Rorate Caeli

SSPX update: response to Doctrinal Preamble delivered

The response of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) to the Doctrinal Preamble presented by Cardinal Levada on September 14 was officially delivered on December 10. This information was recently made known to the District Superiors of that fraternity.

The Doctrinal Preamble was a "temporary" proposal; the Superior General of the SSPX made known in his interview of late November and in his sermon of December 8 his views on the Preamble.

(Source: Fecit Forum.)


  1. The proverbial ball is in the Holy Fathers court.
    I pray that Pope Benedict XVI has the final word on this.

  2. GQ Rep10:42 PM

    I hope he offers the SSPX an ever better, sweeter proposal in which the SSPX is given free reign to criticize Vatican II, especially liturgically.

    I hope the Pope has the sense to bypass both the CDF, and the Secretariate of State in this decision.

    Both offices have tried to undermine him on this and other issues since day 1 of his pontificate.

  3. This impasse could be partially resolved by the Pope lifting the suspensions of the Society's priests, sua sponte; our Holy Father lifted the Bishops' excommunications, so, this, in my opinion is the logical next step toward rapprochement.

    I know Baptism by Desire and Blood is the baby of the New Church, yet they allowed one Priest and a few hundred deniers to deny that non-dogma; why not let the Bishops, Priest, and hundreds of thousands of faithful Catholic to reject the penumbras of Vatican II? Would they be worse Catholics for rejecting them, vis-a-vis Tradition?

    NO! Methinks, it's made them better Catholics. See, all around you, the fruits of Vatican II, and debate me, if you will, but you can only debate me with Sophistry.

  4. Knight of Malta:

    Why not stick to the topic at hand instead of injecting the Feeneyite ERRORS into the conversation?

  5. methinks11:19 PM

    Poisoning the well is quite the sophistical thumper, Knight. Your initial suggestion seems compelling, though.

  6. Time for some prayers and mortification.

    Here're some suggestion:

    1. Not watching TV
    2. Not drinking coffee
    3. Eat frozen leftover without warming it
    4. Cold shower (only for bad@$$)
    5. Traditional fast
    6. Not smoking
    7. Connect using free dial-up

  7. Delphina11:36 PM


    What a dreamer you are!

  8. Sorry to offend, Brian, but I do think the comparison is pertinent.

    I just think the Pope could clear some waters if he lifted the Suspensions, as he generously lifted the Excommunications.

    What's harder: the excommunications or the suspensions!?--The suspensions are easy at this juncture! Of course, our Pope could say the SSPX are still "irregular"...but the rest is history!

    It would be a very simple act on the Pope's part towards rapprochement!

  9. Alsaticus11:44 PM

    you may be reminded that both CDF and secretariate of State have heads appointed by pope Benedict XVI in person.

    Besides to criticize liturgy is definitely not a problem : everybody does that including on top of the list, Joseph Ratzinger.

    The debate in not there but on interfaith "dialogue" versus evangelization, on who is the Church of Christ, on local and national Churches against or under Rome, on does "dialogue" with the secular society imply to have a secularized christianity watering down the Creed and Pater Noster etc.

    Does the Doctrinal Preamble address these crucial questions ?

  10. Knight,
    Excellent point.
    If Fr Feeney was "fully regularised" without having to recant his belief that there is only Baptism of Water, which defies de Fide Church teaching, why can't the FSSPX be regularised, who acknowledge all de Fide Church teaching?

  11. GQ Rep12:44 AM

    you may be reminded that both CDF and secretariate of State have heads appointed by pope Benedict XVI in person."

    I know. But that doesn't have to translate absolutely that they support, like, or even respect the Pope and his direction. I don't think they do.

    But the point of this column is the SSPX. I do hope (as has been rumored on another Catholic blog), that the Pope has a better deal for the SSPX than this one by Levada et al.

  12. Brian,
    For quite some time, I have been posting regularly here under the name "Brian." In order to avoid confusion, could I ask you please modify in some fashion the name by which you identify yourself.

    I, for example, thought that Knight of Malta's analogy was apt.

