Response To An Attack on my Article Against Father Feeney

Response To An Attack on my Article Against Father Feeney

By Matt1618

Adam Miller, of Tower of David Ministry, wrote a piece attempting to deal with my article showing that Baptism of Desire and/or blood has been taught since the foundation of the church, and the current Magisterial teaching on the issue is a legitimate development of doctrine. My article is: The Case against Father Feeney, and For Baptism of Blood and Desire

He attempted a detailed refutation of me, so what follows will be a detailed response to his attack on my article. His original letter to me is in green, and my response is in blue. I leave in tact about 90% of his letter to me, with his main arguments in tact. Any new Magisterial documents will be in red.

I will break my Response into 5 Sections:

I. Introduction
II. A Look at the Infallible Decrees
III. A Look at Vatican I
IV. Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas
V. Conclusion


I. Introduction

It should be self-evident for Catholics that non-magisterial and/or non-infallible documents must be seen in light of and in subjection to infallible Magisterial documents of the Church.

This so-called ‘self-evident’ statement is a danger to all Catholics. What Adam proposes as ‘Self evident’ is the foundation of an error similar to that found in Protestantism. Protestantism says that it is up to individuals to be in subjection to only infallible Scripture. There is no need for an interpreter. It is up to each and everyone to decide. That premise is called “Sola Scriptura’. Scripture decides, we don’t need anybody to tell us what it means. That is why there are thousands of denominations of Protestantism all teaching different so-called truths. Adam brings that idea into his very opening statement. He says instead of Scripture being the only authoritative guide, only infallible Magisterial documents are the guide. He thus renders the living Magisterium as not even needed. What these infallible documents mean are up for Adam, or any individual who calls themselves Catholic, to decide their meaning, as long as he really examines the Magisterial documents, and he really thinks that is what those documents really meant. What Adam introduces is in fact the error of Sola Tradizio, or Sola Tradition. When we look into those who profess their ‘allegiance’ to true tradition, we have splinter after splinter of groups, all professing they are true on whatever issue it is. It may be the SSPX, Sedevacantists, or Feeneyites, (and multitudes of strands within those groups) because they all interpret for themselves the supposedly plain meaning of infallible documents. It is Protestantism revisited, splintered into different groups calling themselves loyal to what the true Church has always taught. Protestantism has the problem of thousands of denominations because of the so-called perspicuity infallible Scripture. Ultra-traditionalism runs into the exact same problem, as there is not one, but many assorted groups who unambiguously assert that they are following what past Magisteriums really meant. Adam’s very opening statement in effect does away with the authority of the living Magisterium. In fact however, since it was the authority of the Magisterium who made the past authoritative statements under discussion, it is indeed the living Magisterium that has the authority to interpret these past documents as well.

1) NON-definitive statements cannot DEFINE for us what definitive statements mean, otherwise definitions are NOT definitions, and thus the very concept and practice becomes obsolete. Besides, the nature and intent of a dogmatic definition already accomplishes this for us. 2) Infallible definitions cannot even be interpreted or modified by NON-infallible statements. Otherwise, two problems, fatal to the nature of authority and infallibility, would follow from this:

In fact, Adam’s interpretation of the EENS statements goes far beyond the meaning and contexts of those statements. If we look closely at what the original infallible statements say, and their context, which in another writing, Adam has proclaimed it is OK to ignore, they do not say what he says. The statement 'No Salvation Outside the Church' must be interpreted within their own contexts. The three dogmatic definitions (in the years 1215, 1302, 1442) all are specifically speaking in reference to people who have heard the message of the gospel and rejected this truth. When people have truly heard the message of the gospel, and they culpably refuse to enter the church, they are indeed condemned. In each of the definitions for example, references are made to the Greeks, who refused to submit to the Pope, or various sects who heard the gospel, yet continued to teach heresies that were in direct conflict with what the Church officially taught on those matters. As they maintained these heresies, despite hearing the official teaching of the Church, their refusal to enter the Church was indeed culpable. Again, No Salvation Outside the Church. However, we must not make those dogmatic statements say anything more than their context. What these definitions said in reference to salvation must only be interpreted in this light. However, these definitions nowhere mentioned those who had never heard of the message. This fact is vital to understand when we approach these texts. Adam bases his doctrine on that very premise. Even in the one that specifically mentioned pagans and Jews who would not be saved (Council of Florence), it is specifically written in the same manner as specific groups who had heard the message and blatantly rejected the message. The Jews and pagans thus denied salvation were those who had heard this gospel message and rejected the message. In fact, during the time of these definitions, Jews and pagans (that they knew of) lived right in the midst of Christendom, and it was thought that they had all heard the message of the one gospel.

In not one of the definitions did they say, “For those who have never heard of the message, they can not be saved.” There is nothing even approaching that. Thus, the out of context proof texting of these infallible statements employed by Adam, and others, mimic the out of context proof texting of Scripture done by Sola Scriptura advocates. Thus, he is doing the very thing that he claims to be arguing against. He puts his own words, in addition to what the Magisterium said. Remember, he said“NON-definitive statements cannot DEFINE for us what definitive statements mean, otherwise definitions are NOT definitions”. In other words, his own non-definitive statement attempts to define those statements in such a way that those texts never said for themselves. Adam thus violates his own rule. And we are supposed to ignore current Popes because of Adam’s non-definitive statement? Not quite. Those definitions were infallible, no doubt. However, we must not let Adam, Father Feeney, or anybody else make them say more than they do. And we must let the properly authorized Magisterium have the authority to interpret those definitions. For those who have truly heard the message of the gospel, they must enter the Church of Christ to be saved. That is what the definitions said, but those original definitions do not go into the area of those who were invincibly ignorant of the truths of the Gospel.

A) We would have a document NOT protected from error determining for us the meaning of a document which IS protected from error, which turns upside-down the entire notion of infallibility.

B) We would have a statement of higher authority made subject to a statement of lower authority. This would turn upside-down the entire notion of authority.

It is the living Magisterium that is infallible, and its interpretation of those documents can not error. Otherwise, we would not have an infallible church. Adam tells us what he thinks those documents mean, and we are supposed to believe him, over the Popes? Who is turning upside-down the entire notion of authority?

Next, Adam, somehow apparently thinking that he has made a point, writes:

This principle means that the teachings of Church Fathers and Doctors must be seen in light of and subject to the infallible magisterial statements of the Church. This fact, this principle, has always been recognized:

"The Church has never accepted even the most holy and most eminent Doctor, and does not now accept even a single one of them, as the principal source of truth. The Church certainly considers Thomas and Augustine great Doctors, and she accords them the highest praise; but she recognizes infallibility only in the inspired authors of the Sacred Scriptures. By divine mandate, the interpreter and guardian of the Sacred Scriptures, depository of Sacred Tradition living within her, the Church alone is the entrance to salvation; she alone, by herself, and under the protection and guidance of the Holy Ghost, is the source of truth."
Pope Pius XII (Allocution to the Gregorian University, Oct. 17, 1953)

"I hereby condemn as heretical the notion that when anyone finds a doctrine clearly established in St. Augustine, he may absolutely hold and teach it, disregarding any Bull of the Pope."

