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Coulombe on Fr. Feeney January 11, 2018

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, General Catholic, history, priests, sanctity, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

I posted some videos yesterday from the Tumblar House video interviews of Charles Coulombe.  Some folks liked the take Coulombe had on the difficult issue of the SSPX – in the video below, he tackles another very difficult issue, that of Fr. Feeney and his “excommunication.”  Once again, Coulombe covers a complex matter with subtlety and panache.  He rightly notes that if Feeney taught error, it would be very difficult to claim that many past popes, Saints, and Fathers did not similarly err.  That’s not to say Feeney did no wrong.  He may have gone a bit to excess in greatly diminishing the scope of baptism of desire, BUT at the same time the major thrust of his argument is one that cannot be rejected as false. That is to say, the process of condemning Feeney was abusive, in that there can’t be a dogmatic refutation of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus without throwing out vast portions of the Doctrine of the Faith, and condemning numerous great Catholic theologians in the process.

Another important point brought up below is the extent to which Feeney’s belief has been misrepresented.

Perhaps this take might be a bit controversial but it aligns well with my own study of the matter.  Like Coulombe, it’s not completely clear the extent to which Feeney formally taught error or was formally corrected for doing so, but I am certain that there has been a massive attempt, predating Vatican II by 20 years or more, to reduce Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus to meaninglessness, and that this move has played a primary role in practically neutering the Church’s grand 2000 year history of selfless evangelization:

Coulombe looks like he enjoys a good meal and a drink every now and then.  My kind of guy.

Note the key role Benedict XVI plays in the fleshing out of this argument.  That’s my main problem with the rejection of EENS in general and Father Feeney in particular – whatever the theological fine points, the major thrust has been the total gutting of the Church’s evangelization efforts AND a collapse in the lived Faith of tens of millions of Catholics, because the modern ecumaniacal approach that more or less everyone is saved, and in fact that one is essentially penalized by being a Catholic, has an impetuous internal logic that has eviscerated the great well of evangelical power the Church possessed until recent decades.

It is interesting to me how much venom is directed at Fr. Feeney and any perceived followers of the belief attributed to him, not by liberals, but by traditional Catholics.  It’s the reverse of the obverse side of the coin that says “SSPX = schismatic” as a knee jerk reaction, where the trads turn around and say “Feeneyites = heretics,” though the juridical standing of Feeney’s actual teachings was never fully settled, unless you want to go with the opinion of the same ordinary, Cardinal Cushing, who a few years later deliberately conspired with Planned Murderhood to overcome Catholic legislative resistance to get contraception legalized in his archdiocese and state.

Here is the book Coulombe references in the Q&A.  Seems like he rather strongly believes that the practical abjuration of EENS has played a vital role in the crisis in the Church.   If you want a little peak behind the veil at the kind of tactics used by the neo-Cath crowd (a term of convenience I don’t really like), make sure to read the really abominable review by Karl Keating.  Pure ad hominem – shocking, I know.  But I’ve already been called – in effect –  a no account scumbag almost certainly hiding some dire dark secret by Keating and his attack dog Shea for not broadcasting my “real name” on every post I make, though my name appears scores of times on this blog in various forms, so I have my own ax to grind, I suppose.

I’d appreciate reading your thoughts on Coulombe’s take on this subject.


1. richard - January 12, 2018

Charles makes a great point, regarding EENS. If Baptism of Desire is valid then, his example, that a person who dies in route to being baptized, must have been outside God’s ability to save. No, I think his point is well made. The death was allowed and his salvation void, for reason only known to God.

His other point, that you hit on, it being harder for those inside the Church, then those outside the Church to a happy death, is illogical.

Thanks for introducing him to us. He is good.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis

Numbskull - January 12, 2018

What about those who are baptised, yet still remain outside the Church (eg. Protestants)? I try to tell them by rejecting John 6, they are in serious jeopardy, but they are a stiff-necked people.

Tantumblogo - January 14, 2018

Baptism isn’t generally sufficient for salvation, speaking of adults, but it is necessary. That’s the way Cornelius a Lapide approached the matter – baptism is required for salvation but since we will sin, and mortally, much more is required.

2. Numbskull - January 12, 2018

Why do SSPX trads think feenyites are heretics? It seems both groups support EENS?

Numbskull - January 12, 2018

I took issue w Charles generalizing that trads claim those attending the N.O. Mass are going to hell. Otherwise, good video.

Tantumblogo - January 14, 2018

I think in that context he was using trad to mean SSPX-affiliated could be wrong. That would probably be a gross over-generalization, too, but I think he means the stereotypical “mean ol trad’ type. Probably.

Tim - January 12, 2018

Don’t paint with a broad brush. I’m an “SSPX trad”(at least most of the time now…..FSSP for years until they where run out of town on a rail by the local modernists). Actually, I am in the same catergory as Fr. Hesse……”just plain Catholic”. I do not think Feeneyites are heretics.

Now, if anyone denies EENS(or any other DOGMA) they are heretics and outside the Church.
“Baptism of desire” leads to the error of universal salvation…..what non-Catholic with a sane mind would not desire to be saved? So then the argument would lead to salvation as they did after all desire it. It also implies that God does not supply the graces needed to be saved to all……that is erroneous. The dogma is not EENSUYDI.