    Thank you,

  13. Any ideas when we can expect a reply from the Vatican..??

  14. Gregorian Mass1:47 AM

    I pray that this will be the last of the back and forth revisions, with our Holy Father welcoming back the SSPX and its' Faithful into the full heart of the Church. This will mark his Pontificate and we must all pray for his continued good health so that he may not only bring them back into the Church but guide them into the future as they settle into the heart of the Church once again.

  15. Cruise the Groove. said...

    Cruise the Groove:
    If Fr Feeney was "fully regularised" without having to recant his belief that there is only Baptism of Water, which defies de Fide Church teaching, why can't the FSSPX be regularised, who acknowledge all de Fide Church teaching?

    Do we really want to go there? Regularizing people who defy De Fide Church teaching?

    Don't we already have plenty of such individuals (ie. in good standing with the Church but defy De Fide Church teachings)? Cardinal Daneels, who says that contraception is OK for a start.

  16. Bruce3:26 AM


    ...I know Baptism by Desire and Blood is the baby of the New Church...

    Baloney! There are saints in the early Church who were never baptized! And just so there is no confusion, I am not defending the New Church.

    That was the point!

    Bruce (formerly Brian)

    P.S. Brian, I hope Bruce is ok with you.

  17. ...La Stampa/Vatican Insider: On the doctrinal preamble, "its content, said the Vatican spokesman [Father Federico Lombardi], is intended to remain secret.."

    How very, very strange that any doctrinal contents whatsoever are ever confidential. Weird world we live in.

  18. Remain!!!!

    Probably dont want to upset the "neighbours" by disclosing that "we" have been discussing their short comings....and coming to the conclusion that they "neighbours" are nothing but a bunch of so called"christian" fantasists and that the church has just about wrecked it's self trying to be nice them

  19. Admirer12:58 PM

    Knight of Malta and Cruise the Groovem you know what the real issue can be with folks like you?

    You make too much sense!

  20. The case of the St. Benedict Center Feeneyites is precisely relevant.

    Another relevant case is the CDF instruction on the reception of communion by those who reject the last two Popes' teachings on the death penalty.

    In both of these cases, Catholics who do not render religious submission to doctrines taught in the new Catechism, have been recognized as worthy to receive communion.

    It should be noted that the St. Benedict Center Feeneyites have in fact accepted baptism of desire in the most limited sense consistent with Trent; that is, baptism of desire understood as a desire *for baptism*, on the part of catechumens who desire, exactly, "baptism".

    In both cases, a Traditional understanding of the Church's teaching- *not the understanding proposed in authoritative documents of the post V2 magisterium*- have been recognized as consistent with full communion with the Catholic Church.

    This is the way forward.

  21. How this got turned into a Feeneyite thread is simply amazing. Proof again that Feeneyites will jump at any opportunity and twist any discussion to justify their mistaken notions.

    A blessed Christmas to all!

  22. Bruce:

    The thread concerns the very important question of just what it is we must believe, or, more accurately, just what it is to which we must render religious submission, in order to walk fully with the Church.

    Your personal difficulty with the Feeneyites (and you clearly do not understand the various positions even within that school) is not relevant.

    The fact that the Feeneyites of the St. Benedict Center have in fact been received by their ordinary, and are fully in communion with the Catholic Church, despite a frank and clearly-stated rejection of so-called "baptism of implicit desire", as taught in the New Catechism, is an important and relevant point to consider in this regard.

  23. Thanks Bruce (AKA "Brian"),

    The discussion of Feeneyitism was an archetype of how the Vatican might regularize the million plus souls in the FSSPX; are you against those souls being regularized?


  24. "Living Tradition" has been faithfully communicated by Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope has stated that living Tradition expresses the notion that once formed it is always current and living inside the Magisterium, i.e. it does not change. Bishop Fellay chooses to turn this on its ear in his Dec 8th Sermon/Homily. The bishop also makes it plain that submission to the "Living" Magisterium is not his cup of tea. Perhaps he would prefer submission circa 1500 (when Rome ruled church and state).
    Frankly, I think the SSPX became Donatists since Archbishop Lefebre's departure.

