The Saint Benedict Center of Richmond, NH has been condemned by the Holy See, i.e. by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Here are some public notices from the Diocese of Manchester, NH, which has authority over the region in which the SBC in Richmond is located.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 8, 2019
“The theological teachings of the Saint Benedict Center, and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Richmond, NH, have been declared “unacceptable” by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As a result, the Slaves, The Saint Benedict Center, The Saint Benedict Center, Inc., and the Immaculate Heart of Mary School, are placed under strict canonical prohibitions and obligations.
“Under no circumstances may Catholics receive the sacraments of the Church at the Saint Benedict Center or any of its locations, nor should they participate in any activity provided by this group or school, including their summer camp.” [Source]
The above statement to the media makes it clear that the Saint Benedict Center (SBC) is not a Catholic organization and that its teachings are not in accord with Catholic doctrine.
The Frequently Asked Question section of the diocesan website clarifies the situation:
What is the status of the Saint Benedict Center and the “Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”?
“The individuals who work and reside at Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, NH, are men and women who have chosen to live in community having adopted and following their own set of rules. Neither Saint Benedict Center, the Immaculate Heart of Mary School, nor the self-referenced “Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” enjoy any recognition, canonical or otherwise, in the Universal Roman Catholic Church or in the Diocese of Manchester. They are not a Catholic organization (de facto or otherwise,) nor can they, or should they, present themselves in such a way. The Immaculate Heart of Mary School is not a Catholic School, nor can it, or should it, present itself as such, or imply that it offers an education rooted in Catholic Tradition.
“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, in April 2016 and again in October 2016, declared “unacceptable,” therefore erroneous and contrary to Church teachings, the manner with which the Saint Benedict Center and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary interpret the principle “extra ecclesiam nulla salus,” (outside the Church there is no salvation.) Rome pronounced the matter closed, thus no longer open to dialogue or debate.
“In the past, the Bishop of Manchester has granted permission for a priest in good standing to offer ministry at the Saint Benedict Center. This fact was manipulated by the Slaves and the Center to imply support or recognition by the Church. To avoid any further misrepresentation of the status of the Saint Benedict Center and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, beginning 7 January 2019, Catholic priests are now forbidden to celebrate the Sacraments of the Church at the Center.
“Consequently, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Saint Benedict Center, The Saint Benedict Center, Inc., and the Immaculate Heart of Mary School, are placed under strict canonical prohibitions and obligations. It is the most sincere hope of the Bishop of Manchester that all those associated with the Saint Benedict Center and its various entities will rediscover full communion with the See of Peter.
“Catholics are not permitted, under any circumstances, to receive the sacraments of the Church at the Saint Benedict Center, Richmond, New Hampshire, and its associated locations, nor should they participate in any activity provided by this group, their school and summer camp.” [Source]
The SBC is not a Catholic religious community. They are not a Catholic organization. And their teachings on salvation have been condemned by the Holy See:
“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, in April 2016 and again in October 2016, declared ‘unacceptable,’ therefore erroneous and contrary to Church teachings, the manner with which the Saint Benedict Center and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary interpret the principle ‘extra ecclesiam nulla salus,’ (outside the Church there is no salvation.) Rome pronounced the matter closed, thus no longer open to dialogue or debate.”
The specific error by the SBC is their misinterpretation of the dogma EENS (Outside the Church, No Salvation).
In the Letter from Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to Brother Andre Marie, Saint Benedict Center, the Holy See asserts the following:
the principle “Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus” must be interpreted according to the official doctrine of the Church, as it is summarized with clarity in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#846-#848) and, more in detail, in the Declaration Dominus Jesus (#20-#22). The Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes that all salvation comes from Christ through the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the Sacrament of Salvation (cf. CCC #846). The paragraph that follows, however, is equally binding, as it considers those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church and states that those too have the possibility of obtaining eternal salvation (cf. CCC #847).
Now Dominus Jesus has this to say:
For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation.
But the SBC holds, as did Fr. Leonard Feeney, that only by a formal baptism with water can a fallen sinner, since the time of Christ, be saved.
The position of Church Militant, expressed by Christine Niles in this article, titled “The Download – What the Hell?” is very similar, but not exactly the same as Feeneyism:
Christine Niles: “For those for whom the normal means of baptism by water are impossible, the Church in Her mercy offers the baptism of desire — but the baptism of desire must be an explicit or implicit desire for baptism unfulfilled because of circumstances that make baptism by water impossible.”
Allowing a baptism of desire departs from Feeneyism, which holds that the desire for baptism always results in an actual baptism with water before death. However, the restriction that an explicit or implicit baptism of desire only applies when water baptism is “unfulfilled because of circumstances that make baptism by water impossible” is contrary to Catholic teaching and essentially proposes a mitigated form of Feeneyism. No such limitation on the implicit baptism of desire has ever been proposed by the Saints, by Sacred Scripture, by Sacred Tradition, or by the Magisterium.
Originally, the above quoted article allowed only for explicit baptism of desire. The article was amended by Ms. Niles in response to my criticism of her position. However, that position remains incompatible with Catholic dogma.
The letter of the CDF to Brother Andre Marie of the Saint Benedict Center makes it clear that his theological position regarding the principle “Extra Ecclesiam Nullam Salus” is unacceptable.
Michael Voris has publicly supported the schismatic and heretical group at the Saint Benedict Center. He has specifically supported their interpretation of EENS, calling it dogma, and has rejected the interpretation of EENS of the Holy See, calling it heresy. Therefore, Michael Voris is guilty of public formal schism, for his support of the schismatic group at SBC in opposition to the Holy See, and is guilty of public formal heresy, for supporting and promoting the teaching of SBC on salvation, in contradiction to the teaching of the Holy See.
In a past article posted at ChurchMilitant.com, which is run by Michael Voris, Church Militant condemned the diocese of NH, and by extension the Holy See itself — as the diocese was merely relaying the decision of the CDF — accusing the diocese and Holy See of heresy, and claiming that the Saint Benedict Center teaches dogma: NH Vicar Changes Dogma Into Heresy. By this article as well, Church Militant departs from Church teaching on salvation and rejects Church authority.
In addition, Michael Voris has repeatedly rejected Pope Francis and the Cardinals and Bishops who are in communion with him as authentic teachers and shepherds over the faithful. He speaks as if he has the authority to judge and reject any of their decisions on doctrine and discipline, and even as if he had the role to judge and condemn their very souls. This, too, constitutes the sin of formal schism. Michael Voris acts as if the Pope and the Bishops have no authority over him. He refuses to submit his mind and heart to their teachings, instead presenting himself as if his understanding of the Faith cannot err, and should be the basis for judging what is and is not orthodox teaching. He ignorance of the Faith is exceeded only by his arrogance.
Canon 1364, n. 1: “an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication”
Michael Voris is automatically excommunicated for heresy and schism, and is not worthy to receive holy Communion, nor is he fit to teach the Catholic faith to anyone, in any way.
If Michael Voris’ views on salvation are not Feeneyism, they are at least so close to Feeneyism as to be nevertheless abject heresy.
More Reading: Precepts of Prohibition