from the Arab world. When Muslims say Allah, they mean God. Allah means God. They are referring to God that made heaven and earth. You cannot accept the Trinity except through divine revelation…”
So, there you have it. Br. Francis told William that Muslims believe in and worship the true God (he never denied that they worship the true God and even went on to affirm that they “believe in God”) and implies they never heard of Jesus Christ and the Most Holy Trinity. Jesus already revealed to the world that He and the Most Holy Trinity is God; most Muslims not only know it from reading the Koran, but they also explicitly deny that Jesus and the Most Holy Trinity is God by adhering to the heretical teachings found in their religious book, the Koran. Nevertheless, Br. Francis has the audacity to say that, “When Muslims say Allah, they mean God” and that, “Allah means God. They are referring to God that made heaven and earth.” No. When Muslims say “Allah” they are not thinking of or referring to the most Holy Trinity or Jesus Christ who made heaven and earth, hence that they cannot and are not referring to the true God that made heaven and earth since they explicitly reject Jesus Christ and the Trinity. So when Muslims say “Allah,” they are not referring to God, but are referring to their own “God,” the so-called God of the Koran, and this “God” – or rather, Satan – rejects the Trinity and denies the Son.
Br. Francis cannot have it both ways. He cannot truthfully say that Jesus is God while saying Muslims, who deny that Jesus is God, also believe in God. That is mixing the sacred with the profane (syncretism). It is speaking with a double tongue and double heart.
Br. Francis has also watered down John Paul II’s crime of kissing the Koran by only referring to it as scandal.
Will Norris: “Brother, what about John Paul II kissing the Koran?”
Br. Francis: “These are all scandalous activities…”
It is much more than just scandal. It is apostasy and idolatry. It is a denial of Jesus Christ and the Most Holy Trinity. The Koran is the Muslims’ “holy” book which blasphemes the Most Holy Trinity and denies the Divinity of Jesus Christ. To revere the holy book of a false religion has always been considered an act of apostasy – a complete rejection of the true religion.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II, Q. 12, A. 1, Obj. 2: “… if anyone were to… worship at the tomb of Mahomet, he would be deemed an apostate.”
John Paul II did the equivalent of worshipping at the tomb of Mahomet when he kissed the blasphemous Koran, when he praised Islam and its leaders countless times, and when he attended the mosque. Just imagine what the Catholic saints would say about the Vatican II sect and John Paul II?
In fact, kissing the Koran is the same kind of crime that placed the early Christians outside the Church and earned them the name “lapsi” (the lapsed). Even those who broke under torture or just pretended to respect and venerate idols in order to save their lives fell outside the Catholic Church and had to abjure to re-enter Her.
The Case of Father Feeney
Heretics and modernists resist the truth, just as they resist Him who is the Truth (Jn. 14:6). And because they resist the truth they resist facts, because facts report truth without any error. One of the facts that the modernists and heretics resist most of all is the fact that the Catholic Church has infallibly taught that Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation and that John 3:5 is to be taken as it is written and that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation (Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 5 on the Sacrament).
So what do these people do with these facts staring them in the face? They resort to attacking the reporter of these facts (argumentum ad hominem), which enables them to ignore the facts themselves. The episode of Father Leonard Feeney, S.J. is a case in point.
The dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation really has nothing to do with Father Leonard Feeney. (In fact, I had never heard of Fr. Feeney when I came to the same conclusion – based upon Catholic dogma – that the Sacrament of Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation and that all those who die as non-Catholics are lost.) It has to do with the teaching of the Chair of St. Peter, as has been shown, which is the authentic and infallible teaching of Christ. To reject this Catholic dogma is to reject Christ Himself.
Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 5), June 29, 1896: “But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith.”
Father Feeney became famous for his public stand for the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Most people fail to realize that, at that time, the world’s bishops were by no means staunch traditionalists. Most of the world’s bishops had already embraced the heresy of indifferentism, which explains why almost all of them signed the heretical Vatican II documents just a short time later. They had embraced the heretical idea that “invincible ignorance” saves those who die as non-Catholics. This is why one can easily detect heresy against the dogma in most theology manuals and texts beginning as early as the late 19th century. In fact, during his time, Father Feeney wrote to all of the bishops of the world about the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation and received only three positive responses. In other words, only three of the world’s bishops at that time manifested a positive belief in the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No salvation as it had been defined. It is no wonder that Vatican II went through with virtually no resistance from the Episcopate.
Father Feeney believed and preached the dogma – as it had been defined – publicly in Boston. He believed and preached that unless a man embraces the Catholic Faith – whether he be a Jew, Muslim, Protestant or agnostic – he will perish forever in Hell. Many converted, and many were angry. He had not a few enemies, especially among the increasingly modernist, politically correct and compromised clergy.
One of his main enemies was the “Archbishop” of Boston, Richard Cushing, a B’nai Brith (Jewish Freemasons) man of the year, and someone who called the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation “nonsense.” In April of 1949, Cushing silenced Fr. Feeney and interdicted St. Benedict Center (the apostolate affiliated with Fr. Feeney). The reason given by Cushing was “disobedience,” but the real reason was Father Feeney’s public stand for the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation. It was not due to Father Feeney’s stand against the theory of baptism of desire either, since this wasn’t first published until 1952. Cushing’s dissatisfaction with Fr. Feeney was strictly based on Father Feeney’s stand for the defined dogma that only Catholics – and those who become Catholics – can be saved.
