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 Mr Gerry Matatics / Fr. Feeney 
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Pax Christi,



Quote:
James posted

My question as to whether there is something self-evidently wrong in accusing Cardinals of heresy. I'm quite interested in your answer.


All right, Vince. Third time: yes or no? (cf. my question in the box)

Another point: maybe you could open a topic debating Pope Pius XII. State your thesis there and have at it. This way, it seems your real aim is to protect the reputation of a particular person rather than to find the truth in a matter of faith, and also in a matter affecting the reputation of a Catholic priest. Vince, I do believe that Fr. Feeney has just as much right to justice and to his reputation as Pope Pius XII. You might read up a bit on Pope Honorius I in this connection.


Dear James,

Why the continued snips that I am evading? I stated that perhaps we could revisit this question in more detail later. You have opened a lot of area for " discussion" on more important points, and you continually state you have limited time.

So frankly I am puzzled by your inference that I am evading your question? :?

Since you want this answered before your presentation and other pressing issues, I will say;

Yes, there is something self-evidently wrong with accusing Cardinals of Heresy per say. As I noted before, it is not a course of action to be taken " lightly", it is one that all manner of study and review should take place, attempts should be made to truly understand the suspects view regarding the area of concern. It might be beneficial for you to stop for a moment and see how slow Rome is to stamp " heretic" on someone’s head . Rome gave Luther ample time, Rome was giving Fr. Feeney ample time. Rome (Holy Office) reacts in a calm and deliberate manner according to its own Laws and customs.

Regarding the Novus Ordo religion , positions are much more clear. This was not the case or situation during Pope Pius XIIth pontificate.

Least you continue to infer that I am evading, do you require more detail? Or can we put this to rest?


Quote:
James posits;

Another point: maybe you could open a topic debating Pope Pius XII. State your thesis there and have at it. This way, it seems your real aim is to protect the reputation of a particular person rather than to find the truth in a matter of faith, and also in a matter affecting the reputation of a Catholic priest. Vince, I do believe that Fr. Feeney has just as much right to justice and to his reputation as Pope Pius XII. You might read up a bit on Pope Honorius I in this connection.



Apples verse oranges. Pope Pius XIIth was a True Pontif i.e. Vicar of Christ, was the head of the Holy Office and gave his permission to send the Holy Office Letter of Aug 8th 1949. ( Sources cite he even edited the english translation of said letter)

Pope Honorius I? I prefer to read what the Churches authorized teachers/historians have to say about Pope Honorius, rather then form my own interpretation of his events.

Regarding Fr. Feeney, your point is well taken, indeed we should not be rash. However, his good name was already in trouble when he refused a direct order from his superior to transfer to Holy Cross Sept 8th 1948, and his superior waited until Oct 10th 1949 before expelling him from the Jesuit Order. Was this also an " illegal act ? Do they not have their own legal procedures? In addition, the Saint Benedict Center continued to publish " From the Housetops" even though the Chancery Jan 17th 1949 forbade further publication. The Chancery then waited until April 18th 1949 before placing the Saint Benedict Center on interdict, and suspending Fr. Feeney ' a divinis".

Again, in my view the evidence indicates a " calm, non-rush to judgement".

In Xto,
Vincent


Last edited by Vince Sheridan on Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:57 pm, edited 7 times in total.

Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:07 am
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New post St. Cyprian
John Lane wrote:
Dear Jim,

James Larrabee wrote:
Incidentally, Mike, you ought to bone up on St. Cyprian, in case you're not acquainted with him. A martyr, a Father of the Church, the renowned predecessor of St. Augustine in the see of Hippo, he is undoubtedly one of the great names in Catholic theology. Yet he erred on the important matter of the validity of Baptism administered outside the Church; I believe he even resisted the Pope in this matter. Ultimately his error (long after his death) helped produce the very serious schism of the Donatists, which plagued the Church in Africa for quite some time before it was finally eliminated. St. Augustine was the best known of its opponents. Despite this, the name of St. Cyprian comes down to us not as a Luther but as I have described him.

Thus, one error--even a grave one--even combined with resistance to the Holy See--does not make one a Luther.


St. Cyprian was addressing a question about which many were uncertain.


I think not, John. The dispute seemed to begin with him, or St. Augustine thinks perhaps with his predecessor. No one was contesting the validity of baptisms outside the Church; at least, I have never seen anyone claim that. (Perhaps this is why St. Stephen I did not think it necessary to define the point, assuming, as it seems, that he did not.) At any rate, he was wrong, which still seems to me the main point.

Quote:


The rights of the Holy See were less clear at that time also.


I can't agree with this either. (Interesting that it's a point made by the author in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, but never mind.) It's uncertain whether or not Pope St. Stephen defined the doctrine or merely relied on custom (and therefore it's equally uncertain whether St. Cyprian rejected a papal definition), as he is recorded to have done, or first did one and then the other; it is also unclear if or when St. Cyprian ceased his opposition. (Even St. Augustine was unable to determine the facts in this matter.) But the need to refer doctrinal disputes to the Holy See certainly wasn't questioned by St. Cyprian, who strongly defended the primacy, nor to my knowledge by any other theologians. Infallibility per se wasn't necessarily addressed explicitly, but that is implied.

Quote:


James Larrabee wrote:
I appreciate that. I hope possibly, if I accomplish nothing else, to show you and others a strong motivation in simply dropping Fr. Feeney from the whole discussion about Baptism of desire.

Jim, your campaign on this score, for the motives you mention, is bound to fail. Because the Feeneyites do not follow Fr. Feeney, as you've noticed, and don't care to defend him except insofar as he is a symbol of their own heterodoxy. Rescuing his reputation will not therefore gain you a hearing with them, as a rule.

And, you may or may not have noticed, I don't attack Fr. Feeney and haven't done, as far as I recall, for many years.


Of course not, John (I think I meant "you plural", the "others" being outside this forum), but your fellow moderators are attacking him, and I certainly can't deal with all the messages separately. I have to make points as I come to them for the benefit of all readers, who could hardly be expected to sort out exactly who said what. Besides, some of your posts have lent support to their argument. As for "feeneyites", just remember what I said in another post. There are those who are not as obtuse as some of the leaders, and there are others who are not now Feeneyites but who might get sucked into this mess when they see the "feeneyites'" opponents using the methods they are using, at the expense of truth and justice. Some of them may be reading this forum. We have the elements of scandal here.

Yours in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Destroyer of All Heresies,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:20 am
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New post Re: St. Cyprian
Dear Jim,

James Larrabee wrote:
John Lane wrote:
St. Cyprian was addressing a question about which many were uncertain.


I think not, John. The dispute seemed to begin with him, or St. Augustine thinks perhaps with his predecessor.

Well I can only go on memory as I haven't time to re-study this (it's peripheral), but St. Cyprian if I recall based himself on what he thought was Tradition, so he obviously had predecessors in this error.


James Larrabee wrote:
At any rate, he was wrong, which still seems to me the main point.

I am suggesting, as I have before, that the main point is not that Fr. Feeney was wrong, but that he opened a controversy on something already settled (i.e. under the hypothesis that Fr. Feeney is important at all and should be debated). At least, to me that is a main point, if not the only one. You didn't address this when I raised it before, and I think you should. To invent a controversy and then demand a solemn definition concerning it seems beyond all reason. You keep asserting that history is as follows: The EENS heretics started denying a dogma, Fr. Feeney reacted, and he was persecuted by Cushing and then Rome instead of the heresy being repressed. But this is all a question of fact. I keep asking for evidence that before Fr. Feeney's "crusade" started there was heresy regarding EENS to be crusaded against, precisely because Fr. Feeney's own crusade included attacking Cardinal Gibbons for teaching BOB and BOD. Isn't this a clear question for which you either can point to a source for an answer or not?


James Larrabee wrote:
John Lane wrote:
The rights of the Holy See were less clear at that time also.

I can't agree with this either. (Interesting that it's a point made by the author in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, but never mind.)

I've never seen it, as far as I know. I am going on primary documents I have read, such as St. Cyprian on this controversy. It certainly seemed that he was unclear on the rights of Rome, and by that I do not mean that his faith was defective, but merely that he wasn't clear how this controversy should be settled (i.e. by appeal to Rome for a definitive ruling). St. Augustine, on the other hand, was entirely clear.


James Larrabee wrote:
Of course not, John (I think I meant "you plural", the "others" being outside this forum), but your fellow moderators are attacking him, and I certainly can't deal with all the messages separately. I have to make points as I come to them for the benefit of all readers, who could hardly be expected to sort out exactly who said what. Besides, some of your posts have lent support to their argument. As for "feeneyites", just remember what I said in another post. There are those who are not as obtuse as some of the leaders, and there are others who are not now Feeneyites but who might get sucked into this mess when they see the "feeneyites'" opponents using the methods they are using, at the expense of truth and justice. Some of them may be reading this forum. We have the elements of scandal here.

We're going to have to agree to disagree on the merits of defending Fr. Feeney. I don't see any value in attacking him, as one merely ends up entangled in controversy over facts which are unclear and judgements made upon those unclear facts which are often unsound in principle (as well as being unsound because based on unfounded fact). It's a mess, as you rightly say. My preference is to get the true doctrine out and refute errors, leaving the history to the historians later.

But I think you're under-estimating the scandal taken by others from any defence of Fr. Feeney. It's analaogous to a defence of Savonarola. Yes, I know St. Catherine de' Ricci and St. Philip Neri both regarded Savonarola as a saint. But good men have still take scandal from any defence of him, and it seems better to leave him aside for the sake of peace. Fr. Feeney simply isn't important, even if he was unjustly treated. He will have his reward or punishment where it counts. What is important for now is that both liberalism and Feneyism are demolished, and that can only be done by clearing the decks and stating the truth carefully, and refuting errors equally as carefully.

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Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:06 am
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Pax Christi !


Dear James,

Allow me more replies.

Quote:
James wrote:

Well, Vince, let's look at a few more of Fr. Feeney's words in the letter you cite. "I am also unfamiliar with the procedures proper to the Holy Office under Canon 1555. Since such procedures are to govern the conduct of the proceedings, I would like to have them made available to me so that I can familiarize myself with them in order to protect my rights under them."

Now, doesn't this put quite a different light on this than Vince's selective quotations? I would ask the reader to consider how trustworthy the general line of argument is when it's bolstered by this kind of proof. (To wit, Fr. Feeney was wrong about theology because he was ignorant about canon law, and we know he was ignorant because he never heard of Woywod or of canon 1555.) Vince, you read this letter. Surely you must have seen the above passage?



Me thinks it is immaterial, Fr. Feeney was summoned to Rome Oct 25th 1952 ' to explain his doctrine " so the matter could be settled. Fr. Feeney wrote back demanding to know the charges. ( Given the expulsion from the Jesuits, being suspended " a divinis" and the Letter from the Holy Office specifically stating the correct teaching regarding EENS. BOD/BOB. One can reasonably conclude the Holy Office was not summoning him in order to examine his golf scores. :wink:

Besides, Nov 22nd 1952 Cardinal Pizzardo emphaised to Fr. Feeney he is ordered to Rome and at that time the charges would be made known to him. He still refused citing canons that do not apply to the Holy Office.

On Jan 9th 1953- Pope Pius XIIth ordered Fr. Feeney to present himself to the Holy Office.

You know the ' the rest of the story". Frankly most would jump at the chance for a free all expenses paid trip to the Holy City :)


Quote:
James wrote;

And that is only the beginning, since in this letter, Fr. Feeney also cites Sacred Scripture and St. Robert Bellarmine, in addition to various other canons that may or may not be precluded from consideration by canon 1555. In a subsequent letter, he cites the Fourth Council of the Lateran (They Fought the Good Fight by Thomas Mary Sennott, p. 252). Why not take this on too, Vince? It's all in there, and it's all relevant, and if any of it stands, your point is gone.


He should have gone to Rome and made this defense. But as noted, Fr. Feeney contumaciously defied a command to appear at the Holy Office and to explain his teachings.

Given the Letter from the Holy Office Aug 8th 1949, Fr. Feeney’s failure to appear creates a presumption that he knew that the Holy See would condemn his teachings.

The Letter that again ( I might add) was ordered to be made public by Pope Pius XIIth ; state clearly the true teaching of the subject under distpute.

" 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 also noted clearly:

" 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 "<imprimatur,>" which is prescribed by the sacred canons.

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




Quote:
I might point out that the main problem here, once again, is the failure to deal with the doctrine involved. Vince, don't you think it's a flagrant dereliction on the part of the Holy Office to fail to deal with the open heresy at Boston (which is what the Holy Office of the Inquisition precisely exists to do), but instead to concern itself solely with the priest who publicized that heresy? Vince, don't you agree, that to obey rightly, one must be commanded rightly? Don't you think the great apostasy in the Church was the result of both heresy and grave dereliction of duty on the part of the authority of the Church? Don't you think the masons and reds had succeeded in their plan of infiltrating the upper reaches of the hierarchy? Maybe you don't, but I'm sure plenty of people reading this do.


James- you posit a bevies of questions here. Me thinks I answered the doctrine question at least twice. Please allow me a few days to attempt answers for the rest in the above ' quotes".

Your passion for justice is well noted in your postings. At this time, I still cannot agree with your conclusions regarding Fr. Feeney.

Regarding comments you made on another post i.e. The 1953 excommunication decree did not declare Fr. Feeney “vitandus.”

However, the Holy Office had earlier put him under personal interdict (forbidding him to offer Mass, administer or receive sacraments, preach, receive sacramentals, etc.) and put the St. Benedict Center properties under local interdict (forbidding the conduct of any sacred rite or office on the premises). These effects are about the same as those for a declaration of “vitandus.”

That said, it’s a bit difficult to see your line of reasoning that leads from “no decree of vitandus” to allowing him to reject the teaching of the universal ordinary magisterium on baptism of desire and baptism of blood.

In Xto,
Vincent


Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:12 am
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Vincent wrote:

Quote:
One can reasonably conclude the Holy Office was not summoning him in order to examine his golf scores.


Now, Vincent, this comment was uncalled for!

You know prefectly well that Fr. Feeney was a scratch golfer! :lol:

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Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:41 pm
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New post Re: St. Cyprian
John Lane wrote:
Dear Jim,

James Larrabee wrote:
John Lane wrote:
St. Cyprian was addressing a question about which many were uncertain.


I think not, John. The dispute seemed to begin with him, or St. Augustine thinks perhaps with his predecessor.

Well I can only go on memory as I haven't time to re-study this (it's peripheral), but St. Cyprian if I recall based himself on what he thought was Tradition, so he obviously had predecessors in this error.


I think it is clear from St. Augustine in De Baptismo Contra Donatistas (On Baptism Against the Donatists) that the basis of St. Cyprian's position was not Tradition, but theological argument. He argued that it was impossible that Baptism, the sacrament of forgiveness, should exist outside the the one true Church, for the simple reason that outside the Church can be neither salvation nor forgiveness of sin, as taught by all Tradition, and most famously in the bull Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII. So if it could not exist outside the Church, obviously it could not be conferred there. It seems clear that he thought that the tradition he, or his predecessor, had received was wrong; obviously as a Catholic, indeed as the author of the famous treatise "On the Unity of the Catholic Church" he would not have thought that the whole Church was wrong, but that there had been a local error.

It was St. Augustine's great achievement, certainly one of his greatest, to show how the sacrament could be received outside the Church, but not the sanctification. The sanctification was impeded by the obstacle of unbelief (or schism); once that was healed by coming to the Church, the sanctification would take place unhindered. Such, in St. Augustine's doctrine, is the power of the unity of the Church; in this sense he interprets "Charity covers a multitude of sins," the unity of the Church being a visible communion in divine charity. This is entirely opposed to the error of the modern theologians which Fr. Feeney attacked, who maintained that sanctification actually does exist outside the Church, and outside the visible bonds and limits of the Church.

(Another thing St. Augustine emphasized was St. Cyprian's concern, on holding a local council over the matter, that it be discussed in all peace and charity; that each bishop was to present what he thought on the matter, without condemnations and strife, in a matter, as St. Augustine says, most difficult and not yet resolved by a general council. In necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity.)

If only St. Augustine's doctrine had been followed 1000 years later by the laxist theologians that began to find problems with the clear tradition that salvation is entirely impossible for all outside the "bosom and unity of the Church."

Regards,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:31 pm
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New post Re: St. Cyprian
John Lane wrote:
But I think you're under-estimating the scandal taken by others from any defence of Fr. Feeney. It's analaogous to a defence of Savonarola. Yes, I know St. Catherine de' Ricci and St. Philip Neri both regarded Savonarola as a saint. But good men have still take scandal from any defence of him, and it seems better to leave him aside for the sake of peace. Fr. Feeney simply isn't important, even if he was unjustly treated. He will have his reward or punishment where it counts. What is important for now is that both liberalism and Feneyism are demolished, and that can only be done by clearing the decks and stating the truth carefully, and refuting errors equally as carefully.


I couldn't agree more, John, with your main point here and with its spirit. (I really think we always end up, or even begin, agreeing even when it appears otherwise.) But as is clear and as you've pointed out already, it's practically impossible to separate Fr. Feeney from "feeneyism." When Traditional Catholics stop unjustly and untruthfully attacking Fr. Feeney as opposed to "feeneyism", that will be the time to stop defending him. The scandal, if any, of defending him is a burden I'll have to bear with God's grace, but the major share for it, as it seems to me, must lie with those who first raised the scandal of these immoderate attacks. Let them say, "Fr. Feeney isn't the issue here."

Of course, Savonarola isn't an issue among Catholics today. (Another of his devotees, by the way, was St. Pius V, surely a major standard-bearer for our Traditional cause.)

In Veritate et Caritate,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:47 pm
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New post Re: heretic question
Mike wrote:
I am not denying the right or the obligation of a Catholic to publicly protest heresy or denounce heretics. But, the rules of charity demand that Catholics see the best in their neighbor, and do not rush to judgment. Before denouncing someone, especially a cleric, one should be absolutely certain that they are correct.


Dear Mike, if this is a true principle (as indeed it is), I am wondering why this discussion has been so conspicuous for its absence in regard to Fr. Feeney? Or does it only apply to Cardinals and Popes?

James Larrabee

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Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:45 pm
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Quote:
However, the Holy Office had earlier put him under personal interdict (forbidding him to offer Mass, administer or receive sacraments, preach, receive sacramentals, etc.) and put the St. Benedict Center properties under local interdict (forbidding the conduct of any sacred rite or office on the premises). These effects are about the same as those for a declaration of “vitandus.”


I'm scandalized that such flagrant misstatements of sacred matters should appear on a traditional Catholic forum. I am referring to the statement that "these effects are about the same," etc. Without, naturally, a shadow of proof.

Quote:
That said, it’s a bit difficult to see your line of reasoning that leads from “no decree of vitandus” to allowing him to reject the teaching of the universal ordinary magisterium on baptism of desire and baptism of blood.


That's a serious mischaracterization of my position, as anyone can see who has read my posts. Nowhere have I "allowed", either explicitly or implicitly, Fr. Feeney or anyone else to reject the teaching mentioned, nor did I make any connection between not being declared vitandus and being allowed to teach anything. This "line of reasoning" is imaginary. I only made a passing reference to the nature of Fr. Feeney's "excommunication" so that readers would not be misled about his true canonical status.

Beyond that, there's little point in pursuing this writer in his spinnings of endless unproved assertions, repetitions or merely verbal rephrasings of refuted points, and purely subjective judgments based on misunderstandings of Catholic law, history, and morality.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:48 pm
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New post 
Teresa Ginardi wrote:
James Larrabee wrote:
St. Thomas teaches clearly that only those who belong to the Catholic Church by supernatural faith and charity can be saved. Those who die in invincible ignorance, if there are any, are damned; not on account of their ignorance but on account of their sins, which cannot be forgiven outside the Church. By faith is meant the profession of and belief in all the teachings of the Catholic Church, explicitly at least in the Trinity and the Incarnation, implicitly in all the others (i.e. by a global acceptance of all the Church's teachings, denying none); by charity is meant abiding in communion with the Church and in submission to its lawful authority. Infants dying without Baptism, and therefore without membership in the Church, despite not only their invincible ignorance but their complete innocence of actual sin, are damned. Ignorance, whether or not culpable, is a punishment by God for sin, whether original or actual. Knowledge, on the other hand, its remedy, is a grace, a gratuitous gift, which nevertheless is withheld from no one who sincerely seeks it. I do not know of any Father or Doctor of the Church who teaches otherwise on this matter.


Dear Mr. Larrabee,

What about St. Alphonsus' discussion of this in Theologia Moralis (Bk 3 tr 1 cap 1.), (which by the way, I know absolutely nothing about, but was sent to me concerning an inquiry I had about Baptism of Desire). By way of quote from the Theologia:

"2. The question is whether the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation, after the promulgation of the Gospel, must be believed with explicit faith by necessity of means or just of precept.

The first opinion, which is the commoner, and seems the more probable, teaches that they are to be believed by necessity of means. This is held by Sanchez ... Valent., Molina, Tournely's continuer, Juven., Antoine, Wigandt, concina... Ledesma, Serra, Prada, etc...as wel as Salm..., Cuniliat. and Ronc. (But these last three say that per accidens, and in a very exceptional case, someone might be justified by implicit faith alone.) ....

But the second opinion, which is also probable enough, holds that all are bound by necessity of precept, to believe these mysteries explicitly, but that by necessity of means it is sufficient that they should be believed implicitly. Thus Dominic Soto [ref] where he says: Although the precept of explicit faith (namely in the Trinity and the Incarnation) obliges absolutely everyone, nevertheless many can be excused from this obligation by invincible ignorance. Franciscus Sylvius [ref] writes: After the sufficient promulgation of the Gospel, explicit faith in the Incarnation is necessary for all by necessity of precept and even (as is probable) by necessity of means. .... Cardinal Gotti [ref] says: In my judgment the opinion which denies that explicit faith in Christ and in the Trinity is so necessary that no one can be justified without it is very probable. And he adds that Scotus holds this opinion. .... Cardinal de Lugo [ref] calls the first speculatively probable, but defends this second view at length and in absolute terms as more probable, with Javell, Zumel and Suarez [ref]. ..... They say however that it is repugnant to the divine goodness and providence to damn invincibly ignorant adults who live uprightly in accordance with the light of nature whereas Acts 10:35 says, "But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh jusstics is acceptable to him." ...."



Before coming to your questions, notice the key words above (immediately following "2") that the first opinion, which is that of St. Thomas, is the more probable. That indicates that St. Alphonsus agreed with it.