Chad - January 12, 2018

Your understanding of baptism of desire is erroneous. Within the doctors and patristics it has always and everywhere meant a desire to be baptized into the One True Church of Jesus Christ.

The modern era has laid confusion on the term as originally conceived and led many astray on both sides of the issue. Don’t give into the redefining of terms.

Tim - January 12, 2018

Is there Confession of desire, Marriage of desire, Holy Communion of desire, Confirmation of desire, Holy Orders of desire or Extreme Unction of desire?

Camper - January 13, 2018

Dear Tim, Chad is right. I don’t know what the terms for baptism of desire being valid are, but St. Augustine upheld baptism of desire. St. Augustine is one of the great doctors of the church, not Cardinal Wuerl. Really, baptism of desire is valid. We just can’t let it degenerate into clappy happy heresies.

Tim - January 13, 2018

Maybe, it is speculative theology. Like Mr. Coulombe said that he wished it were true, then salvation would be a piece of cake and we wouldn’t be bound to be Catholic.
It would essentially be “party on dude!!!….see you in Heaven!!!”…..boy wouldn’t that be great!!!

I’m sticking with water baptism for me and mine, and even with that we can still burn!

What’s Cardinal Wuerl have to do with this? Only a pope can define a dogma. Even the greatest doctors and theologians do not have that power.

The proof is in the “puddin”. Haven’t seen the “puddin”.

Old saying; “Protestantism is the best religion to live in, Catholicism is the best religion to die in”.

At the end of the day I DON’T care…I and my family are water baptized. I have to worry about the other ways I can screw up my chances at salvation.

Chad - January 13, 2018

You continue to use the term “baptism of desire” as modernists use it, to say that it is merely a desire for salvation. If you want to fall into modern errors and be a modernist, feel free to continue doing so.

But if you’re going to actually discuss the teachings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, you must use the terms and theology that they themselves use to indicate the actual thoughts and arguments they made.

Right now you are merely appearing ignorant and obtuse on this subject

Tim - January 13, 2018

Please show definative proof that this is a dogma and I will ascend. I’ve been asking priests of varying affiliations for years for this answer and so far nothing. Those who claim it to be a dogma without offering proof actually are the ones being ignorant and obtuse.
God bless,

Camper - January 14, 2018

Hey Tim. St. Augustine definitely said it in the City of God. If you would like a reference I might be able to give you a reference. I have read most of City of God. I would have to have the reference in my notes. Otherwise, there is no way I am rereading the City of God to find you one reference.

Tim - January 14, 2018

Did St. Thomas have the power to define dogma, Yes or No?

Has the City of God been declared dogmatic, Yes or No?

Did Aristotle have the power to define dogma, Yes or No?

Just asking.

Camper - January 14, 2018

Hi Tim. I think I’m being charitable and I hope you are too. St. Thomas and St. Augustine are part of the tradition of the church. Any theologian who writes off the corpus of St. Thomas and St. Augustine I believe would not be considered orthodox. I think the trouble here is what Chad is getting at. Modernists have twisted the dogma to mean that any sinner who doesn’t like sulfur can go to heaven even if he isn’t in a state of grace. Again, I don’t know what the terms for it being valid are, but it is part of the long-standing tradition of the church and therefore worthy of belief. Now please tell me your opinion. Does that sound orthodox? I wonder what you think.

Tim - January 16, 2018

What you and I think is irrelevant. What is defined is what is most important. I have asked for proof of this supposed dogma and as always the answer is silence or attack, never evidence to prove their position. Nothing new under the sun. I don’ think you are uncharitable Camper but my questions appear to be a stumbling block. If the goal is to get people to go with BOD 100%, then only proving the proof will give you the desired result. Dodging a straightforward answer with ignoring or continued non-answer arguing with the person asking only makes us more skeptical of BOD. Please show the PROOF or admit you can’t do it.
God Bless

3. blueskirtwaltz - January 12, 2018

To Tim: I was kicked out of an SSPX chapel in my locale for mentioning the dogma EENS. The priest at that time condemned me from the pulpit and told the gathered assembly not to associate with me. One of their priests, Fr. Francois Laisney, published a book many years ago entitled “Baptism of Desire” which supports BOD.

Charles Coulombe is a dear friend, and I have enjoyed many hours at his feet, so to speak, listening to him wax eloquent. And yes, he does enjoy a good meal, a bit of the hair of the dog, and a pipe now and then.

God bless all the readers of this blog and its owner in the new year and grant us all the graces we need to save our souls.

4. Chad - January 12, 2018

The brothers and sisters of the order Fr Feeney started in NH that I’ve met hold what the Church has traditionally held – that baptism of desire is, at most, able to save if it is tied to the desire to be baptized within the One, True Church founded by Jesus Christ. Such are what Sts Augustine and Aquinas taught.