Cushing had allies with other heretical clergymen in Boston, the area where the controversy erupted. “Father” John Ryan, “S.J.”, head of the Adult Education Institute of Boston College, stated in the fall of 1947: “I do not agree with Father Feeney’s doctrine on salvation outside the Church.” “Father” Stephen A. Mulcahy, “S.J.”, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of Boston College, termed it: “Father Feeney’s doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church.” And Father J.J. McEleney, “S.J.”, Provincial of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, told Father Feeney in a personal meeting, that he was being ordered to transfer to Holy Cross College because of “Your doctrine.” Father Feeney quickly responded, “My doctrine on what?” To which Fr. McEleney replied, “I’m sorry, we can’t go into that.”
Right from the start, these fallen clergymen fused the issue with Father Feeney rather than the real source from which it came. This enabled them to focus on Father Feeney, and ignore Jesus Christ, whose doctrine this was.
Pope Pius IX, Nostis et Nobiscum (# 10), Dec. 8, 1849: “In particular, ensure that the faithful are deeply and thoroughly convinced of the truth of the doctrine that the Catholic faith is necessary for attaining salvation. (This doctrine, received from Christ and emphasized by the Fathers and Councils, is also contained in the formulae of the profession of faith used by Latin, Greek and Oriental Catholics).”
These heretics failed to realize that to belittle a defined dogma to something of Father Feeney’s invention is blasphemous and severely dishonest. But God is not mocked. We see the same thing today, especially rampant among so-called traditionalists. But I will return to this point.
On December 2, 1948, the President of Boston College, “Father” William L. Keleher, S.J., held an interview with Dr. Maluf, who was an ally of Father Feeney in the stand for the dogma. Fr. Keleher stated:
“Father Feeney came to me at the beginning of this situation and I would have liked to do something except that I could not agree with his doctrine on salvation… He (Fr. Feeney) kept repeating such phrases as ‘There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.’”
When Maluf (a member of the Boston College faculty) responded that this “phrase” is a defined dogma, Fr. Keleher said:
“the theologians at St. John’s Seminary and Weston College disagree with Father Feeney’s doctrine on the salvation of non-Catholics.”
So there you have the case of Father Feeney in a nutshell. Father Feeney held, as it had been defined, that there is no salvation for those who die as non-Catholics. Those against him, including “Fr.” Keleher (President of Boston College), the “Archbishop” of Boston, the priests at Boston College, and the “theologians” at St. John’s Seminary, held a different doctrine “on the salvation of non-Catholics.” This was the battle. This was the dividing-line. One was either on one side or the other. One believed that there is no salvation for those who die as non-Catholics or one believed that there is salvation for those who die as non-Catholics. Let me quickly remind the reader on which side he will find the Catholic Church.
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”
A “Jesuit” priest of the new Vatican II religion skillfully describes what the scene was like when “the Boston Heresy Case” (i.e., whether only those who die as Catholics can be saved) erupted into public view during Holy Week 1949.
Mark S. Massa, “S.J.”, Catholics and American Culture, p. 31: “The Boston Heresy Case erupted into public view during Holy Week 1949. The firings of Feeney’s disciples from Boston College made front-page news all over the Northeast: the New York Times began a series on Feeney and his group, and Newsweek, Life, and Time magazines all featured stories on the Boston ‘troubles.’ On perhaps the most solemn holy day of the Catholic calendar, Good Friday, Feeneyites [sic] stood outside Boston parishes carrying placards warning of the impending subversion of true doctrine by Church leaders themselves and selling the latest issue of From the Housetops. As one student of the event has observed, the question of salvation replaced the Red Sox as the topic of conversation in Boston bars, and anyone spied in a Roman collar became a potential ‘lead’ in the story. The only analogue [comparable thing] church historians could think of was Constantinople in the fourth century, where rioting crowds had battled in the streets over the definition of the divinity of Jesus, and Greek theological phrases became the mottos of chariot teams.”
On April 13, 1949, Fr. Keleher (the President of Boston College) fired Dr. Maluf, James R. Walsh and Charles Ewaskio from the faculty at Boston College for accusing the school of heresy against the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation. In his April 14 statement to the press explaining the reason behind their dismissal, Fr. Keleher stated:
“They continued to speak in class and out of class on matters contrary to the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church, ideas leading to bigotry and intolerance. Their doctrine is erroneous and as such could not be tolerated at Boston College. They were informed that they must cease such teaching or leave the faculty.”
One cannot help but notice Fr. Keleher’s double-tongue: these men were dismissed for ideas leading to intolerance, which could not be tolerated. If intolerance is the false doctrine here, as Fr. Keleher indicates, then he is condemned by his own mouth. Furthermore, one cannot pass over Fr. Keleher’s brazen assertion that “Their doctrine [i.e., the solemnly defined dogma that those who die as non-Catholics cannot be saved] is erroneous.” By this statement Keleher is asserting that the Church’s doctrine (on no salvation outside the Church) is erroneous and in no way his own. This was the type of heretical, anti-Catholic character in league with “Archbishop” Richard Cushing in the quest to crush Fr. Feeney’s preaching of the dogma.