This seems to be an accurate citation, except that the words "teaches they are to be believed" should rather be translated "must be believed", as in the line above. The Latin is "docet credenda esse de necessitate medii," credenda being used in both instances. The summaries of the arguments on both sides by St. Alphonsus are here omitted, except, interestingly, one defending the laxer opinion (the part in boldface following the word "Suarez") which has been much in favor with those teaching this opinion nowadays. Why include this when it's just one argument among others, and it's not even accepted by St. Alphonsus? Is this an attempt to weight the argument on one side, even in the context of an appeal to authority? Or did it escape those who sent it to you that St. Alphonsus is against them? As I have already mentioned elsewhere, this is a point long since answered by St. Thomas, St. Albert the Great, and undoubtedly many other leading theologians. Not, of course, that it is really equivalent in its ramifications to the use it has been put to by recent writers.

Quote:

Did the common opinion of theologians begin to change from the time of St. Thomas until the time of St. Alphonsus?


I would argue that it hasn't changed, in the theological sense, nor could it. If it could, that would imply that the doctrine has changed, or that the Church could err. The common teaching of theologians (that includes, of course, the Fathers and Doctors) is an infallible source of doctrine.

The large number of modern writers quoted in this matter nowadays are mostly men of little or no weight, and therefore aren't to be considered except to show that an opinion is out there and is tolerated by the Holy See. As for weighty opinion, I'm not sure if you can cite anybody beyond Perrone, Liberatore (and Franzelin, their fellow Jesuit, did not agree with them), perhaps Garrigou-Lagrange (depending on how weighty an author one would consider him; I'm not sure he's on the level of, say, a Billuart, still less (much less) than a St. Alphonsus. Of course, it could be debated just how weighty Perrone and the others are. Anyway, if you add in a few real modern theologians to the long list on either side given by St. Alphonsus, it's not going to change the outcome, it seems to me.

If your question pertains to how this opinion seems to have gained strength in the Church, against that which St. Alphonsus called the commoner one, it seems to me that the influence of Renaissance humanism, licentiousness and disregard for tradition may have been a factor. This was a period when moral theology had a tremendous growth (given that so many dogmatic matters had been settled by the Council of Trent, as well as other possible factors), and part of that growth was a division between laxer and stricter writers. The laxer ones not already condemned by Trent itself (generally to be found among Jesuit authors, though by no means all Jesuits were on this side), were sharply reined in by papal condemnations, as were some of the stricter opinions which were to be found, among other places, in the Jansenists. Among real Catholics (and Jansenists frequently were not readily distinguishable from Catholics), various authors or religious orders defended the stricter propositions. There were errors on both sides. Blessed Innocent XI condemned some of the errors which were more directly opposed to the necessity of supernatural faith and membership in the Church for salvation, but related, more moderate errors (or what I consider to be errors) were left untouched. Nevertheless, the Holy See never tolerated any practical application of these opinions in regard to dealings with those outside the Church; her practice always conformed to the strictest understanding of the necessity of faith and of membership in the Church.

For the time during and after St. Alphonsus, I would point to the nearly complete destruction of the Catholic universities and other sources of theological learning by the French Revolution and the liberal age which has followed. The theological restoration, favored as it was by all the Popes (most famously by Leo XIII in regard to St. Thomas, but the work had already been well begun by Pius IX), has been halting, limited, and hindered by many political setbacks (including war as a political event), while rationalism and unbelief have grown apace among the clergy, and were spread in seminaries by interlopers. If it were not so, the tremendous efforts of the Vatican Council (I) and St. Pius X against Modernism would not have been necessary. Unfortunately, the Popes of the last century, though maintaining Thomism, failed to carry on this great work of uprooting heresy among the clergy. It might be added that in the age of mass literacy and the mass media (the popular press), the Church has been plagued by popularizers, both clerical and lay, who have been very active in spreading this heresy among the laity, especially in English-speaking countries. Many writings of this nature, it should be understood, did not just present the tolerated opinion, but were really openly heretical, and never would have passed censorship according to the standards presented by St. Alphonsus. They conformed to no tolerated opinion of the Church.

A moderate modernist author in a book published a few years ago has some interesting observations on this. He claims that the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773 would have strengthened the Jansenists and by necessity, those Catholics who taught more "rigid" interpretations of the doctrines, by eliminating most of their opponents. Later, after the restoration of the Jesuits in the early 19th century, the position was reversed to some extent. Perrone, whom I just mentioned, was a Jesuit teaching at Rome for a good part of the century. The stricter school, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have made much of a comeback. (Needless to say, I disagree with this writer's doctrinal position, which is blatantly heretical, but he makes a reasonably clear and accurate presentation of the history and implications of the teaching of this doctrine, on the layman's level.)

Quote:
Does the above indicate that invincible ignorance combined with an upright life in accordance with the light of nature was considered an acceptable theological position not under any theological censure?


Yes, it looks that way to me, pending better enlightenment. Not "acceptable," however, in the sense of true or approved, but merely in the sense that theologians were permitted to teach it with impunity.

Quote:
Did Pope Pius IX's several allocutions concerning this matter settle the Church's decision concerning this?


No, they did not. A papal address (that is what an allocution is) cannot settle such a controversy in any event, but in my judgment, the most that can be said is that these texts were worded in such a way as not definitively to exclude an opinion which was being tolerated. In other words, there is a certain ambiguity. The refutation of liberal distortions of these texts has been published many times. Even Tanquerey, certainly some kind of liberal, agreed with Fr. Feeney's later interpretation of one of the more misrepresented of these texts. I'll try to address this later, but it's been done already by many others. I would also mention that at least three papal encyclicals generally support the common and true opinion, including Humani Generis of Pope Pius XII, which was issued against the modernists shortly after the Feeney scandal, in 1950. Not only Fr. Feeney but a lot of other people, including newsmen, thought it had decided the matter on Fr. Feeney's side. (Essentially this was true, except that it was no more a decision in the binding sense than the Holy Office letter; though, notably unlike that letter, it actually rebukes Fr. Feeney's theological enemies, or so it would appear.) In short, there is not a single Pope in the history of the Church who has ever lent any official credence to this opinion, or rather error. I mention encyclicals particularly, since some might get the impression from my other postings that I have a problem with encyclicals.

Quote:
Did Suprema hac sacra, dated August 8, 1949, simply reiterate the Church's decision?


There was no decision to reiterate. And given that the matter was open to theological debate, no one could be disciplined for teaching either of the acceptable positions. (The men Fr. Feeney attacked, of course, were denying dogma outright, not teaching one of these opinions.) And that is why, very likely, Fr. Feeney was not charged with a doctrinal error. Instead, obedience was used as pretext to silence Catholic teaching. The letter appears intended to paper over this evident fact, while permitting the heretics to go on denying dogma, and a lot more assuredly and publicly than before.

Additionally, it should be noted that the letter (it is incorrect to refer to it as Suprema Haec Sacra, as that is not its title; it merely means "This Supreme Sacred [Congregation]," a formulaic way of referring to the Holy Office in its own documents, it being supreme among all the Sacred Congregations), while mentioning the need for supernatural faith, does not seem to address the issue which this particular text of St. Alphonsus is actually about. That issue is not the need for supernatural faith simply, but the need for explicit faith in at least the Trinity and the Incarnation. But this is one of the key issues in the debate, and it is one point where the liberals go astray.

Quote:

Thank you very much for an extemely informative discussion.



You're welcome. I may post a more complete version of the quote you give here, since it might be useful to my argument.

I realize that I've probably answered things you haven't asked about. I am just trying to fill in the picture so that readers in general can have a better understanding of the issues. If I've misunderstood your questions or you have anything else you might like to ask about, please let me know.

Regards in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Destroyer of All Heresies,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:34 am
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Pax Christi !

Dear James,



Quote:
I'm scandalized that such flagrant misstatements of sacred matters should appear on a traditional Catholic forum. I am referring to the statement that "these effects are about the same," etc. Without, naturally, a shadow of proof.


Please allow me to explain. For excommunication of " vitandi", 3 conditions are present in the excommunication decree;

a. The person is excommunicated by name by the Apostoilc See ( this occured with Fr. Feeney)
b. The excommunication is publicly proclaimed ( this occured with Fr. Feeney)
c. The decree states that said person must be avoided.
( A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, New York:Wagner 1952. )

Thus my comment " these effects are about the same" , and in light of the history involved: expulsion from the Jesuits. Suspension of his priestly office ' a divinis". Rufusal to obey a direct order from Rome, it was in this light I made the comment.

What I find troubling, is you make the same defense as the Saint Benedict Center regarding Fr. Feeney. In order to be more effective in such a defense it would be helpful if you would provide non-Saint Benedict Center citations. I will grant prior to 1947, Fr. Feeney could have been the most zealous priest in America.


Quote:
That's a serious mischaracterization of my position, as anyone can see who has read my posts. Nowhere have I "allowed", either explicitly or implicitly, Fr. Feeney or anyone else to reject the teaching mentioned,


Dear James, my apologies if my wording oversteps your position. I was basing my comment on your inference that Fr. Feeneys teachings were never in question by the Holy Office, and when you answered my question posited about the Holy Office Letter being " heretical/erroneous”, you answered " Yes" with qualifications.

It is agreed it is best that I bow out of this whole discussion. It is creating heartache for many on this gentle fourm, and is confusing many, including myself. :)

But going on what you presented I can not agree at this time with your defense of Fr. Feeney , as a victim , nor , as a new St. Athanisius.

One thing in closing, I must note, your indeed an intellectual and very articulate. Thanks for not taking " cheap" shots at my poor grammar. As John Lane noted, you are a Catholic gentleman.

I hope you and yours have a grace filled Advent.

In Xto,
Vincent


Last edited by Vince Sheridan on Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:54 am, edited 3 times in total.

Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:50 am
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Dear Marilyn,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. No, no embarrassment at all. I quite enjoyed it. I am only sorry to have embarrassed you by having to bring it up.

Best wishes for Advent and the coming Christmas.

Regards,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:08 am
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I only wish to add, in this context, one section of the text of St. Alphonsus that was omitted in Teresa's original citation (she, of course, had received it in this form from others). I don't wish to imply that I consider there was anything deceptive in this omission; it does not alter St. Alphonsus's meaning. (I did take slight issue on my last post on this topic with the inclusion of a single argument on the other side, but it's not a matter of great significance.)

In St. Alphonsus's text, after presenting the general question, the theologians on each side are lined up, with only brief citations to the chapter and verse of the texts referred to. That is followed, in each case, with summarized arguments from some of the theologians. St. Alphonsus does not further analyze or criticize these arguments, at least in this work, which is basically an encyclopedia of all moral theology, rather than an exhaustive treatise.

The text I am adding is the argument on the side of the first opinion, which is the stricter one and that held by St. Alphonsus, namely that the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation must be believed explicitly by a necessity of means. The arguments presented on the other side I will leave to others; they have already been presented in many forms and venues.

I've also altered one small mistranslation which I pointed out previously.

Teresa Ginardi wrote:
James Larrabee wrote:
St. Thomas teaches clearly that only those who belong to the Catholic Church by supernatural faith and charity can be saved. Those who die in invincible ignorance, if there are any, are damned; not on account of their ignorance but on account of their sins, which cannot be forgiven outside the Church. By faith is meant the profession of and belief in all the teachings of the Catholic Church, explicitly at least in the Trinity and the Incarnation, implicitly in all the others (i.e. by a global acceptance of all the Church's teachings, denying none); by charity is meant abiding in communion with the Church and in submission to its lawful authority. Infants dying without Baptism, and therefore without membership in the Church, despite not only their invincible ignorance but their complete innocence of actual sin, are damned. Ignorance, whether or not culpable, is a punishment by God for sin, whether original or actual. Knowledge, on the other hand, its remedy, is a grace, a gratuitous gift, which nevertheless is withheld from no one who sincerely seeks it. I do not know of any Father or Doctor of the Church who teaches otherwise on this matter.


Dear Mr. Larrabee,

What about St. Alphonsus' discussion of this in Theologia Moralis (Bk 3 tr 1 cap 1.), (which by the way, I know absolutely nothing about, but was sent to me concerning an inquiry I had about Baptism of Desire). By way of quote from the Theologia:

"2. The question is whether the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation, after the promulgation of the Gospel, must be believed with explicit faith by necessity of means or just of precept.

The first opinion, which is the commoner, and seems the more probable, teaches that they must be believed by necessity of means. This is held by Sanchez ... Valent., Molina, Tournely's continuer, Juven., Antoine, Wigandt, concina... Ledesma, Serra, Prada, etc...as wel as Salm..., Cuniliat. and Ronc. (But these last three say that per accidens, and in a very exceptional case, someone might be justified by implicit faith alone.)


Here is the added section:

"This is proved by the Scriptures, by which (they say) the necessity of means is clearly proved. They also prove it by argument [ratione], because, although before the promulgation of the Gospel, implicit faith in Christ was sufficient, after that promulgation a more perfect knowledge is required, given that the state of grace is more perfect; this more perfect knowledge being explicit faith in Christ, and in the Blessed Trinity."


A couple of brief comments for the sake of clarity.

1) The comment beginning "This is proved" applies not to the preceding parenthetical statement referring to the last three named theologians, but to the whole position one. (Again, I have to comment on the inclusion of the statement in parentheses while omitting the rest, once again slanting the argument the other way. The text as it stands is confusing, but that is the result of compressing a great deal of information into a brief space. This is a text intended for trained theologians.)

2) By "state of grace" is meant not the condition of a soul in sanctifying grace, but the era of grace and the full revelation of Christ, the New Testament, as opposed to the time of the Old Testament, and of revelation only in figures and types; called, if memory serves, the era of the law. St. Thomas teaches that in the Old Testament, for most people only an implicit faith in Christ was required, in other words, a faith in a coming Redeemer, without explicit belief in His Divinity, the Redemption as we know it, etc.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:58 am
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Dear Mr. Larrabee:

Thank you for the very detailed replies to my questions. Not to beat a dead horse (which I love doing), Msgr. Fenton in another AER article entitled Pope Pius XII and the Theological Treatise on the Church states the following:

START MSGR. FENTON QUOTE: "Suprema Haec Sacra

A year before the appearance of the Humani generis, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office sent to the Most Reverend Archbishop of Boston a letter containing explanations on the subject of the dogma that no one can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. This highly important document was approved by Pope Pius XII. Despite the fact that it was sent prior to the issuance of the Humani generis, it was not published until two years after the publication of the encyclical. This Holy Office letter is the Suprema, haec sacra, one of the most important doctrinal statements which appeared during the reign of the late and beloved Sovereign Pontiff.15

This document set forth clearly and in detail, and as the authentic teaching of the Holy See, the explanation of the dogma on the necessity of the Catholic Church for the attainment of eternal salvation which had long been presented as common teaching in the theological teaching on the Church itself. The elements of the exposition contained in the Suprema, haec sacra had, of course, long since been presented to the faithful in previous authoritative statements of the Church's magisterium. The entire doctrine, however, had never before been synthesized and set forth as clearly and in such scientifically complete detail in any previous document.

The Suprema haec sacra insisted again upon the fact that the declaration: "there is no salvation outside the Church" is an infallible statement which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach, and it qualified this statement as a dogma. It explained that the Church understood this dogma to mean that the Church is necessary for the attainment of eternal salvation with both the necessity of precept and the necessity of means. Furthermore, it taught that the Church was a means of salvation to be classified among those quae divina sola institutione, non vero intrinseca necessitate, ad finem ultimum ordinantur, and that thus, under certain circumstances, salvation can be attained when the Church itself is used or entered voto solummodo vel desiderio. Again it brought out the Catholic teaching that, in cases where men are invincibly ignorant of the true Church, "God accepts also an implicit desire (votum), 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."16

The strictly doctrinal portion of the Suprema haec sacra ends with this essential teaching:

But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: "For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews, 11:6). The Council of Trent declares [Session VI, chap. 8] "Faith is the beginning of man's salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and attain to the fellowship of His children" (Denzinger, n. 801).17" END MSGR. FENTON QUOTE

From the above quote, Msgr. Fenton clearly thinks and states that this Holy Office letter is doctrinal, that it settled matters theologically that may have been somewhat obscure before. I get the sense from reading this essay, that Msgr. Fenton placed very great weight on this document. From your perspective, Msgr. Fenton took this relatively private advisory letter and invested far too much papal authority in its theological implications for Church doctrine. Is this correct? Was Msgr. Fenton over-reacting to the same heresy that Fr. Feeney was, and chose to handle it by way of making 'de fide' something that was only advisory? Msgr. Fenton. who was probably not of the category of a Cardinal Franzelin, or Cardinal Billot, etc. in the world of theology but was very highly respected, seemed to repeat in a number of articles and book this very issue of Church membership and implicit desire concomitant with invincible ignorance and an upright life being sufficient for salvation.

Do you have any thoughts about Msgr. Fenton's theological opinion, and his attachment to this Holy Office letter?

In addition to Msgr. Fenton's defense of the Holy Office letter of 1949, what about Pope Pius IX's encyclical, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, paragraph 7:

"7. Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments."

Pope Pius IX's encyclical seems to give support to Msgr. Fenton's interpretation of the Holy Office letter. What did Pope Pius IX actually mean in this paragraph of his encyclical?

I know you've stated that not all things in an encyclical are binding (?), but to add another interogatory to my immediate preceding one, what about Pope Pius XII's Humani Generis, "he who hears you, hears Me" concerning religious assent to papal encyclicals? If not all things in an encyclical are binding or infallible, can they actually teach error? For that matter, can catechisms teach error, e.g., Baltimore Catechism prior to V2?

I'm sorry for the rambling nature of this post, but your initial foray into this forum has generated a lot heat (and, hopefully, will conclude with a lot of light) and, for me, a million questions.

Thanks again for your replies.

_________________
In the Holy Family,
Teresa


Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:42 am
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Dear Vince,

Many thanks for this message. I hope and believe that you understand that I intend nothing personal but am only concerned about the truth of this matter. And, believe me, I have no issue with your grammar. If I ever have the pleasure of making your acquaintance, however, maybe we could work on that a bit. (I hate those little faces, so I'll let you imagine the one of your choice here.)

For the sake of those reading this, one comment is necessary, in regard to excommunications. I objected to your comment on this point because a "real" excommunication (the one with the declaration of "vitandus", i.e. one is to be avoided) has the effect of casting one out of the Church. The other "excommunication" does not have that effect, which is why the latter is not really an excommunication in the proper sense, nor is it what would be understood as one by, probably, most people who are not experts in canon law. Naturally, Fr. Feeney, who sacrificed his life in all but the physical sense in defending the Church's doctrine in regard to those outside of it, would not have considered it a minor difference. As in many other things, various writers, knowingly or unknowingly, have found a non-existent irony in the fact that he ended outside the Church, as they supposed.

For the rest, let it pass.

My prayers and wishes for a happy and holy Advent.

Regards,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:00 am
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Teresa Ginardi wrote:
START MSGR. FENTON QUOTE: "Suprema Haec Sacra

A year before the appearance of the Humani generis, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office sent to the Most Reverend Archbishop of Boston a letter containing explanations on the subject of the dogma that no one can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. This highly important document was approved by Pope Pius XII. Despite the fact that it was sent prior to the issuance of the Humani generis, it was not published until two years after the publication of the encyclical. This Holy Office letter is the Suprema, haec sacra, one of the most important doctrinal statements which appeared during the reign of the late and beloved Sovereign Pontiff.15

This document set forth clearly and in detail, and as the authentic teaching of the Holy See, the explanation of the dogma on the necessity of the Catholic Church for the attainment of eternal salvation which had long been presented as common teaching in the theological teaching on the Church itself. The elements of the exposition contained in the Suprema, haec sacra had, of course, long since been presented to the faithful in previous authoritative statements of the Church's magisterium. The entire doctrine, however, had never before been synthesized and set forth as clearly and in such scientifically complete detail in any previous document.

The Suprema haec sacra insisted again upon the fact that the declaration: "there is no salvation outside the Church" is an infallible statement which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach, and it qualified this statement as a dogma. It explained that the Church understood this dogma to mean that the Church is necessary for the attainment of eternal salvation with both the necessity of precept and the necessity of means. Furthermore, it taught that the Church was a means of salvation to be classified among those quae divina sola institutione, non vero intrinseca necessitate, ad finem ultimum ordinantur, and that thus, under certain circumstances, salvation can be attained when the Church itself is used or entered voto solummodo vel desiderio. Again it brought out the Catholic teaching that, in cases where men are invincibly ignorant of the true Church, "God accepts also an implicit desire (votum), 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."16

The strictly doctrinal portion of the Suprema haec sacra ends with this essential teaching:

But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: "For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews, 11:6). The Council of Trent declares [Session VI, chap. 8] "Faith is the beginning of man's salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and attain to the fellowship of His children" (Denzinger, n. 801).17" END MSGR. FENTON QUOTE

From the above quote, Msgr. Fenton clearly thinks and states that this Holy Office letter is doctrinal, that it settled matters theologically that may have been somewhat obscure before.


The letter is doctrinal, because it is about doctrine. But Msgr. Fenton does not say that it settled anything (even though he may have wished to give that impression), only that it presented a synthesis of elements of the doctrine already found in magisterial documents. He also says that it is clear; but I would challenge anyone, on the basis of the letter, to say exactly who is or is not saved, or who is or is not in the Church. And I seriously object to his claim that it can be considered the "authentic teaching of the Holy See." This letter, as such, may state the authentic teaching of the Holy See (and I do not think it does), but by itself it cannot make a doctrine authentic. It would take a papal definition to accomplish that.

Msgr. Fenton also fails to say here or anywhere else just why the Supreme Pontiff, in his sole comment on Modernist errors on the doctrine of salvation in the encyclical Humani Generis, used nearly the exact words in regard to the laxists as the very man condemned only a year before in this letter; nor why that man went right on being "condemned" while those most touched by the Pope went right on being uncondemned.

I think Msgr. Fenton wanted the liberals to begin taking the Church's doctrine on salvation seriously, but his efforts to restore some kind of orthodoxy in this country prior to the Council seem to have been entirely fruitless. This is not too surprising when one considers that the letter carried no disciplinary sanctions and did not clearly condemn anybody except Fr. Feeney and the St. Benedict Center (though it is only clear in that their names are mentioned; there is no mention at all of what their doctrinal error consisted in). So for the liberals it settled nothing; they were left, in the practical sense, to go on settling things for themselves (and for their victims, everybody else) any way they wanted. (Given that even flat denials of the dogma were made with impunity, I don't think that's too strong a statement.) One wonders how anyone could take such a document seriously as a teaching act, when it was not even published until years after the world had been given the idea that the Church had revised her teaching in favor of the liberals. One does not teach by clandestine letters. There were very few and rather feeble disciplinary actions against the Modernists during Pope Pius XII's reign (lasting 19 years, and during which the "New Theology" made dramatic advances). There was no formal condemnation of error by papal definition nor even any, or very few, Holy Office decrees. (Humani Generis, once again, though listing errors, carried no disciplinary force.) So far as I know, no one was excommunicated on account of heresy or anything related. Even the unspeakable Teilhard de Chardin was only "exiled" from Europe and, I believe, not permitted to teach, but he was never called to account for his heresies. His writings, while not permitted to be published (or perhaps he did not dare to publish them), were never condemned by the Holy Office, even though they circulated widely in seminaries in mimeograph form. For the Modernists, it was merely a waiting game.