Pope Alexander VIII (Denz. 1320)

I first ask myself, why in the world would he want to quote Pope Pius XII on this matter, when we know that his understanding of the matter of ‘No Salvation Outside the Church,’ consistent with what the Church has taught, excluded Adam’s, and Father Feeney’s understanding? Pope Pius XII is clear that those can be linked by desire to the Church for salvation. Next, why would he would quote a decree condemning Jansenism based on St. Augustine, when the root of this condemnation is that Jansen denied that Christ died for all people? Pope Alexander wrote that St. Augustine and Jansen were wrong in denying that Christ did die for all people. In fact Christ did die for all. Christ really offered the chance for salvation for all people, as confirmed by Trent, Session Six, and chapter 2. Be that as it may, I wonder why in the world would Adam bring this up? Adam next shows us why:

So what we have being employed below by Matt.1618 is this: he is setting up NON-infallible and non-binding statements of the Fathers against the clear, infallible and binding definitions of the Church to which these Church Father's quotes MUST be submitted.

Wrong. I showed through my quotes of not only Vatican II, but Vatican I’s understanding that the living Magisterium is the ultimate authority that must be submitted to. No one can point to past Councils in ignoring the Magisterium. BTW, that is exactly what Adam has done.

Adam has created a straw man in saying that I quoted Church Fathers as though they were authorities over the Magisterium. No, I only quoted them to show that the Doctors and Saints as a whole, in addition to, not in place of the Magisterium, did not teach what Adam claims. I also showed that the infallible declarations could only be interpreted by the living Magisterium.

II. A Look at the Infallible Decrees

By the way, has anyone noticed that Matt.16 has YET to quote even ONE of the infallible definitions concerning the necessity of Church membership and water Baptism for salvation? What is he avoiding in failing to quote these documents? Is he afraid of their perspicuity?

The Matt’s scared defense doesn’t work either. I have explicitly written a whole filewhich examined all three infallible declarations, and only those declarations. However, that was not the purpose of my original piece. The original piece was done to show that not only Doctors and Saints, but the authoritative Magisterium, Popes both before, during and after these decrees all held that EENS (No Salvation Outside the Church) is true, but did not hold to Father Feeney’s position.

Let us now quote some of them: At the Council of Florence, In the Bull "Cantata Domino" (1441), Pope Eugene IV infallibly defined for all time:

The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and teaches that none of those who are not within the Catholic Church, not only Pagans, but Jews, heretics and schismatics, can ever be partakers of eternal life, but are to go into the eternal fire 'prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mat.25:41), unless before the close of there lives they shall have entered into that Church; also that the unity of the Ecclesiastical body is such that the Church's Sacraments avail only those abiding in that Church... moreover, that no one, no matter what alms he may have given, not even if he were to shed his blood for Christ's sake, can he be saved unless he abide in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.

Adam proves that texts taken out of context are proof texts for anything. For a fuller examination of some of these indeed infallible decrees, please see: An Examination of Three De Fide Decrees on "No Salvation Outside the Church". I will go into it briefly here, but for a fuller examination, please do go there. Adam makes you assume, from this section, as though it does not matter whether you have heard the message of the gospel or not, in regards to those who are condemned. Unless you specifically join the Church by being a baptized member, you are condemned. It does not matter whether the focus is on one who has obstinately refused to accept the message, or whether you have never been preached to. Is that the case? Let us read who this decree is aimed at:

710 It, moreover, anathematizes, execrates, and condemns every heresy that suggests contrary things. And first it condemns Ebion, Cerinthus, Marcion, Paul of Samosata, Photinus, and all similar blasphemers, who, being unable to accept the personal union of humanity with the Word,. .. Another example is in regards to Theodore of Mopuesta and Nestorius, who “assert that humanity was united with the Son of God through grace, and hence there are two persons in Christ, just as they confess that there are two natures, since they were unable to understand that the union of humanity with the Word was hypostatic, and so refused to accept the subsistence of God.

These folks refused to accept what they were taught, by what they knew was the authentic authority of the Catholic Church. Now all the sects spelled out in Cantate Domino, had heard of the Catholic teaching, and continued to hold on to their errant heresies even though it was explained to them. History attests to each one of the sects, and the followers of these sects, knew there was a Catholic Church teaching on these things. If there was any ignorance, it was obvious that they were culpable for that ignorance. Thus, even if they shed blood for Christ (showing that these were people who had heard the Christian message, but still rejected Christ’s Church), it would not profit them for salvation. That is all entirely consistent with our understanding of the issue.

It was infallibly declared at Trent in its Canons on Baptism that:

"If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema. " (Canon 5)
"If anyone says that true and natural water is not necessary for baptism and thus twists into some metaphor the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit" (Jn.3:5): let him be anathema." (Canon 2)

It is obvious that these two canons must be read in light of Chapters 2 and 4. Chapter 2 states that Christ shed his blood for the redemption of “all men.” Of course not all appropriate that redemption (chapter 3). Nevertheless, if Christ, really died for all, as infallibly declared by Trent, then there must be some way for those who heard not heard the message, to appropriate it. Otherwise it could not be said that Christ died for them.

BTW, we also know, chapter four of the session on justification, says that the desire of baptism can achieve justification, the state of grace, and the remission of sins, and become adopted sons. I dare say, that if anyone is justified, who has been forgiven those sins, then dies, he will not go to hell, and will be saved. The only thing that takes them out of the state of justification is a commission of a mortal sin, which is 1) a serious sin, 2) takes a person’s full knowing that it is a serious sin, and 3) the person has freedom to not commit it. Thus if anyone dies before committing a mortal sin, that person will die in a state of grace, and will eventually attain heaven. That is infallible dogma. The church has never declared that one who dies in a state of justification, having their sins remitted, will go to hell because they have not been baptized. In fact, as stated in my opening piece, in the very Council of Trent Catechism approved by St. Pius V, we see that one who dies before he receives baptism, if he truly desired it, will go to heaven. Not one outcry, not one 16th century Father Feeney decrying this teaching? The silence is not only deafening, but fatal for those advocating Father Feeney’s position.

III. A Look at Vatican I

Vatican I defined for us that dogmas are to be believed precisely as they are declared and that the Church "understands her dogmas by the words she has once declared;" and that "there must NEVER be recession from THAT MEANING under the specious name of a deeper understanding." (Dei Filius, ch.3: Dnz.1800)

The point is that Vatican I’s definition is exactly true on what it says on the issue. However, in the three dogmatic decrees, not one of them mentioned anything about those who had never heard of the message. The decree speaks in reference to sects and people who are culpable for their physically not being members of the Catholic Church, as we have seen. Thus, no baptism of desire could suffice for those people. However, none of those decrees go beyond that. Actually, Adam’s understanding goes beyond what the dogmas state, unless he takes the words out of context, which we have seen him do. There are also many errant assumptions that must be held, by those who agree with Father Feeney, which I have shown at: An Examination of Three De Fide Decrees on "No Salvation Outside the Church".

