Thank you for your e-mail.
Unfortunately, by going directly to a series of questions about the particular issue of baptism of desire, you pass over the key to this discussion: Ascertaining all the general criteria by which a particular issue such as this must be judged.
My original article, “Baptism of Desire and Theological Principles,” began by setting forth the “general rules for belief” that the Church imposes upon Catholics. What kinds of teaching are we obliged to adhere to?
Answering this question establishes the general principles, or the rules of evidence, for discussing any point of Catholic teaching. Only when all these principles are established can one then look at aparticular issue.
Vatican I and Pius IX laid down these general principles by establishing all the following as the types of teaching that a Catholic must believe and adhere to:
1. Solemn pronouncements of the extraordinary Magisterium.
2. Teachings of the universal ordinary Magisterium.
3. Teachings of the universal ordinary Magisterium held by the universal and common consent of theologians to belong to the faith.
4. Doctrinal decisions of the Vatican congregations.
5. Theological truths and conclusions so certain that opposition to them merits some theological censure short of “heresy.”
Fr. Feeney’s followers (and many traditionalists) seem to have the impression that a Catholic’s obligation is pretty much limited to point 1 on the list. Your letter stops after point 2 and then asks a series of questions.
But a Catholic has to accept all these criteria, and consequently also believe or adhere to all the teachings which fall under points 2-5.
Otherwise, a reasonable discussion of almost any theological point among Catholics becomes entirely impossible, because some of the Church’s standards have been set aside.
So, I ask you to reread Section I of my original article, with particular attention to the quotes from Tuas Libenter and the Syllabus of Errors, in order to verify that points 2-5 above do in fact accurately represent the obligations that Pius IX laid down.
None of the First Principles before 1949 stated tht BOD and BOB were 1) explicit 2) they were explicit and so were exceptions to EENS 3) they are explicit for us in the present times.
So we do not have a First Principle before 1949 condeming Fr. Leonard Feeney. Instead they support Fr.Leonard Feeney and negate Cardinal Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani and Cardinal Richard Cushing and the Jesuits in Boston.
I think that if you carefully study the issue, you will come to understand and accept the Church’s requirements as regards points 2-5.
Acknowledging these as first principles would go a long way towards resolving any difficulties over the specific issue of baptism of desire and baptism of blood.
My reading of the First Principles show Cardinals Marchetti and Cushing and now Fr.Anthonty Cekada in error. They have used an irrational premise ( BOD is explicit, objective in the present times ) and an irrational inference ( BOD is explicit and so an exception to EENS in the present times). This is not part of the Deposit of the Faith. It is something new which has come into the Church. It is 'a development' of both BOD and EENS.
Please take your time in replying. I’ll be away for about two weeks (seminary teaching and missions) and I won’t have access to e-mail.
Yours in Christ,
— The Rev. Anthony Cekada
The Holy Office 1949 made a factual mistake. It was an objective mistake and not just a mistake in theology. It was an error of observation. In a sense it was a philosophical errorhttp://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2015/07/the-holy-office-1949-made-factual.html