This was the beginning of the end, so to speak, as will be seen when we look at what has resulted in Boston as a result of their selling out of the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation.
Protocol 122/49 (Suprema haec sacra)
About four months after the silencing of Fr. Feeney in April by Richard Cushing, the apostate “Archbishop” of Boston, the so-called Holy Office issued a document on August 8, 1949. Actually, the document was a letter addressed to Bishop Cushing, and signed by “Cardinal” Marchetti-Selvaggiani, known to most as Protocol No. 122/49. It is also called Suprema haec sacra and the Marchetti-Selvaggiani letter. It is one of the most crucial documents in regard to the modern apostasy from the faith. Protocol 122/49 was not published in the Acts of the Apostolic See (Acta Apostolicae Sedis) but in The Pilot, the news organ for the Archdiocese of Boston.
Protocol 122/49 has no binding character; that is to say, Protocol 122/49 is not an infallible or binding teaching of the Catholic Church. Protocol 122/49 was not signed by Pope Pius XII either, and has the authority of a correspondence of two Cardinals (Marchetti-Selvaggiani who wrote the letter, and “Cardinal” Ottaviani who also signed it) to one archbishop – which is none. The letter, in fact, and to put it simply, is fraught with heresy, deceit, ambiguity and betrayal. Immediately after the publication of Protocol 122/49, The Worcester Telegram ran a typical headline:
VATICAN RULES AGAINST HUB DISSIDENTS – [Vatican] Holds No Salvation Outside Church Doctrine To Be False
This was the impression given to almost the entire Catholic world by Protocol 122/49 – the Marchetti-Selvaggiani letter. Protocol 122/49, as the above headline bluntly said, held the “No Salvation Outside the Church Doctrine” to be false. By this fateful letter, the enemies of the dogma and the Church appeared to have been vindicated and the defenders of the dogma seemed to have been vanquished. The problem for the apparent victors, however, was that this document was nothing more than a letter from two heretical so-called cardinals of the Holy Office, who had already embraced the heresy later adopted by Vatican II, to one apostate “archbishop” in Boston. Some may be surprised that I describe “Cardinal” Ottaviani as heretical, since he is considered by many to have been orthodox. If his signature on the Protocol isn’t enough proof for his heresy, consider that he signed all of the Vatican II documents and aligned himself with the post-Vatican II revolution.
It’s interesting that even Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, the well known editor of The American Ecclesiastical Review before Vatican II, who was unfortunately a defender of Protocol 122/49, was forced to admit that it’s not infallible:
Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, The Catholic Church and Salvation, 1958, p. 103: “This letter, known as Suprema haec sacra [Protocol 122/49]… is an authoritative [sic], though obviously not infallible, document. That is to say, the teachings contained in Suprema haec sacra are not to be accepted as infallibly true on the authority of this particular document.”
In other words, according to Fenton, the teaching of Suprema haec sacra is not infallible and must be found in earlier documents; but it isn’t, as we will see. Fenton is simply wrong when he says that Suprema haec sacra is nevertheless authoritative. Suprema haec sacra is neither authoritative nor infallible, but heretical and false.
Since almost the entire public was (and is) given the impression that Protocol 122/49 represented the official teaching of the Catholic Church, it constituted the selling out of Jesus Christ, His doctrine and His Church to the world, a selling out that had to take place before the wholesale apostasy of Vatican II. By Protocol 122/49 and the persecution of Fr. Feeney, the public was given the impression that the Catholic Church had now overturned a 20 centuries’ old dogma of the faith: that the Catholic Faith is definitely necessary for salvation. And even to this day, if one were to ask almost every so-called Catholic priest in the world about the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation, he would probably be answered with a reference to the Father Feeney controversy and Protocol 122/49, even if the priest is unable to identify or recall the specific names and dates. Try it, I know from experience. A huge amount of basically all of the Novus Ordo priests who know anything about the issue will use Protocol 122/49 and the “condemnation” of Fr. Feeney to justify their heretical, anti-Catholic, antichrist, anti-magisterial belief that men can be saved in non-Catholic religions and without the Catholic Faith. These are the fruits of the infamous Protocol 122/49. And by their fruits you shall know them (Mt. 7:16).
Now let’s take a look at a few excerpts from the Protocol:
Suprema haec sacra, Protocol 122/49, Aug. 8, 1949: “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.”
Let’s stop it right there. Already it’s clear that the author of the Protocol is preparing the reader’s mind to accept something different than simply “that infallible statement by which we are taught that there is no salvation outside the Church.” The author is clearly easing into an explanation of the phrase “Outside the Church There is No Salvation” other than what the words themselves state and declare. If the author were not preparing the reader to accept an understanding other than what the words of the dogma themselves state and declare, then he would have simply written: “This dogma must be understood as the Church has defined it, exactly as the words state and declare.”
Compare the Protocol’s attempt to explain the dogma away with Pope Gregory XVI’s treatment of the same issue in his encyclical Summo Iugiter Studio.