It also would be good to take a brief look at what the framers of Vatican I wrote in regards to this specific issue. Of course, they knew that there was a legitimate way of developing doctrine and an illegitimate way. For example papal infallibility was always true, but the Church did not know for sure of this truth until the late 19th century. The doctrine developed. The original intention of Vatican I was to write not only on the issue of papal infallibility, which they did, but also a Constitution on the Church. Due to varying problems, they ended up having to break up Vatican I, and they were not able to produce a document. A century later, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) fulfilled the call for this document. As we know, it teaches that one can attain heaven even if he is not specifically a baptized Roman Catholic.

In regards to Vatican I, we have a draft on this very issue of what they intended to write. Before we get to that, however, we should know what the Pope, Pius IX, wrote on the issue:

It is known to Us and to you that those who labor in invincible ignorance concerning our most holy religion and who, assiduously observing the natural law and its precepts which God has inscribed in the hearts of all, and being ready to obey God, live an honest and upright life can, through the working of the divine light and grace, attain eternal life. Quanto donficiamure moerore. DS 2666.

Some try to suggest that he meant that those who labor in invincible ignorance, when they respond to the divine light and grace will become Catholic and in that way attain eternal life. However, nobody understood St. Pius IX to mean that, and St. Pius never said he did not mean what he said, or that in a later section which talks of instructing the ignorant did away with what he earlier wrote. All theologians saw that he meant that responding to the grace, that person will achieve eternal life, even if not baptized as a Roman Catholic. Pope Pius IX never said that the way that everybody interpreted him was an invalid way of interpreting what he said. With the Pope having this broader understanding of salvation, what did the framers of Vatican I teach? We do have a rough draft of what the drafters intended to write. We have two chapters of the schema de ecclesia, 6 & 7, that dealt with our question:

6.“The Church is a society that is altogether that is altogether necessary for obtaining salvation.
We therefore teach that the church is not a free society, as though it made no difference for one’s salvation whether one recognized it or ignored it, whether one entered it or left it. Rather, it is altogether necessary, and indeed with a necessity that is not merely of the Lord’s precept, by which the Savior commanded all nations to enter it, but with a necessity of means, because in the divinely instituted order of saving providence, the communication of the Holy Spirit, and the sharing of truth and life is not obtained except in the church and through the church, of which Christ is the head.

7. No one can be saved outside the church.

Moreover it is a dogma of faith, that no one can be saved outside the church. On the other hand, those who labor under invincible ignorance concerning Christ and his church are not to be damned to eternal punishment on account of such ignorance, since they incur no guilt for this in the eyes of the Lord, who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and who does not deny grace to a person who is doing what lies in his power, so that such a one can obtain justification and eternal life. But no one obtains this who dies in a culpable state of separation from the unity of the faith or the communion of the church. Anyone who is not in the ark of salvation will perish in the prevailing flood.” (Sacrorum conciliorum nova collectio, 541-542.)

Despite Adam Miller trying to cite Vatican I against the recent Pope’s understanding of the doctrine under discussion, apparently the framers of Vatican I did not think that those who are inculpably ignorant, and at the same time respond to the grace that God had given them, were condemned to hell. They argued that one in that condition can in fact obtain justification and eternal life via grace. The commission that prepared the schema de ecclesia also provided the bishops of the council a report which explained some of the terms used in it. The relatio on chapter 7 gives us an insight into the discussion that went on in the commission”:

In the section that speaks of “invincible ignorance,” it is pointed out that it is possible that a person who does not belong to the visible and external communion of the church can still obtain justification and eternal life. However, lest it seem to follow from this that someone can be saved outside the church, in another form of the schema it was said: If they do obtain (eternal life) they are not thus saved outside the church, for all who are justified belong to the church either in fact in re or in desire in voto. (We will see later that this was language similarly used by St. Thomas Aquinas) However, since the formula “either in re or in voto” did not please a number of the consultors, it was decided that it would be sufficient to declare explicitly that no one could be saved who died separated from the church through his own fault, while it would be understood as implicitly meant, that whoever is saved could not be totally and simpliciter, as they say, outside the church. Some thought that this should be expressed more clearly, and suggested saying that no one obtained justification or eternal life who in no way belonged to the church. By this they meant one who belonged neither to the body of the church nor to its soul, and thus who do not belong to the church at all, either in re or in desire in voto. Sacrorum conciliorum nova collectio, 570-571

Yes, there was a disagreement on how exactly to word this, but the premise of all that one could be saved via grace even if not an officially baptized Roman Catholic is important to note. Apparently, in these notes, there were no Feeneyite type objections. Why not? If this was some new heretical doctrine, why were there no Father Feeney types around? It is obvious, because this was perfectly consistent with the Church’s proper understanding of this teaching. Now it is true that this draft did not officially become part of the documents of Vatican I. Nevertheless, the same people who wrote that the Church "understands her dogmas by the words she has once declared;" and that "there must NEVER be recession from THAT MEANING under the specious name of a deeper understanding." (Dei Filius, ch.3: Dnz.1800 would not contradict itself by doing the very thing it is condemning. They were not practicing some modernistic hermeneutic, but knew that this understanding of the doctrine on salvation was a legitimate development. Adam’s argument yet again falls apart at the seams.

Finally, before we leave Vatican I, I need to reiterate what I established in my first piece: That the authority that we are to submit to is not our own private interpretation of past decrees, as Adam Miller is doing, but that of the living Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

In Session 4, chapter 3, Vatican I says:

2. Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both Episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world. Further down this same session says:

8. Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment. The sentence of the Apostolic See (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff.
9. So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.

We thus see that the very Council that Adam appeals to, absolutely destroying his authority to say, “well, I am only going by what the past ecumenical councils said.”

1) Vatican I gives the authority to interpret only to the living Magisterium. One can not appeal to past Ecumenical Councils against the Magisterium.
2) The Pope during Vatican I used language that all interpreted as at the same time affirming the dogma, asserting that if one is invincibly ignorant and responds to the divine grace and light, can be saved, even if not a baptized Roman Catholic.
3) The Framers of Vatican I also saw the growth in understanding a legitimate development, not a denial of the dogma.

Hence, THAT MEANING of a dogma is that "which Holy Mother Church has once declared. "The Church has solemnly condemned the notions that dogmas are simply interpretations and that they can have a meaning which go beyond the words of the dogmatic formula (see Lamentabili, #22,26,54 and Pascendi: DNZ 2079-81, 2087 promulgated by Pope St. Pius X, 1907)

That dogma is true, exactly in what it expressed. However, none of the decrees said anything about those who have never heard the message, nor did they claim to. Therefore, when this issue now gets touched on by subsequent popes, they are not destroying what was never under discussion. Adam’s logic would have made sure that there have been no more than maybe the Nicene Council to talk about the divinity of Christ, since it made clear in 325 AD that Jesus was true God. Ephesus and Constantinople touched on areas not covered in Nicaea, though not doing away with Nicaea. For that matter, the Council of Trent taught on salvation, including infallibly the efficaciousness of the desire for baptism, without destroying the prior decrees on salvation.

