Those who would claim that Baptism by water alone is the sole means of Salvation exhibit at best misguided zeal and depending on the vigor of their application, run the risk of scandalizing the Faith and placing their own souls at risk. While these people may exhibit very good and pious Catholic attitudes, they falter with a misconstrued view of Salvation as was promoted by Fr. Feeney and promoted still by the St. Benedict Center (SBC) and those associated with them. The Catholic Church maintains Extra Ecclessiam Nulla Salus "No Salvation outside the Catholic Church" as Catholic dogma. The Catholic Church recognizes no other revealed means for a man to obtain Heaven. However She never presumes to finally determine the state of Souls, or God's Judgment. Whereas God has revealed that His Church is the only path to Salvation and that one must be Baptized into it, using flowing water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, to be eligible for Redemption, this same Church also recognizes that the intention of these Souls may also be pleasing to Almighty God. The Church also realizes that the Law-Giver is above the Law and that while a person appears by mortal standards to be outside the Catholic Church and is in grave danger of damnation, and while there is no other revealed means to Salvation, it does not mean that God in His infinite Justice and Mercy, is not able to know a man's heart and desire, and save the Soul of one who has yet to be Baptized in water.

 

It is not charitable to think otherwise and on a more severe note it is dangerous to attempt to usurp God's Justice and Mercy.

 

Those known as Feeneyites will quote many Popes in the promotion of their position, but they fail to note the many Popes and Doctors of the Church that comment on the possibility of other means of Salvation, such as Baptism by Blood (as in Martyrs) or Desire (as in Invincible Ignorance). If Feeneyites are correct, then the Holy Innocents (Infant Martyrs) and Didimus (the good thief crucified with Christ) are now in Hell. Their founder, Fr. Feeney was excommunicated* for refusing to obey the Holy See regarding his over-zealous interpretation of the EENS doctrine. His position and the now subsequent Feeneyite position is scandalous to the Catholic Church for it portrays a cold-hearted religion that lacks charity, and dangerous for them because as they judge so harshly they are asking to be judged by the same measure.

 

 

It is Catholic Dogma that souls may be saved through Baptism of Water, Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire. It is de fide (required belief) for all Catholics. Those who reject this Dogma, ironically, place themselves outside the Catholic Church. Here is a sampling of this constant teaching of the Catholic Church:

 

         "taking the place of the baptismal bath if it was not received, and restoring that which was lost" - Tertullian (speaking of lavacrum sanguinis, or blood baptism)

 

         "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'. Considering this over and over again, I find that not only suffering for the name of Christ can supply for that which is lacking by way of baptism, but even faith and conversion of heart [i.e., baptism of desire] if, perhaps, because of the circumstances of the time, recourse cannot be had to the celebration of the mystery of baptism. [...] When we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, it is the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body ... All who are within [the Church] in heart are saved in the unity of the ark [by baptism of desire]."- St. Augustine

 

         "the catechumens who suffer martyrdom receive "the glorious and most sublime blood-Baptism"" - St. Cyprian

 

We assert without hesitation (on the authority of the holy Fathers Augustine and Ambrose) that the priest whom you indicated (in your letter) had died without the water of baptism, because he persevered in the faith of holy mother the Church and in the confession of the name of Christ, was freed from original sin and attained the joy of the heavenly fatherland. Read (brother) in the eighth book of Augustine's "City of God" * where among other things it is written, "Baptism is ministered invisibly to one whom not contempt of religion but death excludes." Read again the book also of the blessed Ambrose concerning the death of Valentinian * where he says the same thing. Therefore, to questions concerning the dead, you should hold the opinions of the learned Fathers' and in your church you should join in prayers and you should have sacrifices offered to God for the priest mentioned. Pope Innocent II

 

        "It is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, "de presbytero non baptizato" and of the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one can be saved "without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it." -St Alphonsus Liguori

 

         "Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments."Quanto Conficiamur Moerore - Pope Pius IX

 

         "Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation."Humani Generis - Pope Pius XII

 

" 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."  Mystici Corporis Christi - Pope Pius XII (emphasis mine)

 

         "Baptism, the gateway and foundation of the Sacraments, actually or at least in desire is necessary for all salvation"Canon 737 Sec.1 - 1917 Code of Canon Law

 

 

 

 * -http://www.traditionalmass.org/articles/article.php?id=1&catname=2

 

HRCC 2007