    Michael F Brennan
    St Petersburg Florida

  25. Well, Mike, your opinion is worth precisely as much as every other opinion- insofar as it is an opinion.

    Here's my opinion:

    Cardinal Ratzinger himself issued the Instruction which explicitly affirms the worthiness of Catholics aware of the profound discontinuity between the "Living Tradition" and apostolic Tradition concerning the moral justification for the death penalty, to receive holy communion.

    Now you may think the Living Tradition is better than the apostolic Tradition in this respect.

    Any Catholic who doesn't agree, is free to receive communion.

    In other words, Mr. Brennan, no obligation of religious submission exists for the Catholic, on a matter repeatedly taught by two Popes, and taught in the new catechism- that is, no obligation of religious submission exists on an innovation taught by the Living Magisterium.

    This is very interesting, I think.

    The reception of the St. Benedict Center Feeneyites is another example of the same phenomenon: the Living Magisterium authoritatively teaches an innovation called "baptism of implicit desire".

    No obligation of religious submission exists concerning this innovation either.

    We know this because the St. Benedict Center Feeneyites do not accept this innovation.

    If the Living Tradition is telling us that good Catholics can adhere to apostolic Tradition when it conflicts with Living Tradition.........

    What does that say about your opinion?

    I do not know whether these facts are enough to get the SSPX regularized.

    I do know it provides a great deal of consolation to Traditional Catholics concerned with such matters as the heresy of the English bishops concerning error in Scripture, for example......

    I suspect that a place in the Church

  26. Tradical3:38 PM

    Hi Rick,

    There appears to be some confusion of the term "Living Magisterium".

    Church teaching appears to be at odds with the second half of your assertions, specifically:

    ...the Living Magisterium authoritatively teaches an innovation called "baptism of implicit desire"...

    What the Church teaches on this topic is found in a number of encyclicals but for a complete exposition read the letter to Archbishop Cushing. (

  27. Tradical7:02 PM


    I did a quick review of the CCC with respects to Baptism of Desire and didn't see anything that contradicted the aforesaid letter to Archbishop Cushing etc.

    If you could point out the area where a 'rupture' has occured in this regard it would be very helpful.

  28. Tradical:

    Living magisterium..... Living Tradition...... Authentic Tradition......Authoritative magisterium.........

    So many terms, introduced in order to attempt to clarify the issue which is really at stake here.

    I apologize for having adopted Mr. Brennan's terminology, since all of this boils down to one thing:

    To what must a Catholic render authentic religious submission?

    The necessity of baptism, or the desire for it, has been defined at Trent.

    You link to the Holy Office letter of Archbishop Cushing, which renders the following, remarkable statement:

    "These things are clearly taught in that dogmatic letter which was issued by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1943, (AAS, Vol. 35, an. 1943, p. 193 ff.). For in this letter the Sovereign Pontiff clearly distinguishes between those who are actually incorporated into the Church as members, and those who are united to the Church only by desire."

    Except, of course, that these things are *not* clearly taught in the referenced encyclical.

    Expressly the opposite is clearly taught in the referenced encyclical.

    Here is what is clearly taught:

    "22. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed."--- Pope Pius XII, June 29, 1943, "On the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ"

    Now, it is unnecessary to adduce support for a further elaboration of Trent's definition, *as a theological conclusion*, to include baptism of implicit desire.

    That elaboration exists, after all, in a far more authoritative form than the letter of Archbishop Cushing.

    It exists in the new Catechism.

    But it certainly does not exist in Pope Pius XII's encyclical.

    So- to the crucial point:

    No obligation exists to render religious submission to the theological conclusion of baptism by implicit desire.

    How do we know this?

    We know this because the St. Benedict Center, having advanced these and far more detailed theological points on this question, has been received into full and regular communion, without being required to render religious submission to the theological conclusion that baptism of desire consists in a desire, not for the sacrament itself, but in an implicit desire to conform one's will to God.

    Therefore the authoritative teaching concerning baptism of implicit desire does not require religious submission.

    Which is a most excellent thing, since baptism of implicit desire is- my opinion only- a large factor in the evisceration of the Church's missionary activity since its authoritative adoption after the Feeney affair.

    Now, my opinion is only that, it can be freely rejected and is not in fact relevant.