The following lines from the above definition of Pope Eugene IV are stated without exception, and this is how we MUST understand and believe them:
A) "none of those who are not within the Catholic Church... can ever be partakers of eternal life..."
B) "no one,... not even if he were to shed his blood for Christ's sake, can he be saved unless he abide in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."

In light of what was defined at Vatican I, and also in light of the condemnations of the Modernist hermeneutic by Pope St. Pius X , we must hold and believe this dogma (as with all dogmas) precisely as it is defined. Therefore, "no one" means NO ONE. Period! If one is "not within the Catholic Church," they cannot be saved. Period! These are the precise words declared by the Church.

As I have shown elsewhere in depth, An Examination of Three De Fide Decrees on "No Salvation Outside the Church", the context is about those who culpably are outside the Catholic Church.

Pope St. Pius X Catechism, Question 132 - Will a person outside the Church be saved? It is a most serious loss to be outside the Church, because outside one does not have either the means which have been established or the secure guidance which has been set up for eternal salvation, which is the one thing truly necessary for man. A PERSON OUTSIDE THE CHURCH BY HIS OWN FAULT, AND WHO DIES WITHOUT PERFECT CONTRITION, WILL NOT BE SAVED. BUT HE WHO FINDS HIMSELF OUTSIDE WITHOUT FAULT OF HIS OWN, AND WHO LIVES A GOOD LIFE, CAN BE SAVED BY THE LOVE CALLED CHARITY, WHICH UNITES UNTO GOD, AND IN A SPIRITUAL WAY ALSO TO THE CHURCH, THAT IS, TO THE SOUL OF THE CHURCH.

Nothing vague or ambiguous, is it? This same Pope, just like John Paul II, affirms EENS, but in such a way, that he unhesitatingly affirms that one who not by his own fault is not in the Church, can be united in a Spiritual way to the Church. He is thus not truly outside the Church if he is united in this way. If I say, ”I can read.” It really means I can really read. If it says this person can be saved, it really means he can be saved. Absolutely no ambiguity at all.

Pope St. Pius X Catechism, Question 280 - If Baptism is necessary for all men, is no one saved without Baptism? - Without Baptism no one can be saved. HOWEVER, WHEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RECEIVE BAPTISM OF WATER, THE BAPTISM OF BLOOD SUFFICES, THAT IS, MARTYRDOM SUFFERED FOR JESUS CHRIST; AND ALSO THE BAPTISM OF DESIRE SUFFICES, which is the love of God by charity, desiring to make use of the means of salvation instituted by God.

The Baptism of blood and desire suffices for salvation. Pope St. Pius X obviously does not think that he is practicing some ‘Modernist hermeneutic.’ The question was ‘Can one be saved without water baptism?’ What is the answer? After affirming the infallible doctrine, he unhesitatingly affirms that The Baptism of Desire and Blood Suffices. Nothing vague, nothing mysterious at all. He unhesitatingly affirms that these do suffice, just as Pope Innocent II had done 700 years earlier. It is obvious that Pope St. Pius X sees this understanding as a legitimate development, building upon Pope Pius IX, as it covers an area that the original definitions did not truly consider.

Pope Eugene IV's infallible definition says NO ONE who is outside the Catholic Church can be saved. AND no one is IN the Church who has not at least received water baptism. This was dogmatically declared at both the Council of Florence (DNZ 696) and at Trent (DNZ 895).

We have seen that Pope Eugene’s infallible definition does not say what Adam says it says. And I do not argue that ‘Outside the Church’ one is saved. One is not truly Outside the Church, if one is linked by desire, as Trent itself declared. Pope Innocents II & III also declared this just prior to the 13th century infallible definitions, with absolutely no after the decree declaration that these Popes were false in their prior letters to archbishops. Nor do the Popes for the last 140 years say that one who is truly outside the Church, can be saved. If one is linked to this Church by desire, and responds to the grace that God gives them, then one can be saved. This is from not only Popes St. Pius, IX, St. Pius X, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II, but a declaration from a valid Ecumenical Council in Vatican II that is binding on all Catholics.

At Trent (Session 14, ch. 2) it was declared that the "Church exercises judgment on no one who has not first entered it through the gateway of baptism..." and that "by the laver of baptism where we are made members of Christ's own body." (Denz.895)

Of course, one is not fully a member of Christ’s body unless one is baptized and a member of Christ’s Church. That is not at issue. In fact, the quote which shows that the Church does not exercise judgment on those who have not entered the Church through baptism is exactly an argument against Adam’s own position!!!

This is why, in Mystici Corporis (1943), Pope Pius XII could declare that "only those are to be included as REAL members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith and have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body or been excluded from it by legitimate authority for serious faults" (Denz. 2286 [3802]).

That is of course a non-argument, because I do not argue that one must be a real, member of the Catholic Church in order to be saved. And I do agree that one is only a REAL, FULL member of Christ’s true Church if one is a baptized member of the Catholic Church. So that is a non-starter, but it is amazing to me that Adam would quote from Mystici Corporis, which lays the foundation for the theological reasons that Father Feeney was condemned and excommunicated years later (I do not bring up the excommunication to discuss the validity of the excommunication, but because the theological reasoning used in it excludes Father Feeney’s position). Again, Pope Pius XII reiterates what I have reiterated, “if anyone refuses to listen to the church, one is by command of the Lord, to be treated as a pagan or a tax-collector.” These are truly culpable. But in this very same letter that Adam brings us, he proclaims:

103. As you know, Venerable Brethren, from the very beginning of Our Pontificate, We have committed to the protection and guidance of heaven those who do not belong to the visible Body of the Catholic Church , solemnly declaring that after the example of the Good Shepherd We desire nothing more ardently than that they may have life and have it more abundantly.[194] Imploring the prayers of the whole Church We wish to repeat this solemn declaration in this Encyclical Letter in which We have proclaimed the praises of the "great and glorious Body of Christ,"[195] and from a heart overflowing with love. We ask each and every one of them to correspond to the interior movements of grace, and to seek to withdraw from that state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation.[196] For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XII echoes my prayer for those outside the Church. Those not fully within the Catholic Church need to come into the Church. Those who are not actually within the Church are deprived of many heavenly gifts that are efficacious for their salvation. And if not within the Catholic Church they can not truly be sure of their salvation, even if they think they are. We want them to have an abundant life that is found only within the Catholic Church. However, those who earnestly respond to God’s grace yet are not physically members of the mystical body, do have a relationship with those who are fully within the Mystical Body of Christ, and it is possible to have salvation. This principle established within this encyclical that Adam brought to our attention, was the theological foundation for the letter that excommunicated of Father Feeney years later.

Infallible Major Premise (declared by Church at Florence and Trent): No Baptism in water = no Church membership.

Yes, one is not fully a member of the Catholic Church unless one is baptized. But as I showed, the Council of Florence only focused on those who were culpably outside the Church, and as I showed in my original piece against Father Feeney, Trent gave us the very principles that Vatican II gave for its understanding of “No Salvation Outside the Church”. That is the foundation for Lumen Gentium, which a century later gave the Church’s understanding that some can achieve salvation without being baptized members of the Catholic Church.