I intend to comment on the letter in more detail, but for now, it seems to me that it is carefully worded to avoid clearly contradicting the commoner position (that of St. Augustine, St. Thomas, St. Alphonsus, etc.), while leaving sufficient ambiguity to allow just about any more lax opinion by not putting the pieces together completely and exactly. That is also why it remains without a conclusion as to what, ultimately, the dogma really means. Of course, the saints I have just listed (and Fr. Feeney) taught that it means just what it says.

Quote:

I get the sense from reading this essay, that Msgr. Fenton placed very great weight on this document. From your perspective, Msgr. Fenton took this relatively private advisory letter and invested far too much papal authority in its theological implications for Church doctrine. Is this correct?

I would agree with this assessment as far as Fenton's statements are concerned. The papal approval (if there really was any at all), was, presumably, in forma communi, basically a formality not requiring any personal papal involvement at all beyond a quick mention by the authorities of the Holy Office.

Quote:

Was Msgr. Fenton over-reacting to the same heresy that Fr. Feeney was, and chose to handle it by way of making 'de fide' something that was only advisory?



Probably it's clear from what I've written that I don't think it is possible to overreact to the denial or confusing of any Catholic doctrine. There is nothing more crucial in the Catholic Church than the preservation of an untainted orthodoxy.

As for making the letter de fide, that may be one way of putting it. But Msgr. Fenton, a theologian writing for theologians as well as ordinary priests, knew perfectly well that he could never sell such an obviously incorrect claim. I think he just did his best with what he had. Nobody, of course, would read his book, orthodox or not. That wasn't necessarily his fault, given the unpopularity of any "conservative" in the democratic, liberal, "interfaith" environment which the American hierarchy had fostered in this country. His doctrine was closer to the truth than that of most modern theologians, it seems.

Quote:

Msgr. Fenton. who was probably not of the category of a Cardinal Franzelin, or Cardinal Billot, etc. in the world of theology but was very highly respected, seemed to repeat in a number of articles and book this very issue of Church membership and implicit desire concomitant with invincible ignorance and an upright life being sufficient for salvation.

Do you have any thoughts about Msgr. Fenton's theological opinion, and his attachment to this Holy Office letter?



I think his theological opinion was, ultimately, wrong on this point, though he went a good way toward the truth (following St. Robert Bellarmine, whom he seems to have made a particular study of). Of course, as you imply, he is just one more theologian. I've already commented on the second part of your question. I hope to comment on Fenton's thesis in my presentation of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.

Quote:


In addition to Msgr. Fenton's defense of the Holy Office letter of 1949, what about Pope Pius IX's encyclical, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, paragraph 7:

"7. Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments."

Pope Pius IX's encyclical seems to give support to Msgr. Fenton's interpretation of the Holy Office letter. What did Pope Pius IX actually mean in this paragraph of his encyclical?



The letter says "they can attain eternal life by the working of the power of divine light and grace." (I altered the translation slightly, but it makes little difference.) In other words, by divine light, they will be enlightened (whether by a missionary, an angel, or an inspiration of God) as to the true Faith. By grace, they will be moved to embrace the Faith and become Catholics.

I think there is some ambiguity in this careful wording, because (as I have said elsewhere) the Pope didn't intend to comment on an issue allowed to be debated among theologians. That is why (I think) the words can also be understood to mean that such people can be saved without explicit faith in Catholic teaching; but the words say neither one nor the other precisely. What seems quite certain is that these words can't be quoted against Fr. Feeney, much less against St. Augustine, etc. etc. etc. The Pope's purpose here was to condemn indifferentism, as he frequently did. The theological opinion which I have characterized as tolerated is not indifferentist, though I think it tends to lead in that direction. The theologians who taught it qualified it carefully so as to fall within the limits then defined by Church definitions, though not necessarily within the limits of Catholic truth.

There's been a lot of discussion about 2 or 3 texts from Pope Pius IX. This helps liberals hide from people the clear papal texts and the whole tradition of the Fathers and Doctors on the other side (from them, not Pius IX). The liberals misinterpret and frequently mistranslate the texts. As one example, if last sentence in the quote were taken literally, it would mean that unbaptized infants are saved. They are guilty of no voluntary fault, yet God condemns them to Hell (Limbo is a part of Hell, though without the pain of sense). The Latin word suppliciis must be taken in the sense of tortures, referring to the physical pains of Hell, which only those suffer who are guilty of actual sin. The punishment for original sin is the loss of the Beatific Vision, so while infants suffer punishment, they do not suffer "aeternis suppliciis" (eternal torments).

Quote:

I know you've stated that not all things in an encyclical are binding (?), but to add another interogatory to my immediate preceding one, what about Pope Pius XII's Humani Generis, "he who hears you, hears Me" concerning religious assent to papal encyclicals? If not all things in an encyclical are binding or infallible, can they actually teach error? For that matter, can catechisms teach error, e.g., Baltimore Catechism prior to V2?



The idea that catechisms are infallible is certainly a strange one. We believe (de fide definita) that Popes and approved councils are infallible, when defining. That principle is de fide. Authors of catechisms are not. But the problem here is confusing what is of the Faith, and therefore which must be believed, with the particular act by which it is taught. In other words, the content of the act, or the act itself. It is the act to which infallibility attaches or does not attach, not the teaching. We must believe all that the Church teaches, because it is all divinely revealed. But when a human being actually teaches something, the content of what he teaches must be believed if it is certain that the Church teaches it. If I say, There are three Persons in one God, what I say is most certainly of the Faith; but my act of saying it is not infallible, in other words, I enjoy no protection from God to keep me from error. If I did, then everything else I were to say on Catholic doctrine would have to be believed as well, which is obviously false. There are many reasons for according the highest respect to papal teachings in encyclicals and even decrees of the Holy Office involving doctrine, but infallibility is not one of them. (If it were, the First Vatican Council was wrong.) On the other hand, as Pope Pius XII clearly states in the context to which you refer (which is often quoted, and yet more often misunderstood) in Humani Generis, much of what is contained in such documents is already de fide for other reasons. These reasons are, among others, that the matters have been previously defined ex cathedra, or are certain from the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church, in other words, the common teaching of the Fathers and the Doctors, which is equivalent to being taught by Sacred Tradition. (Of course, everything contained in Sacred Scripture is also of the Faith by that fact.)

My apologies to you and everyone reading this for not progressing on a more systematic presentation of both the Feeney case and the dogma "No salvation outside the Church." I have been struggling (sort of like that invincibly ignorant person mentioned by Pope Pius IX above) at gathering materials that I hope to have in some kind of shape to begin presenting tomorrow.

In the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady, Queen of Peace,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:45 am
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Mr. Larrabee,

Teresa Ginardi wrote:
I know you've stated that not all things in an encyclical are binding (?), but to add another interogatory to my immediate preceding one, what about Pope Pius XII's Humani Generis, "he who hears you, hears Me" concerning religious assent to papal encyclicals? If not all things in an encyclical are binding or infallible, can they actually teach error? For that matter, can catechisms teach error, e.g., Baltimore Catechism prior to V2?

James Larrabee wrote:
The idea that catechisms are infallible is certainly a strange one. We believe (de fide definita) that Popes and approved councils are infallible, when defining. That principle is de fide. Authors of catechisms are not. But the problem here is confusing what is of the Faith, and therefore which must be believed, with the particular act by which it is taught. In other words, the content of the act, or the act itself. It is the act to which infallibility attaches or does not attach, not the teaching. We must believe all that the Church teaches, because it is all divinely revealed. But when a human being actually teaches something, the content of what he teaches must be believed if it is certain that the Church teaches it. If I say, There are three Persons in one God, what I say is most certainly of the Faith; but my act of saying it is not infallible, in other words, I enjoy no protection from God to keep me from error. If I did, then everything else I were to say on Catholic doctrine would have to be believed as well, which is obviously false. There are many reasons for according the highest respect to papal teachings in encyclicals and even decrees of the Holy Office involving doctrine, but infallibility is not one of them. (If it were, the First Vatican Council was wrong.) On the other hand, as Pope Pius XII clearly states in the context to which you refer (which is often quoted, and yet more often misunderstood) in Humani Generis, much of what is contained in such documents is already de fide for other reasons. These reasons are, among others, that the matters have been previously defined ex cathedra, or are certain from the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church, in other words, the common teaching of the Fathers and the Doctors, which is equivalent to being taught by Sacred Tradition. (Of course, everything contained in Sacred Scripture is also of the Faith by that fact.)


Thank you for the correction of my error and misuse of the word infallible and elaborating the correct definition with an example. My question more correctly stated is can approved catechisms or encyclicals teach error? Would the Baltimore Catechism in 1955 (which the Felician Sisters used to teach me) contain errors in the Faith? Would the Penny Catechism of 1940 used in England contain errors in expounding the Faith? Would the Catechism of Pope St. Pius X have taught error? Would Pope Pius IX's encyclical mentioned above Quanto Conficiamur Moerore teach error? Can encyclicals actually contain errors in the Faith? I thought the principle in encyclicals as taught by Pope Pius XII (in Humani Generis I think) was that when a Pope teaches in an encyclical something that has been debated by theologians, the teaching in that encyclical decides the question and lays to rest the debate.

For decades, Catholics of every age, shape, stripe, and country were taught by every means and through every approved source that: "Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation, but equally is it to be believed that those that labor under invincible ignorance and live up to the dictates of the natural law and seek to do the will of God can attain eternal salvation as being within the Church but not as a member of the Church". You know that we Catholic laymen don't know anything about theologians and common opinions or uncommon opinions. We learn our Faith from our parents, clergy, and catechisms. If I'm understanding your posts correctly (and it's very possible that I'm not) and not meaning to be uncharitable, you would have us believe that until Fr. Feeney stepped on stage, so to speak, that every Catholic throughout the world for decades had been taught error in their Faith and that at least a half dozen Pontiffs (one of them a saint) seemingly contributed to that error, and sat idly by while their flock wandered down the primrose path to hell. Perhaps, that statement may be indulging in hyperbole, but you understand my meaning. If a Catholic in 1888, in 1905, in 1915, in 1933, in 1940, in 1952 couldn't pick up an approved catechism and learn their Faith free from error, or attend the local Catholic school in 1915, in 1925, in 1935, in 1945 with nuns taught from those same approved sources; we didn't need Vatican II to lose our Faith; we never had it untainted from error to begin with. Is this what you're saying, Mr. Larrabee?

In addition, Mr. Larrabee, Catholic laymen learn their Faith from their clergy. Did all the clergy pre-Vatican II have it wrong? For that matter, did St. Robert Bellarmine have it wrong? Did Pope Pius IX not know what Pope Pius IX meant? Did Pope Pius XII not know what Pope Pius XII meant? Did Msgr. Fenton and Fr. Lawrence Brey and a whole host of other solidly Catholic clergy (and for that matter wonderful Catholic laymen taught pre-VII, e.g., Patrick Henry Omlor) have it wrong? If the Catholic faithful pre-Vatican II couldn't find an approved source that didn't contain error, if they couldn't turn to solidly Catholic clergy (and well-educated laymen taught by wonderful clergy) that had a true sensus catholicus in humble and docile submission and be taught their Faith without error; what of the Church, Mr. Larrabee? If traditional Catholic clergy today don't understand their Faith, what of the layman today, Mr. Larrabee? Is all this what you're saying, Mr. Larrabee?

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Teresa


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Sat Dec 16, 2006 5:58 am
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Dear Teresa,

Great questions.

May I add the question, does Jim agree with Cardinal Franzelin when he states that even if not all papal documents constitute infallible acts, they are infallibly safe acts? Which of course would mean that even if there may be found an error in (for example) an encyclical, such an error could never be a dangerous one.

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Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:36 am
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Hi Geoff,

I have been following this thread and have chosen to be silent and thoughtful as it moves forward. I am inclined to agree with the sentiments you expressed in your last post. I felt the need to air some thoughts, knowing full well that many on this forum understand my novice posture at this point in the struggle. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Baltimore Catechism is a product of American Bishops (by order of the 3rd Plenary Council of Baltimore, imprimatured by John Cardinal McCloskey, Archbsp. of New York in 1885). If, as you seem to suggest, ambiguities are present (having been insinuated into the document), and the document is of American(ist) origin, then perhaps there is reason for great pause... in much the same way that there is more than reason for great pause when considering the craftily insinuated heresies that were "implanted" in the documents of Vat II. Fr. Feeney's "crusade" occurred in, and was fostered by, an American(ist) context... that should not be forgotten as this discussion continues (I am not an adherent of the St. Benedict Ctr. or its "apostalate"). Having lived in the american culture for 55 years, and having become an increasingly astute student of its history and contemporary thrust, I am astonished at the parallels I see (sense) between the americanist "doctrines" of plurality, religious freedom, "tolerance", "diversity, "equality", democracy (power to the people...ie, Am. and French revolutions),... and the modus operandi and wordcraft of the conciliarists as they seek to dominate the world through the dissemination of the lowest common denominator... in the "spirit" of freemasonic thought... all in the name of lust for power. I am quick to say that I distrust anything (virtually) of americanist origin when it comes to discussions of Catholic Faith and Dogma. (And, in no way do I mean to take away from those brave, authentic Catholic missionaries and faithful who came to North America before the onslaught of protestants, freethinkers, and the like.)

That said, this discussion reminds me of the attempt of theologians and others to reconcile predestination with free willl.... you end up stuck with a "where is the end of the sky" goosechase that leaves you sleepless at night. We are obliged as Catholics to believe all that Holy Mother Church teaches; nothing more, and nothing less. If our understanding of a defined Dogma (EENS) leads us to "bump up" against the ineffable mystery inherent in it, perhaps we should kneel in adoration of The Lawgiver, rather than seek the "end of the sky" through endless questioning, most especially given the times we live in, where further clarification from those who truly hold the authority of Christ, is absent from the scene. I will rest me in Our Lord's words in the Gospel.. "this is the will of the Father, that of all that He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up in the last day". I do believe the conversions of the ethiopian eunach and Cornelius (Acts of the Apostles) shed some light on this discussion vs. God's omnipotence.

While men's loitering gaze fixes on the mere appearance of men and things, I am thankful that Our Lord looks upon the heart, and dispenses His Mother to little children at momentous times.

Our Lady of Fatima, Lourdes, LaSallette, et al,

Pray for us,

BarJonas

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Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:25 pm
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I thought I had seen a post from Geoff on this thread just a short time ago... that's what I was responding to. Perhaps he withdrew his post??

BarJonas

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Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:36 pm
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Hello BarJonas,

I withdrew my most recent post because I wasn't happy with the way it came out, but I will reprint the questions and answers from my copy of the "Baltimore Catechism" which was an editon originally copyrighted in 1941 and apparently revised in 1953 with successive imprimaturs by Thomas H. McLaughlin, Bishop of Paterson, and Francis Cardinal Spellman, a worrisome name at best. Of course, this is the very time frame that Father Feeney's controversies were brewing.

Q. 166. Are all obligated to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved?
A. All are obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved.

Q. 167. What do we mean when we say, "Outside the Church there is no salvation"?
A. When we say, "Outside the Church there is no salvation," we mean that those who through their own grave fault do not know that the Catholic Churc is the true Church or, knowing it, refuse to join it, cannot be saved.

Q. 168. Can they be saved who remain outside the Catholic Church because they do not know it is the true Church?
A. They who remain outside the Catholic Church through no grave fault of their own and do not know it is the true Church can be saved by making use of the graces which God gives them.

The text is certainly more productive of questions than laden with answers.


Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:48 pm
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Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:51 pm
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Pax Christi !

Dear John Lane,

Indeed Teresa has asked some very good questions.

Quote:
Dear Teresa,

Great questions.

May I add the question, does Jim agree with Cardinal Franzelin when he states that even if not all papal documents constitute infallible acts, they are infallibly safe acts? Which of course would mean that even if there may be found an error in (for example) an encyclical, such an error could never be a dangerous one.





In addition, I do not think James Larrabee has had time to answer this good question of yours;

John Lane asked Dec 11th 2006 3:55 ( on page eight)

Quote:
Jim, do you accept the distinction made here by Canon Smith, in his article, "Must I believe it?" (From: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/believe.html )


Me thinks this distinction will shed much light.

In Xto,
Vincent


Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:37 pm
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Vince Sheridan wrote:
Baptism of the Water is the normative way, but we are also absolutely confident and sure of others in heaven that had not received the Sacrament of Baptism for the Church has also canonized those receiving Baptism of the Desire and Blood.

Roman Martyrology

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

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

August 25: At Arles in France, another Blessed Genesius, who undertook the office copyist, when he refused to transcribe the impious edicts whereby the Christians were ordered to be punished and, casting away his registers, in public he proclaimed himself a Christian, was arrested and beheaded and received the glory of martyrdom, being baptized in his own blood.

We are to " preach the Gospel to ALL Nations", and from the housetops ! But Catholics cannot deny the doctirne of EENS, Bapatism of Desire and Blood.


I don't have any trouble with these cases, Vince. But do you believe it is also true of those who die as Jews, Protestants, Hindus, etc., practicing their "religion", assuming they somehow have invincible ignorance of the Faith and are keeping the natural law as best he understands it? Another question- do you believe that someone like the above, if he is actually persecuting the Church, in sincerity to his own beliefs, considering himself to be doing something pleasing to God, can be saved in that condition?

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:24 pm
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John Lane wrote:
May I add the question, does Jim agree with Cardinal Franzelin when he states that even if not all papal documents constitute infallible acts, they are infallibly safe acts? Which of course would mean that even if there may be found an error in (for example) an encyclical, such an error could never be a dangerous one.


John, I tracked down that citation (I have a different edition of Franzelin's De Traditione et Scriptura). What Cardinal Franzelin (S.J.) was referring to is declarations that a doctrine is either safe or unsafe (as opposed to being declared true or false). It is not a question of "all papal documents." (Unless you are referring to still another passage than the one I found, where this phrase "infallibilis securitas" is used. It would help if you could give the actual quote with significant context. I don't have the book at hand, but I'll post the text I found tomorrow.) What is involved is precisely the declaration that a doctrine may be safely taught, or the contrary. Since there is no such declaration in the Marchetti-Selvaggiani-Ottaviani letter, this is irrelevant to the present debate.

I would point out that such declarations may be found either in papal definitions ex cathedra or in decrees of the Holy Office. In the former case, the "safeness" or "unsafeness" would indeed be infallibly certain, because it is de fide definita. As for your conclusion above, I will not discuss the merits of it in itself, but it is not what Franzelin is saying. There is a very long explanation (25 or more pages), however, following this particular point, which I probably won't be able to go through any time soon. So I can't say whether or not he said something like this, but at any rate, this remains your speculation. It seems to me that all errors are dangerous. Not necessarily in the beginning, but small errors may lead to big ones.

In the Immaculate Heart,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:26 pm
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I have noticed a certain tendency in some postings addressed to me which could possibly be understood as implying that I have insufficient respect for the teachings of the Holy See, for its documents, and for its actions in general. I do not think the authors of them intended this imputation, but lest readers who do not know me be misled and I appear to agree by silence, I feel it necessary to say that I have all my life held the Holy See in the highest respect. For the past 45 years at least, I have been outraged at seeing the liberals' attacks on the Holy See, their arrogant contempt for the Holy Office in particular, and their satanic hatred for Catholic doctrine (which they will not endure, as St. Paul predicted) which I have personally witnessed many times, and have devoted (with God's help) considerable efforts in opposing these people and defending the Holy See when it appeared appropriate to do so (which was often).

The laxist interpretation of the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church is a teaching that, if not invented by the liberals, is most dear to them and has been defended by them by all means available to them at a given time, fair or foul. In trying to expose them and their falsehoods in this regard, I am only continuing in the effort to defend the Holy See and the immaculate purity of its doctrine. And in this spirit I would stand with Fr. Feeney (regardless of any errors he may have fallen into), if I could claim to be worthy do so.

And since implications are at issue, I wish it understood that the liberals I have in mind here are, in effect, the leaders of the conciliarist apostasy and their immediate predecessors, as well as the Americanists of the more remote past, condemned by Pope Leo XIII, not those Traditional Catholics who are defending the errors I have in view. The latter I believe simply to have been misled.

James Larrabee

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Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:45 pm
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Teresa Ginardi wrote:

... we didn't need Vatican II to lose our Faith; we never had it untainted from error to begin with. Is this what you're saying, Mr. Larrabee?



Dear Mrs? Miss? Ginardi,

Excuse me, but I don't know your correct title, or do you just prefer to be referred to as Teresa?

I have answered several questions of yours at some length. Here is one for you:

Do you think that the common teaching of theologians has changed in regard to the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church?

I will also ask you to answer the questions I addressed to Vince (and to any other readers here) earlier today.

As a point of clarification, catechisms are certainly not infallible singly nor in fact have all been free from error, but if all catechisms at a given time teach a doctrine unanimously, that would be strong, probably certain, proof that the doctrine belongs to the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium and therefore must be true. Obviously, this implies continuity with past catechisms as well. I do believe this is what Canon Smith meant.

From your recent message, you seem to have the impression that I am disagreeing with St. Robert Bellarmine. On the contrary. Perhaps my previous comment was slightly unclear, in that I said that Msgr. Fenton followed Bellarmine. To restate it, Fenton followed him a long way, but not all the way. By divagating at the end, it seems to me that he betrayed St. Robert's doctrine and opened the door to the laxists. I agree with Bellarmine, disagree with Fenton when he disagrees with Bellarmine.

Also, from the tenor of your message, you appear not to have read my proof that Pope Pius IX did not teach the laxist doctrine in Quanto Conficiamur Moerore. (In fact, you seem to have ignored all my arguments.)

I am still waiting for someone to show that any of the 29 Fathers and Doctors, or any of 260 Popes, taught anything but a literal interpretation of No salvation outside the Church (keeping in mind the legitimate and traditional understanding of Baptism in voto, which is not contradictory).

I can't emphasize too strongly that your apparent conviction that the preservation of an immaculate faith is dependent on an absolutely correct knowledge of the Faith, either on the part of all Catholic teachers or of the faithful themselves, is incorrect. That is to postulate a universal infallibility in the Church, and makes utter nonsense of the Catholic doctrine that only the Pope or a papally-confirmed ecumenical council is infallible, and then only under certain conditions.

For the preservation of an immaculate faith, absolutely necessary for the salvation of all, what is required is explicit faith in Christ, the Trinity and the Incarnation, in effect, the contents of the Apostles' Creed. All else is believed, if not explicitly, then implicitly in the words "I believe all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches." Apart from that, we will be excused by God for our errors, so long as our ignorance is not gravely imputable (i.e. our own fault), and so long as we remain in the bosom and unity of the Church, as I have written in a previous message. (The italicized words are from the definition of the Council of Florence of the dogma No salvation outside the Church). And again, St. Augustine wrote in just this connection, "Charity covers a multitude of sins"; the external and internal charity by which we unite ourselves to the Church, the Mystical Body, will excuse all faults, even those of errors against the Holy Faith.

Yours in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
James Larrabee

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Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:18 pm
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Here are two quotes from encyclicals of Pope Pius XII:

1. "Only those, in fact, are to be counted among the members of the Church, who have received the laver of regeneration and profess the true Faith, and have not miserably separated themselves from the structure of the Body, or been disjoined from it by legitimate authority on account of grave deeds ... As therefore in the true assembly of the Christian faithful there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one Faith. And furthermore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered--so the Lord commands--as the heathen and the publican. Therefore, those who are divided from one another in faith or government cannot be living in one Body of this sort, nor living by its one Divine Spirit." (Mystici Corporis, 1943) (Dz 2286)

The life of the one Divine Spirit by which we live is the life of sanctifying grace. So, outside the Church it is impossible for there to exist sanctifying grace, or forgiveness of sin, by which sanctifying grace is received. This was previously taught in the bull of immortal renown, Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII: "We ... firmly believe and simply confess One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which is neither salvation, nor remission of sins; according to the Spouse who proclaims: One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. [Cant. 6:8]" (Dz. 468)

The Protestant heretics and the Eastern schismatics are divided from the Church, the former in faith, the latter in government. Therefore, it is impossible that any of their members possess sanctifying grace.

2. Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis (1950), condemning some current errors: "There are some who reduce the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to attain eternal salvation, to an empty formula [vanam formulam]." (Dz. 2319)

This, I think, needs no comment. The theologians he had in view obviously existed then, not in, say, the 17th century.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.

"Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos"


Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:46 am
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Pax Christi !

Dear James,

Thanks for directing a question or two at me. Before I answer I would like to be sure I do not miss-speak, nor, “ reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.” (Humani Generis #27) Pope Pius XIIth.

I am infamous, as John Lane well knows for " non-precision" ....mea culpa.

Quote:
James asked- But do you believe it is also true of those who die as Jews, Protestants, Hindus, etc., practicing their "religion", assuming they somehow have invincible ignorance of the Faith and are keeping the natural law as best he understands it? >


As far as I understand the churches teachings on this subject I would say “ No” with some qualifications;

No, by the very reason, your question states “ those who die as Jews, Protestants, ..etc”, that would indicate in the external or internal fourm they did not posses the proper precepts of invincible ignorance and “ desire” taught by Pope Pius Ixth ( Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, 1863 & Singulari Quadam, 1854 ) . An “ implicit” desire ( in the case of the invincibly ignorant) to do Gods will. And thus, they would not be given “ Divine Light and grace” e.g. Supernatural Faith and perfect Charity, and thus WOULD NOT be “ within “ the Catholic Church.

But, caution- we cannot read the hearts of men. Some known to God only, might have had that proper internal disposition, and thus God " sent and angel , to bring them to divine light and sanctifying grace just before death'.

No one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. But, as noted since we cannot read ones heart, only God can, we most likely will not know which ( rare souls) die " within" the Church.


The theologians ( if I understand correctly ) teach “ one must possess “ perfect charity and supernatural faith” i.e. living through God’s infinite goodness and mercy the supernatural life of sanctifying grace.

For example, lets hear from Bishop Hay and Fr. Tanquery

“Though Jesus Christ expressly says, “Except a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5), which establishes the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation; yet, suppose a heathen, or a Turk, or Jew, should be instructed in the faith of Christ, and embrace it with all his heart, but die suddenly without baptism, or be taken away by his infidel friends, or put in absolute impossibility of receiving baptism, and die in the above dispositions with a sincere repentance and desire of baptism, this person will undoubtedly receive all the fruits of baptism from God; and therefore, is said to be baptized in desire. In the same manner, suppose a person brought up in a false religion, embraces with all his heart the light of the true faith, which God gives him in his last moments, as it is absolutely impossible for him, in that state, to join the external communion of the Church in the eyes of men, yet he will surely be considered as united to her in the sight of God, by means of the true faith which he embraces, and his desire of being united to the Church, if it were in his power.” (The Sincere Christian II, 599, 600 Bishop George Hay (A.D. 1811)



“The Baptism of Desire. Contrition, or perfect charity, with at least an implicit desire for Baptism, supplies in adults the place of the baptism of water as respects the forgiveness of sins. This is certain. Explanation: a) An implicit desire for Baptism, that is, one that is included in a general purpose of keeping all the commandments of God is, as all agree, sufficient in one who is invincibly ignorant of the law of Baptism; likewise, according to the more common opinion, in one who knows the necessity of Baptism. b) Perfect charity, with a desire for Baptism, forgives original sin and actual sins, and therefore infuses sanctifying grace; but it does not imprint the Baptismal character and does not of itself remit the whole temporal punishment due for sin; whence, when the opportunity offers, the obligation remains on one who was sanctified in this manner of receiving the Baptism of water.” (Dogmatic Brevior, ART.IV, Section I,II (1945)) Fr. A. Tanquery



Quote:
Another question- do you believe that someone like the above, if he is actually persecuting the Church, in sincerity to his own beliefs, considering himself to be doing something pleasing to God, can be saved in that condition?


No, in light of the answer to your first question- IF those persons in question died " as jews, or protestants", and not " within" the Church.


In Xto,

Vincent


Last edited by Vince Sheridan on Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:53 pm, edited 7 times in total.

Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:33 am
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Hi Mr. Larrabee:

James Larrabee wrote:

Dear Mrs? Miss? Ginardi,

Excuse me, but I don't know your correct title, or do you just prefer to be referred to as Teresa?


Teresa, would be just fine.

James Larrabee wrote:

I have answered several questions of yours at some length. Here is one for you:

Do you think that the common teaching of theologians has changed in regard to the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church?


No.

Mr. Larrabee, from reading the rest of your post, I think I understand your statements better than before. I've gone back and read your posts again to try and understand what it is you are saying. I've learned several important things from your latest post. 1.) not everything from the pope or Holy Office is 'de fide' or given as an infallible act, this includes encyclicals. 2.) catechisms, in and of themselves, may contain, perhaps, an error. 3.) we Catholics don't have to have a perfect knowledge (infallible ?) of our Faith to be saved, explicitly the articles of the Apostles Creed, and the implicit desire to believe all that the Church teaches is sufficient. 4.) Msgr. Fenton departed at some point from St. Robert Bellarmine's exposition of Church membership.

Actually, it is very comforting to understand these things. Perhaps, we had best let you develop your position at your own pace, try to understand it, and then go from there.

You may want to consider giving the forum a short catechism course on traditionalist 'errors' (I'm not kidding about this). It may be helpful to clear my/our foggy brains.

Would it be unfair to ask a couple of questions not germane to the present topic, but interesting to me: (so as not to detract from your limited time and your continued exposition of the current topic, a 'yes' 'no' would be sufficient). If you think this would cause to much contention and detract from the topic, feel free to ignore them.
1.) Is the SSPX broadly correct in their notion of Authentic Magisterium, and the limitations of infallibility of the pope etc.?
2.) Is the SSPX correct in their view of Ecumenical Councils?
3.) I hope this one doesn't give you ulcers: can one go to 'una cum' Mass if there is nothing else available?
4.) Do you think the new sacraments (not baptism/marriage) are invalid?

Thanks for your time and effort in presenting your topic.

_________________
In the Holy Family,
Teresa


Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:43 am
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New post Quote from Cardinal Franzelin on infallible safety
After taking another look at the Canon Smith article, it's clear that he nowhere claims that all papal documents or documents of the Holy See are "infallibly safe" but actually says essentially what I said in my previous message on this point. Perhaps it could have been brought out a tiny bit more clearly. The point, once again, is that decisions of the Holy See as to the safety of a doctrine are binding. He explains also, though not in great technical detail, that the degree of certitude can vary according to the nature of the decision. It seems clear that he does not have in view other documents such as encyclicals, allocutions, instructions from the Congregations, etc. (whatever Franzelin may have to say about them). They are not of the nature of decisions formally considered, because they are not presented as binding on the Catholic faithful, but I entirely agree that they must be given a great weight of credibility. At any rate, this isn't an issue in itself in relation to the Fr. Feeney discussion, since no such action took place. But the real problem with the Holy Office letter in that case is what it says and the use to which it was put. This will be discussed in its place, but in short, it's one of those cases (given all the circumstances, the Church's traditional teaching, etc.) that falls under Canon Smith's justified (though very rare, if any exist at all) exceptions, where credibility lapses because the mind cannot be compelled to believe what is absurd. And this is why I and others can't help suspecting some kind of fraud here. And this being only an advisory letter, it's well below the level of the other sort of acts of the Holy See mentioned.

Procedure has been mentioned in some of the previous skirmishing. Undoubtedly the procedure of the Holy Office in issuing a decree, or even an Instruction, would involve a wide consultation of approved theologians. (A papal definition would involve an even wider one, probably.) For this letter, one wonders if there was any consultation beyond a single theologian (Fenton? Wright?) I remain convinced that if this matter had been handled properly, the doctrine would have been declared correctly and in binding form and the liberals would have been condemned. Ideally, that would have been a papal definition, but a decree of the Holy Office probably would have been enough. The American hierarchy wasn't about to defy the Holy Office. Likewise, any errors in Fr. Feeney's teachings could have been corrected. As to the supposed rarity of papal definitions, Pius XII issued two of them just around the time of the Feeney case, in matters which don't even seem to have been that contentious. If those, why not this? There was no need at all even to pursue Fr. Feeney with censures (or, of course, he could have been censured for errors) to do this. Anyway, Fr. Feeney himself was asking for it. Whether or not he should have gone to Rome, whether or not he was a heretic, it's obvious Rome didn't need his help to declare the truth of a doctrine. (Of course, his arguments were published for the world to read.)

It may not therefore be necessary actually to quote Franzelin, but for future reference, here is the essential part.

"The Holy Apostolic See, to whom the guarding of the Deposit has been committed, and on whom the duty and office of feeding the entire Church, unto the salvation of souls, has been laid, can prescribe theological opinions (or other opinions to the extent that they are connected with theological ones) as to be followed, or proscribe them as not to be followed, not only with the intention of deciding the truth infallibly by definitive sentence, but also without that intention, [but] with the need and the intention of exercising care, either simply or with specified qualifications, for the safety of Catholic doctrine. [ref. omitted] In this sort of declarations, even though there is not the infallible truth of the doctrine (because, ex hypothesi, there is not the intention of deciding this), but nevertheless, there is infallible safety [infallibilis securitas]. By safety, I mean both objective safety as to the doctrine so declared (either simply or with such and such qualifications), and subjective safety, to the extent that it is safe for all to embrace it, and it is not safe, nor can it be free from the violation of due submission toward the divinely constituted Magisterium, that they should refuse to embrace it."

In a footnote following "exercising care for the safety" he writes: "These two terms, "infallible truth" and "infallible safety" are not identical. This can be seen from the fact that otherwise, no doctrine which is "probable" or "more probable" could be said to be sound and safe."

"Probable" and "more probable" are terms of moral theology. Doctrines so qualified are, by definition, short of certainty; therefore if the Holy See declares such doctrines as sound or safe, while leaving their status of probability unchanged, clearly it is not declaring them simply to be true.

It seems useful to return to my old practice of posting the Latin in a separate message.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


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Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:01 am
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New post Cardinal Franzelin on infallible safety -- Latin text
"Sancta Sedes Apostolica cui divinitus commissa est custodia depositi, et iniunctum munus ac officium pascendi universam Ecclesiam ad salutem animarum, potest sententias theologicas vel quatenus cum theologicis nectuntur praescribere ut sequendas vel proscribere ut non sequendas, non unice ex intentione definitiva sententia infallibiliter decidendi veritatem, sed etiam absque illa ex necessitate et intentione vel simpliciter vel pro determinatis adiunctis prospiciendi securitati [footnote] doctrinae catholicae (cf. Zaccaria Antifebronius vindicatus T. II. dissert. V. c. 2. n.1.). In huiusmodi declarationibus licet non sit doctrinae veritas infallibilis, quia hanc decidendi ex hypothesi non est intentio; est tamen infallibilis securitas. Securitatem dico tum obiectivam doctrinae declaratae (vel simpliciter vel pro talibus adiunctis), tum subiectivam quatenus omnibus tutum est eam amplecti, et tutum non est nec absque violatione debitae submissionis erga magisterium divinitus constitutum fieri potest, ut eam amplecti recusent."

Footnote: "Non coincidere haec duo, infallibilem veritatem et securitatem, manifestum est vel ex eo, quod secus nulla doctrina probabilis aut probabilior posset dici sana et secura."

Cardinal John Baptist Franzelin, S.J. Tractatus de divina traditione et scriptura. 3d ed. Romae, ex typographia polyglotta S.C. de Propaganda Fide, 1882, p. 127. (Caput II, Thesis XII, scholion I, principium VII)


Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:25 am
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Pax Christi !

Quote:
"Probable" and "more probable" are terms of moral theology. Doctrines so qualified are, by definition, short of certainty; therefore if the Holy See declares such doctrines as sound or safe, while leaving their status of probability unchanged, clearly it is not declaring them simply to be true.


Understood, that this holds as noted for " probable" and " more probable", however, the common teaching of the pre-vatican ii theologians holds Baptism of Desire and Blood to be at least " Theologically certain, certain " , with many holding it de fide. None I have looked up hold BOD/BOB to be " less then certain".

So, I guess I am wondering what point is being made regarding Fr. Feeney in general and Baptism of Desire and Blood in particular?



In Xto,
Vincent


Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:49 am
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Vince Sheridan wrote:
Quote:
James asked- But do you believe it is also true of those who die as Jews, Protestants, Hindus, etc., practicing their "religion", assuming they somehow have invincible ignorance of the Faith and are keeping the natural law as best he understands it? >


As far as I understand the churches teachings on this subject I would say “ No” with some qualifications;

...

But, caution- we cannot read the hearts of men. Some known to God only, might have had that proper internal disposition, and thus God " sent and angel , to bring them to divine light and sanctifying grace just before death'.

No one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. But, as noted since we cannot read ones heart, only God can, we most likely will not know which ( rare souls) die " within" the Church.


The theologians ( if I understand correctly ) teach “ one must possess “ perfect charity and supernatural faith” i.e. living through God’s infinite goodness and mercy the supernatural life of sanctifying grace.

For example, lets hear from Bishop Hay and Fr. Tanquery

“Though Jesus Christ expressly says, “Except a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5), which establishes the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation; yet, suppose a heathen, or a Turk, or Jew, should be instructed in the faith of Christ, and embrace it with all his heart, but die suddenly without baptism, or be taken away by his infidel friends, or put in absolute impossibility of receiving baptism, and die in the above dispositions with a sincere repentance and desire of baptism, this person will undoubtedly receive all the fruits of baptism from God; and therefore, is said to be baptized in desire. In the same manner, suppose a person brought up in a false religion, embraces with all his heart the light of the true faith, which God gives him in his last moments, as it is absolutely impossible for him, in that state, to join the external communion of the Church in the eyes of men, yet he will surely be considered as united to her in the sight of God, by means of the true faith which he embraces, and his desire of being united to the Church, if it were in his power.” (The Sincere Christian II, 599, 600 Bishop George Hay (A.D. 1811)



Leaving aside some of your initial comments, which I have deleted, I think Bishop Hay's explanation is a good one, though it must be kept in mind that it is merely a hypothesis, since, as the position is stated, it can never be shown to have happened. There is no way (short of a private revelation) we can know the purely inward dispositions of anyone, least of all at the point of death. Probably no one (apparently including yourself) would think this is likely to happen except in rare cases.

One point here: you state that in such a case, God would have "sent an angel , to bring them to divine light". This is also my position, which I have already stated. But, in this hypothesis, would not the enlightenment of the truth of the Faith easily involve a clear enlightenment as to the Catholic Church and Baptism? If that is so, there is no need to posit an in voto implicito (implicit intention) to be baptized (all Orthodox schismatics, and most Protestants, would in case already be baptized) and to enter the Catholic Church. Such a person would have an explicit faith in the Church, and an explicit intention of entering it. The idea of the implicit desire has been used by laxist theologians to open a way to Heaven for those who live and die without any knowledge of Christ or the Church, and has been extended by liberals to all those who are "invincibly ignorant" of them in any sense, which is a different case entirely. Then you end with Rahner's "anonymous Christian."

Quote:
“The Baptism of Desire. Contrition, or perfect charity, with at least an implicit desire for Baptism, supplies in adults the place of the baptism of water as respects the forgiveness of sins. This is certain. Explanation: a) An implicit desire for Baptism, that is, one that is included in a general purpose of keeping all the commandments of God is, as all agree, sufficient in one who is invincibly ignorant of the law of Baptism; likewise, according to the more common opinion, in one who knows the necessity of Baptism. b) Perfect charity, with a desire for Baptism, forgives original sin and actual sins, and therefore infuses sanctifying grace; but it does not imprint the Baptismal character and does not of itself remit the whole temporal punishment due for sin; whence, when the opportunity offers, the obligation remains on one who was sanctified in this manner of receiving the Baptism of water.” (Dogmatic Brevior, ART.IV, Section I,II (1945)) Fr. A. Tanquery


The quote from Tanquerey is entirely another matter. (How can you quote them side by side unless you are intending some kind of contrast?) typical of the liberal error I am concerned with. Notice that he does not mention the Catholic Faith at all; whereas the inclusion of it in Bishop Hay's statement is what, at bottom, puts it in accord with the correct doctrine. Tanquerey presents his position in full elsewhere, and I will be dealing with it later on.

Quote:
Quote:
Another question- do you believe that someone like the above, if he is actually persecuting the Church, in sincerity to his own beliefs, considering himself to be doing something pleasing to God, can be saved in that condition?


No, in light of the answer to your first question- IF those persons in question died " as jews, or protestants", and not " within" the Church.


Thanks for your clear answers. Of course, this last is the Catholic answer. The whole controversy originated when some Catholics began proposing the paradox that those who, in any external sense, are not in the Church, can still be saved. Your statement, naturally, to be true, must be taken restrictively, that is, in the sense that the two parts of the "if" statement, persons dying as Jews, Protestants, etc., and not being within the Church, are inseparable. The one is simply a different way of stating the other.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:56 pm
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Vince Sheridan wrote:

Quote:
"Probable" and "more probable" are terms of moral theology. Doctrines so qualified are, by definition, short of certainty; therefore if the Holy See declares such doctrines as sound or safe, while leaving their status of probability unchanged, clearly it is not declaring them simply to be true.


Understood, that this holds as noted for " probable" and " more probable", however, the common teaching of the pre-vatican ii theologians holds Baptism of Desire and Blood to be at least " Theologically certain, certain " , with many holding it de fide. None I have looked up hold BOD/BOB to be " less then certain".

So, I guess I am wondering what point is being made regarding Fr. Feeney in general and Baptism of Desire and Blood in particular?


This doesn't have anything to do with Baptism of desire. It has to do with declarations of the Holy See (by papal definition or by decree of the Holy Office) that a doctrine is "safe to teach" or "unsafe to teach." There was no declaration of this sort in the Fr. Feeney case. It was in answer to the incorrect idea that Cardinal Franzelin said that all documents emanating from the Holy See were at least "infallibly safe." The mention of "probable" or "more probable" doctrines is merely part of Franzelin's explanation of this point.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:38 pm
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To all,

This is from John Daly's talk at the 2002 sedevacantist conference, I believe he is quoting Canon Smith:

Franzelin has pointed out, not only to teach revealed doctrine but also to protect it, and therefore the Holy See “may prescribe as to be followed or proscribe as to be avoided theological opinions or opinions connected with theology, not only with the intention of infallibly deciding the truth by a definitive pronouncement, but also - without any such intention - merely for the purpose of safeguarding the security of Catholic doctrine.” If it is the duty of the Church, even though non-infallibly, to “prescribe or proscribe” doctrines to this end, then it is evidently also the duty of the faithful to accept them or reject them accordingly.

Nor is this obligation of submission to the non-infallible utterances of authority satisfied by the so-called silentium obsequiosum. The security of Catholic doctrine, which is the purpose of these decisions, would not be safeguarded if the faithful were free to withhold their assent. It is not enough that they should listen in respectful silence, refraining from open opposition. They are bound in conscience to submit to them,* and conscientious submission to a doctrinal decree does not mean only to abstain from publicly rejecting it; it means the submission of one's own judgment to the more competent judgment of authority.


In Domino,

Lance


Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:12 pm
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Dear Teresa,

Thank you very much for this reply. In return, I feel I owe you at least short answers to your questions. You've allowed that "yes or no" will do, but for the sake of other readers, I'll expand slightly on those cryptic monosyllables.

I am reassured by your answer that you do not consider the common teaching of theologians to have changed in a given case, which would imply that the Church's teaching could change.

In regard to titles, I like to sign my name in full, for various reasons, but I have no objection if people wish to call me James or Jim or anything else. This is a friendly list, so that seems appropriate.

Teresa Ginardi wrote:

You may want to consider giving the forum a short catechism course on traditionalist 'errors' (I'm not kidding about this). It may be helpful to clear my/our foggy brains.



I'll take that under advisement. Though I think it would be a fairly short course.

Quote:

1.) Is the SSPX broadly correct in their notion of Authentic Magisterium, and the limitations of infallibility of the pope etc.?


One would need to state what it it is. I am not aware that they have an official position. My idea would be that they consider only definitions ex cathedra, papal or conciliar, and doctrines clearly taught by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (i.e. what is clearly contained in Sacred Tradition, quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditum est - what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all), as infallible. I would agree with this (broadly speaking, it is understood), though I disagree with their apparent idea that councils and Popes are somehow capable of divagating into the wildest heresy and innovation, apart from definitions. Personally, I would challenge anyone to find any error in any conciliar document. I don't think it can be done.

Quote:
2.) Is the SSPX correct in their view of Ecumenical Councils?


In addition to what I wrote in answer 1, they may have pointed out that only conciliar definitions, not obiter dicta, are infallible. That is, only the particular proposition being defined is covered by infallibility, not the rest of the document. Here too my answer would be yes.

Quote:

3.) I hope this one doesn't give you ulcers: can one go to 'una cum' Mass if there is nothing else available?


You are trying to get me into trouble. I would say yes, on the basis of my study of the issues involved. Also, I'm not sure that any necessity is needed to justify it. Of course, all the circumstances would have be carefully considered, especially the element of possible scandal, in a given case. I don't claim my opinion is somehow definitive, nor would I criticize in any way those who hold a different one.

Quote:

4.) Do you think the new sacraments (not baptism/marriage) are invalid?


Yes. There's plenty of proof for it. What I do think has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt is that they are at least doubtful. Therefore, in Catholic teaching and law, they must be considered to be invalid in practice, and avoided without any exception or compromise.

In the Immaculate Heart,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:29 pm
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James Larrabee wrote:
It was in answer to the incorrect idea that Cardinal Franzelin said that all documents emanating from the Holy See were at least "infallibly safe."


Dear Jim,

I concede that Franzelin does not say this.

I see that I have conflated two things in this context which you carefully distinguish - decisions of the Roman Congregations (or Roman Pontiffs), and the general teaching activity of the Roman Pontiff. And I have therefore given (implicitly at least) equal weight to the explanations in an encyclical and solemn decisions of Roman Congregations. You have pointed out the difference between the two cases, and you say that encyclicals are "not binding" whereas "decisions" are - whatever their source (within the Church). Have I understood you correctly?

There are a few of things we need to disentangle here.

1. Do you accept that the doctrinal content of encyclicals is obligatory on the faithful (and therefore even if not infallible and definitive, "binding" subject to those qualifications)? I asked previously whether you accepted the distinction made by Canon Smith between "authority in dicendo or an authority in jubendo, that is, as an authority which commands intellectual assent or as a power which demands obedience..." You did not answer me. I cannot see how such a distinction can be ignored in this context.

2. Canon Smith cites Cardinal Franzelin in explaining that we have an intellectual ground (besides the ground of authority mentioned above) for submitting our intellects to the teaching of both encyclicals and the decisions of the Roman Congregations. "On what intellectual ground, therefore, do the faithful base the assent which they are obliged to render to these non-infallible decisions of authority? On what Cardinal Franzelin somewhat cumbrously but accurately describes as auctoritas universalis providentiae ecclesiasticae. The faithful rightly consider that, even where there is no exercise of the infallible magisterium, divine Providence has a special care for the Church of Christ; that therefore the Sovereign Pontiff in view of his sacred office is endowed by God with the graces necessary for the proper fulfilment of it; that therefore his doctrinal utterances, even when not guaranteed by infallibility, enjoy the highest competence; that in a proportionate degree this is true also of the Roman Congregations and of the Biblical Commission, composed of men of great learning and experience, who are fully alive to the needs and doctrinal tendencies of the day, and who, in view of the care and the (proverbial) caution with which they carry out the duties committed to them by the Sovereign Pontiff, inspire full confidence in the wisdom and prudence of their decisions. "

You will note that Canon Smith also puts the general doctrinal activity of the Roman Pontiff on a level (in this question) with the decisions of the Congregations, contrary to how I have understood your explanation, in which decisions are given a higher status. Further, he says both are covered by Franzelin's construct, "auctoritas universalis providentiae ecclesiasticae." Now, how could such a notion as Franzelin presents be considered compatible with doctrinal errors taught in encyclicals to the whole Church?

3. I don't accept your suggestion that all errors are potentially serious. It is not always a case that a small error in the beginning may lead to a great error in the end; the error which may conceivably appear in an encyclical may be in the order of fact - for example, a wrong name, or date, for example. Whereas I concede that any doctrinal error may indeed be serious. But I have never seen a theologial source for the notion that there might be doctrinal errors in encyclicals. Nor could Da Silveira find one, despite his incredible thoroughness in research - and he manifestly wanted to find one and proceeded to postulate the possibility despite his admitted failure to find one! Do you have such an authority?

4. I haven't much time (although I have been following this discussion with great interest) so I will throw in here another comment which is related but probably belongs elsewhere. You commented, Jim, to the effect that only those parts of encyclicals which contain "defintions" are infallible, and in saying this you were explaining what Pius XII meant in Humani Generis. I have never understood Humani Generis in this way partly because I am not aware that there has ever been a definition presented in an encyclical - yet Pius XII was speaking explicitly about encyclicals when he made the relevant point about the Roman Pontiff "passing judgement." He seemed to me to be telling us that we are obliged to submit to determinations of disputed points even when these are not made in a solemn manner, as they are in bulls or doctrinal decrees. Do you see? An example would perhaps be the teaching of Mystici Corporis Christi that the Mystical Body of Christ is the Catholic Church, which was certainly not presented as a solemn judgement in Mystici Corporis Christi, and yet the refusal to accept it was cited as one of the reasons he addressed the question of the doctrinal authority of papal enclyclicals in Humani Generis.

Btw, I don't accept that a catechism which has been published for decades for the use of a large potion of the Church, without objection from Rome, could conceivably contain a doctrinal error. This is not to claim infallibility for catechisms - but it is to claim that the vigilance of Rome is an essential, never-failing, feature of the indefectibility of the Church. And in fact the case of Honorius, which you seem to be suggesting may be considered a parallel with that of Pius XII, is the clearest proof of what I am saying here. The one (supposed) exception spectacularly proves the rule. Now, you might argue that Pius XII was negligent in relation to Cushing and co. But you cannot argue that a series of popes was negligent in relation to the Baltimore Catechism. That would be an outrage and a scandal.

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Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:32 pm
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Pax Christi !


Dear James,

Regarding your reply;

Quote:
This doesn't have anything to do with Baptism of desire. It has to do with declarations of the Holy See (by papal definition or by decree of the Holy Office) that a doctrine is "safe to teach" or "unsafe to teach." There was no declaration of this sort in the Fr. Feeney case.


Was not the Holy Office letter reiterating the teachings i.e. EENS, Baptisim of Desire etc, that " in common" the theologians hold to be at least " certain" , with most holding it ' theologically certain" many " defide", in contrast to what Saint Benedict Center and Fr. Feeney were teaching regarding this doctrine?

In addition, granted this letter was at first a " private" letter sent to Cardinal Cushing. But during the time of Fr. Feeney's publication of " Bread of Life" 1952/1953 ( perhaps coincidence ?) the Holy Office then ordered the Letter to be published.

Is the fact this Letter then become part of the public domain significant?


In Xto,
Vincent


Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:20 am
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Vince, a decision by the Holy See that a doctrine is safe to teach means a document, of the relevant nature, which contains the words, or equivalent ones, "x is safe to teach, or x is not safe to teach", where "x" is a statement of some doctrine or any statement with doctrinal or moral implications. A document of the relevant nature would be either a papal bull (in which case the decision would be ex cathedra, and therefore infallible), or a decree of the Holy Office or of another Congregation, such as the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (De Propaganda Fide), with competence to pronounce on such questions.

And that's it, Vince. It doesn't mean what you might want it to mean, nor was Cardinal Franzelin addressing issues (in this quote) which you might want him to have addressed. It and they mean what they said.

Vince Sheridan wrote:
Regarding your reply;

Quote:
This doesn't have anything to do with Baptism of desire. It has to do with declarations of the Holy See (by papal definition or by decree of the Holy Office) that a doctrine is "safe to teach" or "unsafe to teach." There was no declaration of this sort in the Fr. Feeney case.


Was not the Holy Office letter reiterating the teachings i.e. EENS, Baptisim of Desire etc, that " in common" the theologians hold to be at least " certain" , with most holding it ' theologically certain" many " defide", in contrast to what Saint Benedict Center and Fr. Feeney were teaching regarding this doctrine?


Read it again, Vince. I said "There was no declaration of this sort in the Fr. Feeney case." I hope this will be understood? John has taken my point, so that ought to be the end of it. That point, to reiterate, is whether or not Cardinal Franzelin's comments in regard to doctrines being "infallibly safe" as opposed to being "infallibly true" are applicable to the Holy Office letter. They are not, because that letter involved neither one of the two elements involved in his exposition.


Quote:
In addition, granted this letter was at first a " private" letter sent to Cardinal Cushing. But during the time of Fr. Feeney's publication of " Bread of Life" 1952/1953 ( perhaps coincidence ?) the Holy Office then ordered the Letter to be published.

Is the fact this Letter then become part of the public domain significant?


I will only say in this connection that Archbishop Cushing was apparently permitted to make any use he wished of this letter. The various nuances of the word "private" in this context would have to be considered. It is obvious that it wasn't entirely private once Cushing published both the fact of its existence and the selected excerpts that enabled him to condemn Feeney while sheltering manifest heretics, and leading to the still wider dissemination of open heresy to the public in the newspapers. Also, it's obvious, or seems so to me, that the Archbishop (or the real brains behind this, the Auxiliary Bishop John Wright, the nemesis of Archbishop Lefebvre) could very likely have requested the Holy Office to "order" him to publish it later on. That would also explain the renewed interest to get rid of Feeney finally by some definitive act, after the Holy Office had taken no further notice of the affair for something like three and a half years.

But really Vince, wouldn't it be a bit useful to take a look at papal encyclicals for a change? How about the text from Humani Generis, as well as the one I just posted from Mystici Corporis? Why don't they rate? Why this fixation on the one factor in this question which helps your agenda? (Rhetorical questions, for your consideration)

All further consideration of this letter from a procedural point of view I will defer until at least the essentials of this whole question have been adequately covered.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.

Quote:



In addition, granted this letter was at first a " private" letter sent to Cardinal Cushing. But during the time of Fr. Feeney's publication of " Bread of Life" 1952/1953 ( perhaps coincidence ?) the Holy Office then ordered the Letter to be published.

Is the fact this Letter then become part of the public domain significant?


Thu Dec 21, 2006 8:14 pm
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James Larrabee wrote:
Vince Sheridan wrote:
Baptism of the Water is the normative way, but we are also absolutely confident and sure of others in heaven that had not received the Sacrament of Baptism for the Church has also canonized those receiving Baptism of the Desire and Blood.

Roman Martyrology

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

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

August 25: At Arles in France, another Blessed Genesius, who undertook the office copyist, when he refused to transcribe the impious edicts whereby the Christians were ordered to be punished and, casting away his registers, in public he proclaimed himself a Christian, was arrested and beheaded and received the glory of martyrdom, being baptized in his own blood.

We are to "preach the Gospel to ALL Nations", and from the housetops! But Catholics cannot deny the doctrine of EENS, Baptism of Desire and Blood.


I don't have any trouble with these cases, Vince. But do you believe it is also true of those who die as Jews, Protestants, Hindus, etc., practicing their "religion", assuming they somehow have invincible ignorance of the Faith and are keeping the natural law as best he understands it? Another question- do you believe that someone like the above, if he is actually persecuting the Church, in sincerity to his own beliefs, considering himself to be doing something pleasing to God, can be saved in that condition?

James Larrabee



It would apear that you confuse the issue by attempting to forward the false premise that the "Practise" of any false religion carries merit with Almighty GOD. When you make the statement "Those who die as Jews , Protestants , Hindus , Etc PRACTISING THEIR RELIGION " somehow enters the argument. Baptism requires belief in the ONE TRUE GOD according to the Criteria of GOD , not men. . That is precisely why in Matthew 28: 19 and 20 and Mark 16 : 16 the Reception of Baptism (Non Specific) is co dependant on belief. Obviously a Perfideous Jew would by definition deny Christ. A Hindu , being polytheistic , would deny the Holy trinity. Therefore - the actual Practise of the false Religion itself becomes an obstacle , rather than an assitance to Salvation. I think your question would be better stated had you illustrated it as DESPITE the fact that Jews Reject Christ - Hindus worship Animals and objects instead of GOD and both thus contunually break the First Commandment and Despite the Fact that Most Protestants break the Third Commandment through personal abandonment of the Lawful Sacraments and their administration by the Church of Jesus Christ formed for the benefit of mankind on this earth, assuming they as Individuals only in opposition to their False Religion instead hold to "invincible ignorance" specifically as defined by St Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologia , reject every false aspect of their false religion and instead by Natural reception of grace , instead hold to and believe in all things Catholic as they coorperate with GOD's Grace in opposition to not a single point of Christ's Doctrine as held in the Deposit of Faith , they instead reject their human reasoning and participate in the Body of Christ spiritually - can they be saved within the Dictates of Natural Law.

You see , It would appear that your question comes from the standpoint of Human Reasoning instead of the Spiritual Criteria that Almighty God has revealed as necessary. You say someone "considers himself" to be pleasing to GOD and that this fact alone would somehow meet that criteria? Isnt that an aspect of Religious liberty as condemned by " Syllabus of Errors "

So the Question , it would appear , seems to be that false Religions somehow by their operation - Meet the Criteria of Salvation . I would ask , as demonstrated how? Reread the cited Roman Martyrology. It is obvious that these three martyrs sufficiently demonstrated their Faith. Can you say the same about the Jews , Hindu's , or Protestants you cited? And therein lies the entire difference.
Pax

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Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:15 pm
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ramman50076 wrote:
It would apear that you confuse the issue by attempting to forward the false premise that the "Practise" of any false religion carries merit with Almighty GOD. When you make the statement "Those who die as Jews , Protestants , Hindus , Etc PRACTISING THEIR RELIGION " somehow enters the argument. Baptism requires belief in the ONE TRUE GOD according to the Criteria of GOD , not men. . .


Hello Ramman,

As it is stands your post is quite confusing. When you say "you" I am not sure which of the two people you quoted from is being addressed. I believe neither of those people believe the thing you are arguing against, so I think you need to take a closer look as to what is being said, and how it is being approached. If after looking at everything again, you still think you have an objection that pertains to one of the correspondents, you might re-do your line of questioning in way that is more appropriate to the arguments.

ramman wrote:
You see , It would appear that your question comes from the standpoint of Human Reasoning instead of the Spiritual Criteria that Almighty God has revealed as necessary.


Again, I'm not sure which respondent you think is approaching the question from this angle. You have taken a Socratic question as an indication of the writer's argument.


Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:42 pm
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I think the confusion is that Ramman thinks my dad, in asking the quoted questions, was hoping for a "yes" as the correct answer. In fact, he was hoping for a "no". This is quite clear from the context of the whole discussion. Nothing was asserted in any case; I think the questions were intended to clarify Vince's position.


Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:51 am
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Pax Christi !

Dear James,

Quote:
wouldn't it be a bit useful to take a look at papal encyclicals for a change? How about the text from Humani Generis, as well as the one I just posted from Mystici Corporis? Why don't they rate? Why this fixation on the one factor in this question which helps your agenda? (Rhetorical questions, for your consideration)


Indeed, thanks for the suggestion. I will re-read Humani Generis and Mystici Corporis, in the past I have quoted from them. And I am sure you did not intend a negative with the wording " agenda". Regarding Fr. Feeney, I am no expert, but I have read the general material both pro and con about him and EENS, plus I have thumbed through " The Bread of Life" . In addition, I used to visit the Saint Benedict Center while on my trips to Boston. The company I work for is headquartered there.

It was in these readings and interactions that I formed my views on this topic. Regarding EENS, Baptism of Desire and Blood, I formed this by reading and understanding to the best of my limited ability from the Churches approved teachers, in light of the ordinary teaching authority of the Church, and how she commincates the Faith to her members.

In this regard, John Lane made an excellant point regarding Catachisms and Rome in his last post.

btw- I think one the clearest treatments of this topic ( EENS, BOD/BOB) was penned by Patrick Omlor- Robber Church ( part III) pp. 190-215.

In Xto,
Vincent


Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:31 am
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Dear John,

If you remember, as I am sure you do, we had a fairly extensive correspondence over this same matter several years back. I know you are at least as busy, probably a lot busier, than I, but it might be useful to look it up. I doubt I have anything different to say on it now. Maybe you could take a look after Christmas and point me to the exact date, which would make it easy for me to look it up--I'm pretty sure it's in there somewhere. This is a pretty complicated subject, which can't be dealt with in short answers. I'll take some time now, but I cannot cover all your points regardless of their merits. This really should be another topic.

1. You might consider why Pope Pius XII, when justifying his demand for assent to papal encyclicals, did not use your line of reasoning at all, in the sense of claiming they could contain no error. He did not try to make them infallible through the back door. Deserving of the highest respect and credence, yes, but not for the reasons you give, apart from the consideration of the general Providence guiding the Holy See, a major point, but not concluding to infallibility, nor requiring infallibility, since that is available any time the Supreme Pontiff thinks it necessary to use it. It has been used thousands of times in the history of the Church, if you count the propositions separately (the only logical way to count them). There are thousands in Denzinger.

2. Logic states quite simply: what isn't infallible, is fallible. Non datur tertium (there's no third alternative). Franzelin doesn't question this logic; he doesn't question, but rather clearly and emphatically teaches that such documents as encyclicals are not infallible, and therefore, whether implicitly or explicitly, he does not rule out error even in an encyclical; and he says that this matter was settled by the definition of infallibility by the Vatican Council. (Incidentally, in reference to a point you make, the encyclical Quanta Cura of Pope Pius IX contains a definition ("We by Our Apostolic Authority, condemn, etc.")) You appear to be arguing that somehow everything from the Holy See is infallible. That position is flatly rejected by Franzelin. It's in the same paragraph I quoted recently, but I didn't include it because I somehow can't believe this is being questioned. I guess I should have.

3. You seem to be using a perfectly valid distinction, authority in docendo or in iubendo, as misrepresented by Canon Smith (so it seems to me, and I have discussed this in our past correspondence, I believe), to argue around that non-infallible documents are really infallible, therefore contradicting Franzelin. Smith is a man of such poor judgment as actually to write, apparently in all seriousness, that a schoolboy is under a moral obligation, not just to respect his teacher, but to believe everything he says. I think that is pernicious nonsense, even given that he tried to attenuate it with some qualifications immediately after saying it. And I remain puzzled as to why Canon Smith keeps being brought up. He only addressed the issue of decisions, not every doctrine addressed in any manner by any document emanating from the Holy See, and he made this pretty clear, I thought.

4. The whole question is irrelevant in this discussion, not only because the Holy Office letter is not an encyclical, but because papal encyclicals touching on the question are on Fr. Feeney's side, as I have already shown in brief, in their clear implications (e.g. Mystici Corporis and Humani Generis), or at least are expressed in a way that comes down in the middle of our particular issue, because they were intended to address another issue, namely open indifferentism (Pope Pius IX). Also, in the case of a binding document in the strict sense, namely the Syllabus of 1864 issued by authority of Pius IX, again its implications are clearly on the side of Fr. Feeney, as I will explain in its place. The Holy Office letter, in its implications, is in clear conflict with these documents, as can be seen from a close study. I think your confusion (if that is what it is) results from fixing on Baptism of desire as the subject of the Feeney case, when it was not. Nowhere in the Holy Office letter is this stated, and Baptism is only mentioned as a related matter (N.B. my apologies to readers, which I should have made before, but better late than never, for stating a while back that Baptism isn't even mentioned in the letter. This was incorrect and I should have checked before saying that.) The letter doesn't state at all what the issue was, with any particularity, leaving the reader to infer it--a very sloppy, or very sinuous, way of proceeding, as one may prefer. Nevertheless, one reading the letter in the actual context of the debate would have had no reason to think that it pertained to anything directly except Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. The question of Baptism of desire wasn't even raised at the time as an error of Fr. Feeney, and this also has been stated here before.

5. It seems necessary constantly to reiterate that encyclicals are letters, not a strict form of teaching or legislation per se. That means their contents have to be looked at in order to find out what to think or do in their regard, either in the external or the internal forum. One encyclical that I know of did contain an ex cathedra judgment: Quanta Cura of Pope Pius IX. Other encyclicals, on doctrinal matters, typically contain matter which has previously been defined, not normally in encyclicals, of course, but in papal bulls (apostolic constitutions), or has been the matter of decisions (i.e. decrees) of the Holy Office, or are otherwise certain from the Ordinary Magisterium (which obviously has a much wider scope than documents of the Holy See). This is what Pius XII said in Humani Generis, and I am wondering why it is difficult to make that point. Furthermore, as Franzelin develops in his treatise, the general credibility both of encyclicals and of other "non-binding" teachings coming from the Holy See arises both from faith in the general guiding providence of God over the teaching function of the Church, and in the human sense, from the extreme care taken (though the level of the care varies according to the level of the document, as I mentioned quite recently in a message to Vince) to ensure that the teaching is in conformity with the past teaching and decisions of the Apostolic See. And that is not enough to ensure, beyond reasonable doubt, in every single case, the truth of the statement, apart from ex cathedra decisions. I have made these points already.

Here are your words: "Now, how could such a notion as Franzelin presents be considered compatible with doctrinal errors taught in encyclicals to the whole Church?" John, if it isn't compatible with doctrinal errors, then it's infallible. Isn't that evident? The meaning is the same. But the documents which are not definitions, though guided by Providence, are not infallible. So says Cardinal Franzelin.

6. In pursuance of this point, John, let us consider the letter (famous or infamous) of Pope Honorius I. A document which was not simply a letter of several Cardinals, but personally approved and sent by the Pope himself under his own authority. For that letter, he was condemned later by his successors together with an ecumenical council. If that document was found heretical, or implying heresy, or leading to heresy, or ambiguously favoring heresy, etc., which it was, why are we debating whether this Holy Office letter, involving quite possibly no more than some scheming Cardinals, but at best a product of a majority of the Holy Office at the time (and of what kind, God knows), with a purely pro forma approval by the Pope (if that), well, I think you see my point. Why should it not be questioned if it deserves to be questioned? It cannot be decided a priori by any manner of means. The Providence of God is more than evident, it is really miraculous, when we see in the history of the Church how rare, in fact unique, this occurrence of Honorius was. It happened once, for our instruction. Why could a lesser matter (not a papal letter at all) not happen a "second" time, for our destruction?

John Lane wrote:

3. I don't accept your suggestion that all errors are potentially serious. It is not always a case that a small error in the beginning may lead to a great error in the end; the error which may conceivably appear in an encyclical may be in the order of fact - for example, a wrong name, or date, for example. Whereas I concede that any doctrinal error may indeed be serious.


My apologies, John. I actually gave serious consideration here whether or not to add the word "doctrinal." I decided it was crystal clear from the context that both you and I were concerned with doctrinal error. I hope every noun doesn't have to drag along with it a big load of qualifiers every time it comes up, like a bum with his grocery cart. Next we'll be writing things like "doctrinal error and only doctrinal error" [smiley face]

Quote:
Whereas I concede that any doctrinal error may indeed be serious. But I have never seen a theologial source for the notion that there might be doctrinal errors in encyclicals. Nor could Da Silveira find one, despite his incredible thoroughness in research - and he manifestly wanted to find one and proceeded to postulate the possibility despite his admitted failure to find one! Do you have such an authority?



This is a strange way to argue from silence (a weak argument to begin with), when it is self-evident from certain Church teaching, especially since Vatican I put the whole matter to rest. But all he had to do was to look for a statement that encyclicals are not infallible, and there is Franzelin staring him in the face.

John, if a person or thing is infallible, that means it can't err. If it isn't infallible, it can err. Where do you find any flaw in this reasoning?

And John, you're mentioning encyclicals again. So I must repeat, bring on the encyclicals! There isn't a single one which will help your cause (if it's yours) in the Feeney debate.

Quote:


4. I haven't much time (although I have been following this discussion with great interest) so I will throw in here another comment which is related but probably belongs elsewhere. You commented, Jim, to the effect that only those parts of encyclicals which contain "defintions" are infallible, and in saying this you were explaining what Pius XII meant in Humani Generis. I have never understood Humani Generis in this way partly because I am not aware that there has ever been a definition presented in an encyclical - yet Pius XII was speaking explicitly about encyclicals when he made the relevant point about the Roman Pontiff "passing judgement." He seemed to me to be telling us that we are obliged to submit to determinations of disputed points even when these are not made in a solemn manner, as they are in bulls or doctrinal decrees. Do you see? An example would perhaps be the teaching of Mystici Corporis Christi that the Mystical Body of Christ is the Catholic Church, which was certainly not presented as a solemn judgement in Mystici Corporis Christi, and yet the refusal to accept it was cited as one of the reasons he addressed the question of the doctrinal authority of papal enclyclicals in Humani Generis.


First, I would admit there may have been an attempt to convey, by rhetorical means, something that really isn't asserted. Perhaps that's because the Cardinals of the Holy Office tried to get a definition or some definitive action by decree, and failed, so they did this as a stopgap. Let's use the old mother wit, John, and consider this: given that theologians had ignored one encyclical, and with impunity, why would they not ignore one more encyclical which reproached them for doing just that?

So here's the passage from Humani Generis:

"Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me"; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their acta after [the usual] consideration, pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians."

John, read that last sentence carefully. It begins "But if," which designates a new point. It then says "in their acta." That includes bulls, decrees of the Holy Office, as well as encyclicals. It does not even need to include encyclicals (though I mentioned one rare instance), but it certainly includes bulls (apostolic constitutions) and decrees. And that is where the Pope passes judgment. I see no need or basis for understanding it any other way. It is a perfectly clear concept in both Latin and English (sententiam ferunt). It could as easily, and perhaps slightly less ambiguously in your terms at least, be translated "pronounces sentence." I can't think any canonist or theologian would have had any problems with this, but one could add that in view of the heavy emphasis by Pius XII on the juridical nature of the Church, in Mystici Corporis for example, why would anyone think this doesn't have a juridical meaning when juridical terms are used and are demanded by the context? Notice that even here, he doesn't say even all these judgments demand the the assent of faith. He says that the matters judged "cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians." This is exactly the canonical consequence of such a judgment (if it is not an ex cathedra definition of the truth of the question), namely, that it cannot be publicly taught or defended. And that is what I have been saying all along. It is also exactly what Canon Smith is saying.

When going a bit further back in the text of the encyclical, the Pope takes to task those theologians who ignored Mystici Corporis on the pretext that it wasn't binding. Why then did not the Pope make it binding? He had several ways to do it, including a Holy Office decree of condemnation, or requiring by decree that the theologians in view recant their heresies under oath by signing a condemnation of their teachings, or an affirmation of their opposites. Ultimately, of course, he could have declared the matter ex cathedra. He defined two other matters at practically the same time (and who was contending them anyway?) Why not this matter? (Of course, it has no connection with the Feeney case.) John, this is a question that can't be answered by general references to guiding Providence. Providence has many things waiting in the wings for us, many not to our liking. You are talking as though it were still about 1954.

In a word, we have two different points here (in Humani Generis): the demand for assent (but not the assent of faith) to the subject matter of encyclicals not involving judgments; and the assent (which may or may not be the assent of faith, divine or ecclesiastical) to the subject matter of papal judgments. And the assent of faith, divine or ecclesiastical, only applies to papal definitions ex cathedra, not to Holy Office decrees.

Quote:



Btw, I don't accept that a catechism which has been published for decades for the use of a large potion of the Church, without objection from Rome, could conceivably contain a doctrinal error.


John, the Gallicans, as I have mentioned, went on for centuries, right up to 1870, teaching their errors in regard to papal infallibility. They were bishops. They taught their errors in their seminaries and quite possibly in catechisms. I have read of an Irish catechism (issued by an Irish Gallican bishop) in the 19th century which claimed that papal infallibility was a Protestant invention (because they used it to discredit the Catholic Church). I can't verify it at present, so it's just an anecdote, but perhaps the proof is out there somewhere. It seems evident that you, like our anti-sedevacantist opponents, are making demands of God and of the indefectibility of the Church which simply don't stack up against the doctrine and history of the Church.
Quote:

This is not to claim infallibility for catechisms


Well, it is.

Quote:
- but it is to claim that the vigilance of Rome is an essential, never-failing, feature of the indefectibility of the Church.


And that vigilance ultimately rests on the firm foundation of papal definition ex cathedra, and on no other.

Quote:
And in fact the case of Honorius, which you seem to be suggesting may be considered a parallel with that of Pius XII, is the clearest proof of what I am saying here. The one (supposed) exception spectacularly proves the rule.


John, far from being a clear proof, your argument is quite fallacious. In fact, it is a paradox. What the Honorius case proves is that it happened once, and therefore it could happen again. That bit of the exception proving the rule may have its application for debating purposes, but it has no logical validity except in carefully considered contexts (excuse the alliteration). It's exactly the kind of argument our enemies of conciliarism use against us.

How else could it have come about, in the Divine plan of Providence, that the Perpetual Sacrifice could fail, and the man of sin seat himself in the Temple of God, showing himself as if he were God? (2 Thess. 2:4)

Quote:
Now, you might argue that Pius XII was negligent in relation to Cushing and co. But you cannot argue that a series of popes was negligent in relation to the Baltimore Catechism. That would be an outrage and a scandal.


I disagree, John. I don't make that accusation against the Popes who long tolerated the Gallican heresy in regard to infallibility. But if you want to argue that Pius XII, or his immediate predecessors, were some kind of outstanding Popes, beyond all accusations of negligence, I have already invited Vince Sheridan to open a topic on that issue and state his thesis. We mustn't allow the scandal of bad Popes, either in the more remote past or more recently, to injure our faith in any way. Everyone knows I am a former Jesuit. John, are you going to defend Pope Clement XIV for suppressing the Jesuits? So this wasn't a doctrinal issue? Then how about Pope Clement VII's approval of the breviary of Quinones (too bad about these Clements), a major scandal which was repaired by his successors (it ended on the Index before very long). You are simply putting the bar too high, higher than the Church, and higher than the facts will permit. I'm not at all personally annoyed (I hope my comments don't sound that way) by people taking refuge behind the purely personal reputation (though they wouldn't agree that's the issue) of Pius XII, which is natural, but I've proposed to defend Fr. Feeney and a certain doctrine, and that discussion cannot fairly or correctly be foreclosed by this spurious resort to authority. After all, that's precisely one of the points at issue. Probably you aren't trying to do that, so let it pass.

John, apart from a single-word comment ("scary"), you haven't drawn any conclusion from the blatant, public heresy proved by Fr. Feeney, posted by me a while ago, and obviously tolerated by Pius XII, with or without his personal knowledge. How do you account for that? Flatly reject the eyewitness evidence (evidence fully corroborated in my own experience of the typical products of the "Catholic" education of my day, by my contemporaries 40 or 50 years ago), which was contradicted by nobody at the time or since? Claim what they said wasn't heretical? John, you are in a hole here. Maybe you just haven't noticed that. The very same controversy arose in a manner around this time, when a Protestant, anti-Catholic polemicist mentioned the dogma about salvation outside the Church, as a criticism, naturally. A prominent lay (liberal), self-appointed apologist probably of the Commonweal variety, in his book refuting Paul Blanshard (the Protestant in question), referred to this dogma as "medieval nonsense." Well, that was tolerated too. Blanshard was reasonably accurate in his presentation of such questions as Catholic doctrine, so far as I read him. He actually cited the papal texts! (Something the liberals would not do under extreme torture.) One of his main points referred to the Syllabus of Errors (naturally) and the questions of temporal power of the Church, religious liberty, etc. I believe the heretical "refutations" of this man by ostensible Catholics was what led ultimately to the silencing of John Courtney Murray, S.J. Remember him? This all goes together. It doesn't prove anything per se about Feeney, but the context helps. This certainly didn't come out of the blue. Why did the Holy See take some action in the one case (that of Murray), but none in the other? I don't know, but it's hard to think of any good reason.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Destroyer of All Heresies,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:36 am
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j. Lar. wrote:

Dear John,
If you remember, as I am sure you do, we had a fairly extensive correspondence over this same matter several years back. I know you are at least as busy, probably a lot busier, than I, but it might be useful to look it up. I doubt I have anything different to say on it now. Maybe you could take a look after Christmas and point me to the exact date,


Sorry to jump in here, but try:

April, 1999?


Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:13 am
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Dear Jim,

Thank you for this. I'll come back to it a bit later, but in the mean time I want to state that I did not have Fr. Feeney in view with those comments, and as I thought I had made clear, I have no interest in him whatsoever. My interest is in the manner by which the Church communicates the faith to her children, and how we are to learn it from her. The polemical interest arising from these considerations is in relation to V2 and its Nopes. And, I might as well tell you directly, if these issues had not arisen I would have simply banned the name of Feeney being mentioned here.

So let me make this clear once more. My interest in the subjects under discussion is purely in relation to truth for its own sake, and how these things bear upon the legitimate and appropriate reaction of Catholics to V2. I regard the Feeney case as at best another Savonarola - which the greatest minds differed on and will do so until the end of time - and at worst another pestiferous priest who damaged the cause of orthodoxy by intemperate words and actions leading the unsound to become less sound, and to make Rome's task in governing the Church more difficult, all to the great harm of souls. I emphasise that I don't have a view either way on this question, but the facts as so far known to me seem entirely compatible with either view.

If I were to pursue the Feeney case, I would insist that you show that Gary Potter was wrong when he stated that Fr. Feeney was looking for the "key" doctrinal problem which would explain the laxity/lack of faith of the average American Catholic years before the Raymond Karam/Boston College incidents took place. You ignored this before, and hinted that you reject Potter's witness as it seems reasonable to you, as the case requires, by saying that you don't take interpretations or opinions from Potter. But that is not an interpretation - it is a question of fact. If the Feeney were to be pursued, which I have interest in doing, we would need to return to the beginning of the case, which it seems Potter places several years prior to 1948, and note that the Fr. Feeney crusade began then. In that context the Ramond Karam incidents would take on a different character. Instead of an innocent surprised by heresy, we have a heresy-hunter (who thinks he has already found it in the Baltimore Catechism) discovering what he expects to find at Boston College. Everything followed, and follows, from that.

I would add that the way that you see the subsequent events may well be substantially correct. Even to the point of arguing that Pius XII deserves censure for not addressing the open heresy at Boston College. This would not make Fr. Feeney a hero, however - it could easily be that history will lay much of the blame upon him for unsettling what was already settled - baptism of desire - and for attacking as heretical what was tolerated by Rome - implicit desire standing for an explicit desire - and for refusing lawful commands on insufficient grounds. And we are told to judge by fruits - Fr. Feeney and his followers failed to react correctly to V2. That was left to "laxists" like Archbishop Lefebvre (and Patrick Omlor, whom you will notice followed Monsignor Fenton's doctrine to the letter).

It's quite possible that in the Cushing-Feeney case there were two villains and a weak umpire. Which was Monsignor Fenton's view, for what it is worth.

But any intelligent approach to this would start by placing facts on the table, which would preclude a rush to judge on either side - and it would certainly preclude the placing of Fr. Feeney on a pedestal as a traditional Catholic hero from which the onus would be upon others to topple him. If any prejudice were to remain, it seems to me to be reasonable for it to be against him, since he was excommunicated by name by the Holy See. That is a fact which cannot be denied.

I also take issue with your suggestion earlier to the effect that it is impossible to "over-react" to doctrinal error. I think that is quite wrong, and I've already stated that several incidents known to me from reading history indicate the Rome was far from taking that view. I will endeavour to locate one clear example, from the life of Bishop Milner, and post it here. He is certainly a great hero of the Faith (and incidentally, his book converted the Barbers), and he was battling genuine error which was clearly dangerous in its context, and yet Rome cautioned him to moderation.

You have emphasised that the virtue of Faith does not require complete and perfect knowledge of the objects of Faith. Moderation towards the erring is only one of the implications of this great truth.

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Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:58 am
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Thanks, Geoff, this is a good start. Jump in any time, please!

Geoff Tribbe wrote:
j. Lar. wrote:

Dear John,
If you remember, as I am sure you do, we had a fairly extensive correspondence over this same matter several years back. I know you are at least as busy, probably a lot busier, than I, but it might be useful to look it up. I doubt I have anything different to say on it now. Maybe you could take a look after Christmas and point me to the exact date,


Sorry to jump in here, but try:

April, 1999?


Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:45 pm
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New post Auctoritas in docendo -- Auctoritas in iubendo
As this point is relevant to my exposition of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus under that topic, it might be useful to explain my problems with Canon Smith's use of this distinction.

Auctoritas in docendo = Teaching authority = Magisterium = Intellect = faith = doctrine

Auctoritas in iubendo = Ruling (governing) authority = Jurisdiction = Will = obedience = discipline

The soul has two spiritual faculties: intellect and will. The object of the intellect is truth; the object of the will is the good. The intellect grasps the truth in its proper act of knowing; the will grasps the good in its proper act of loving.

These are separate and distinct activities, though "truth" and "good" are both attributes of the things (realities) towards which these activities are directed.

They are not, however, co-equal, much less independent of each other. The will, as is often said, is a "blind" faculty. It has no way of perceiving the good except through the intellect. The intellect, in its knowledge of the things around us, perceives what is good or desirable about them. On the basis of this knowledge, the will loves the good presented to it by the intellect. The will cannot love what is unknown, that is, what is not in the intellect as a good. (Ignoti nulla cupido; there is no desire of what is unknown.) In this sense, the will is subservient to the intellect. On the other hand, the will has the power to control the intellect, in that it can direct it to consider, or not to consider, anything in particular within the range of our experience. We all know that we can decide, to a large extent, what we will or will not think about. So there is a mutual interaction here. And of course, the will is free, so it can choose freely among the many goods presented to it by the intellect (created goods, it is understood). And these goods, in the moral order, in a given set of circumstances, may be real goods, or merely apparent ones. When the will chooses an merely apparent good (something contrary to the moral law, though desirable for some other reason, like a steak on Friday), it sins.

To put this more concretely, it is we who think, we who choose. The faculties are powers or abilities by which we act, in a human manner.

Now, the proper act of the intellect is to judge, that is, to arrive at the truth or falsity of a statement. This it does based on sense experience, or on reasoning from premises we think to be true or probably true, or on the word of another person which we judge to be credible, since the statement is within the person's competence and we have reason to think that he will not deceive us. In technical terms, the first two would involve intellectus (i.e. understanding, equivalent to "nous" in Aristotle), or scientia ("episteme" or science, though not necessarily in the common, modern sense), or opinion; the last involves faith. In whatever manner a judgment is arrived at, it is the proper work and activity of the intellect, not of the will. The will may interfere to direct the intellect away from certain paths of consideration or into others; but even that it can do only on the basis of the goodness of so directing it, which is itself derived from the knowledge of some good to be attained, presented by the intellect. (That goodness also, of course, may be either real or apparent.) However, the will cannot command the intellect what to judge, that is, what the conclusion must be. The will cannot choose anything, unless it is already known to the intellect as a good; and the intellect cannot base its judgment as to the existence of any good on anything but its own proper operations.

The will can direct the intellect to overlook the consideration of the law of abstinence; it can direct the intellect to consider the deliciousness of the steak (or vice versa). What it cannot do is to command the intellect to judge the steak delicious or to judge that it is virtuous to obey the law of abstinence. These are simply given in reality, and the nature of the intellect is to perceive them. Granted the intellect can err, but that is not because the will directs it to err, but for other reasons. If this seems dubious, try to sit down and make yourself think that the moon is made of green cheese or that you are a blond rather than a brunette, or that 2+2=7. To say the will can command the intellect to err is to say that the will can command the intellect to judge something both true and false at the same time. But if the will commands the intellect to judge truly, the intellect can do so only on the basis of its own criteria of truth.

Here's an analogy. The intellect is a big candy store and the will is a small child. The candy store is a reflection of the real "candy store" which is the world outside. It contains, not all of the world, or candy, but a certain portion. The child can choose from the candy in the store, but cannot get out to the world to get more. Only the intellect can do that. And the candy in the store, whether it accurately represents the "real candy" outside in a given case, is all the child (the will) has to choose from. It cannot make more candy, or find more, nor can it alter the character and nature of the candy available to it (which may possibly be salubrious or poisonous). (I hope excessively Platonic implications will not be read into this; it isn't meant to reflect a Platonic theory of knowledge.)

Next, the teacher. As human beings, it is part of our nature that we grow over time, both physically and spiritually, and we need the help of others in both regards, to attain a proper maturity. For the growth of the intellect, in knowledge, a teacher is needed. For the growth of the will, in virtue, discipline is needed. These two functions come together in a child's teacher, who is merely delegated for the purpose by the parents, who have the care of everything involved in their children's growth. The teacher's qualifications must include both knowledge and virtue; knowledge to teach the intellect, and virtue to teach the will. (Let us call the teaching of the intellect simply "teaching", and the teaching of the will "discipline" for purposes of clarity. Of course, in the original Latin it means both.) The proper disposition of a child is one of respect for the teacher, similar to what he owes his parents. Without this respect (which obviously must be internal as well as external, or merely feigned) the teacher will hardly be able to fulfull his function. It is called for, therefore, by the end in view; but the essential basis of respect must be a perceived excellence. As in everything else, respect must be earned. To learn properly, one must be taught properly. An ignorant or stupid man, or a bad man, is no suitable teacher for anybody; the ignorant or stupid man, in the area of teaching, and the bad man in the area of discipline. The best teacher of the intellect will be the most brilliant and learned; of the will, the most virtuous. Now, let us suppose a bright or good child with an ignorant or bad teacher. Does he have an obligation to respect his teacher? To show him the respect owing to his office, yes; that is required simply by the authority conferred on him by his parents. To respect him in his mind? That is not possible except in the unfortunately possible case of the child being misinformed and corrupted by the one who should teach and discipline him. And the judgment in regard to either of these qualities is made by the intellect. I don't think a child has a hard time, necessarily, in distinguishing the two obligations. The main point here is that his intellectual respect for his teacher can only be based on a judgment (of the intellect, obviously) that his teacher is intellectually worthy of such respect; in other words, that he has something to teach him. And in many instances, that is simply not true. Such a judgment is a matter of truth, not of vanity or pride. The latter arise only as a disordered pleasure in one's own qualities (real or imagined). And, when it comes to particular instances of plain errors on the part of the teacher, not only is there no obligation to believe them (a completely irrational idea, a form of mental suicide, exactly parallel to allowing a teacher to seduce one into sin), but there is an obligation to do the opposite. (In fact, resistance to the known truth is one of the sins which cries out to Heaven for vengeance.)

Now, to apply this to the twofold power of the Church mentioned in the heading. They are separate and distinct powers. The Church possesses both, because she needs both. The plan of God is to heal us from the damage of sin in all our faculties, but principally in the spiritual faculties wherein lies chiefly His image and likeness after which He created us. The power of teaching heals our intellect; the power of commanding heals our will. The Church does not, in the first place, command us what to believe; she teaches us. However, her teaching has a character unlike any human teaching: it has the force of a command analogously speaking. It has absolute power over the intellect. This is not because we are commanded to believe (although we are), but because the Church possesses a credibility which makes its teachings absolutely certain. That certainty, of course, is based on the credibility of God Himself: supreme and absolute Truth, He who can neither deceive nor be deceived. If it is possible to surpass the credibility of our own senses and the simple facts of arithmetic, the credibility of the Church surpasses them. And--note this point carefully--it is exactly because of this credibility that we bow our wills to the Church also. It is because the Church teaches us that it has the power so to command, and that for our salvation we must obey, and that this is the command of God Himself. He who hears you, hears me. "Hear" first in the sense of "listen, and believe My teachings", and then in the sense of "obey My Commands."

The Church, of course, acts through human beings. The men of the Church, when they teach, do not necessarily make use of the ultimate power of certainty in each of their acts. But, as a general principle, the respect is owing to them as teachers which is owing to the Church as teacher. And by "respect," I mean the respect owing to a teacher deriving from acknowledgment of his competence as a teacher. That respect is based, again in a general sense, on the nature of the Church as our divinely-appointed teacher. It does not derive from the will, but from the intellect. In other words, it arises from the reasons for the credibility of these men even when they are not defining, and therefore judging (in that instance) with absolute certainty. And, in fact, Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, in the text recently cited, gives precisely this sort of motives for the respect (and assent) he demands.

And since this respect, necessarily involving assent to particular teachings, arises from motives of the intellect, it cannot be commanded by the will.

Someone might object that, according to Catholic teaching, the Faith is not presented to our mind with such clear evidence that the intellect is compelled to accept it. Rather, there is a point where the will puts an end to deliberation and chooses to believe. This is true of the conversion process, but it is also true in regard to natural faith. We may have plenty of reasons to doubt someone's word, along with reasons to believe it. If we are to act, the will must concentrate the mind on the reasons on one side to the exclusion of the other. Even here, there is no irrationality (necessarily), given that there is at least a probability as to the credibility of the person on which to base a judgment. (In coming to the Faith, of course, the extrinsic credibility of the proofs presented, e.g., in apologetics, is far higher than in a given, everyday example of merely human faith.) And of course, in choosing not to believe, it may well be a matter of simply turning the mind away from the proofs of the Faith to the goods of this world which might be jeopardized by becoming a Catholic.

However, what I am concerned with now is not the process of conversion, but the question of a believing Catholic, faced with the teaching authority of the Church (Canon Smith's subject). In this case, it is not a question of weighing the Church's claims, as for a non-Catholic. Rather it is a question of the motive for the respect owing to papal teachings. The credibility of the Church is already established by the virtue of Faith in such a person. In this case it isn't a question of the credibility of the Church, but of the degree to which the teaching authority is engaged in a particular act of teaching. But either way, the judgment of the intellect is based on the credibility of the particular act; and this is a motive proper to the intellect. The intellect can be commanded to cease thinking on the question; it can be commanded to consider only one side, or selected facets, of the issue; but it cannot be commanded to judge that a teaching is true or false, or that the teacher is more or less credible. We might think "The Pope knows more about it than I do," a very reasonable motive, and a perfectly Catholic and supernatural one (though it might even be based on a natural faith), but that is a motive of the intellect, not a command of the will. The very use of the words "reasonable" in this connection (and I am not saying the doctrine is perceived as "reasonable" according to our own ideas, but rather that the Pope would know more about it) indicates a connection with the reason, in other words, the intellect.

These are fundamental ideas, so if they are not immediately obvious, it might not be easy to make them so. I can only indicate the need to ponder things, as in any other matter.

Now my objection to Canon Smith's presentation of these two forms of authority is that he confuses the one with the other, and seems to say that an obligation to believe can arise from an obligation to obey. This utterly reverses the reality. His comment on the poor child that apparently is going to have to mention in his confession "Father, I didn't believe my teacher when he put '+b' in the quadratic formula instead of '-b'" was entirely gratuitous unless he is up to something sinister. All he had to say was that a child must have a general respect for his teacher, and a reasonable receptivity of his mind to his teachings. Such a respect and intellectual submission obviously doesn't involve the absurdity of believing something one knows to be false (which is a contradiction in terms). The fact that the Canon went on to say that we can't be bound to the impossible doesn't help matters. Why didn't he go back and correct his original statement to something that makes sense? And notice that he immediately makes an exception for the college student, for no apparent reason. Wouldn't the college student owe greater intellectual submission to a professor? It's obvious that the credibility of the professor greatly exceeds that of, say, a grade school or a high school teacher. Once again, credibility must be earned. The credibility of the Popes has been "earned" both supernaturally and naturally, and Pope Pius XII didn't disdain to explain some of those ways for our help, in his encyclical. He didn't just say, "Believe it because We command it."

So, in sum, Canon Smith in his article attempts, as it appears, to justify the claim of the Church for assent even to "non-infallible" teachings by the Church's ruling authority, rather than its teaching authority. If he was only referring to the obligation to refrain from publicly teaching or advocating certain ideas, that would be correct; this is a matter of discipline (and one of the highest importance, be it said). But he is considering also their binding character on our belief (and quite properly, since without belief, obedience is unlikely to follow, and heresy is very likely to, as we have seen for ourselves). If so, he has gone astray in a manner which can only gravely damage the Church's claim to both obedience and faith. Have I misread him? If so, I will recant; but if I have misread something, others may also, so these observations may be of help.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:20 am
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Thank you Mr. Larrabee for the interesting discussion; my question is just this: when the Church issues a "non-infallible" statement(s), can the error be dangerous or even a contradiction of previously taught doctrine, that is, "unsafe?"


Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:07 pm
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Dear John,

Thank you for your comments, which are well worthy of a response (as always). I will address them sometime after Christmas, except for a minor misunderstanding or two below. I thank you for your patience with me (I know I have tried it sorely) and for opening your forum to this discussion, and wish you and your family, and everyone who might read this, a very merry and holy Christmas and all of God's blessings for the coming year.

John Lane wrote:
If I were to pursue the Feeney case, I would insist that you show that Gary Potter was wrong when he stated that Fr. Feeney was looking for the "key" doctrinal problem which would explain the laxity/lack of faith of the average American Catholic years before the Raymond Karam/Boston College incidents took place. You ignored this before, and hinted that you reject Potter's witness as it seems reasonable to you, as the case requires, by saying that you don't take interpretations or opinions from Potter. But that is not an interpretation - it is a question of fact.


I don't recall your having mentioned this point before, as to the time factor, which is why I didn't comment on it. (Of course, I haven't had the time to respond to everything you've said.) I don't question the fact at all, but I don't understand the significance you put on this. Theologians are people who must examine doctrine, and investigate the sources of Revelation to determine the truth.

Quote:
If the Feeney were to be pursued, which I have interest in doing, we would need to return to the beginning of the case,

...

I also take issue with your suggestion earlier to the effect that it is impossible to "over-react" to doctrinal error. I think that is quite wrong, and I've already stated that several incidents known to me from reading history indicate the Rome was far from taking that view. I will endeavour to locate one clear example, from the life of Bishop Milner, and post it here. He is certainly a great hero of the Faith (and incidentally, his book converted the Barbers), and he was battling genuine error which was clearly dangerous in its context, and yet Rome cautioned him to moderation.


My comment about over-reacting could have been put more clearly, and I'm sorry if it was misleading. I didn't mean to imply that any form of behavior would necessarily be justified in reaction to heresy. Of course, Fr. Feeney may be liable to criticism for excesses of some sort. I meant simply that as far as our basic attitude and evaluation of the situation, it would be impossible to consider the danger of heresy in any but the gravest light. If Fr. Feeney and Msgr. Fenton both were appalled by the situation (assuming they were), that is exactly the attitude they should have had. I have no doubt at all that we agree on this.

I'm glad you are going to cover Bishop Milner; I would have brought him back up, if you didn't. If you have the time (of course, we'll both, I'm sure, be taking a hiatus of some length for Christmas), present the facts on him and we can discuss it. I don't see a very close parallel. Significantly, however, the same doctrine is involved to some extent, if I remember rightly. But Milner was involved in various controversies, and he wasn't silenced in any event- just told to stop publishing in a certain periodical. He published his book on the salvation controversy not that long afterwards in complete freedom. It seems his language and manner, rather than his doctrine, was the problem. He was not presented with any obedience dilemma; anyway, lay it out and let's take a look at it. A fine man, certainly. Flawed as we all are (with one happy exception).

I have prepared a good quantity of material on the salvation question which I only have to type in, but I'm running a bit late. I should be able to get at least a fair amount of it on today, and then some time after Christmas to move through the subject in at least an attempt at an orderly manner.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Divine Mother,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:25 am
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Dear Jim,

Before replying to your particular points, I'll table a couple of texts which I have considered useful. Here is an answer from the AER which suggests (I think very clearly), that any official act of the Roman Pontiff is infallible. See the italicised portion. This, from what I have read, seems plainly wrong. How to account for this text?

Qu. … Another question which obtrudes itself here is: Is it admissible that the Sovereign Pontiff could ever be heretical in his expressions on subjects of faith? And how could such expressions be distinguished as heretical since there is no authority above the Pope to judge the degree of his orthodoxy, which by reason of its coming formally from the actual head of the Church, is, it would seem, stamped with the seal of infallibility?

Resp. … As to the question whether a Pontiff could be heretical in his expressions, it seems altogether futile. History has hitherto furnished no example of such an occurrence, though there have been allegations of the kind, as in the case of Honorius. If Christ has promised to keep the Church from error through the instrumentality of the Holy Ghost, we may suppose that He will keep the Pontiff, to whom He has committed the guidance of that Church, likewise from error. And as the weaknesses of members in the Church do not militate against this operation of the Holy Ghost, neither would the personal weaknesses of its head interfere with the divine promise. For the rest, the admission that the Pope, whilst personally peccable, yet in his office as supreme teacher and moderator of the Church is infallible, covers the whole case; nor is there any more difficulty here than there is in distinguishing between the official acts of a sovereign and his private deeds, not as a private man but as sovereign.

(Question and Answer, American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. XVII 1897, pp. 312 -314. Emphasis added.)

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Sun Dec 24, 2006 9:23 am
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Dear Jim,

A merry Christmas to you also and to all other readers. May Our Lady, ever virgin and yet dignified above all creatures by the incomparable dignity of the divine maternity, shower you with all blessings and graces this Christmas, and may Our Lord hasten the triumph of her immaculate heart so that all causes of serious dissension may dissolve into a common joy.

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Sun Dec 24, 2006 9:27 am
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The following is a chapter from the famous book by Brazilian lay-theologian Xavier Da Silveira, a friend and collaborator of Bishop de Castro Mayer. Da Silveira had done a great deal of research, surveying the opinions of no fewer than one hundred and thirty-six theologians on the "pope heretic" question, summarising their thought and cataloguing it scientifically so as to present, as well as he could, the status questionis of the “pope heretic thesis.” His book, in its French translation entitled, La nouvelle messe de Paul VI: Qu'en penser? was published in the very early ‘seventies. The relevant section of this work was translated into English by an anonymous writer, and published in the USA without approval in the 1970s. Subsequently it was re-published in English by Catholic Research Institute, Spokane, Washington, circa 1999, as Can the Pope Go Bad?




CAN THERE BE HERESY IN DOCUMENTS OF THE PONTIFICAL OR CONCILIAR MAGISTERIUM?

In the previous chapter we have shown that the existence of some error in official non-infallible documents of the Magisterium - be it episcopal, conciliar or pontifical - is not, in principle, impossible.

Here we must carry on our investigations of the matter, asking ourselves if, in principle, beyond errors there could be some heresy in such documents.

In order to simplify the treatment of the question, we are going to take it up directly at its most thorny point: in principle, can one admit the existence of heresy in some official pontifical document, though evidently not an infallible one? Or do the Catholic teachers who do not reject the hypothesis of a Pope heretic only air the possibility of his fall into heresy as a private person?

We said that, focalising the question directly in this its thorny point, we would be able to resolve it in the most simple manner. Indeed, in case the hypothesis of a Pope teaching some heresy in an official document of the Magisterium is not to be excluded on principle, then with equal reason there could be heresy in a non-infallible conciliar document1 and - what all admit and History does not permit one to put in doubt - in official pronouncements of bishops.

1. A hasty answer

A superficial examination of the passages in which the great theologians have treated the problem of a Pope heretic, would lead a hasty reader to make, in an immediate and peremptory way, a negative answer to the question which we present.

Really, all the authors whom we know to have studied the hypothesis of a Pope heretic formulate the question only in relation to the eventual heresy of the Pontiff as a private person. Such being the case, it appears inevitable to conclude that it is theologically impossible to have heresy in an official pontifical document, that is, in a pronouncement of the Pope as a public person.

We cite below some texts which indicate well the terms in which the theologians usually formulate the question.

The chapter in which Saint Robert Bellarmine expounds his opinion on the possibility of a Pope heretic is entitled: “On the Pontiff as a private person”. And the great Jesuit doctor formulates his opinion in the following terms:

“It is probable, and piety permits one to believe, that the Supreme Pontiff not only cannot err as Pontiff, but also that as a private person he cannot be a heretic believing pertinaciously something false contrary to the Faith.”2

Suarez writes:

“Though many sustain, with verisimilitude, (that the Pope can fall into heresy) (...), to me however, in a few words, it seems more pious and more probable to affirm that the Pope, as a private person, can err through ignorance, but not contumaciously.”3

Dominicus Soto, the Dominican of the XVI Century, taught:

“(...) though some masters of our time sustain that the Pope cannot be a heretic in any way, the common opinion is however the opposite one. For though he might not be able to err as Pope - that is, he could not define an error as an article of faith, because the Holy Spirit will not permit it - nevertheless as a private person he can err in faith, in the same way that he can commit other sins, because he is not impeccable.”4

The Jesuit moralist Paul Laymann (+ 1625) wrote:

“It is more probable that the Supreme Pontiff, as a person, might be able to fall into heresy even a notorious one, by reason of which he would merit to be deposed by the Church, or rather, declared to be separated from her (...).

Observe however, that, though we affirm that the Supreme Pontiff, as a private person, might be able to become a heretic and therefore cease to be a true member of the Church, (...) still, while he were tolerated by the Church, and publicly recognized as the universal pastor, he would really enjoy the pontifical power, in such a way that all his decrees will have no less force and authority than they would have if he were truly faithful (...).”5

The canonist Marie-Dominique Bouix (+ 1870) expounds his thinking in the following terms:6

“In the first place, therefore, we have said that the papal heresy of which we treat here does not constitute an evil so grave that it necessarily obliges one to think that Christ would desire the deposition of such a Pontiff. We are treating here, really, of exclusively private heresy, that is, professed by the Pontiff not as Pastor of the Church and in his papal acts and decrees, but only as a private teacher and limited to his personal sayings and writings. Now, since the Pope always teaches the true faith when he defines the pronounces as Pontiff, the faithful are sufficiently secure, even though it be known at the same time, that the Pope himself adheres privately to some heresy. All will easily understand that an opinion defended by the Pope as a private teacher would be completely lacking in authority, and that he would only have to be obeyed when he defined the imposed truths of faith officially and with his pontifical authority”7

The neo-scholastic canonist Matthacus Conte a Coronata, O.M.C., studying the diverse cases in which the Pope loses the Pontificate, observes that one of them is falling into notorious heresy. And, in this respect, he writes:

“Some authors deny the supposition, that is, that there could be a Roman Pontiff (...). However it cannot be proved that the Roman Pontiff, as a private doctor, cannot become a heretic (...).”8

v v v
It would be useless to multiply citations. The theologians are unanimous in presenting the problem to this manner. The doubt which is raised refers exclusively to the possibility of heresy in the Pope as a private person.

We believe however that he would err who judged that he saw here a decisive argument in favor of the thesis that the Catholic Tradition has always excluded, in an absolute way, the possibility of heresy in a document of the Pontifical Magisterium.

This is what one verifies, salve meliori judicio, by a more detailed analysis of the matter.

2. A forgotten hypothesis

The reading of some of the texts which we have just presented, and even more of the ones which we shall present shortly, reveals a curious and unexpected fact. On studying the question of a Pope heretic, both the ancients as well as the moderns have considered only two kinds of Papal acts: the infallible pronouncements, and the private ones. The official but not infallible documents do not appear to exist.

Note the argument of Soto: The Pope cannot err as Pope, that is, on defining an article of faith, because the Holy Spirit will not permit it; but he can err as a private person. - The great Dominican did not consider the third hypothesis: that of the Pope who makes a pronouncement as Pope, but without defining an article of faith.

See also what was argued by Bouix: the heresy of the chief of the Church would not be so grave because it would be restricted to his private person, at the same time that one would have to obey him without fear of error “when he defined and imposed truths of faith officially and with the pontifical authority”. Now, neither did Bouix consider the third hypothesis: that of a Pope heretic who pronounced “officially and with the pontifical authority”, but without “defining and imposing truths of faith”.

The same silence about this third hypothesis occurs in the texts which follow, in which now they treat of the question of the Pope heretic, now of the pontifical infallibility:

Cardinal Camillo Mazzella wrote:

“(...) it is one thing that the Roman Pontiff cannot teach a heresy when speaking “ex cathedra” (what the Council of the Vatican defined); and it is another thing that he cannot fall into heresy, that is becomes a heretic as a private person. On this last question the Council said nothing, and the theologians and canonists are not in agreement among themselves in regard to this.”9

Later, the silence of Cardinal Camillo Mazzella about the aforementioned third hypothesis becomes even more strange:

“(...) the Supreme Pontiff can act as a teacher in two ways: in a first way, in that which he has in common with all the other private teachers, for example on publishing books or theological commentaries, like other theologians; in a second manner, when he teaches the whole Church as supreme and authentic teacher. In his capacity as private teacher, he does not enjoy any pontifical authority, and even less infallibility (...); but as supreme and authentic teacher he is infallible”10

On treating of the pontifical infallibility, the Jesuit theologian Horatius Mazzella wrote:

“By virtue of the gift of infallibility, the Pontiff cannot fall into heresy when he speaks “ex cathedra”: and this was defined in the Vatican Council. But the theologians dispute whether he can, as a private person, become a true heretic, adhering publicly11 and pertinaciously to an error against faith. As is evident, we treat (in this chapter on infallibility) of the Pontiff who speaks “ex cathedra”, and not as a private person.”12

The words of Dominicus M. Pruemmer, O.P.:

“It is the common opinion of the authors that for certain and notorious heresy the Pope loses his power, but they rightly doubt whether this case be in fact possible. Supposing that the Pope falls into heresy as a private man (for as Pope, being infallible, he cannot err in the faith), the divers authors developed various opinions to explain how he would be deprived of power; but none of these opinions is more than probable.”13

Saying that one of the conditions for the Pope to be infallible is that he speak as a public person, the manual of dogmatic theology of the Capuchins Iragui and Abarmusa indicates what the concept of public person excludes, thus:

“Not then as Bishop of a particular church, or as Patriarch of the Occident; in a word, not as a private person who converses familiarly about common things, exhorts the people in sermons, publishes scientific books, etc.”14

The Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, of the II Vatican Council, also presents an explanation of pontifical infallibility in which it counterpoises the Pope as a private person with the Pope when he uses his infallibility. Though shortly before the document had treated of the official non-infallible pontifical pronouncements, the silence in this text about the third hypothesis is worthy of attention. Here follows the text:

“(...) his definitions (those of the Pope) are irreformable as such and not by virtue of the consent of the Church, for they were uttered with the assistance of the Holy Spirit promised to him in the Blessed Peter. And for this reason they do not require the approbation of anyone nor do they admit of appeal to another tribunal. For, in the case in question, the Roman Pontiff does not speak as a private person, but expounds or guards the doctrine of the Catholic Faith as the supreme teacher of the whole Church, in whom in a special way resides the charism of infallibility of the Church itself.”15

3. A gap which has already been noted

Undoubtedly, one would not be able to admit that the theologians in general have purely and simply left in oblivion the existence of official non-infallible pontifical documents. Nor is this the affirmation which we make. We sustain, this yes, that about the concept of “private person” there is a certain imprecision in theological writings. And that such imprecision is responsible for the apparent exclusion, in the authors who treat the problem, of the possibility of heresy in non-infallible documents of the pontifical Magisterium.

To make our position clear, we make the three following observations:

1) Firstly, it is to the purpose to reaffirm that even the writings which have the gap pointed out admit somewhere the existence of official non-infallible pontifical documents.16

2) In the second place, note that numerous documents and treatises recognize, in a direct or indirect way, that it is in principle possible to have heresy in some non-infallible pronouncement of the pontifical Magisterium.

In relation to the letters of Pope Honorius to the Patriarch Sergius, for example - letters whose official character no one contests - it is common among theologians to find the explanation, presented even before the examination of their contents, that they do not compromise the privilege of infallibility because they are not “ex cathedra” documents. Now, such an explanation would be inoperative if it were altogether impossible to have any heresy in official non-infallible pontifical documents. An analogous explanation is given in the other cases, which history records, of papal pronouncements suspected of heresy.17

Moreover in relation to the letters of Pope Honorius, it must be observed that Adrian II, and with him the Roman synod and the VIII Ecumenical Council, admitted that in them there was heresy. It is true - as Saint Robert Bellarmine observes18 - that probably Adrian II was mistaken in his evaluation of the concrete case; it is certain, nevertheless, that he and the assemblies we cited judged it possible for there to be heresy in the aforementioned letters.19

3) In the third place, it is very important to observe that the imprecision with which many employ the expression “private teacher” have already been pointed out by the theologians. Below we give some examples of this worthy of note.

Immediately after showing that the Pope can make a pronouncement without involving his infallibility, Palmieri writes:

“In this hypothesis, one who speaks of his as a “private teacher” does not speak with sufficient propriety, for, while he does not speak with the plenitude of his authority, he speaks however with authority; for this reason, when he makes a pronouncement in this form the Roman Pontiff cannot be reduced to the category of any private teacher who has no authority.”20

In the Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, article Infaillibilitize du Pape, Dublanchy shows that there are non-infallible pontifical teachings, to which the faithful must however morally adhere.21 Refuting one possible objection against the principle that there exist such official but non-infallible pontifical pronouncements, he writes:

“It is true that in the XVI Century and in those that follow many theologians frequently give one to understand that the Pope speaks as a private doctor when he does not teach infallibly as Pontiff. As Saint Robert Bellarmine (De Romano Pontifice, lib. IV., cap. XXII);22 Banes (Commentaria in II-II, q.1, a. 10, dub. II, Venice, 1602, p. 127).23 But if one examines attentively all these assertions, which are besides frequently contradictory on account of totally opposing assertions, it is easy to verify that it is only a matter of answers given in passing to certain historical objections, without it having been intended to establish by this a doctrine applicable in a general way to all the cases in which the pontifical infallibility does not exist.”24

v v v
How can one explain such a lack of precision in the concept of “private doctor” in theologians of such authority? We believe that the explanation is to be found in the fact that only since the XIX Century have the official non-infallible pronouncements of the Pope become object of more profound studies.25 Before that, the matter was undoubtedly treated, but in a not very explicit and clear way; for this reason certain less appropriate expressions were employed,26 which the more recent authors have still not defined exactly or even duly rectified.

4. A hypothesis which still stands

In consideration of the reasons expounded, we do not see how to exclude, in principle, the hypothesis of heresy in an official document of the pontifical or conciliar Magisterium which does not include the conditions which would make it infallible.

Consequently, if some time a heresy were found in an official non-infallible pontifical or conciliar document, one would not have to conclude, with that, that the Holy Spirit had failed His Church. Nor would the absurdity of the hypothesis oblige one to find, at whatever cost, a non-heretical interpretation for the text indicated as being opposed to the faith. Nor would one apply the celebrated saying of Saint Ignatius in these circumstances:

“that which appeared to us as white, we would hold to be black, if the Holy Church declared it so.”27

In conclusion: the admirable Ignatian principle, complete expression of faith in the infallibility of the Pope and the Church, holds without restrictions for the pronouncements of the Magisterium which involve infallibility. But he would be wanting in the very “feeling with the Church” who attributed to this saying a comprehension which Catholic doctrine does not justify - interpreting it for example, in the sense that one must accept always and unconditionally even against the evidence, each and every non-infallible teaching of the ecclesiastical Magisterium.

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Sun Dec 24, 2006 9:33 am
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New post Re: children raised at the Saint Benedict Center
James Larrabee wrote:
Lance Tardugno wrote:
I have several biographies of Saint Alphonsus, including Miller's. I cannot find, in any of them, that Saint Alphonsus was excommunicated. Is it possible you are mistaken and are confusing excommunication with the fact that he was removed from the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer? I could be wrong on this, but I don't think so.


Lance, my apologies. You are probably right. Perhaps someone else misstated this or I mixed it up all by myself. I'll withdraw this allegation. Nevertheless, it remains that St. Alphonsus was removed from his superiorship and the congregation suppressed in part by the Holy See, which would have been a serious stain on the reputation of anyone but a St. Alphonsus, and without further consideration of his character at the time, would have argued serious deficiencies on his part, at least in prudence. Likely there was some failing in prudence, however slight. No saint is perfect; maybe 99 and 44/00 percent.

The issues involved here were the regalism or Josephinism in the kingdom of Naples (I believe) attempting to usurp papal power. The fledgling Redemptorist congregation was caught in the middle. A layman at the time, unable to judge all the issues, could easily and forgivably, even quite reasonably, have concluded that St. Alphonsus was unsound on these very weighty matters involving canon law and theology, he might even have thought him a dangerous man to be shunned, his judgment to be mistrusted, but he would have been wrong.

Incidentally, do any of the other biographies even mention this incident? Just curious.

Regards,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Dear Jim,

Sorry that I didn't answer your question in a more timely fashion. I have nearly all of Saint Alphonsus' biographies including Berthe's huge two volume set and Tannoia's five volume work. Incidentally, Tannoia was an intimate friend of Saint Alphonsus and relates many "personal experience" stories in his life. I read Tannoia's compilation several years ago. I believe he suggested that Saint Alphonsus was tricked into signing the document in question as his eye site was extremely poor. When he found out the truth, he grievously lamented what had happened. When the process of beatification was opened shortly after his death, Pope Pius VI himself, after the Congregation of Rites, confirmed the innocence of Saint Alphonsus and declared him venerable. This is the same pope who removed him from his congregation! I hope this helps.