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio, May 27, 1832, on no salvation outside the Church: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life… You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation… Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that THIS IS INDEED THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. He says: ‘The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.’ Official acts of the Church proclaim the same dogma. Thus, in the decree on faith which Innocent III published with the synod of Lateran IV, these things are written: ‘There is one universal Church of all the faithful outside of which no one is saved.’ Finally the same dogma is also expressly mentioned in the profession of faith proposed by the Apostolic See, not only that which all Latin churches use, but also that which… other Eastern Catholics use. We did not mention these selected testimonies because We thought you were ignorant of that article of faith and in need of Our instruction. Far be it from Us to have such an absurd and insulting suspicion about you. But We are so concerned about this serious and well known dogma, which has been attacked with such remarkable audacity, that We could not restrain Our pen from reinforcing this truth with many testimonies.”
Pope Gregory XVI does not try to to explain this dogma away, by saying, “However, this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it,” as does the heretical Protocol 122/49. No, he unequivocally affirms that THIS IS INDEED THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Throughout the whole encyclical, Gregory XVI does not fail to repeatedly affirm the true and literal meaning of the phrase Outside the Church There is No Salvation, without qualification or exception, as it had been defined. Father Feeney and his allies in defense of the dogma were reiterating exactly what Gregory XVI officially taught above. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if Protocol 122/49 was written to “correct” the understanding of Father Feeney on Outside the Church There is No Salvation (which it was), then Protocol 122/49 was also “correcting” the understanding of Pope Gregory XVI and all of the infallible statements on the topic for 20 centuries.
Also, notice that Pope Gregory XVI makes reference to the dogmatic definition of the Fourth Lateran Council to substantiate his position and literal understanding of the formula Outside the Church There is No Salvation. Throughout the whole document, Protocol 122/49 makes no reference to any of the dogmatic definitions on this topic. This is because Pope Gregory XVI, being a Catholic, knew that the only understanding of a dogma that exists is that which Holy Mother Church has once declared; while the authors of the Protocol, being heretics, did not believe that a dogma is to be understood exactly as it was once declared. That explains why Pope Gregory cited exactly what Holy Mother Church has once declared and the authors of the Protocol did not.
Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Sess. 3, Chap. 4, On Faith and Reason: “Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding.”
If the understanding of the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation was not clear from the teaching of the Chair of Peter (the infallible definitions on the topic), then a 1949 letter of “Cardinal” Marchetti-Selvaggiani is certainly not going to give it to us! And if no exceptions or qualifications to this dogma were understood at the time of the definitions – nor at the time of Pope Gregory XVI – then it is impossible for exceptions to come into our understanding of the dogma after that point (e.g., in 1949), because the dogma had already been defined and taught long before. Discovery of a new understanding of the dogma in 1949 is a denial of the understanding of the dogma as it had been defined. But define new dogma is indeed what the Protocol tried to do. I continue with the Protocol.
Suprema haec sacra, Protocol 122/49, Aug. 8, 1949: “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... 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.”
Here the Protocol begins to enter into its new explanation of the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation, but in a diabolically clever manner. The ambiguity lies in the fact that this statement is true: no one who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established, nevertheless refuses to submit to Her and the Roman Pontiff will be saved. But everyone reading this document is also given the clear impression by this language that some people, who have unknowingly failed to submit to the Church and the Roman Pontiff, can be saved. This is heretical and would actually make it counterproductive to convince people that the Catholic Church is divinely established!
Compare the dogmatic definition of the Catholic Church with the addition to the dogma by Protocol 122/49.
Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra: “Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by absolute necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
The Addition by Protocol 122/49:
Suprema haec sacra, Protocol 122/49, Aug. 8, 1949: “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.”
The reader can easily see that the intended meaning of Protocol 122/49 is a departure from the understanding of the dogma which Holy Mother Church has once declared. No one can deny this. The dogma of the necessity of submission to the Roman Pontiff for salvation has gone from application to every human creature (Boniface VIII) to “those knowing the Church to have been divinely established” (Protocol 122/49), again making it foolish to convince people that the Church is divinely established. I continue with the Protocol:
Suprema haec sacra, Protocol 122/49, Aug. 8, 1949: “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... 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.”
Here one detects another denial of the dogma as it was defined, and a departure from the understanding of the dogma that Holy Mother Church has once declared. Compare the following dogmatic definition of Pope Eugene IV with these paragraphs from Protocol 122/49, especially the underlined portions.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics and schismatics can become participants in eternal life, but they will depart ‘into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life they have been added to the flock; and that the unity of this ecclesiastical body (ecclesiastici corporis) is so strong that only for those who abide in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fasts, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of a Christian soldier produce eternal rewards. No one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has persevered within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”
We see that Protocol 122/49 (quoted above) is denying the necessity of incorporation into the ecclesiastici corporis, which is heresy!
It was necessary to be in the Church’s “bosom and unity” (Eugene IV), but now it is “not always required to be incorporated into the Church actually as a member” (Protocol 122/49). The defined dogma of INCORPORATION and actually abiding in the ecclesiastical body (ecclesiastici corporis) has been denied. This is heresy!
Those who refuse to believe in the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation until they understand how there is justice in it are simply withholding their Faith in Christ’s revelation. Those with the true Faith in Christ (and His Church) accept His teaching first and understand the truth in it (i.e., why it is true) second. A Catholic does not withhold his belief in Christ’s revelation until he can understand it. That is the mentality of a faithless heretic who possesses insufferable pride. St. Anselm sums up the true Catholic outlook on this point.