Now, it is always stated by each, where I’ve read, that it would be due to an overflowing of God’s mercy, and not a sure thing. Thus, already outside the bounds of normal salvation, and merely a cause for hope. Augustine said when writing to on the Donatists that it could apply to those baptized by heretics that want to be Catholic, or those born into a heretical practice that believe it is the one true church. But the magisterium herself (to my knowledge) has declared nothing on such gray areas, so the faithful shouldn’t condemn one another over such speculation.

Tim - January 12, 2018

Not Doctrine.

Chad - January 12, 2018

Of course. Yet speculation with the Doctors of the Church as well as on a topic that has been promulgated within multiple catechisms. While I openly admit speculation is the state of the particular teaching discussed here, I also admit I look at skeptically at any who go astray from the teachings of the Doctor of Grace and Angelic Doctor until it has been declared more definitively than at the current moment

Tim - January 12, 2018

He was not infallible. He had not the authority or power to declare dogma. EENS is thrice DEFINED.
St. Thomas, with ALL due respect denied the Immaculate Conception. Just because something is in a catechism does not make it Dogma.

Camper - January 13, 2018

No offense, Tim, but have you studied much theology? I always roll my eyes when people talk about how St. Thomas denied the Immaculate Conception. While it is true that he did, that doesn’t change the fact that he absolutely deserves the title of Universal Doctor. People who give St. Thomas much of a hard time are ignorant also of the power that the writings of Aristotle give to St. Thomas’ thought.

5. imprimipotest - January 12, 2018

St. Thomas’ reflections on Baptism of Desire are more complex and subtle than presented in this talk. For example:

“If, however, some were saved without receiving any revelation, they were not saved without faith in a Mediator, for, though they did not believe in Him explicitly, they did, nevertheless, have implicit faith through believing in Divine providence, since they believed that God would deliver mankind in whatever way was pleasing to Him, and according to the revelation of the Spirit to those who knew the truth, as stated in Job 35:11: ‘Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth’.” S.T., II-II q. 2 a. 7 ad 3.

6. catholicthomaswoodpresscom - January 12, 2018

Re: Further Tensions

There is more to the story. Father Feeney 1897 to 1978 and Cardinal Cushing (1895 – 1970) also were opponents in other matters.

Well before Vatican II Cardinal Cushing was holding Mass in English.

Also in 1966 a little known Greek Orthodox member of the Legislature, Michael Dukakis introduced a bill legalizing the sale and possession of artificial contraceptives. The legislature was then dominated by devout Irish Catholic pols and no one thought it had a chance. Until Cardinal Cushing came out swinging for it.

The effort for the legalization of artificial contraception was a Catholic Doctor from Worcester, Dr, Rock, who invented the pill.

Cardinal Cushing was advised by John Courtney Murray S.J who insisted that Catholics could not impose their religious beliefs on non-Catholics (a theme he would develop as an expert adviser to the Bishops at Vatican II) which resulted in the well worn phrase used by Catholic pols “I am personally opposed to abortion but…”

A good summary (favorable to these evils) can be found here: http://bcm.bc.edu/issues/spring_2011/features/legal-aid.html

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Camper - January 14, 2018

Good for you, Mr. Comerford.

Dorothy L - January 15, 2018

How horribly sad about the contraceptives. They’ve contributed so greatly the the breakdown of marriage, and of the morality of our nation in general.

Richard W Comerford - January 15, 2018

Ms. Dorothy:

Thank you for your reply.

I am not a scholar, indeed I am a knuckle dragger, but it is my impression that Cardinal Cushing’s overt support for contraception was not an isolated incident. Throughout the USA Prelates facilitated teh introduction of contraceptives. And in Canada there was an open rejection of Humanae Vitae by the Bishops.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

7. Richard W Comerford - January 14, 2018

Mr. Camper:

Thank you.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

8. Richard W Comerford - January 15, 2018

Ms. Dorothy:

Thank you for your reply.

I am not a scholar, indeed I am a knuckle dragger, but it is my impression that Cardinal Cushing’s overt support for contraception was not an isolated incident. Throughout the USA Prelates facilitated teh introduction of contraceptives. And in Canada there was an open rejection of Humanae Vitae by the Bishops.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

9. blueskirtwaltz - January 16, 2018

The Doctors of the Church and catechisms are not infallible. We must remember that. The Council of Florence defined infallibly the dogma EENS.

Tim - January 16, 2018


Camper - January 17, 2018

Dear Tim,
I guess I would need to be a better theologian to be able to refute you, if such a refutation is possible. Specifically, I would have to know the issue in question much better and I would have to know how much weight the teaching of the doctors of the Church carries. The world needs some very well trained theologians right now, and I think the lack of such is hurting us tremendously.
I think your tone was rather brusque or strong, Tim. I’m glad you are trying to be charitable. Maybe you won the argument this time. God bless.

Tim - January 17, 2018

I am not trying to “win” an argument. I simply see people insisting that this stuff must be believed and I ask for proof so I can have a clear conscience. I’ve been asking for this proof on BOD for years and NO ONE has offered proof(including MANY priests). As far as my “tone”, be careful on making judgements from mere electronic characters on a screen. In this forum we cannot see the fellow responder’s body language, facial expressions or hear their tone of voice. Nor do most of us even know each other in a “in person” manner.
God Bless

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