    What *is* relevant, is that the Church has acted to relieve any obligation of religious submission to the theological conclusion of baptism of implicit desire, by receiving into communion that school which has based its own religious life upon its denial.

    This, again, shows a way forward- when a sincere Catholic, seeking earnestly to form their conscience in accordance with the highest and most authoritative expressions of the magisterium, cleaves to the higher expression upon concluding that a subsequent, lower-level expression is in conflict with it.... that Catholic is in communion with the Church.

    Along with the death penalty example, this seems to be a possible key toward "squaring the circle", and providing a place in the Church to those who recoil in horror from the astonishing devastation of the vineyard in recent times, and who wish, as the Apostle directs, to "hold fast to Tradition" in such awful times.

  29. Ironicly, the first time I have heard about the implicit baptism of desire was when I was reading Open Letter to Confused Catholics by msgn Marcel Lefevbre. In the Letter he wrote:

    The doctrine of the Church also recognizes implicit baptism of desire. This consists in doing the will of God. God knows all men and He knows that amongst Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists and in the whole of humanity there are men of good will. They receive the grace of baptism without knowing it, but in an effective way. In this way they become part of the Church.


    Now, are you saying that archbishop Lefebre thought novelties?

  30. We are often told by the modernists that we must submit to the ordinary and universal magisterium and, indeed, they infer that the FSSPX does not. But what does this mean - this submission to the ordinary and universal magisterium.

    I researched this point in the original Catholic Encyclopedia ( and found the following:


    Having established the general doctrine of the Church's infallibility, we naturally proceed to ask what are the organs through which the voice of infallible authority makes itself heard. We have already seen that it is only in the episcopal body which has succeeded to the college of Apostles that infallible authority resides, and that it is possible for the authority to be effectively exercised by this body, dispersed throughout the world, but united in bonds of communion with Peter's successor, who is its visible head and center. During the interval from the council of the Apostles at Jerusalem to that of their successors at Nicaea this ordinary every-day exercise of episcopal authority was found to be sufficiently effective for the needs of the time, but when a crisis like the Arian heresy arose, its effectiveness was discovered to be inadequate, as was indeed inevitable by reason of the practical difficulty of verifying that fact of moral unanimity, once any considerable volume of dissent had to be faced. And while for subsequent ages down to our own day it continues to be theoretically true that the Church may, by the exercise of this ordinary teaching authority, arrive at a final and infallible decision regarding doctrinal questions, it is true at the same time that in practice it may be impossible to prove conclusively that such unanimity as may exist has a strictly definitive value in any particular case, unless it has been embodied in a decree of an ecumenical council, or in the ex cathedra teaching of the pope, or, at least, in some definite formula such as the Athanasian Creed. Hence, for practical purposes and in so far as the special question of infallibility is concerned, we may neglect the so-called "magisterium ordinarium" and confine our attention to ecumenical councils and the pope.

    Applying the boldfaced sections above to the last Council it is clear that the unanimity hoped for in interpreting its documents hardly exists. In fact, so many prelates have spoken on this issue that we are unable to determine unanimity of interpretation on the dubious and ambiguous propositions emanating from it. I'm talking about universal salvation, the efficacy of false religions, religious liberty vs religious tolerance, collegiality and all the rest. The pope has not spoken ex cathedra on this matter and we are left to form our own opinions and judgments. Indeed, we are led to believe by news reports that the FSSPX has replied to Rome saying they are unable to accept the doctrinal preamble as it stands. Doesn't universal imply unanimity? Are the FSSPX bishops part of the universal and ordinary magisterium? Is Bishop Schneider? How about Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci? What about those prelates under virtual and actual arrest in communist countries who were unable to attend the last Council? Aren't they part of the universal magisterium?

    To those who might object to my referencing the Original Catholic Encyclopedia I reply that it has the Imprimatur and nihil obstat at and these imply unanimity at least in 1907. So, is the charge levied against the FSSPX a red-herring invented by the modernists? Methinks it could be so but who am I to judge, right? But there is one who can solve everything with one stroke of his pen and he refuses to act, at least thus far. What are we to think?

  31. Tradical9:48 PM

    Leaving the status of the St. Benedict Centre aside for the time being.

    Let's focus on Mystici Corporis.