Infallible Minor Premise (declared by Popes Innocent III, Boniface VIII, Eugene IV ) No Church membership = no salvation Therefore, Infallible conclusion (declared by Church at Trent) No Baptism in water = no salvation.

Again, wrong assumptions behind the premise invalidate the premise. Those addressed in these decrees were culpable for their remaining outside the Church, as evidenced by the fact that all the sects mentioned had contact with the Catholic Church, and when the Jews and pagans were mentioned, they were referred to in the same way as others who had outright rejected the true faith. Those who reject the faith shall not be saved, no doubt. In addition, one must be linked to the church in some way in order to be saved.


IV. Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas

All of the following quotes MUST be placed in submission to these infallible dogmatic definitions of the Church.


My original quote:

St. Ambrosia. When he talked of Emperor of Valentine II, who died without Baptism . "Tell me, what else could we have, except the will to it, the asking for it? He too had just now this DESIRE; and after he came into Italy it was begun, and a short time ago he signified that he wished to be baptized by me. Did he, then, not have the GRACE WHICH HE DESIRED?

Did he not have what he eagerly sought? CERTAINLY, Because sought it, he received it. What else does it mean: "Whatever just man shall be overtaken by death, his soul shall be at rest (Wis. 4:7)? (Sympathy at the Death of Valentinian, 51. AD 392)

This quote does not necessarily support the belief of BOD (baptism of desire), and it may even be used to support the necessity of water Baptism without exception. How?

*First: Read the quote again closely. Does not St. Ambrose say that the Emperor obtained that which he desired? Yes, he does. What did the Emperor desire? He desired the Sacrament of Baptism. St. Ambrose asks, "Did he not obtain what he asked for?[Baptism] Certainly he did because he asked for it."

St. Ambrose was confirming to the congregation that Valentinian did successfully receive the Sacrament of Baptism because that is what he desired and ask for. This has to be, why? Well, think about it. Did the Emperor ask for the desire for Baptism or for Baptism itself? Surely the Emperor wasn't merely desiring the desire for Baptism. That would be ridiculous. No, he desired the Sacrament of Baptism itself. The statement by St. Ambrose can only make sense by the fact that Valentinian did receive water Baptism. Therefore, this example from St. Ambrose works against those who use it in support of BOD.

Adam gives us a good hearted try, but this theory doesn’t hold water for several reasons:

1) No doubt Valentinius desired baptism (that is the whole point of my post!!), but he did not get it. Why do I say that? Before the statement, St. Ambrose wrote: “But I hear you lamenting because he had not received the sacrament of baptism.” Again, look at what St. Ambrose said immediately after the statement earlier quoted: "Whatever just man shall be overtaken by death, his soul shall be at rest” (Wis. 4:7). In quoting this specific Scripture, he shows that the person in question is overtaken by death. How does the Douay Rheims translate Wisdom 4:7? “But the just man, if he be prevented with death, shall be in rest.” He was prevented what? Baptism!!! Thus, he only had the desire for baptism and had not achieved it. The RSV Catholic edition translates it “But the righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest”. Thus, St. Ambrose chooses a specific verse that says that he died early, and/or was prevented from achieving what he wanted, but would still be able to get heaven. The fact that St. Ambrose chooses this specific Biblical verse should remove all doubt that St. Ambrose did not actually receive the baptism.

2) St. Ambrose did not say that he received baptism. He knew that Valentinius had not received baptism, and thus he was saying to the crowd, that it was OK that he did not receive baptism.

3) Adam proves foolish when he said that I argued that he only desired the desire for baptism. No. St. Ambrose said he desired baptism. But ultimately what was the desire for baptism for? Grace, and the attainment of eternal life, exactly as St. Ambrose himself states. What does St. Ambrose say he hoped for and would receive?, again, according to St. Ambrose, he wrote: “Did he, then, not have the GRACE WHICH HE DESIRED?”. Adam slyly tries to insert the word baptism into the sentence of St. Ambrose as saying he achieved it. Instead, St. Ambrose said that Valentinius received the grace which he desired. One desires baptism for the grace that it provides. He was cut short from the actual baptism, but since he desired the grace which baptism would provide. The hope is the means to an end. Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. St. Ambrose is affirming that Valentinius, though he did not receive baptism, did receive what baptism points toward, grace and salvation.

4) The concluding point that Adam’s argument holds no water at all should remove any doubt at all. How did a past Pope view the issue?

Pope Innocent II (1130-1143) wrote precisely on the issue of St. Ambrose’s letter, when he wrote to the bishop of Cremonia, on the issue of Valentinius. He wrote:

We affirm without hesitation that the old man who according to the information received from you, died without having received the baptism of water, has been relieved of original sin and granted the joy of the heavenly home, because he has persevered in the faith of holy Mother the Church and in the confession of Christ’s name. Read on this the eighth book of Augustine’s “The City of God” where among other things we read the following: “Baptism is invisibly administered which has been impeded, not by contempt for religion, but by unavoidable death. And read over again the book of St. Ambrose “On the Death of Valentianus” which affirms the same doctrine” DZ 741.

Thus, we have a Pope affirming this doctrine unhesitatingly, going to St. Ambrose for support for the desire of baptism for salvation. He tells the Bishop to read it again to affirm this doctrine that one can be saved by the desire for baptism. Also, notice that the Pope had received from others who had passed it down to precisely the conclusion that the desire for baptism provided salvation. . St. Thomas in fact also refers to St. Ambrose in support of the desire for baptism bringing salvation as well. On the other hand, we have absolutely no one ever referring to this passage in St. Ambrose as though Valentinius really received baptism, as Adam Miller wishes. Thus, we have papal authority, and the history of tradition that had passed on this truth, and this papal authority for it to be read again, to come to the same conclusion that I have pointed to. Thus, the attempt to twist St. Ambrose to fit Father Feeney does not hold with a clear reading of the text, history or tradition.

*Second: let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that St. Ambrose was really teaching BOD as sufficient for salvation here.

B) This would also mean that this Church Father contradicted his own formal teaching on the matter where elsewhere St. Ambrose taught that "no one is excepted" from water Baptism for entrance into heaven. He taught that: "no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven EXCEPT through the Sacrament of Baptism... `Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God' (Jn.3:5). NO ONE is excepted: not the infant, not the one prevented by some necessity." (On Abraham, II, 11:79,84)

True, originally, he seemed to have the position that one needed to be baptized to enter heaven. This was written in the year 387 AD. St. Ambrose made the statement that we have dissected in 392 AD. His conclusion in the year 392 was that his earlier thoughts in 387 were wrong. In the end, St. Ambrose continues to affirm the necessity of baptism, but if one by accident was not able to be baptized, though he desired it, he would still enter heaven. This is language that would later be reflected and affirmed in the letter of Pope Innocent II 700 years later in the 12th century, and would be affirmed 1200 years later in the infallible decrees of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 4, and canons on the sacraments, canon 4. These decrees must be looked at the same time that we look at the canons that Adam pointed to earlier. In addition, the Council of Trent Catechism unhesitatingly teaches the same thing that St. Ambrose did here.

