Friday, February 3, 2012
THE EXCOMMUNICATION OF FATHER FEENEY AND THE USE OF EXCOMMUNICATION FOR PUBLIC PERSONS WHO ARE CATHOLIC AND FLAUNT THE MORAL TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THUS LEAD OTHERS AND NOT ONLY CATHOLICS INTO MORAL APOSTACY
Father Leonard Feeney had a storied life, first as a well-known Roman Catholic writer; he later fell from favour with the Roman Catholic Church after he insisted that only Roman Catholics can go to heaven and that everyone else will be damned.
On 8 August 1949, the Holy Office sent an official declaration of the meaning of the dogma extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (outside the church there is no salvation), which Feeney refused to accept. After repeatedly refusing summons to Rome, Feeney was excommunicated on 13 February 1953 by the Holy See for persistent disobedience to legitimate Church authority, and the decree of excommunication was later published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. His followers said that his excommunication was invalid because Feeney was not given a reason for his summons. Following his excommunication, Feeney set up a community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was reconciled to the Roman Catholic Church in 1972, but was not required to retract or recant his interpretation of "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus", which is inscribed on his tombstone  . Speaking two decades after the controversy Cardinal Avery Dulles judged Feeney's doctrine on a series of lectures not having to do with "extra Ecclesiam..." to be quite sound.(Dulles' reflections on Feeney's life did not endorse Feeney's views on extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, and spoke only to his theology, not his political views on issues such as Zionism.)
 The Point
Feeney was editor of "The Point," which ran a mixture of theological and political articles, many of them branded anti-semitic by Feeney's critics. The newsletter frequently contained sentiments such as:
"Those two powers, the chief two in the world today, are Communism and Zionism. That both movements are avowedly anti-Christian, and that both are in origin and direction Jewish, is a matter of record." (September 1958)
"As surely and securely as the Jews have been behind Freemasonry, or Secularism, or Communism, they are behind the “anti-hate” drive. The Jews are advocating tolerance only for its destructive value — destructive, that is, of the Catholic Church. On their part, they still keep alive their racial rancors and antipathies." (January 1959)
A single year, 1957, saw the following article titles:
January: "Jewish Invasion of Our Country--Our Culture Under Siege"
February: "When Everyone Was Catholic--The Courage of the Faith in the Thirteenth Century"
March: "Dublin's Briscoe Comes to Boston"
April: "The Fight for the Holy City--Efforts of the Jews to Control Jerusalem"
May: "Our Lady of Fatima Warned Us"
June: "The Rejected People of Holy Scripture: Why the Jews Fear the Bible"
July: "The Judaising of Christians by Jews--Tactics of the Church's Leading Enemies"
August: "A Sure Defense Against the Jews--What Our Catholic Bishops Can Do for Us"
September: "An Unholy People in the Holy Land--The Actions of the Jews"
October: "The Jewish Lie About Brotherhood--the Catholic Answer--Israeli Brotherhood"
November: "Six Pointers on the Jews"
Feeney has been described as Boston's homegrown version of Father Charles Coughlin, a priest also accused of antisemitism.
The young Robert Kennedy attended a meeting of students during his Harvard days at which he stood up and challenged Feeney, later storming out, following the priest's assertion that there was no salvation outside the Catholic faith.
MY COMMENTS APPLYING WHAT OCCURRED TO FATHER FEENEY TO CATHOLIC POLITICIANS WHO LEAD OTHERS INTO MORAL APOSTASY CONCERNING THE CHURCH CLEAR, UNAMBIGUOUS, AUTHORITATIVE AND INFALLIBLE MORAL TEACHINGS ON NATURAL LAW REVEALING DIVINE LAW AND THUS AVAILABLE TO ALL, NOT JUST CATHOLICS, AND THE ROLE OF SCRIPTURE, TRADITION AND ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY OVER THE CATHOLIC BELIEVER.
Through the years, I often wondered where my father learned his antisemitism in pre-Vatican II times (renounced that after Vatican II). And then this morning a light bulb went off in my head: it was through Father Feeney and Father Coughlin (the national radio priest)both of whom would have been contemporaries of my father or of his youthful generation.
Father Feeney was excommunicated by the Holy Father, himself, Pope Pius XII in 59 years ago, a little more than a week from now, on February 13th. It was because he refused to submit to ecclesiastical authority and temper his beliefs about "outside the Church there is no salvation" which was being nuanced by the Church even in the 1940's which led to a clear and unambiguous teaching which is also authoritative and normative for Catholics in the documents of Vatican II.
This brings us to Catholic politicians worldwide who use their public and thus moral influence to lead people into moral indifference our our right moral apostasy. I think of Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Pelosi, Joseph Biden, Edward Kennedy and the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo just to name a few.
They persist in promoting themselves, their political candidacy and their secularized view of morality completely in contradiction to the Church and yet still profess to be Catholics in good standing and make a point of receiving Holy Communion and if the Holy Father is in town at his Masses!
It is long past due for bishops and perhaps even the Holy Father to place a censure against them denying them Holy Communion since these people have broken Communion with the Church in the most serious and public way possible or to excommunicate them outright as Father Feeney was.
Censure and Excommunication are compassionate on two fronts. It is compassionate to Catholics who are confused and misled by these politicians and thus brings division to the Church and moral apostasy on a wide scale. It is a pastoral act of charity to those excommunicated to public repent and renounce their mortal sin of moral apostasy and thus be reconciled to the Church in a public way with the lifting of the public excommunication.