    The first thing is that you have correctly quoted what is required for actual membership in the Church (ie Mystical Body of Christ).

    However, you have not quoted paragraph 103 where Pius XII stated:

    ... We have committed to the protection and guidance of heaven those who do not belong to the visible Body of the Catholic Church, ... 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.[ref 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. Therefore may they enter into Catholic unity ...

    Reference 196 refers to the Encyclical Letter of Pius IX Iam Vos Omnes.

    So the assertion that Pius XII did not teach Baptism of Desire as described in the letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing is not supported.

    Further clarification (NB My understanding from personal reading). A person who is not baptized or a material heretic can be in a state of grace. If they are and they die in that state - they are saved.

    This basically says that it is possible for them to be saved. It does not say that it is probable.

  32. Luke: Believe me, the irony is intentional on my part :-)

    Yes, the Archbishop adhered to a theological conclusion, which he correctly terms "doctrine", not "dogma", since the dogma is stated at Trent.

    The doctrine of baptism of implicit desire is certainly authoritatively taught.

    As is, for example, the doctrine that the state must grant full religious liberty.

    The opposite of the doctrine of baptism of implicit desire is also taught.

    As is, for example, the opposite of the doctrine that the state must grant full religious liberty.

    I hope the point is becoming more clear:

    The point is not whether Archbishop Lefebvre believed such-and-so.

    The point is whether the Church has imposed an obligation of religious submission upon Archbishop Lefebvre and everyone else to believe such-and-so.

    In the cases cited above-the death penalty, and baptism of implicit desire-the actions of the Church indicate that no such obligation of religious submission exists.

    This, in turn, raises interesting precedents for an examination of those specific doctrinal disputes between the FSSPX and the magisterium.

    I am proposing that we may have an operative principle in view:

    A Catholic who, honestly seeking to form their conscience in accordance with the obligations of religious submission, concludes that tension exists between various expressions of the magisterium on the question, can in fact cleave to the one taught at a higher level of authority, without incurring any sin.

    This would seem to open the door to a possible basis for regularization of the SSPX, although of course I do not have any idea whether such a basis would be acceptable to the FSSPX.

    I do note that it would certainly provide a basis for many Traditional Catholics struggling with issues *other than* those specifically identified by the FSSPX, to rest comfortably secure in the knowledge that they have obeyed the Church's directives, and have not defied Her command to render religious submission, in those difficult cases where Her own actions show that it is not required.

  33. Tradical10:16 PM

    Hi Rick,

    As far as "No obligation exists to render religious submission to the theological conclusion of baptism by implicit desire.

    How do we know this?...

    Actually, there would be a relgious submission due to the teaching of the afore mentioned encyclicals.

    As far as a submission of faith ... I had to look that one up.

    Theological Conclusions are "Sent Certa" "whose truth is guaranteed by its intrinsic connection with the doctrine of revelation." (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma - Ott)

    Rejecting something that is 'Sent Certa' is dangerous because you risk denying the underlying doctrine/dogma connected with it. (My understanding)

  34. Tradical10:19 PM

    Hi Rick,

    Now last point (before the kids tear the house apart).

    We know this because the St. Benedict Center,... has been received into full and regular communion, without being required to render religious submission to the theological conclusion ...

    This is fairly crucial to your argument. Could you provide references directly linked to the St. Benedict Center that makes this claim? For example did they (like the Tr. Anglicans) just have to agree with the CCC?

  35. Tradical:

    Thank you for your quote, from Mystici Corporis, which I did not post since it does not teach baptism of implicit desire.

    There are a great many who insist that it does, but it doesn't.

    "A certain relationship to" does not mean "included as members of".

    The entire claim of Archbishop Cushing's letter is predicated upon the logical fallacy that "a certain relationship to" *does* mean "included as members of".

    But this is false.

    No Catholic can be required to render religious submission to a logical fallacy.

    The same approach has been taken many times since, to suggest that "in a certain way" Christ unites Himself to all men through His incarnation.

    Are we therefore to conclude that all men are, therefore, saved?

    Of course not.

    Such a conclusion would represent a dramatic contradiction to other, higher level, more authoritative, and irreversible teachings *at the dogmatic level*.