St. Augustine, 1.13.3: (426-27 AD): "This very thing which is now called the Christian religion existed among the ancients, nor was it lacking from the beginning of the human race until Christ Himself came in the flesh, when the true religion, that already existed, began to be called Christian."

Adam responds:

Smoke screen! Smoke screen! This quote deals with the Old Dispensation (Old Covenant), and its requirements were different. It has nothing to do with the "baptism of desire vs. water Baptism/Church membership for salvation debate. The topic is, as Trent declared, SINCE the promulgation of the Gospel ("On Justification," chap. 4: Dnz 796). As of that time forward, no man can enter heaven without water Baptism and being within the Catholic Church.

Not a smokescreen at all. Actually, if one grants that this deals with the Old Dispensation, this only proves my case more. Infallible Scripture, which is also binding on all Catholics says unhesitatingly (Rom. 5:15) “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” Thus, in the New Covenant we find that God’s grace abounds for more, not less than in the Old Covenant. Therefore to argue that there is more grace in the Old Covenant than in the New Covenant, and more salvation in the Old Covenant is absolutely unbiblical and backwards.

St. Augustine - Those who, though THEY HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE WASHING
> WASHED IN THE SACRED FONT OF BAPTISM. For He that said: 'If anyone is not
> reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven/" MADE AN
>EXCEPTION for them in that other statement in WHICH HE SAYS NO LESS
>GENERALLY: "Whoever confesses me before men, I too will confess him
>before my Father, who is in heaven.'(Matt. 10:32) City of God, 13:7
>St. Augustine - That the place of Baptism is sometimes supplied by suffering is supported
>by a substantial argument which the same Blessed Cyprian draws from the circumstance
>of the thief, to whom, although NOT BAPTIZED, it was said: "Today you shall be with
>me in paradise (11). Considering this over and over again, I find that not only FOR
if perhaps, because
>of the circumstances of the time, recourse cannot be had to the celebration of the
> Mystery of Baptism. (On Baptism 4:22, 29)

St. Augustine - "I do not hesitate to put the Catholic catechumen, burning with divine love, before a baptized heretic. Even within the Catholic Church herself we put the good catechumen ahead of the wicked baptized >person. . . . . For Cornelius, even before his baptism, was filled up with the Holy Spirit [Acts 10:44-48], while Simon [Magus], even after his baptism, was puffed up with an unclean spirit [Acts 8:13-19]" (On Baptism, Against the Donatists 4:21[28]).

There are three points which must be made concerning St. Augustine here: Point 1) IF these Church Fathers (and St. Thomas Aquinas, below) really taught that BOD can suffice for that attainment of Heaven, THEN in light of infallible Magisterial pronouncements on the necessity of water Baptism for salvation, it means they were simply mistaken.

Adam sets up a straw man and then knocks it down, then proclaims how he has supposedly won, on the issue. I am by no means using St. Augustine as the ultimate source that I am relying on to prove my position, as Adam seems to be saying that is what I am saying. I have looked at the magisterial sources, and they prove, in toto, that the current Magisterium is correct on the issue, and how it is consistent with the prior decrees. I only show how St. Augustine’s position proved that he believed that one can be saved without baptism, as long as there was a true desire for it. The Magisterial sources have proved the Father Feeney position wrong. This shows that Father Feeney’s position is ahistorical from the start. There may have been a few Saints in the early centuries who held that position (They did believe in EENS, but not as Father Feeney and Adam Miller hold it), but they are very few and far between. Even the ones who pushed most Outside the Church no Salvation (like Saints Cyprian, Augustine, and even Fulgencius), at least made the exceptions that Father Feeney was unwilling to make. Again, however, I am not relying upon them for this interpretation. I rely upon the Magisterium.

Point 2) St. Augustine's example in On Baptism Against the Donatists (4, 22), used by the Matt.16, is not at all relevant to this debate since the example of the good thief, used here by St. Augustine, was under the old dispensation. The present topic of the absolute necessity of water Baptism without exception, and thus the insufficiency of the BOD for salvation, is from the promulgation of the Gospel by the Church which began on Pentecost. Hence the necessity and obligation under the new and final dispensation. In fact, later on, in his work "Retractions" (2, 44), St. Augustine recognizes his error in and regrets having used the good thief as an example. Thus, in this example by Mat. 16, his own source regrets using the very example he used which the BOD advocates say support their position. This is either poor scholarship or dishonest.

Actually, this is Adam’s poor reading of what I posted, in regards to “On Baptism, against the Donatists.” I posted a few sections of book 4, chapters 21-29 and 22-30. I agree that that is under the Old Dispensation. Even if St. Augustine thought that his example was under the Old dispensation, he still agreed with the principle. He in no way backed away from the very principle that I am establishing. The chapters I quoted from are extensive, and they all pointed to the same thing: that a desire for baptism would suffice for salvation, and Augustine did not back away from the point being that even a conversion of heart would suffice if one was unable to be baptized. The thief was a very small part of the two chapters which affirmed this principle. I posted Augustine’s comment on Cornelius, who in Acts 10 received the Holy Spirit before he was water baptized and after the New Testament dispensation, and he quoted Cyprian’s support for faith and conversion of heart supplying the grace when it was impossible for the person to be baptized. Both Cornelius and Cyprian were after the New Covenant dispensation.

Point 3) St. Augustine contradicts himself elsewhere
In using St. Augustine, Matt.16 presents us with another self-defeating example, for elsewhere the "Doctor of Grace" affirms the exact opposite: that without Baptism, which is in water only, no one can be saved. He says:

"The Lord has determined that the Kingdom of Heaven should be conferred ONLY on baptized persons. If eternal life can accrue only to those who have been baptized, it follows, of course, that they who die unbaptized incur everlasting death" (de Anima, IV, 11); "What is the Baptism of Christ? `The washing with water, in the word.' Take away the water and it is not Baptism." (Hom. On John, 15,4).

No argument here. One is only fully born again when one is baptized with water. The grace that is given in the baptism of desire does not leave an indelible mark that baptism does. St. Augustine is not here addressing those who truly desire baptism, yet died before it is possible. After all, he has addressed their salvation affirmatively in four statements that address the post-pentecost era. He is not addressing them here. He is addressing in the above post those who have not been baptized or have no desire for baptism, and thus were never baptized. Those are indeed condemned, according to St. Augustine.

Which is the stronger representation, a source (used by Mat. 16) where he later regrets and retracts something, or a source where he does not do such a thing? Obviously, to use a source in which a contradiction is present cannot be a valid example for presenting this source as representing the Church's official, unchanging and binding teaching. Matt.16 again defeats himself with his own example.

Again, St. Augustine did not retract the principle he established. He did allow exceptions and never backed away from that principle. One can say that Baptism is a normative requirement, but not an absolute requirement. They are not contradictory at all.