St. Anselm, Doctor of the Church, Prosologion, Chap. 1: “For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, that unless I believed, I should not understand.”
All the people who die in cultures which have never been penetrated by the Gospel go to Hell for sins against the natural law and the other grave sins which they commit – which bad will and failure to cooperate with God’s grace is the reason He does not reveal the Gospel to them. The First Vatican Council defined infallibly, based on Romans 1, that the one true God can be known with certitude by the things which have been made, and by the natural light of human reason.
St. Paul, Romans 1:18-20: “For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it to them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.”
Everyone can know with certainty that there is a supreme spiritual being, Who is the One True God and the Creator of the world and all that it contains. Everyone knows that God is not something that they have carved out of wood or jade or stone. They know that God is not the tree that they worship or the river they worship or the rock or the snake or the sacred tree frog. They know that these things aren’t the Creator of the universe. Every such person knows that he is worshiping a creature rather than the Creator. They are, as St. Paul says in verse 20, without excuse. St. Augustine explains this well in reference to persons who died ignorant of the Faith and without baptism.
St. Augustine (+428): “… God foreknew that if they had lived and the gospel had been preached to them, they would have heard it without belief.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, 14, A. 11, ad 1: “Objection: It is possible that someone may be brought up in the forest, or among wolves; such a man cannot explicitly know anything about the faith.” St. Thomas replies: “It is the characteristic of Divine Providence to provide every man with what is necessary for salvation… provided on his part there is no hindrance. In the case of a man who seeks good and shuns evil, by the leading of natural reason, God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or would send some preacher of the faith to him…”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, 28, Q. 1, A. 4, ad 4: “If a man born among barbarian nations, does what he can, God Himself will show him what is necessary for salvation, either by inspiration or sending a teacher to him.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. III, 25, Q. 2, A. 2, solute. 2: “If a man should have no one to instruct him, God will show him, unless he culpably wishes to remain where he is.”
All baptized infants are Catholics, even if they are baptized in a Methodist church-building, etc. This is de fide. The Catholic Church has always taught that anyone (including a layman or a non-Catholic) can validly baptize if he adheres to proper matter and form and if he has the intention of doing what the Church does.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” 1439: “In case of necessity, however, not only a priest or a deacon, but even a layman or woman, yes even a pagan and a heretic can baptize, so long as he preserves the form of the Church and has the intention of doing what the Church does.” (Denzinger 696)
The Church has always taught that infants baptized in heretical and schismatic churches are made Catholics, members of the Church and subjects of the Roman Pontiff, even if the people who baptized them are heretics who are outside the Catholic Church. This is because the infant, being below the age of reason, cannot be a heretic or schismatic. He cannot have an impediment which would prevent Baptism from making him a member of the Church.
Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 13 on the Sacrament of Baptism: “If anyone shall say that infants, because they have not actual faith, after having received baptism are not to be numbered among the faithful… let him be anathema.”
This means that all baptized infants wherever they are, even those baptized in heretical non-Catholic churches by heretical ministers, are made members of the Catholic Church. They are also made subject to the Roman Pontiff (if there is one). So, at what one point does this baptized Catholic infant become a non-Catholic – severing his membership in the Church and subjection to the Roman Pontiff? After the baptized infant reaches the age of reason, he or she becomes a heretic or a schismatic and severs his membership in the Church and severs subjection to the Roman Pontiff when he or she obstinately rejects any teaching of the Catholic Church or loses Faith in the essential mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation.
Pope Clement VI, Super quibusdam, Sept. 20, 1351: “…We ask: In the first place whether you and the Church of the Armenians which is obedient to you, believe that all those who in baptism have received the same Catholic faith, and afterwards have withdrawn and will withdraw in the future from the communion of this same Roman Church, which one alone is Catholic, are schismatic and heretical, IF THEY REMAIN OBSTINATELY SEPARATED FROM THE FAITH of this Roman Church. In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience of the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.”
So, one must be clear on these points: 1) The unbaptized (Jews, Muslims, pagans, etc.) must all join the Catholic Church by receiving Baptism and the Catholic Faith or they will all be lost, whether adults or children. 2) Among those who are baptized validly as infants, they are made Catholics, members of the Church and subjects of the Roman Pontiff by Baptism. They only sever that membership (which they already possess) when they obstinately reject any Catholic dogma or believe something contrary to the Natural Law or the essential mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation. In the teaching of Pope Clement VI above, we see this second point clearly taught: all who receive the Catholic Faith in Baptism lose that Faith and become schismatic and heretical if they become “obstinately separated from the faith of this Roman Church.”
There is no way on earth that the teaching of Protocol 122/49 is compatible with the teaching of Pope Eugene IV and Pope Boniface VIII. To accept, believe or promote the Protocol is to act contrary to these definitions.
I continue with the Protocol:
Suprema haec sacra, Protocol 122/49, Aug. 8, 1949: “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.”