    The proof is in the pudding, as they say, because you and I can argue the theological points til the cows come home and, apart from the devoutly-to-be-wished-for mutual edification which may result, nothing will be settled, because neither you nor I are constituted with Christ's Authority as the magisterium of the Church.

    But the magisterium of the Church *has* acted, in both the death penalty case, and in the St. Benedict Center case, to authoritatively demonstrate that no obligation of religious submission exists, for those Catholics who hold to the apostolic and Scriptural justifications for the death penalty, and no obligation of religious submission exists, for those Catholics who hold to the precise and most limited interpretation of Trent's definition concerning baptism of desire.

    Therefore, we might hope, a similar liberty of conscience might be supposed to exist in other, similar instances, for example, those relevant to the FSSPX's regularization.

  36. Generally speaking, most of what is written about The SSPX and the other side is poor speculation and irregular misinformed guesswork. Rumour and hearsay dominate. It is always preferable to await actual outcomes. Bishop Fellay has certainly attempted to pull The Confraternity in a certain direction but the leadership and grassroots want a "work to rule" which one would expect from such an important Society of Roman Catholics. Like it or not, Bishop Fellay can only proceeds so far since matters of principle guide the discussions. This papacy is ephemeral but the Barque of St Peter goes on - a sobering reality given the current condition of the contemporary modern catholic church.

  37. Tradical10:37 PM

    Hi Rick,

    I just read your 21:48 posting and I believe I understand your position.

    So basically, the St. Benedict Center continues to believe that no one outside the Church is saved as explained by the Church earlier.

    Ergo why can't the SSPX be unified in the same manner.

    I think it will come down to principles. There also seems to be general angst in the more liberal elements of the Church when you mention 'SSPX'.


  38. Tradical:

    Thank you for your responses- I think your last one brings us to a good resting point (if not your kids!).

    One last point you raise is a very valid and important one.

    You quote my earlier assertion: "We know this because the St. Benedict Center,... has been received into full and regular communion, without being required to render religious submission to the theological conclusion ..."

    And then you ask, very legitimately:

    "This is fairly crucial to your argument. Could you provide references directly linked to the St. Benedict Center that makes this claim? For example did they (like the Tr. Anglicans) just have to agree with the CCC?"

    Upon doing some checking, I find that the plot, as they say, thickens..........

    I was apparently overstating the degree of canonical recognition the St. Benedict Center enjoys, and I wish to clarify this right away.

    While the Bishop has approved St. Benedict Center as a house of Catholic worship, it is inaccurate to claim that they have been fully regularized, and so I apologize and wish to correct that misstatement on my part.

    The following excerpt should clarify matters:

    "At this point, our congregation is strictly a private association without canonical recognition from the Diocese of Manchester; however, our chapel is an approved house of worship of that same diocese, with a priest licitly offering Mass here and enjoying faculties from Bishop McCormack to hear confessions as well."


    They are Catholic, they have a priest assigned to offer Mass and hear confession by the Bishop........

    But they are apparently not fully regularized.

    Thanks for insisting upon this, Tradical.

    I want to think about how this might affect my overall argument.

    In the meantime, thanks for again for insisting on documentation. When all else the bloody directions, eh?

    And may I also extend my wishes for a Merry Christmas to you!

  39. Tradical11:33 PM

    Hi Rick

    "A certain relationship to" does not mean "included as members of".

    You have misread the encyclical etc.

    What the Pope said is:

    A. They are 'not' actual members of the Church etc.

    B. They can be saved as outlined in the letter to Archbishop Cushing. NB The letter wasn't written by him - it was written by the Holy Office and Pope Pius XII was (according to Fr. Fenton) involved in forming its contents.

    Now a crucial question: What is your understanding of the Baptism of Desire?

    How does this contrast with the letter to Archbishop Cushing and the analysis of the letter by Fr. Fenton?

    Another thought that occured as I was making supper. If you believe that Encyclical letters don't form part of magisterial teaching and are 'contingent' then you hold the same point of view as 'Ogard' who believes that all 'material' heretics are members of the Church.

    Gotta go - probably won't be able to check back for a couple of days.


