Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Richard Cushing’s legacy: Followers include EWTN and SSPX


When I contact the Catechetics and Liturgy Office in the diocese of Sydney they too assume that the baptism of desire and invincible ignorance are an exception to the dogma. So widespread is this issue in the Church.

From the liberals to the SSPX Holy Cross seminary in Australia all assume that there is a visible baptism of desire.

The Archbishop assumed the baptism of desire was visible and so contradicted the dogma outside the church there is no salvation. He assumed that those saved with the baptism of desire and in invincible ignorance were known to us and so it contradicts Fr. Leonard Feeney’s traditional interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

Since the time of the Archbishop Cardinal Richard Cushing it is assumed there are two interpretations of the dogma. 1)the rigorist interpretation of Fr. Leonard Feeney, the popes and saints and 2) the non rigorist interpretation. The non rigorist interpretation says everyone needs to enter the Church for salvation except for those in invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire. It is assumed here that the baptism of desire and invincible ignorance are exceptions to the dogma. So this is a ‘new ‘interpretation.

We now know that there is only one interpretation of the dogma, the centuries old interpretation since the baptism of desire and invincible ignorance are not known to us.

It is assumed that Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium 16 (invincible ignorance, good conscience) is an exception to the dogma. This would be assuming that those saved in invincible ignorance are defacto known to us in particular cases. We know that they are not visible and explicitly known to us but known only to God. So they are not exceptions to the dogma.

De facto, everyone needs to enter the Church for salvation. De jure in principle those saved in invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire are known only to God. The baptism of water is explicit. The baptism of desire is implicit.

The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 was addressed directly to the Archbishop of Boston. It was critical of the Archbshop. It mentioned ‘the dogma’, the ‘infallible statement’. The dogma does not mention any exceptions. The dogma also indicates, like Fr. Leonard Feeney, that everyone needs to explicitly enter the Church for salvation.

Today the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), Eternal Word Television Network, Catholic Answers, Society of St. Pius X, Pontifical seminaries and universities, sedevacantists, priests, nuns and lay Catholics are all unknowingly following the legacy of the Archbishop of Boston and the Jesuits of Boston College.

They assume the baptism of desire etc is visible and so is an exception to the dogma.

Probably many readers here too would make the same assumption.

The book the Bread of Life mentions ‘the catechumens’ who die without the baptism of water.

Unlike the Catechetical and the Liturgy Office of the diocese of Sydney, Australia, the Jesuits there and the SSPX Holy Cross Seminary they do not consider the baptism of desire (followed by the baptism of water for them) as exceptions to the dogma.

The Bread of Life was published after the excommunication and before the lifting of the excommunication. He was not required to recant or change his writing.

In The Bread of Life he recognizes that a genuine desire of a catechumen could provide justification. These were rare cases, ‘in certain circumstances'( Letter of the Holy Office 1949). These cases of the baptism of desire were not the ordinary means of salvation. God would then provide the grace for the person to receive the baptism of water.

So in general there were not three types of baptism but only one. Only God could know who was saved with the baptism of blood and desire. So they were not an exception to everyone needing the baptism of water and Catholic Faith to go to Heaven.

De facto, in reality the ordinary means of salvation for all adults is only the baptism of water and Catholic Faith. This is the only explicit means of salvation.

The Baptism of desire cannot be a part of the ordinary means of salvation since we do not know any de facto case.

The Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Richard Cushing was wrong in assuming that the baptism of desire was an exception to the dogma. For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church he made the baptism of desire and invincible ignorance an issue. Then along with the Jesuits he placed this teaching prominently in Vatican Council II.

The media implied that the baptism of desire etc was an exception to the dogma. So they assumed Fr. Leonard Feeney was in heresy and that the Archbishop was a pioneer.

A defacto-dejure analysis of magisterial texts show that the Letter of the Holy Office does not mention this implication. Neither does Vatican Council II, or Lumen Gentium 16 make the false assumption.

Instead Lumen Gentium 16 only mentions invincible ignorance. It does not say that it is an exception the dogma or the ordinary means of salvation. Neither is it an exception to Vatican Council II, LG 14, AG 7.

So Lumen Gentium 16 only refers to a possibility, de jure. Something always implicit and unknown to us. De facto the ordinary means of salvation is LG 14, AG 7 i.e. the baptism of water and Catholic Faith.

So like Vatican Council II (LG 14, AG 7) Fr. Leonard Feeney affirmed the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. He accepted in principle, dejure that a person could be saved with the baptism of desire i.e. a genuine desire with perfect charity, followed by the baptism of water which would all be implicit and known only to God.

The confusion on this issue continues since the media is in the hands of the enemies of the Church.

The magisterium however has approved the communities of Fr. Leonard Feeney and has not retracted the dogma which is in accord with Vatican Council II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1257,845,846 ( with a de facto-de jure analysis), Dominus Iesus 20, Redemptoris Missio 55 etc.