Here the heresy comes out quite bluntly. People who don’t hold the Catholic Faith – who are “involved in invincible ignorance” – can also be united by “implicit” desire, as long as “a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God.” And I remind the reader that Protocol 122/49 was written in specific contradistinction to Fr. Feeney’s statement that all who die as non-Catholics are lost. That is to say, the Protocol was written to specifically distinguish its own teaching from Fr. Feeney’s affirmation that all who die as non-Catholics are lost, which shows that the Protocol was teaching that people who die as non-Catholics and in false religions can be saved. Thus, the Protocol’s statement above is quite obviously, and nothing other than, the heresy that one can be saved in any religion or in no religion, as long as morality is maintained.
Fr. Michael Muller, C.SS.R., The Catholic Dogma, pp. 217-218: “Inculpable or invincible ignorance has never been and will never be a means of salvation. To be saved, it is necessary to be justified, or to be in the state of grace. In order to obtain sanctifying grace, it is necessary to have the proper dispositions for justification; that is, true divine faith in at least the necessary truths of salvation, confident hope in the divine Savior, sincere sorrow for sin, together with the firm purpose of doing all that God has commanded, etc. Now, these supernatural acts of faith, hope, charity, contrition, etc., which prepare the soul for receiving sanctifying grace, can never be supplied by invincible ignorance; and if invincible ignorance cannot supply the preparation for receiving sanctifying grace, much less can it bestow sanctifying grace itself. ‘Invincible ignorance,’ says St. Thomas, ‘is a punishment for sin.’ (De, Infid. Q. x., art. 1).”
Compare the above passage from the Protocol with the following dogmatic definitions.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 8, Nov. 22, 1439, “The Athanasian Creed”, ex cathedra: “Whoever wishes to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he holds the Catholic faith. Unless a person keeps this faith whole and undefiled, without a doubt he shall perish eternally.”
Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, “Iniunctum nobis,” Nov. 13, 1565, ex cathedra: “This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved… I now profess and truly hold…”
Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: “This faith of the Catholic Church, without which no one can be saved, and which of my own accord I now profess and truly hold…”
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, Session 2, Profession of Faith: “This true Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess and truly hold…”
I continue with the Protocol:
Suprema haec sacra, “Protocol 122/49,” Aug. 8, 1949: “Towards the end of the same encyclical letter, when most affectionately inviting to unity those who do not belong to the body of the Catholic Church (qui ad Ecclesiae Catholicae compagnem non pertinent), he mentions those who are ‘ordered to the Redeemer’s Mystical Body by a sort of unconscious desire and intention,’ and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation, but, on the contrary, asserts that they are in a condition in which, ‘they cannot be secure about their own eternal salvation,’ since ‘they still lack so many and such great heavenly helps to salvation that can be enjoyed only in the Catholic Church.’”
In the process of giving its false analysis of Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici Corporis, Suprema haec sacra teaches that people who “do not belong” to the Body of the Church can be saved. What’s interesting about this heretical passage in Protocol 122/49 is that even Msgr. Fenton (one of its greatest defenders) admits that one cannot say that the Soul of the Church is more extensive than the Body.
Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, The Catholic Church and Salvation, 1958, p. 127: “By all means the most important and the most widely employed of all the inadequate explanations of the Church’s necessity for salvation was the one that centered around a distinction between the ‘body’ and the ‘soul’ of the Catholic Church. The individual who tried to explain the dogma in this fashion generally designated the visible Church itself as the ‘body’ of the Church and applied the term ‘soul of the Church’ either to grace and the supernatural virtues or some fancied ‘invisible Church.’…there were several books and articles claiming that, while the ‘soul’ of the Church was in some way not separated from the ‘body,’ it was actually more extensive than this ‘body.’ Explanations of the Church’s necessity drawn up in terms of this distinction were at best inadequate and confusing and all too frequently infected with serious error.”
Hence, to say that it is not necessary to belong to the Body, as Suprema haec sacra (the Protocol) does, is to say that it is not necessary to belong to the Church. Therefore, by its statement above, Protocol 122/49 taught the heresy that it is not necessary to belong to the Catholic Church to be saved, the very thing denounced by Pius XII.
Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis (#27), 1950: “Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.”
This is extremely significant, for it proves that the teaching of Suprema haec sacra – and therefore the teaching of Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton who defended it – is heretical. They both deny the necessity of “belonging” to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.
Pope Leo X, Fifth Lateran Council, Session 11, Dec. 19, 1516, ex cathedra: “For, regulars and seculars, prelates and subjects, exempt and non-exempt, belong to the one universal Church, outside of which no one at all is saved, and they all have one Lord and one faith. That is why it is fitting that, belonging to the one same body, they also have the one same will…”
Less than three months after the Marchetti-Selvaggianni letter was published in part in The Pilot, Father Feeney was expelled from the Jesuit Order on October 28, 1949. Father Feeney stood strong against the heretics’ attempts to beat him down and get him to submit to the heresy that non-Catholics can be saved. Referring to the August 8th letter of Marchetti-Selvaggiani (Protocol 122/49), Father Feeney rightly stated: “it can be considered as having established a two-sided policy in order to propagate error.”
The reality was that Father Feeney’s expulsion from the Jesuit Order had no validity. The men who expelled him and the clerics who were against him were automatically expelled from the Catholic Church for adhering to the heresy that those who die as non-Catholics can be saved. This is similar to the situation in the 5th century, when the Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, began to preach the heresy that Mary was not the Mother of God. The faithful reacted, accused Nestorius of heresy and denounced him as a heretic who was outside the Catholic Church. And Nestorius was later condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Here is what Pope St. Celestine I stated about those who had been excommunicated by Nestorius after he began to preach heresy.