  40. SkinnyBaldGuy12:08 AM

    The Holy Office Letter to Fr. Feeney is a confused one in my opinion. It not only misrepresents Pius XII's encyclical as Rick has stated but towards the end of the letter, after having established a basis for implicit desire of baptism, it undoes itself by stating "Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith... (full quote below). What could supernatural faith be? The distinction is made clearly in Fr. Michael Mueller's, "The Catholic Dogma: "Extra Ecclesiam Nullus omnino Salvatur". Supernatural faith cannot be anything other than true and right faith, the Catholic Faith, (the opposite of a natural faith which Protestants have according to Fr. Mueller) although one could make the case that supernatural faith would simply mean faith in the prerequisites for salvation; the Incarnation, the Resurrection, God is a remunerator etc. but then that wouldn't leave non-Christians with much hope would it? Which I don't think that was the intent of the Holy Office.

    BTW, isn't "supernatural" faith given at Baptism?

    Letter of the Holy Office:

    "But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: "For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). The Council of Trent declares (Session VI, chap. 8): "Faith is the beginning of man's salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and attain to the fellowship of His children" (Denzinger, n. 801)."

  41. Tradical asks:

    "Now a crucial question: What is your understanding of the Baptism of Desire?"

    >> I presently understand the baptism of desire strictly in accordance with the dogmatic definition of the Council of Trent; that is, I believe that baptism of desire is strictly limited to those who desire *baptism*. In other words, only catechumens- or those who are in a position to desire *baptism itself*, can be justified by the desire for....*baptism*.

    To be very precise: I do not believe there exists any basis in dogmatic definitions of the Holy Catholic Church, to support baptism of "implicit desire".

    I also believe that the theological conclusion of baptism of implicit desire is in great tension with, if not direct contradiction to, the Faith of the Catholic Church as expressed in Her dogmatic teaching- most especially including "Mystici Corporis".

    Tradical: "How does this contrast with the letter to Archbishop Cushing and the analysis of the letter by Fr. Fenton?"

    >> The Holy Office letter is extremely problematic in this respect:

    It inaccurately asserts that baptism of implicit desire is taught in "Mystici Corporis".

    The empirical truth is that it is not.

    The empirical truth is that the cited basis for "implicit desire", does not in fact so much as hint at "implicit desire".

    Tradical: Another thought that occured as I was making supper. If you believe that Encyclical letters don't form part of magisterial teaching and are 'contingent' then you hold the same point of view as 'Ogard' who believes that all 'material' heretics are members of the Church.

    >> To the contrary. I believe that there exists no encyclical letter which teaches baptism of implicit desire.

    All encyclical letters of which I am presently aware, and certainly the dogmatic definition of the Council of Trent, teach baptism of explicit desire only.

    Tradical: Gotta go - probably won't be able to check back for a couple of days.


    >> Merry Christmas!

  42. Tradical11:53 PM

    NC et al,

    SSPX posted the following information which clarifies some of the issues from their perspective with V2 and with the 'hermeneutic of continuity'.

    Merry Xmas.

  43. From the above-linked response of the FSSPX:

    "The Magisterium, in whatever era it may be, must remain the organ of the deposit of the faith. It becomes perverted to the extent in which it alters that deposit. It is false to say that divinely revealed principles that have been made explicit by the previous Magisterium are not necessarily binding, on the pretence that the subject-Church experiences them differently through the contingency of history, or that the People of God finds itself being led to establish a new relation between its faith and the modern world."

    This, it seems to me, sums up the issue exactly.

    The Faith is something entrusted to the Church, to guard it and to preserve it against corruption.

    It is not something proposed as a philosophical system, to be perfected by the best thinking of men- even Churchmen.

    It seems to me that every step along the way to the devastation of the vineyard, can be seen to have occurred as a consequence of the hierarchy abandonment of a "hard saying" of Tradition, in light of contingent propositions of the modern world.

  44. Tradical4:06 PM

    Hi Rick,

    "every step"
    I agree. I was re-reading Humani Generis over breakfast and the following seems to describe the situation:

    '... these advocate an "eirenism" according to which, by setting aside the questions which divide men, they aim reconciling things opposed to one another in the field of dogma." Humani Generis 11.


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