I quoted St. Thomas Aquinas in my original piece. Notice, down below, that in one of the quotes, the doctor shows my interpretation of both Sts. Augustine and Ambrose in defense of the baptism of desire position. Adam responded to this, so I show my original citations before his response:

>St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
>Summa Theologica
>Third Part, Question 68, Article 2
>Whether a man can be saved without Baptism?

>Objection 1. It seems that no man can be saved without Baptism. For our Lord said
> (John 3:5):"Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the
> kingdom of God." But those alone are saved who enter God's kingdom. Therefore
> one can be saved without Baptism, by which a man is born again of water and the
> Holy Ghost.

>Objection 2. Further, in the book De Eccl. Dogm. xli, it is written: "We believe that no
> catechumen, though he die in his good works, will have eternal life, except he suffer
> martyrdom, which contains all the sacramental virtue of Baptism." But if it were
> possible for anyone to be saved without Baptism, this would be the case specially with
>catechumens who are credited with good works, for they seem to have the “faith
>that worketh by charity" (Gal. 5:6). Therefore it seems that none can be
>saved without Baptism.

> >Objection 3. Further, as stated above (1; 65, 4), the sacrament of Baptism is
> necessary for salvation. Now that is necessary "without which something cannot be"
> (Metaph. v). Therefore it seems that none can obtain salvation without Baptism.

> >On the contrary, Augustine says (Super Levit. lxxxiv) that "some have received the
>> invisible sanctification without visible sacraments, and to their profit; but though
> it is possible to have the visible sanctification, consisting in a visible sacrament,
> without the invisible sanctification, it will be to no profit."
Since, therefore, the
> sacrament of Baptism pertains to the visible sanctification, it seems that a man can obtain
> salvation without the sacrament of Baptism, by means of the invisible sanctification.

>I answer that, The sacrament or Baptism may be wanting to someone in
>two ways. First, both in reality and in desire; as is the case with those
>who neither are baptized, nor wished to be baptized: which clearly
>indicates contempt of the sacrament, in regard to those who have the use
> of the free-will. Consequently those to whom Baptism is wanting thus, cannot
>obtain salvation: since neither sacramentally nor mentally are they
>incorporated in Christ, through Whom alone can salvation be obtained.

> >Secondly, the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire:
> for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death
> before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually
> baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of "faith that
> worketh by charity," whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments,
> sanctifies man inwardly. Hence Ambrose says of Valentinian, who died while yet a
> catechumen: " I lost him whom I was to regenerate: but he did not lose the grace he
> prayed for."

>Rep. to Objection 1. As it is written (1 Kgs. 16:7),"man seeth those things that appear, but the
> Lord beholdeth the heart." Now a man who desires to be "born again of water and the Holy
> Ghost" by Baptism, is regenerated in heart though not in body. thus the Apostle says (Rm.
>2:29) that "the circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose
> praise is not of men but of God."

> >Reply to Objection 2. No man obtains eternal life unless he be free
>from all guilt and debt of punishment. Now this plenary absolution is
> given when a man receives Baptism, or suffers martyrdom: for which reason is
> it stated that martyrdom "contains all the sacramental virtue of Baptism,"
> i.e. as to the full deliverance from guilt and punishment. Suppose, therefore, a
>catechumen to have the desire for Baptism (else he could not be said
>to die in his good works, which cannot be without "faith that worketh by
>charity"), such a one, were he to die, would not forthwith come to eternal life, but
> would suffer punishment for his past sins, "but he himself
>shall be saved, yet so as by fire" as is stated 1 Cor. 3:15.

> >Reply to Objection 3. The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary
>for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism
>of desire; "which, with God, counts for the deed" (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 57).


Adam responds as follows:

Well, Matt.16 uses another source who contradicts himself on this very same topic. St. Thomas taught elsewhere:

We will see that indeed St. Thomas is consistent with himself. If one just reads what he had written above, we can indeed see how the following statements are reconcilable.

"We believe the way of salvation to be open only to those who are baptized... Men are bound to those things without which they cannot attain salvation... Consequently, it is clear that everyone is bound to be baptized, and that without Baptism there is no salvation." (Exposition on the Apostles Creed, Article 10)

Does he mean here, contrary to a whole section of the Summa, that those who have a true desire for baptism but die without actual water baptism are condemned? Of course not, after all, St. Thomas had just written in regards to this when he affirms its necessity:
“Reply to Objection 3. The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism of desire; "which, with God, counts for the deed" (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 57). Thus, St. Thomas has God counting for the deed when one has the desire. BTW, this also shows St. Thomas affirming that St. Augustine affirmed the salvific efficacy of Baptism of desire.)” If at least one has a baptism of desire it suffices to fulfill exactly what he wrote.

"A thing may be so necessary that, without it, the end cannot be attained... In this way the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary to the individual, SIMPLY AND ABSOLUTELY." (Summa Theologica, III, Ques.65, Art.4)

What does simply and absolutely baptism mean for salvation? We just saw that an absolute desire for baptism suffices for salvation. Btw, this section of the Summa that Adam quotes is near the exact same place that I quoted earlier (ST. III Question 68, Article 2 as opposed to III, Ques. 65, Art. 4), in fact after this very quote. So in the Saint’s view, the doctor is not contradicting himself in the exact section where he is writing!!! He shows exactly how they can be reconciled. And he reconciles it in favor of baptism of desire sufficing for salvation. These statements are not contradictory at all.

V. Conclusion

Before I respond to Adam’s closing comments, his theory in effect is that very few people deserve to be in heaven. Now it is true, that the road to destruction is wide, and the road is narrow. Nevertheless, I have been informed by Adam that in order to get to heaven, since the time of the New Testament Dispensation, one must hold his view of EENS. Not only since the first infallible definition of 1215, but ever since 33 AD, all have had to hold his view to get to heaven. Now many Doctors and Saints affirm EENS. So do I. However, his version of has been held by few and far between. Giving us alot of quotes of Saints who believe in the necessity of baptism or EENS is not enough(So do I). Most Saints allowed exceptions of one kind or another (blood or desire).

From the time of the earliest Saints, like Justin Martyr, who believed in EENS strongly, but also believed that if one responded to whatever grace that God provided, that person would go to heaven. Many, such as St. Augustine, St. Ireneaus, St. Cyprian, St. Fulgencius, (and the parade of Saints who I showed in my first article) who seemed to hold a strict view of EENS, still allowed exceptions for those who died before they had a chance for baptism. Then there are other Saints just as Justin Martyr who wrote, for example as quoted in my first piece “1.46 (c. 150 AD): "We have been taught that Christ is the first-begotten of God, and we have declared him to be the Logos of which all mankind partakes [John 1:9]. Those, therefore, who lived according to reason [Greek, logos] were really Christians, even though they were thought to be atheists, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates, Heraclitus, and others like them. . . . Those who lived before Christ but did not live according to reason [logos] were wicked men, and enemies of Christ, and murderers of those who did live according to reason [logos], whereas those who lived then or who live now according to reason [logos]are Christians. Such as these can be confident and unafraid". St. Justin Martyr, and others like the same St. Ireneaus, St. Clement of Alexandria, definitely differ from Adam’s view of this issue, and while at the same time defending EENS (like the Magisterium for the last 140 years or so) also saw that God’s salvific will (1 Tim. 2:4) is truly universal. Many Popes, over the last 140 years or so, have a broader understanding of salvation than Father Feeney and Adam. St. Pius V, closely tied in to the Council of Trent, also authorized the Catechism of the Council of Trent which affirmed the salvation of one who was not baptized but desired it and died before he could receive it. This affirmed the letters of Pope Innocent II and III. Popes Pius IX and St. Pius X (while strongly affirming EENS) affirmed that if one was invincibly ignorant and responded to the grace that God provides, they can achieve salvation. What are all these heretics doing in heaven? I would be most happy to join these ‘heretics’ in heaven. Of course I must work out my salvation with fear and trembling like anybody else who ends up there. The idea that only Feeneyites will end up in heaven is ridiculous.