Pope St. Celestine I, 5th Century: “The authority of Our Apostolic See has determined that the bishop, cleric, or simple Christian who had been deposed or excommunicated by Nestorius or his followers, after the latter began to preach heresy shall not be considered deposed or excommunicated. For he who had defected from the faith with such preachings, cannot depose or remove anyone whatsoever.”
Pope St. Celestine authoritatively confirms the principle that a public heretic is a person with no authority to depose, excommunicate or expel. The quote is found in De Romano Pontifice, the work of St. Robert Bellarmine. This explains why all of the persecution against Father Feeney (expulsion, interdiction, etc.) had no validity, because he was right and those who were against him were wrong. He defended the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church, while his opponents defended the heresy that there is salvation outside the Church.
St. Robert Bellarmine (1610), Doctor of the Church, De Romano Pontifice: “A pope who is a manifest heretic automatically (per se) ceases to be pope and head, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the Church. Wherefore, he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the ancient Fathers who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.”
Things between Father Feeney and the heretics in Boston remained unchanged until September 14, 1952. At this point, Richard Cushing, the so-called Archbishop of Boston, demanded that Father Feeney retract his “interpretation” of the dogma – which means retract the dogma – and make an explicit profession of submission to the Marchetti-Selvaggiani letter (Protocol 122/49). With four witnesses, Father Feeney presented himself before Cushing. He told him that his only option was to declare the letter of Marchetti-Selvaggiani “absolutely scandalous because it was frankly heretical.” This is exactly what Pope Gregory XVI would have said about the horrible Protocol letter, as well as any Catholic.
During their meeting, Fr. Feeney asked “Archbishop” Cushing if he was in agreement with the Aug. 8, 1949 letter of Marchetti-Selvaggiani. Cushing responded, “I am not a theologian. All that I know is what I am told.” This evasive and non-committal answer shows the true colors of Cushing, this heretic, false pastor and enemy of Jesus Christ. If Cushing believed that one was bound to the letter, then he should have responded without hesitation that he agreed with it. But because he didn’t want to defend the letter in any of its details, especially its denials of dogma, he responded by evading the question. This evasion prohibited Fr. Feeney from putting him on the spot and convicting him with the dogma that was being denied. Father Feeney accused Cushing of failing in his duty and left.
Heresy before Vatican II
To fully appreciate the Father Feeney controversy one must understand that the denial of the Faith that Father Feeney was combating was well in place in the years before Vatican II. Most people considering themselves to be “traditional Catholics” have the false impression that, “if we could only go back to what people believed in the 1950’s, everything would be fine.” No, it wouldn’t. Most of the priests and bishops in the 1940’s and 1950’s had already lost the Faith and had completely rejected the solemnly defined dogma that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. It is simply a fact that heresy against the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation was being taught in most seminaries in the 1940’s and 50’s. In fact, the breakdown of the Faith began much earlier than the 1940’s or 50’s.
Our Lady of La Salette, France, Sept. 19, 1846: “In the year 1864, Lucifer together with a large number of demons will be unloosed from hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God. They will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls… Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist… The Church will be in eclipse…”
St. Anthony Mary Claret, the only canonized saint at the First Vatican Council, had a stroke because of the false doctrines that were being proposed even then, which never made their way into the council. The step-by-step dismantling of the Catholic Faith by Lucifer began, not in 1964, but in 1864, long before Vatican II. Let’s take a look at some examples of blatant heresy in pre-Vatican II books with Imprimaturs (i.e., the approval of a bishop).
1. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, “Church,” 1908, G. H. Joyce: “The doctrine is summed up in the phrase, Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (Outside the Church there is no salvation)… It certainly does not mean that none can be saved except those who are in visible communion with the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has ever taught that nothing else is needed to obtain justification than an act of perfect charity and of contrition… Many are kept from the Church by ignorance. Such may be the case of numbers among those who have been brought up in heresy… Thus, even in the case in which God saves men apart from the Church, He does so through the Church’s actual graces… In the expression of theologians, they belong to the soul of the Church, though not to its body.”
What we have here, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, in the year 1908, in a book with the Imprimatur of John Farley, the Archbishop of New York, is blatant heresy. The author, G.H. Joyce, completely rejects the dogma as it has been defined. He even employs the “Soul of the Church Heresy” which is completely heretical. The defined dogma which declared that only those in the Catholic Church can be saved, has given way to the heresy that God saves men “apart from the Church.”
Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi futura prospicientibus (# 7), Nov. 1, 1900: “Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.”
But to these heretics, no longer does this dogma mean that outside the Church there is no salvation, but rather that non-Catholics are saved in their false religions but by the Catholic Church. The necessity of Catholic faith and unity for salvation has been utterly repudiated.
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio, May 27, 1832: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life… You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation.”
And this proves that the dogma that those who die as non-Catholics cannot be saved was being denied publicly even as early as 1908.
2. My Catholic Faith, a Catechism by Bishop Louis LaRavoire, 1949: “Holy Mass may be offered for the living of whatever creed. It may be offered for departed Catholics. The priest may not offer Mass publicly for departed non-Catholics, but the persons hearing the Mass may do so.”
