The Tridentine Rite Conference And Its Schismatic Cousins (Part Two)
by Thomas W. Case
Fr. Wickens himself was a parish priest in New Jersey, but disassociated himself from his diocese when sex education was introduced in diocesan schools under Bishop Gerety. He started saying the Tridentine Mass on his own for many years he has been associated with the Feeneyites, and he and Fr LeBlanc, and probably most other members of the TRC governing board lean towards the Feeneyites in belief at the 1991 TRC convention in New Jersey, Fr Wickens back-peddled just a little claiming that baptism by blood or desire (which the Feeneyites deny) is not defined doctrine, and that the overwhelming majority of the Fathers and theologians are against it.
I do not deny the baptism of desire and blood. I simply say that there are no known cases of the baptism of desire and blood in the present times.Neither did any one know of a case in 1949 Boston when the Letter of the Holy Office was issued nor in 1892 when the Baltimore Catechism was issued.
Back in the 1940s, Fr Leonard Feeney, a Jesuit writer and theologian, became upset at what he considered excessively ecumenical statements by the then Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Cushing. Fr Feeney, taking the well-worn phrase "No Salvation Outside the Church" to its logical conclusion, insisted that there was no such thing as baptism by blood or desire.
Lionel: This was the understanding of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus according to the 16th century missionaries. Pope Benedict referred to it recently in the Avvenire interview.
Baptism by blood or desire is the Catholic doctrine that the unbaptized infants or non-Catholics are not ipso facto excluded from salvation.
Probably many orthodox Catholics insist that there can be no salvation outside the Church. The problem comes in defining the Church in this connection too literally. The Church includes the Church Triumphant, the heavenly Church which all good men will recognize after death. The innocent child and the "invincibly ignorant" good man will enter that Church Triumphant in God's good time. (A clear statement of this doctrine can be found in Radio Replies, 111, #487 )
Lionel: Radio Replies is an opinion.However the issue for me is that there are no known cases of someone saved in invincible ignorance with or without the baptism of water.So it should not be related to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
A too literal interpretation of the salvation doctrine takes us back to the Jansenist Antoine Arnauld's statement that "God obviously did not want all men saved," and to that Calvinism condemned by the Council of Trent it leads modern traditionalists into the same heresy that caused the Schism of Utrecht in the early eighteenth century.
Lionel: The Catholics in the 16th century , for example were not saying that all non Catholics were damned, they were saying that if they do not enter the Church they would be damned. So as long as they were alive,there was hope. There was universal salvation available in potential, however to receive this salvation it is neccessary to enter the Church with 'faith and baptism'.
If visible membership in the Catholic Church is a precondition for salvation, then untold millions of good men, women, and children of other faiths are excluded from heaven through no moral fault of their own.
Lionel: They are on the way to Hell because of Original Sin and mortal sins committed in this state, with no access to the Catholic Sacraments.
Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew that the road to Hell is wide and most people take it.
Jesus also says in Mark 16: 16 that those who do not believe will be condemned.
The next logical step is to say then that God has preselected those He will gratuitously save and those He will let fall into damnation. And that's the doctrine of John Calvin.
Lionel: This is not said by me .The St.Benedict Centers also do not state this.
Today's Feeneyites grasp the usual loophole to claim they remain Catholics in good standing.
Lionel: I can affirm the 'rigorist interpretation' of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and also accept invisible and hypothetical for us baptism of desire and blood.There is no contradiction for me.
In 1950 Fr. Feeney was dismissed from the Jesuits for disobedience, and in 1953 Cardinal Cushing excommunicated him. The Cardinal then sent to Rome for a papal condemnation of Fr. Feeney. The condemnation was delivered in due time by Pope Pius XII, but no formal papal excommunication came with it. This omission is used today by Feeneyites such as TRC convention speaker Br. Francis, MICM, to claim their legitimate Catholic status. In fact Feeney's doctrine had been formally condemned as heretical by Pius XII.
Lionel: The Letter made an objective mistake. It assumed that a hypothetical case ( baptism of desire) was explicit. It was wrongly concluded that a hypothetical case was an explicit exception to the tradtional interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
The Feeneyite heresy is easy to fall into for Catholics distressed by modernist priests, nuns, and lay ministers preaching an ecumenism that seems to make all religions equal.
Lionel:There is no heresy.
I affirm the centuries old dogma and do not deny hypothetical and invisible for us baptism of desire and blood.
It is important to see the precise mind of the Church on the question. Pope Pius IX addresses the matter in his Letter on Indifferentism (August 10, 1863):
"The Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church is well-known. Those who obstinately and knowingly reject the authority and definitions of the Church, and persist willfully in remaining separated from the unity of the Church and from the Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter to whom the charge of the vineyard was committed by Christ, those cannot be saved. [But he goes on to say] We know that those who are invincibly ignorant of our holy religion, and who are prepared to obey God. earnestly observing the natural moral law engraven in the hearts of all men by God, can be saved by living an honest and just life with the help of divine light and grace. For God, who clearly discerns the minds and souls, thoughts an habits of all men, will not, in his goodness and mercy, permit anyone to be punished eternally who is not guilty of voluntary sin."
It is ironic that many of the people the pope has in mind in the first paragraph of this quote reject the doctrine outlined in the second paragraph.
Lionel: I accept the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and also implicit for us baptism of desire.
The popes and cardinals accept the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus along with explicit for us baptism of desire.This is irrational and heretical for me.