So, what do we have. Matt.16 using sources which contradict themselves to support his position that water Baptism is not necessary for salvation without exception. All of the above churchmen contradicted themselves in one way or another. This is why it is the teaching Church to which we must firstly and ultimately listen and believe.

St. Thomas does not contradict himself within the very same place of the Summa. And again, I am not citing him as an authority over the Magisterium, as Adam continues to say. I am happy to cite the Magisterium, throughout the ages, exactly in what they say, which includes the contexts. And the Magisterium is living, and continuing to teach, which is needless to say, different from what Father Feeney taught, and Adam Miller teaches. I will say, in regards to what St. Thomas has taught is directly reflected in the Magisterial documents from the Council of Trent to now. He taught this after the first infallible decree in 1215 AD. His language on baptism of desire was never critiqued by anybody in the Magisterium, and has been instrumental in the development of doctrine from that time until now. For example, the Council of Trent infallibly declared DS 796 In these words a description of the justification of a sinner is given as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of the "adoption of the sons" [Rom. 8:15] of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior; and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospelcannot be effected except through the laver of regeneration [can. 5 de bapt.], or a desire for it, as it is written: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" [John 3:5]. Also on canon 4 of the sacraments, Trent declares If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification; let him be anathema., with influence from St. Thomas. Other statements on desire on the sacrament of penance, Pope Pius XII, and later Vatican II also used . St. Thomas statements on the reality and desire were discussed in Vatican I, and put into the excommunication letter to Father Feeney which explained Father Feeney’s theological errors (DS 3870). Again I am not getting into issue of the excommunication, per se. Vatican II and the New Catechism reaffirm exactly what St. Thomas taught: “And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of "faith that worketh by charity," whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments”. (Third Part, Question 68, Article 2, answer to objection 3). This statement is official Catholic Doctrine, relayed in the New Catholic Catechism.

The bottom-line fact is that the official teachers of the Church are its Popes and Councils, and NO Pope or Council has EVER taught infallibly and definitively that BOD will SAVE anybody. On the literal contrary, Popes and Councils have all taught, infallibly and definitively, that all men must be baptized with water, absolutely and actually, in order to get to Heaven. Canons 2 and 5 "On Baptism" from Trent define this infallibly and allow for no exceptions.

Remember, canons 2 and 5 can not be isolated from what the rest of what the Council of Trent infallibly teaches, a couple of examples already given. The bottom-line fact is that the official teachers of the Church are its Popes and Councils, not Adam or Father Feeney, as we have seen their very flawed interpretation of past Popes and Councils. We have seen their attitude condemned by Vatican I. We have seen the term desire for baptism which brings justification and remits sins, and puts one in the state of grace, used in the Council of Trent infallibly and definitively. In its discussion of this very issue (and as I showed in my prior piece), Vatican II drew directly from the Council of Trent, language explaining its position on the issue. We have seen this doctrine develop to truly consider those who had never heard the message. We have seen Popes for the last 140 years or so put the teaching in an authoritative manner to include in salvation, those who are invincibly ignorant, and respond to the grace that God has given them. We have seen the framers of Vatican I see this development as legitimate, and it was more fully developed by Popes until this development was put in the documents of Vatican II, an authoritative and Ecumenical Council. Catholics are also bound to the living Magisterium, which has produced the Catechism, which is termed the “sure norm of faith” for all Catholics, and shows that one can achieve salvation, even if not a physically baptized Roman Catholic (CCC 846-847).

What does this mean for Fr. Leonard Feeney? It means that he was simply preaching Catholic dogma, without going beyond what the Church herself has infallibly defined. To go beyond and add exceptions to it is to go beyond what the Church teaches, and hence is an act of disobedience and arrogance.

As we have seen, Father Feeney went beyond what the Church herself has ‘infallibly defined’ and refused to listen to the authoritative Popes who taught differently from what Father Feeney did. If anybody was arrogant, it was him. We have seen Vatican I, who Adam himself appealed to, shows that it is the magisterium who has the authority to interpret past documents. Vatican II also affirms that. The only authentic interpreter of past magisterial statements are not individuals, but the living magisterium, as affirmed by the DOGMATIC (not merely pastoral) CONSTITUTION ON DIVINE REVELATION (Dei Verbum): "10. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. But THE TASK OF AUTHENTICALLY INTERPRETING THE WORD OF GOD, WHETHER WRITTEN OR HANDED ON, HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE LIVING TEACHING OFFICE OF THE CHURCH whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed." The magisterium is thus the only authentic interpreter of past magisterial documents. Besides that, Adam is labelling as disobedient and arrogant not only Popes over the last 140 years, but even the original Pope (Innocent III) who affirmed the first infallible definition of ‘No Salvation Outside the Church’ because he wrote a letter to a bishop and confirmed that one would go to heaven if he died before being baptized if a person truly desired it. He never retracted that letter, which would have been incumbent on him if he was wrong. St. Pius V of the Council of Trent, who authorized a Catechism which also affirmed likewise. If there was a choice in labelling as arrogant and disobedient these holy saints and Popes or Father Feeney, the choice would be easy, and it definitely wouldn’t be these canonized saints.

Now, even though I have gone to great lengths in this piece to defend the teaching of the Magisterium, I do want to reiterate that for those who do not have the Catholic faith, they are in great danger for their salvation. My whole web page is set up exactly for those who lack the Catholic faith, so that they see the Biblical and historical grounds for entering the Church that Christ found. Those not within the mystical body lack the graces that are found only in the Catholic Church. The sacraments of Confirmation, Penance, and the Eucharist are great gifts to be found in this Church that are salvific. The guidance of the Popes for the last 2000 years and the living Holy Father are guides that are necessary. For any Protestant who may read this, I do not want to give you the idea that it is OK to stay outside the Catholic Church. For those not in the Catholic faith, you need to come to this Church. For those in the Catholic faith, we must submit to its living authority.


Return to Ultra-Traditionalist Page


Return to Matt's Catholic Apologetics Page

To all visitors Grace of Christ to you!

Page created : Matt.
Send comments or

© Response To An Attack on my Piece Against Father Feeney... Matt1618... This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.

Changes last made, Thursday, January 7, 1999