The Council of Trent mentions the baptism of desire and we know it is implicit and not the ordinary means of salvation. There is no Church definition which says the baptism of desire excludes being saved with the baptism of water. -Lionel Andrades

From the Merriam-Webster On-Line Dictionary:

Definition of DE FACTO

: in reality : actually

Origin of DE FACTO

Medieval Latin, literally, from the fact

First Known Use: 1601

Definition of DE JURE

1
: by right : of right
2
: based on laws or actions of the state <de jure segregation>

Origin of DE JURE

Medieval Latin

First Known Use: 1611

A note from Lionel Andrades: In the context of this article, the best definition of De Jure would be “in principle”.

Ignorance – Invincible and Vincible

Baptism of desire: Still controversial.


The sedevancantists at Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) claim that a Catholic should not attend the Novus Ordo Mass unless/until the priest affirms his personal belief that “Outside the Church There is No Salvation”.

However here in Rome there are Catholic priests who offer Mass in Italian. They affirm the dogma in public. They also correctly assume that the baptism of desire is implicit and so does not contradict the dogma.The MHFM on the contrary, imply that the baptism of desire is defacto known to us and so being explicit, contradicts the dogma. So the sedevancantists reject the baptism of desire. They believe every one, without exception, needs to enter the Church visibly and they imply that the baptism of desire taught by Trent etc., is an exception to the dogma.

Those who accept the baptism of desire (explicit or implicit) are called heretics by the MHFM. However there are priests from different countries here, who know that the baptism of desire can only be implicit and is never visible. So how can it be an exception to the dogma ?

If the MHFM, American sedevancantists, innocently, like so many Catholics assume that the baptism of desire is visible it is understandable. If they choose to continue in this error even after being informed, then it is heresy. This would apply also to Catholic non-sedevacantists, as they are rejecting the Council of Trent on the baptism of desire and they assume wrongly that the baptism of desire is an exception to the dogma.

Daphne McLeod,Chairman of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, England says there can be non-Catholics saved with the baptism of
desire and in invincible ignorance, and this is not an exception
to the dogma “Outside the Church There is No Salvation”.
– Lionel Andrades

Visit Lionel’s Catholic blog

*****

Editor’s note: The term “sedevacantist” essentially means “empty chair” … referring particularly to office of the papacy. With some variations, sedevacantists believe, due to various heresies and apostasy in the modern church, that we no longer have a valid pope sitting in the authoritative chair of St. Peter.

Depending on which group of sedevacantists you encounter, the list of recent, false popes varies, but most begin with Pope John XXIII and go from there. The Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) is a relatively “high-profile” example of this type of groups … which are (hopefully) … pretty “far out there” in their theology.

The dogma “Outside the Church there is no salvation” (extra ecclesiam nulla salus) is both ancient and logical. Jesus Christ founded only one Church for the purpose of our salvation, so it just makes good, logical sense to believe that membership in the Catholic Church is (typically) required, in order for a soul to one day, be invited into Heaven.

The Church also rightly admits that our all powerful God is sovereign, and he can choose to save anyone he cares to … for any reason … or for none at all … whether that person is Catholic, Protestant, Pagan, or none of the above. But in any event, salvation remains solely dependent upon the divine application of that saving grace which Jesus obtained for us on the cross, at Calvary.

Yet, the Sacrament of Baptism remains the typical and ordinary means (the door) by which anyone may freely expect to become a member of the Church. And this forms the basis of the controversy!

Traditional Catholics, bolstered by some 1900+ years of consistent church teaching and practice, understand that sacramental baptism is a public, permanent, and very definitive event … for a number of very good reasons.

Alternatively, “baptism of desire” and similar types of “non-standard”, “special arrangements” are typically known only to God, and subject exclusively to his divine prerogatives and will.

Since no man … not even a pope, bishop, or priest … should be so presumptuous as to claim to understand the mind of God … these matters remain extraordinary events, similar to miracles, subject only to God’s inestimable love and incalculable mercy, and closely linked with his divine, all-knowing, eternal system of perfect justice.

In this, the best we can do is hope, since none of us can know … this side of Judgment Day … precisely whom God may have “singled out” for this non-standard “form” of divine mercy.

Yet many Catholics … including some popes, bishops, and priests … claim that God is love, and a loving God would never knowingly permit a soul that might otherwise be saved … to go to hell … simply due to what they consider to be a mere “technicality”. These folks maintain that something well short of the Sacrament of Baptism … “Baptism of Desire” … defined only according to various, theoretical, man-made criteria … is all that’s actually required.

I maintain that anyone who knows (or should know) the constant and traditional teachings and practices of the Catholic Church would be a fool to take any chances at all, when it comes to matters of his/her own, personal salvation. If water baptism was good enough for Jesus (and just about everyone else we know of) then that is obviously the “smart” way to go!

The divine “tie-breaker” in all of this, strongly in favor of reliance on the traditional sacrament, whenever possible, is the power of water baptism to instantly and definitively “wash away” all pre-existing sins of every kind … making the baptized a living temple of the Holy Spirit … an adopted child of God … a member of the Church … a citizen of Heaven … and co-heir with Jesus Christ … right here and right now, with no waiting.

Can’t beat that!