Heresies on Salvation at the Saint Benedict Center (Richmond NH)

The Saint Benedict Center of Richmond, NH, — hereafter SBC — runs Catholicism.org. That site is not to be confused with the orthodox website Catholicism.io. SBC teaches the error of Feeneyism. The schismatic religious order at SBC is the “Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”. They are not an approved religious order in the Catholic Church. This article lists the heresies found at Catholicism.org

1. Heresy on the Children of God

Only Baptism Makes Us ‘Children’ of God
Jan 8, 2016 Brian Kelly
https://catholicism.org/only-baptism-makes-us-children-of-god.html

Kelly: “One of the first things we learn about the one Catholic baptism from the catechism is that this sacrament ‘makes us children of God and heirs to the kingdom of heaven.’ Therefore to say that non-Christians are children of God is wrong.”

Yes, the formal Sacrament of Baptism makes us children of God by spiritual adoption. However, this does not imply that non-Christians cannot also be children of God by the same spiritual adoption. It is not wrong to say that non-Christians can be children of God.

The above article contradicts the infallible teaching of the Council of Trent that both those baptized by water and those baptized by desire are children of God by spiritual adoption:

By these words, a description of the justification of the impious is introduced, as being a translation from the state, in which a person is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the children of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. And certainly [this] translation, after the promulgation of the Gospel, is not able to occur without the washing of regeneration or its desire, just as it is written: “unless one has been reborn by water and the Holy Spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) [Trent, Decree on Justification
Chapter IV.]

Notice the words “or its desire”. And since the washing of regeneration (formal baptism) occurs in the very same sentence with the reference to the baptism of desire, either means results in the very same state: “the state of grace and of the adoption of the children of God”.

2. Heresy on the Baptism of Desire

Baptism of Desire: Its Origin and Abandonment in the Thought of Saint Augustine
Apr 28, 2011 Brian Kelly
https://catholicism.org/baptism-of-desire-its-origin-and-abandonment-in-the-thought-of-saint-augustine.html

In this article, Brian Kelly states and rejects the correct understanding of the implicit baptism of desire:

“The belief in the possibility of salvation for those who die with only an implicit desire for baptism and for those who die invincibly ignorant of the truths necessary to be believed for salvation, is now capable of accommodating all who are sincere in their erroneous beliefs and try to live whatever a good life means for them.”

Invincible ignorance and an implicit baptism of desire are taught by the Magisterium as a means to salvation for non-Christians. This baptism of desire is not limited to catechumenates preparing for baptism by water, as Brian Kelly claims at Catholicism.org.

Letter from the Holy Office (the CDF) to the Archbishop of Boston: “To gain eternal salvation, it is not always required that a person be incorporated in reality (reapse) as a member of the Church, but it is necessary that one belong to it at least in desire and longing (voto et desiderio). It is not always necessary that this desire be explicit as it is with catechumens. When one is invincibly ignorant, God also accepts an implicit desire, so called because it is contained in the good disposition of soul by which a person wants his or her will to be conformed to God’s will.”

The above teaching is rejected by Kelly and the SBC:

“Baptism of desire is the belief that a catechumen, or an unbaptized believer awaiting baptism, could be saved if he died unexpectedly prior to receiving the sacrament, provided that he had an ardent desire to be baptized, along with the true Faith and perfect sorrow for his sins.”

The Church does not limit the baptism of desire to the explicit desire of catechumenates.

Kelly then goes on to radically misinterpret the teaching of the Council of Trent, in a manner contrary to the perennial interpretation of the Magisterium, to claim that a person justified by a baptism of desire, who is in the state of grace, is still not saved unless they are a Christian!! That is a particularly wicked heresy, since it perverts the manifest teaching of an Ecumenical Council, as confirmed by centuries of subsequent teaching by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

Kelly: “That august synod, in its Decree on Justification, defined that the state of justification can only be conferred by the sacrament of baptism in re or in voto — in actual reception or in vowed intent to receive. (Session VI, c. IV) The state of justification is the state of sanctifying grace. The Council did not define that a catechumen, unbaptized but justified, could be saved if he died in that state. This question, as a hypothetical possibility, was not raised at the Council. Some have argued that our position on baptism of desire is, nevertheless, condemned by Trent in the same Session, chapter sixteen, where the Council teaches that nothing further is needed for the justified to enter heaven than to maintain the state of grace. However, it is with regard to the baptized that the Council taught that the maintaining of the state of sanctifying grace after baptism, or after regaining it in confession, is all that is absolutely necessary for salvation.”

Kelly makes the absurd claim that a non-Christian, justified and in the state of grace by a baptism of desire, is still not saved. And that is said even though the Council also described such a person as having been brought “to the state of grace and of the adoption of the children of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior.” In addition, the very same sentence that describes those baptized with water also describes those baptized by desire, so that there can be no doubt that both are saved by Christ.

To claim that a non-Christian can be in the state of grace and justified, and can die in that state, and yet still not have eternal life in Heaven is contrary to the infallible teaching of Pope Benedict XII in Benedictus Deus and the subsequent teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium that all who die in the state of grace have eternal life.

Pope Pius XII talks about this in his Address to Midwives, where he states that an act of love can suffice to substitute for a baptism with water, bringing the person into the state of grace, to be saved.