Here we find more clear heresy in a catechism written by the Bishop of Krishnager, Louis LaRavoire. This Catechism is still promoted today by many so-called “traditional Catholics.” By permitting prayer for departed non-Catholics, Louis LaRavoire denies the dogma that all who depart life as non-Catholics are lost.
Pope Clement VI, Super quibusdam, Sept. 20, 1351: “In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience to the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.”
3. Baltimore Catechism No. 3, 1921, Imprimatur Archbishop Hayes of New York: “Q. 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 (1) 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.”
Here we find blatant heresy in the Baltimore Catechism, imprimatured and published in 1921. The authors of this heretical catechism are bold enough to assert that salvation for a non-Catholic is not only possible, but dependent upon whether the non-Catholic “firmly believes the religion he professes and practices to be the true religion.” So if you’re firmly convinced that Mormonism is the true religion, then you’ve got a good shot at salvation “provided that person (1) has been validly baptized”, according to the Baltimore Catechism; but if you’re not firmly convinced of this then your chances are less. This makes an absolute mockery of the dogma: one Lord, one faith and one baptism (Eph. 4:5).
Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 13), Aug. 15, 1832: “With the admonition of the apostle that ‘there is one God, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. 4:5) may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that ‘those who are not with Christ are against Him,’ (Lk. 11:23) and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore, ‘without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate’ (Athanasian Creed).”
The words of Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos could have been written specifically to the authors of the Baltimore Catechism; and indeed they were addressed to other heretics in his day who proposed the same thing. Notice how far the Baltimore Catechism has come from the dogmatic Athanasian Creed, which Gregory XVI affirmed, which states that whoever wishes to be saved must hold the Catholic Faith. The authors of the Baltimore Catechism could not have, in their wildest imagination, pretended to believe in that dogmatic profession of faith.
The reader should also note that Pope Gregory XVI teaches that those who have never been Catholic are lost, as well as Catholics who leave the Church.
The Baltimore Catechism rejects the words of Jesus Christ, who declared that “he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). The revised edition of the Scriptures by the authors of the Baltimore Catechism would have to read: “he that believeth firmly in false religions shall not be condemned.”
4. Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Ludwig Ott, Imprimatur 1954, p. 310: “The necessity for belonging to the Church is not merely a necessity of precept, but also of means, as the comparison with the Ark, the means of salvation from the biblical flood, plainly shows… In special circumstances, namely, in the case of invincible ignorance or of incapability, actual membership of the Church can be replaced by the desire for the same… In this manner also those who are in point of fact outside the Catholic Church can achieve salvation.”
In truth, what Ludwig Ott says above is equivalent to declaring that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived in Original Sin. There is no difference whatsoever. If the Church defines that outside the Church no one at all is saved (Pope Innocent III, etc.), and I assert that “those who are in point of fact outside the Catholic Church can achieve salvation,” then I am doing the exact same thing as if I were to declare that the Virgin Mary was conceived in some sin, when the Church said she had no sin. I would be stating exactly the opposite of what the Church had infallibly defined, and this is precisely what Ludwig Ott does.
But shortly after explicitly denying the dogma that no one can be saved outside the Church, notice what Ludwig Ott says:
Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 311: “It is the unanimous conviction of the Fathers that salvation cannot be achieved outside the Church.”
It’s a pity that Ludwig Ott does not adhere to the unanimous conviction of the Fathers but goes on for another couple of hundred pages with his “wisdom.”
For the pre-Vatican II heretics who condemned Father Feeney and despised the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation, it is no problem believing that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church, while simultaneously believing that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. It is no problem for these people because they are of evil (Mt. 5:37).
Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, Decree # 30, 1311-1312, ex cathedra: “… one universal Church, outside of which there is no salvation, for all of whom there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism…”
Those who obstinately accept the heresy that is contained in these pre-Vatican II books – such as Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma – should rightly fear, as Pope Gregory XVI says, because they will without a doubt inherit a place in Hell if they do not repent and convert.
5. The Catechism Explained, Rev. Spirago and Rev. Clark, 1898: “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.”
According to this, it’s not only possible to be saved outside the Church (which is a direct denial of the dogma), but it’s actually possible to be, “for all intents and purposes,” a member of the Catholic Church while still outside of Her! This is so heretical and contradictory that it’s not worthy of further comment, except to say that what The Catechism Explained proposes here – that a man can be saved outside the Church as long as he leads “a God-fearing life” – is exactly what Pope Gregory XVI condemned in Mirari Vos: that a man may be saved in any religion whatsoever, so long as morality is maintained.
Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 13), Aug. 15, 1832: “This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained… without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate (Athanasian Creed)."
I could continue with examples of pre-Vatican II imprimatured texts which contain heresy, but the point should be obvious: the denial of the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation was well in place in the minds of most priests and bishops before Vatican II, so the opposition Father Feeney experienced in defending this truth in the late 1940’s and 1950’s comes as no surprise. The Great Apostasy was well in place in the 1940’s and 50’s, having actually begun in the mid to late 1800’s, and Father Feeney was attempting to stifle this tide of apostasy by cutting away at its root cause: the denial of the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation.