After reading the title of this post, you might be thinking, "Not another discussion of Baptism of Desire (BOD) and Baptism of Blood (BOB)." Not to worry, it's not really going to be a discussion of that topic, but a related matter. Most people may not be aware that heresy is rarely ever limited to one topic. Deny one doctrine of the Faith, and you fall away completely from the Church and God's protection from error. The so-called "Boston Heresy" case involving Fr. Leonard Feeney is a perfect example.
In brief, Leonard Feeney was born on February 18, 1897, in Massachusetts. He entered the novitiate of the Jesuits in 1914 and was ordained a priest on June 20, 1928. In the 1930s, he was literary editor at the Jesuit magazine, America. He became a professor at Boston College, and soon became the chaplain at the Catholic Saint Benedict Center at Harvard Square in 1945. Reacting against the Modernist heresy that was beginning to surface after Pope St. Pius X had driven it underground, he began denying that BOD and BOB were part of the Church's teaching regarding Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (i.e., "Outside the Church there is no salvation"). He gained a large following. His Jesuit superiors ordered him to leave the Center for a post at the College of the Holy Cross, but after initially going there, he returned to the Center and repeatedly refused to comply with the order. Feeney was summoned to Rome to answer for his teachings, but he staunchly refused to go. On February 13, 1953, Fr. Feeney was excommunicated by Pope Pius XII for disobedience in refusing to go to Rome to answer the charges against him. Prior to his excommunication, Feeney set up a community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was "reconciled" with Montini (Paul VI) and the Vatican II sect in 1972, but was not required abjure his errors, causing his followers to rejoice and claim "his teachings were vindicated."
Interestingly, the heresy he left as his legacy, and which bears his name ("Feeneyism"), was never taught as 99% of his adherents teach it today. There are other disturbing facts about the teachings of Fr. Leonard Feeney, which will be the subject I address below.
Fr. Feeney was never a theologian or canonist
Despite the claims of many of his followers that he was some learned scholar, Fr. Feeney never held either a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD), or a Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD). His early writings were devotional works. In 1934 he published a collection of essays entitled Fish on Fridays which became a best seller. In it, he made it known he believed that it was possible for a Protestant to be saved (but not as a Protestant, of course, but as a Catholic received in the Church by that rare miracle of BOD). His later works, most notably Bread of Life (1952), set forth his false teachings. Theologian Salaverri, makes it clear that to be considered a theologian, that cleric's works must be known for "...orthodoxy of doctrine...at least to this extent recognized by the Church that their writings are used by the faithful and the schools, with the knowledge of and with no opposition from the Magisterium of the Church."(See Salaverri, Sacrae Theologiae Summa, Vol. IB, pg. 327, #857). Obviously, Fr. Feeney, a gifted writer, could not be considered either a theologian or canonist ( i.e., Church-approved expert in Canon Law).
Justification and Salvation
Justification is the passage from the state of sin to the state of sanctifying grace; salvation is the passage out of this earthly life and persevering to the end in the state of sanctifying grace so as to merit Heaven (either directly, or after time in Purgatory). The Sacrament of Baptism imparts an indelible character on the soul, such that it cannot be repeated. Feeney taught that the character was necessary for salvation. This has never been the teaching of the Church. If a validly baptized person commits mortal sin, they retain the baptismal character, but not sanctifying grace. The two are distinct and separable. In Bread of Life, pg. 118, Feeney writes, "Justification is now being turned into salvation with the aid of water."
If someone is justified, they have sanctifying grace. Baptism cannot turn anything "into salvation." This would mean you are somehow assured of going to Heaven as "justification by faith alone" Protestants falsely teach. On pg. 25 of his book we read: "...Baptism of Water, or damnation! If you do not desire that Water, you cannot be justified. And if you do not get it, you cannot be saved." Finally, as a "Q and A" format, Feeney presents his heretical teaching very clearly:
"Q. What does 'Baptism of Desire' mean?A. It means the belief in the necessity of Baptism of Water for salvation, and a full intent to receive it.
Q. Can 'Baptism of Desire' save you?
Q. Could 'Baptism of Desire' save you if you really believed it could?
A. It could not.
Q. Could it possibly suffice for you to pass into a state of justification?
A. It could.
Q. If you got into the state of justification with the aid of 'Baptism of Desire,' and then failed to receive Baptism of Water, could you be saved?
In other words, you can have sanctifying grace, but die and go to Hell unless you receive Baptism by water! A person in sanctifying grace is a child of God with the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in his soul. How could such a person go to Hell? They can't. Fr. Feeney on pg. 125, "I myself would say, my dear children, that a catechumen who dies before Baptism, is punished." Really? The 1917 Code of Canon Law states in Canon 1239, section 2, "Catechumens who, through no fault of their own, die without baptism, are to be treated as baptized." The commentary on this canon expressly states the reason. "The reason for this rule is that they are justly supposed to have met death united to Christ through baptism of desire." (See canonists Abbo and Hannon, The Sacred Canons, 2: 493). Moreover, the True Church has a special Mass for such catechumens. Fr. Feeney would have to reject such a Mass as impious. However, the Council of Trent infallibly declares, "CANON VII.--If any one saith, that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema."
Modern day Feeneyites, such as the Dimond "Brothers" realize the illogical position of Feeney, and so teach that without Baptism of water, no one is saved or justified. While more logically consistent (although totally false), they do not believe as Fr. Feeney did, but "improve" upon his teaching, a teaching demonstrably illogical as well as out of line with the teaching of the Church.
Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary--Serious Problems Abound
Fr. Feeney established the "Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary" (known by the Latin initials "MICM") without ecclesiastical approval and aided by a married laywoman, Mrs. Catherine Clark, on January 17, 1949. She took the name of "Sr" Catherine, and continued to live with her husband, Hank. Most of the members of the MICM were married and had children. They took vows of obedience and chastity. I'm sure you can see the problems already, without my commentary, but comment I will. Canon 542 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law makes it very plain that "Married persons for the duration of their marriage" "are invalidly admitted to the novitiate." (See Abbo and Hannan, op. cit., 1: 559, 558.) This means that they cannot become religious as long as their spouse is alive even though they may be "separated" and even if "the other spouse consents that his spouse may enter religion." (Ibid., 1: 560). And what of these ersatz "religious community's" children?
According to Feenyite author Gary Potter, in his book After the Boston Heresy Case, "The children's parents effectively ceased to exist as parents to the children, and more so as a child grew from three to five to ten and older. Care was taken that the children had no direct or special contact with their parents, save on a half-dozen major feast days during each year when the entire community would gather for socializing. On these occasions the children might chat with their parents, but after a certain time, the parents were seen by the children as scarcely more than another Big Brother or Big Sister." (pg. 171; Emphasis mine). It would be interesting if a study were ever to be done on what became of these poor children when they grew to adulthood. What happened to them can justly be deemed child abuse. Children have a right by natural and Divine Law to be raised by their married parents, and not reared as "siblings" of wannabe "nuns" and "brothers."
More Wacky Theology
In Bread of Life, pgs. 97-98, Fr. Feeney writes these most disconcerting words, "I think baptism makes you the son of God. I do not think it makes you the child of Mary. I think the Holy Eucharist makes you a child of Mary. What happens to those children who die between baptism and the Holy Eucharist?...They go to the Beatific Vision. They are in the Kingdom of Mary, but they are not the children of Mary. Mary is their Queen, but not their Mother. They are like little angels. There was a strong tradition in the Church that always spoke of them as 'those angels who died in infancy.' They have the Beatific Vision, and they see the great Queen, but not move in as part of the Mystical Body of Christ...I say: If a child dies after having received baptism, he dies the son of God, but not yet as the child of Mary..."
Baptism makes you part of the One True Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, yet Feeney talks of infants who die after baptism as not moving in Heaven as "part of the Mystical Body of Christ"? They are not true Catholics? Isn't Fr. Feeney contradicting his so-called "strict interpretation" of "Outside the Church no salvation"? The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Christ, the Invisible Head of the Church, and by extension, to each member of His Mystical Body. How dare Feeney call baptized infants who die before First Communion as "not a child of Mary." Note well he never cites to even one approved theologian, canonist, Encyclical, or other authoritative Church declaration in support of his novel ideas--and with good reason: there aren't any. More heresy.
Reconciliation with Montini and the Vatican II Sect
Fr. Feeney died "reconciled" to the false Vatican II sect under Paul VI (Montini). He was never made to recant his errors. This "hero" of the dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus refused to acknowledge that BOD and BOB are part of that very same dogma! He now finds favor with false pope Paul VI and was spoken of in glowing terms by arch-heretic "Cardinal" Avery Dulles. These heretics promulgated documents which, among other errors, declare false sects to be "a means of salvation." Yet just as Feeney could hold inconsistent views on other topics, so too, he was able to embrace the false sect of universal salvation and offer the Novus Bogus "mass." Leonard Feeney and the Law of Non-Contradiction, never were on speaking terms. ( The Law of Non-Contradiction maintains that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense and at the same time, e.g. "It is raining in NYC right now" and "It is not raining in NYC right now").
Summary and Conclusion
Rarely does heresy stay isolated. Those who deny Catholic teaching on BOD and BOB hold up as a modern day "savior" the late Jesuit, Fr. Leonard Feeney. This is a priest who:
- was never qualified as a theologian or canonist
- was disobedient to his lawful superiors and refused to report to the Holy See during the reign of Pope Pius XII and defend his teachings. He was subsequently excommunicated by Pope Pius XII.
- taught a strange, mixed-up notion of Justification and Salvation which is rejected even by his modern day followers
- started a "religious order" consisting of married couples with children without ecclesiastical approval and in violation of Canon Law
- abused the children of those "religious" by raising them communally and depriving them of their mother and father as God intended
- taught that baptized infants were not somehow in the Mystical Body of Christ and could not be considered "children of Mary"
- sought and received reconciliation in the false Vatican II sect which will accept ANY teaching as long as it isn't the teaching of the One True Church.
Notice how their most ardent supporters, the so-called Dimond "Brothers" have many of the same problems, they:
- Claim to be Benedictines, yet are sedevacantists. Having been born in the 1970s, they could not be members of the Traditional Benedictines, so they either are "self-appointed" or were made such by someone in the Vatican II sect they claim to abhor. More phony "religious."
- Have no formal ecclesiastical training or degrees, yet pontificate on every topic and damning to Hell anyone who disagrees
- Used to tell people they can attend the Mass of sedevacantist priests who are "heretics" (believe Church teaching on BOD and BOB), as long as they don't contribute money. By the same logic you could attend the Mass of an Eastern Schismatic/Heretic as long as you don't contribute money!
- Claimed that a Mass with the name of the false pope in the Canon (such as by the SSPX) is a grave evil to attend, yet for years attended the "mass" of the Eastern Rite Vatican II sect which always puts the name of the false pope in the Anaphora (their Canon)
- Currently tell people they can go to Traditionalist priests for Confession, but not for Mass and Communion, and of course, anyone who disagrees is damned to Hell. They are like the Jehovah's Witnesses sect whose teachings change frequently and often contradict prior teachings
- Have claimed to know that certain people who died were in Hell (we cannot know, except by special revelation who is in Hell except for Judas Iscariot)
- Have an unhealthy fascination with UFOs, and material that's fit to be published in supermarket tabloids
A Traditionalist friend of mine said that Feeneyites have a certain "sickness of soul." I agree. This sickness is present in all who reject the Church, and wind up far removed from the truth. Fr. Feeney is said to have "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus" inscribed on his tombstone. He died outside the Church in the false Vatican II sect. Wouldn't it be the ultimate irony if, by a miracle of Grace, God saved Fr. Feeney and brought him back into the Church at the moment of his death by the very means he denied?