Monday, September 14, 2009
Augustine. Aquinas. Luther. Bobby Kennedy?! [Mike Potemra]
Yes, it looks like all four played historic roles in the shaping of Christian theology. Reading Teddy Kennedy’s memoir, True Compass, just published today and already No. 2 on Amazon, I discovered a remarkable anecdote about how Bobby Kennedy may have been a crucial figure in the suppression of the controversial Boston Jesuit, Fr. Leonard Feeney. In Senator Ted’s account, Bobby, while a student at Harvard, was outraged at hearing Feeney declare that no non-Catholic can be saved:
[Bobby] discussed it with our father one weekend at the Cape house. I well remember the conversation.
Dad could not believe that Bobby had heard Father Feeney correctly. “But,” he said, “if you feel strongly that you did, I’m going to go into the other room and call Richard. Maybe he’ll want you to go up to Boston and see him.”
“Richard” was Richard Cardinal Cushing. Dad and the cardinal enjoyed a long and profound friendship. . . .
Bobby said he felt strongly indeed. Bang! Dad called up “Richard” and arranged for Bobby to visit him. The cardinal, as nonplussed as Dad, sent some of his people over to hear Father Feeney’s Thursday evening lecture. When he found that my brother was right, Cushing banned Feeney from speaking there; Feeney refused to obey the order, and in September 1949 the archdiocese formally condemned the priest’s teaching. . . . In February 1952, Father Feeney was excommunicated.
I knew someone a few years ago who was a close friend of Father Feeney; I have it on his authority that Feeney was a very decent fellow. But Feeney was, in fact, teaching a crudely literalistic understanding of the doctrine of “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” (outside the church, no salvation) in which “ecclesiam” meant the visible, hierarchical Roman Catholic Church, and “extra” meant outside of it in the most visible sense. No Rahnerian “anonymous Christians” here — or, for that matter, Ratzingerian “as many [ways to God] as there are people.” The excommunication of Feeney was a public declaration by Pius XII’s Vatican that Feeney’s interpretation was impermissible in Catholic theology. How important was Bobby Kennedy’s intervention? Teddy doesn’t exactly underemphasize it: "I believe, though I cannot be certain, that Bobby's concern resulted, over time, in . . . a major shift in Catholic teaching regarding the possibility of salvation for non-Catholics. . . . Bobby wasn’t the only critic of Father Feeney, of course, but he was among the first to achieve results. Nor did his principled gesture end with the banishment of Feeney. Reinforced by Cardinal Cushing’s discussions with the papal hierarchy in Rome, it became an animating impulse of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, which opened under Pope John XXIII in 1962."
(I need to confess, yet again, my weakness for Irish blarney.) A confrontation between Father Feeney and the young Bobby Kennedy has been written about already; but I have never seen it alleged that Bobby and his father played an active role in the downfall of Feeney and his doctrine. This incident would go a long way toward explaining the later attitude of the Kennedys (most of them) to the Catholic Church: that it’s basically an ecclesiastical counterpart to the U.S. Senate, a place where reasonable people — who know whom to lean on, and how — can get mistakes in the law corrected.
N.B. Unlike certain other Massachusetts senators who shall remain nameless, Teddy got the Pope’s name right.
09/14 09 The Corner, National Review. (National Review, 215 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10016,USA Tel: 212-679-7330)
Posted by DeSelby 06/25/10 Pascendi Catholic Forum,CUSHING DOCTRINE SAYS LETTER OF HOLY OFFICE (1949) VIOLATES PRINCIPLE OF NON CONTRADICTION_________________________________________________________________________________
John H. Fenton article in the New York Times titled "Cardinal Cushing: Symbol of 'New Boston'". Feb. 6, 1964. Page 31. Start at the third paragraph under a section appropriately titled "Ties to the Kennedys."1.The Archbishop closed down St.Benedict Center and the issue was doctrinal, specifically the ex cathedra dogma.
The whole article is quite... interesting. Unfortunately, there is some bad fading in this photocopy which is completely unreadable. But the section in question is readable. I gave the date so someone could look it up on microfilm, or perhaps someone has a paid subscription for an online transcription. (note: I originally posted a link, but it won't work because it was tied into my library card account from an online free newspaper archive.)
Here is a section (three short consecutive paragraphs) from the Feb. 6 1964 New York Times article by John H. Fenton with the well known denial of dogma:
Turning to differences in dogma among Christians, Cardinal Cushing said, "We must recognize the obstacles, but we must not quarrel over them."
"We are told there is no salvation outside the church—nonsense!" the prelate said. "Nobody can tell me Christ died on Calvary for any select group."
Then, with a twinkle, he went on. "As the feller says, 'It is great to live with the saints in heaven, but it is hell to live with them on earth."
DeSelby 06/28/10 Pascendi Catholic Forum
2.He never in public affirmed the dogma.
3.He allowed Fr.Feeney to be criticized for affirming the dogma correctly.
4.He never discouraged the Jesuits in his archdiocese when they removed Fr.Feeney from their community because the issue was the interpretation of the dogma.
5.He never corrected the errors in the Boston newspapers regarding the dogma and this would spread throughout the world.
6.He delayed making public the Letter from the Holy Office 1949.
7.Even after it was issued there was no apology from him.
8.Even years after the excommunication was issued there was no move to remove the excommunication on Fr.Leonard Feeney.
Richard J. Cushing, Archbishop of Boston – Decree Regarding Leonard Feeney, April 18, 1949
Rev. Leonard Feeney, S.J., because of grave offense against the laws of the Catholic Church has lost the right to perform any priestly function, including preaching and teaching of religion...
Any Catholics who frequent St. Benedict’s Center, or who in any way take part in or assist its activities forfeit the right to receive the Sacrament of Penance and Holy Eucharist. (Emphasis added)
The ex cathedra dogma shows us that that Fr. Leonard Feeney was not in heresy and instead it was the Archbishop Cushing who was in heresy, he gave Catholics a new doctrine. He was tacitly saying implicit baptism of desire was explicit like the baptism of water. This is heretical since he contradicted an infallible teaching extra ecclesiam nulla salus which says everyone needs to be an explicit(visible) member of the Catholic Church to avoid Hell.