Have a Merry Christmas,

Lance


Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:19 pm
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Quote from 'Steve McQueen'..."I agree with the sys admin's post on page one that Matatics is wounded by being imersed in the Protestant culture and thinking for so long, like the Dimond Brothers, and even myself; it can take a while to learn how to disect things in a catholic way. This and the crisis of the faith can make one embrace an easy, clear cut solution like feeneyism".

True and succinct... though rather strangely framed. One of the strong temptations of the Protestant mindset is a desire for the limelight...the pulpit... I, conversely, think of all those contemporary converts from protestantism who go about their simple, unannounced lives in a world-gone-mad, who seek only God's approbation... desiring only to be truly Catholic, though unknown to the ever-hungry audiences looking for a champion to appear. The Champion appeared at Bethlehem. The teachings of His Bride are here for all to embrace, as they have been for 2000+ years.

BarJonas

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New post Boston Heresy Case: chronology
Sources:

Gary Potter, After the Boston Heresy Case. (Monrovia, Calif., Catholic Treasures Books, 1995) Cited as "PT"

Thomas Mary Sennott, They Fought the Good Fight (Monrovia, Calif., Catholic Treasures, 1987). Cited as "S"

Brother Robert Mary, M.I.C.M. Father Feeney and the Truth About Salvation (Richmond, N.H., St. Benedict Center, 1995). Cited as "RM"

Events prior to the suppression of the Center (April 1949)

1936

The St. Thomas More Lending Library and Book Shop, the predecessor of the St. Benedict Center, founded in Cambridge, Mass. by three laywomen. Catherine Goddard Clarke hired as manager. (PT 47)

1940 3/19

St. Benedict Center begun at 23 Arrow St., Cambridge. “Informed by Catherine Clarke of the center’s plans, and indeed of the fact that the center was to be located just across the way in the former furniture store, Msgr. Hickey [the local parish priest, also, at least later, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese] reacted in a positive way, even offering to help pay the rent.” (PT 49)

Later Mrs. Clarke desired to add a Catholic bookstore to the existing lending library at the Center. “Msgr. Hickey … was initially hospitable to the idea … However, he subsequently changed his mind.” In consequence, the bookstore idea was not carried out.

The Center’s activities apparently consisted of lectures on Catholic subjects, discussion groups, and the library. (PT 52)

“When the Center’s lease was up for renewal in 1942, it was not clear to Catherine Clarke whether she and her associates were still in Msgr. Hickey’s favor. He had lately seemed somewhat remote. Accordingly, she hesitated to approach him. In the event, there was no reason to fear that St. Paul’s pastor no longer supported the center. His praise for its work was generous. ‘We were relieved and overjoyed.’” (PT 52)

1942

Fr. Feeney (already a frequent but part-time lecturer at the center) became spiritual director of the Center. Permission was sought by Mrs. Clarke through Mgr. Hickey; the request was in turn forwarded by the Archbishop to the Jesuit Provincial, Fr. McEleney, who appointed Fr. Feeney full-time to the Center. Fr. McEleney commented two years later, “I am grateful to St. Benedict Center for the unusually fine boys it has sent, through Fr. Feeney, to the Jesuit Order.” (PT 54)

1946 Aug. (approx.)

St. Benedict Center became "officially registered as a Catholic school eligible to receive benefits under the G.I. Bill of Rights." Reported by Avery Dulles, who was active in the Center at that time (in S 193)

1946 Sept.

From the Housetops begins publication. Articles by Archbishop Cushing appear in Dec. 1946 and March 1947. “When it [the first issue] came out, Msgr. Hickey … walked across the street to say he liked the first issue of Housetops very much.” (PT 59)


1946 (about the same time)

Fr. Feeney forbids "Harvard Jesuits", whom he considers an open scandal, to frequent the Center. 24 Jesuit priests were attending Harvard U. at that time, sitting in classes of "atheists and Marxist sympathisers" [as well as sexual perverts, cf. PT 114], listening to attacks on Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin, the Church etc., without protest.

1947 Apr. 5.

Temple Morgan, of the J.P. Morgan family, baptized by Fr. Feeney and shortly afterwards leaves Harvard and enrolls at the Center. (Morgan was perhaps the most prominent of the 200 or so converts which flowed from Harvard, Radcliffe, and other secular institutions into the Catholic Church, and into the religious life, as a result of Fr. Feeney's teaching at the Center.) The Morgan family complained to Archbishop Cushing and to Fr. Feeney's Jesuit superiors. (Morgan eventually became a Trappist.) In addition to the converts, Catholic students left secular institutions under Fr. Feeney's influence. Soon, a number of them found that the religious atmosphere and teaching at Catholic colleges, such as the Jesuit Boston College, were little better than the places they had left, leading to further resignations, and disgruntlement by unbelievers and by liberal Catholic parents. (PT 71)

1947 (summer?)

"Sentiment and Emotion," an article by Fr. Feeney, published in the 4th issue of From the Housetops. (PT 65)

1947 Sept.

“Sentimental Theology”, an article by Fakhri Maluf (later known as Brother Francis) published in From the Housetops. First mention of the dogma "No salvation outside the Church" in the magazine. (PT 66)

1947 Oct.

Public visit by the Archbishop, effusively praises the Center and Fr. Feeney several times.

1947 Fall

"Evelyn Uberti, a young Catholic woman and an honor student at Radcliffe [a prestigious secular women's college], resigned from that college and joined the Center School." Her parents complained to Bishop John Wright, the auxiliary bishop. Wright meets with Fr. Feeney and requests that From the Housetops be submitted to ecclesiastical censorship. (This was done.) (PT 73) Catherine Goddard Clarke comments: "For the first time, censorship for our magazine was being talked about. Why, we asked ourselves? Other Catholic magazines had no imprimatur. Had we said something that was not sound doctrine? No, we were told, we hadn't, but we had said something controversial. Was a defined doctrine of the Church controversial? No one answered us." (in S., 207)

Late 1947-early 1948?

Fr. Francis McManus, S.J., said in Dr. Fakhri Maluf's class at Boston College (where he was an assistant professor), in behalf of a fund-raising drive for the B.C. Business School, "We do not proselytize here." (PT 89)

1948 Feb. 16

In a newspaper article, Archbishop Cushing is quoted as "calling for an end of feuding over religious dogmas and a resurgence of tolerance and magnanimity." (PT 89)

1948 May 2

Procession on grounds of the Archbishop’s residence, with 1200 friends of the Center carrying a statue of the Infant of Prague which had been blessed by Cardinal Beran of Czechoslovakia. Archbishop Cushing observes, and blesses the attendance. (PT 68)

1948 May

Bishop Wright speaks at the Liberal Union of Harvard U. Cushing, at about the same time, dines at Harvard's Lowell House, promises to "look into" the Center as to their "method," after being asked by a student if he approved of the Center. The Center had strong grounds for believing that these meetings portended their future suppression (or "re-education"). (PT 75)

James Walsh, a Center member teaching at Boston College, is ordered by Fr. Stephen A. Mulcahy, S.J., Dean of Arts and Sciences, not to teach "Fr. Feeney's doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church." He further said, "Boston College has gone on very well for over 70 years without bringing this question up, and you're not to teach it now." He refuses to explain what error, if any, there was in the teaching. He says that teaching the doctrine to non-Catholics causes them to have "erroneous consciences."(PT 88)

1948 Aug. 8

Archbishop Cushing says, at Milton, Mass., "I cannot understand any Catholic who has any prejudice whatsoever against a Jew or other non-Catholic. If there is any Catholic organization harboring such prejudices, I will assume the responsibility of remedying it." It was the Center which he had in view, as Catherine Clarke explains. (PT 89)

1948 Aug. 25

Fr. Feeney ordered to Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., to teach English. (A highly unusual move, given that the annual province assignments, on which, obviously, schools, students, etc., would rely, were routinely made in the early summer in a document called the "status", and changes would only be made for the most urgent reasons). He at first travels to Holy Cross, but returns after representations made to him by his associates of the Center.(PT 90) “Doctrine or discipline!”—Catherine Clarke

At the time of the change, Archbishop Cushing and Bishop Wright, who had both previously assured the Center members that no action would be taken without a full hearing, were on an ocean liner bound for Rome (to attend the beatification of St. Pius X, keeping their whitewash in good order). Urgent cables from the Center and from Fr. Feeney went unanswered. (PT 91)

1948 Sept. 9

Private meeting between Fr. Feeney his provincial, Fr. McEleney. The latter admits that the cause of the change is Fr. Feeney's doctrine, but refuses to state what is objected to. (PT 91)

1948 Dec.

“Liberal theology and Salvation”, an article by Raymond Karam published in From the Housetops.

1948 Dec. 2

Interview between Fakhri Maluf and Fr. Keleher, S.J., rector of Boston College. Keleher expresses his high personal respect for Fr. Feeney but disagrees with "his" doctrine. Maluf points out that it is defined dogma. Keleher answers, "I have never gone into the theology of it" but the other theologians in the Archdiocese disagree with it. (RM, 15-16; PT 96-99)

1948 Dec. Fr. Joseph P. Kelly denies the dogma "No salvation outside the Church" openly in his class in Modern Science and Philosophy at BC. (PT 99-100) (verbatim contemporary report posted elsewhere on this forum, under the topic “Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus")


1949 Jan.

“Some Observations” (on salvation outside the Church), a paper distributed privately by Fr. Philip Donnelly, S.J., head of the Dept. of Theology at Weston College, the Jesuit theologate. Circulated at Boston College and Harvard, and elsewhere. (S. 213)

1949 1/17

First beginnings of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart. Vow taken.

On the same day, Msgr. Hickey orally served notice on Fr. Feeney that From the Housetops was to be suspended by order of the Chancery Office. When requested to give notice in writing, so as to appeal to the Holy Office, Hickey answers, "If I were you, I wouldn't try that." No written order was ever received. (PT 100-101)

1949 1/24

3 professors at Boston College (a Jesuit university), associated with the Center, protest heresy being taught at BC to the rector, Fr. William Keleher, S.J. The heresy was the open denial of the defined dogma “No salvation outside the Church.”

1949 2/11

St. Benedict Center sends a letter to Pope Pius XII protesting same heresy.

1949 2/24

Center sends letter to Fr. J.B. Janssens, S.J., General of the Jesuit Order, protesting the same heresy. Fr. Janssens does not reply.

1949 Apr. 1

Long meeting between Fr. Feeney and Fr. Vincent McCormick, S.J., the American Assistant (senior adviser to the General at Rome for the American provinces). Fr. McCormick, a former dogma professor and Fr. Feeney's teacher, refuses to go into the doctrinal reasons behind Fr. Feeney's suppression. Of Karam's article (which Fr. Feeney said was his own doctrine) he says only that there are some things in it which he disagrees with. When asked what those are, he refuses to explain. (PT 107 ff.)

1949 4/5

Formal acknowledgment of Center’s appeal to the Pope sent by Archbishop Montini, Substitute [Pro-] Secretary of State.

1949 4/13 (Spy Wednesday)

Four teachers fired (the three professors mentioned above, and a teacher in Boston College High School), for refusing to retract their statements, under orders from the General.

1949 4/15 (Good Friday)

Spring issue of From the Housetops published, containing Raymond Karam's "Reply to a Liberal" (in answer to Fr. Donnelly's paper mentioned above). This article, dealing, as always, with the dogma "No salvation outside the Church," goes into the subject of Baptism of desire at some length, presenting essentially the position of St. Thomas, who is cited extensively. There is no denial of this doctrine. The magazine is sold outside various Boston churches following Good Friday services. (S 222-223; PT 119-120)

1949 4/16 (Holy Saturday)

The Boston Evening Globe reports, "Jurisdiction in the Boston heresy controversy will be in the hands of Archbishop Richard J. Cushing of the archdiocese of Boston, Vatican sources said today. These sources said jurisdiction in such cases is always entrusted to local church authorities." (PT 119)

1949 4/16 (Holy Saturday)

Fr. Feeney publicly defends the four men in a statement to the press. The press release was not published until Monday, when the following event had already taken place.

1949 4/17 (Easter Sunday)

The Center learns that the chancellor, Msgr. Walter J. Furlong, said to his mother, "The axe will fall on Monday."

Cable from the Center to the Holy Office, appealing to the Pope and the Holy Office, intimating the Archbishop's clear involvement in the persecution of the four teachers by Fr. Keleher, and protesting the dismissal of the teachers on account of maintaining the dogma "No salvation outside the Church." (PT 121)

1949 4/17 (Easter Sunday--late evening)

Archdiocese suspends Fr. Feeney, puts the Center under interdict. The reason given in the decree for Fr. Feeney's suspension (in full): "because of grave offense against the laws of the Catholic Church." No reason at all is given for the interdict on the Center. (S. 223)

1949 4/18 (Easter Monday)

Meeting of young Center members with the Archbishop, who, in effect, refuses to say or do anything in the matter, says "I'm just one poor man." Center members ask that he request a definition from the Pope. He answers, "I can't do that. Sometimes these things drag on for years." (PT 122-123)

Fr. Feeney announces to the press that Karam's article is being sent to the entire Catholic hierarchy, asking for their judgment on its doctrine. (A copy had already been sent to the Pope.) "This is a strange way to move into heresy, if that is what we are supposed to be doing." (PT 123-4)

Listening to radio reports throughout the day repeating the news of his and the Center's banning, Fr. Feeney says to his associates in the late afternoon: "At least the doctrine gets out each time. Maybe that is what Our Lady wants. And though is is made to look as if I am the only priest in the world who holds it, it is the truth, and the Holy Ghost can fructify it. Many souls will remember it before they die, and many may be saved. We can thank God for that." (PT 127)

"Toward the end of the afternoon, Father requested all who were not registered in the Center School to abide by the ruling of the Archbishop, and not come to the Center any more. ... The Center as such was to be closed. Only the School would remain open." (Clarke, in PT, 127) Fr. Feeney later stated, in a letter to Pope Pius XII, "Although all the parties affected thereby [i.e. by the archdiocesan decree of suppression] have questioned the canonical validity of this decree, they have since observed its provisions in order to avoid public scandal to the extent that they have been able to do so without compromising the doctrines of the Faith." (S. 239)

Events subsequent to the suppression of the Center


1949? (month unknown)

Subsequent to the condemnation of the Center, "Archbishop Cushing scandalized every soul in the Boston Archdiocese with this flippant public proclamation: 'No salvation outside the Church? Nonsense!'" (RM 18)



1949 5/28

Fr. Feeney appeals to Pope Pius XII in a long letter.

1949 9/3

Archbishop Cushing or officials in the Archdiocese release carefully selected excerpts to the press from a confidential letter from the Holy Office, omitting references to the letter’s reiteration of the Church’s teaching on salvation outside the Church, but including strong denunciations of Fr. Feeney and the Center (for no specified errors).

1949 10/10

Fr. Feeney dismissed from the Jesuit Order.

1950 8/21

Publication of encyclical Humani Generis of Pope Pius XII. One (and only one) statement of this document bears on the Feeney controversy: “There are some who reduce the Church’s doctrine on salvation to an empty formula”. Fr. Feeney had previously made the same comment almost verbatim. (PT 142)

The vindication which Fr. Feeney and his group anticipated as a result of Humani Generis did not come. They were left in limbo, as though the encyclical had never been published. No further action was taken by the Archdiocese for a full two years. (Rome, indeed, had taken no action at all.) At that time (in Sept. 1952), the full text of the letter of the Holy Office was published, and Fr. Feeney was threated with laicization by Archbishop Cushing. What was the reason for this long delay? None of the sources I have seen even attempt to explain this. It might easily be seen as a way of allowing time for Humani Generis to be forgotten, while Fr. Feeney's many enemies sought a way of finally removing him from Boston.

(to be continued)


Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:09 am
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Pax Christi,

Dear James,

A few comments.....

Quote:
Publication of encyclical Humani Generis of Pope Pius XII. One (and only one) statement of this document bears on the Feeney controversy: “There are some who reduce the Church’s doctrine on salvation to an empty formula”. Fr. Feeney had previously made the same comment almost verbatim. (PT 142)


Admitted this might be a similar form of expression, however , I would think it is up to you to prove it was in fact directed in the positive towards Fr. Feeney's doctrines.

This type of observation cuts both ways, in Section 21 of Humani Generis the EXACT wording also posted in the Holy Office letter of Aug 8th 1949 is emphasized regarding the role of theologians and the teaching of doctrine thereof:

" in that sense in which it has been defined by the Church."" HG par 21. Which was also from the pontificate of Pope Pius IX. Fr. Feeney in the Bread of Life regarding Justification and Baptism does not appear to follow this...


Quote:
The vindication which Fr. Feeney and his group anticipated as a result of Humani Generis did not come. They were left in limbo, as though the encyclical had never been published. No further action was taken by the Archdiocese for a full two years. (Rome, indeed, had taken no action at all.) At that time (in Sept. 1952), the full text of the letter of the Holy Office was published, and Fr. Feeney was threated with laicization by Archbishop Cushing. What was the reason for this long delay? None of the sources I have seen even attempt to explain this. It might easily be seen as a way of allowing time for Humani Generis to be forgotten, while Fr. Feeney's many enemies sought a way of finally removing him from Boston.


Unfounded speculation with no support provided. I would like to remind you this is not FishEaters nor Angelqueen, in matters so important to Catholics, please refrain from unfounded comments.

In Xto,
Vincent


Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:39 pm
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New post The St. Benedict Center crusade, seen through their own eyes
Here are some excerpts from The Loyolas and the Cabots by Catherine Goddard Clarke, to show the general religious and political position of the Fr. Feeney and his group, and of the U.S. Church at the end of World War II, years before their condemnation.

From chapter 7:

"We were never quite the same, at Saint Benedict Center, after the dropping of the atom bomb. It seemed to have shocked us awake. It was almost as if we saw the life around us for the first time. The scales fell from our eyes, and we beheld clearly as actualities many things which we had dreaded might one day be the outcome of our exclusively humanitarian society.

"There was worried talk about the revival of Communism. We had never been happy about America's alliance with Russia during the war, and we were unpopular, often, for saying so. However, we felt that Communism, like Nazism and Fascism, had within it the elements of its own destruction. We were most disturbed about the silence of the Church at this time. Surely now the Church should be giving the challenge of Christ to the ailing world. Surely it should be shouting from the housetops for men to halt in their pagan plunge to destruction. Was there nowhere the voice of a St. Paul, or a St. Augustine, a St. John the Baptist who would bellow in all the land?

"We waited and we listened, but no strong voice arose above the noise of the world. There was only the jubilant announcing of a new age, the atomic age, born out of the abandonment of a Christian principle!" ...

It may easily be seen from the historical record that the silence in the face of the Communist takeover of Eastern Europe, and the near takeover of much of Western Europe, involved Pope Pius XII himself.

On the experience of the soldiers returning to study at Harvard after the war:

"These men completed the change in St. Benedict Center's policy. Father saw the eagerness go out of their faces after they had been going to school a few months ... At the Government's expense and their own time, they told us, they were being taught, by professor after professor, the very doctrines which had brought on the war they had just been fighting. Many of these professors had been lecturing, safe in their classrooms, all through the war. The students had not gone to battle, so they told us, to rid the world of Military Nazism only to return to college to be taught to base their thinking on Nazi ideology, in the philosophy of Hegel, the psychology of Freud, the sociology of Karl Marx. If these thinkers and their numerous progeny were telling the truth, all right; but it had taken a global war to prove that their fruits were the fruits of error, and not of truth.

"On the one hand, in various classes, students were told that God did not exist; man could know nothing outside his mind; the very fact of his existence was doubtful; religion was something devised for the control of the masses; there was no such thing as an immortal soul (much less a heaven to go to after death). On the other hand, they were told that man's mind was God. In a few years, man would have discovered the secret hidden in the universe from the dawn of evolution, and he could create and destroy at will!

"The concept of God had no meaning in physics, the students came to find out, because it was impossible to verify the concept or to experiment upon it. It was impossible to examine God, or to investigate Him. And so, therefore, the concept of God was to be disregarded in physics. One of our students was given to understand that he could be a good geomorphologist, but in order to do it he would have to make geomorphology his religion.

"Graduate students in science came to Father for help. They were shaken by the magnitude of the horror that could come upon the world from their own work, and by what seemed to be a complete lack of moral responsibility on the part of their teachers. Indeed, moral standards seemed completely to be breaking down everywhere. A student said to Father Feeney one day, 'I wouldn't give to you or to anyone else authority to set up a system of right and wrong. Anything is right to do if a man thinks it is.'

"'Is that so?' asked Father. 'Well, let's see. How would you feel about murder, for instance? Would you hold it was right for a man to murder his mother?'

"'Well, I wouldn't murder my mother myself. But if somebody else murdered his mother, I would hold it was the right thing to do if he believed it was.'

"'What if it was your brother who murdered his mother?' Father asked. The student made no answer."

...

"One morning Father found two war veterans waiting for him. They were unhappy. 'We were just thinking, Father,' they said, 'of where we would send our children to school, if we had any. We wouldn't send them to any school we know, Catholic or non-Catholic.'

"'What's the matter with the Catholic schools?' Father asked them.

"'You tell us, Father', they answered. 'We've just been talking to a fellow who's left the Church. He and four others. Five of them. And they all come from that Catholic preparatory school in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.'

"'Nothing adds up', the boys said."


Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:49 pm
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Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 1:08 am
Posts: 103
New post The St. Benedict Center crusade (2)
From chapter 8 of The Loyolas and the Cabots:

"During the academic year 1946-47, under our new policy of fearlessly telling the truth, the
number of Father Feeney's converts increased. Many non-Catholics liked what Father was
saying. It was what they had been looking for, the truth spoken as by one having authority.
Our trouble has come not so much from non-Catholics, as from Catholics. The American
Catholic is a sort of diluted Catholic, made so by force of circumstance, and the Boston
Catholic is a sort of Catholic all by himself."
...

"The Center courses, during these academic years, doubled. The evening lectures were so
filled that we had to turn people away, sometimes as many as two hundred at a time. Father
Fitzpatrick, of St. Paul's, and I went over the Center, vainly trying to make more room in
order to accommodate those who wished to come to us.

"Our vocations also increased, as did our engagements and marriages."

...

"Monsignor John Wright was our frequent guest at this time. He seemed to enjoy dropping in
during the evening, to listen to Father's stories and the students' skits."
...

"Father Feeney used to say that the tragedy of conversions to the Faith was that after the
catechumen had finished instruction and had received the sacraments, he had no Catholic
culture into which to return with his Faith. He was obliged to go back into our secularized
society, where it was impossible to tell a Catholic from a non-Catholic. There used to be a
time when this was not so, when becoming a Catholic meant a conversion in a total sense.
This is no longer true in the United States, due, in no small part, to the secularization of
our ecclesiastics, themselves."


Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:59 pm
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