“Above all, the state of grace is absolutely necessary at the moment of death; without it, salvation and supernatural happiness — the beatific vision of God — are impossible. An act of love is sufficient for the adult to obtain sanctifying grace and to supply the lack of baptism.”

Moreover, the Jews who lived before Christ were certainly saved, as it is dogma that they were released from the limbo of the Fathers. Theirs was not an explicit baptism of desire; it could only have been an implicit baptism of desire. And when Christ arrived, do you really think that He narrowed the path of salvation, so that an implicit baptism of desire was no longer possible? That is not mercy. The implicit baptism of desire remains a path to Heave, via Christ and His Church, even if those saved do not realize they are saved by Christ, just as He Himself described:

[Matthew]
{25:37} Then the just will answer him, saying: ‘Lord, when have we seen you hungry, and fed you; thirsty, and given you drink?
{25:38} And when have we seen you a stranger, and taken you in? Or naked, and covered you?
{25:39} Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit to you?’
{25:40} And in response, the King shall say to them, ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you did this for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did it for me.’

3. Another Perversion of the Council of Trent

Desire, Justification, and Salvation at the Council of Trent
May 2, 2005 Br. David Mary, M.I.C.M., Tert.
https://catholicism.org/desire-justification-salvation.html

This article by Brother David asserts the same error as Brian Kelly, claiming that those justified by Christ by a baptism of desire are not saved unless they receive the formal Sacrament of Baptism, or unless they have an explicit desire for baptism.

Heresy: “In Conclusion, Justification can be attained by a person with the Catholic Faith together with at least a desire for the Sacraments. He cannot attain Salvation unless he receives the Sacraments. As the foregoing discussion from the Council of Trent points out, justification and salvation are two different things.”

No, if you are justified, you are in the state of grace, and all who die in the state of grace will have eternal life in Heaven.

4. Another Rejection of non-formal Baptism

The Absolute Necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism
May 2, 2005 Br. David Mary, M.I.C.M., Tert.
https://catholicism.org/necessity-of-baptism.html

Heresy: “Two things are stated in this Canon. (1) Water is necessary for Baptism, and (2) The Church is confirming that Our Lord’s words found in St. John 3:5 are not to be taken metaphorically, but as literally true. This means that there are no substitutes for the Sacrament of Baptism for Salvation! The metaphorical baptisms of desire, blood, fire, etc. can no longer be considered apart from the necessity of the Baptism of Water for salvation.”

This article is somewhat in conflict with other articles on the site, which allow for an explicit baptism of desire for Christian catechumenates. In any case, it is the very same heresy for which Fr. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated. The idea of Fr. Feeney that a desire for baptism or a willingness to be martyred for the Faith always leads to an actual water baptism prior to death is absurd, contrary to the teachings of Trent, and contrary to the teachings of the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

And I should note that the very sentence of excommunication gives the residence of Fr. Feeney as “Saint Benedict Center” (though it seems to be one near Boston, not NH). In any case, Fr. Feeney is the founder of the order of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and they continue to teach his errors.

5. Article Defending Fr. Feeney

Father Feeney and Catholic Doctrine — A Reply to Verbum
Jan 31, 2005 Br. Francis Maluf, M.I.C.M.
https://catholicism.org/feeney-doctrine.html

This article argues for water baptism only, excluding baptisms of desire and blood.

“You state that Father Feeney excluded baptism of desire and blood as ‘means of salvation.’ This he did.”

The teaching that there are three forms of baptism is infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium. It is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is not open for debate.

6. Truths condemned as Errors

Reply to a Liberal: Conclusion
Feb 7, 2006 Raymond Karam
https://catholicism.org/rtal-concl.html

The article contains a list of alleged errors. Some are errors, others are truths taught by the Magisterium, and some are assertions in need of clarification to be true or false.

1. One can be saved outside the Church. — The Church includes formal and non-formal members; the Church includes non-Christians. That said, EENS.

2. One can be saved without having the Catholic Faith. — This is not an error. Non-Catholic Christians, non-Christian believers, and non-believers can possibly be saved if their refusal to formally enter the Church is not an actual mortal sin due to invincible ignorance, and if they die in the state of grace by a formal baptism (in the case of non-Catholic Christians) or a baptism of desire or blood.

3. Baptism is not necessary for salvation. — Baptism in one of its three forms, water, desire, blood is necessary for salvation. Baptism with water is not necessary, as the other two forms offer salvation by their close connection to the baptism of water.

4. To confess the supremacy and infallibility of the Roman Church and of the Roman Pontiff is not necessary for salvation. — It is necessary for salvation, but those who have invincible ignorance about this requirement can be saved without that confession.

5. One can be saved without submitting personally to the authority of the Roman Pontiff. — same answer as #4. Also, note that Michael Voris and Church Militant have openly rejected submission to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, by their “Church Militant Statement on the Pope”. So if this were a requirement, they would lack it.

6. Ignorance of Christ and His Church excuses one from all fault and confers justification and salvation. — invincible ignorance only excuses one from requirements which one fails to meet innocently; in addition, the person must die in the state of grace.

7. One can be saved who dies ignorant of Christ and His Church. — Yes, if he nevertheless knows Christ and His Church implicitly, by knowing and loving human persons made in his image, and by living according to the will of God in natural law.

8. One can be saved who dies hating Christ and His Church. — Whosoever hates anyone is not in the state of grace, and therefore is not saved unless they repent. Let this be a warning to Michael Voris and his followers at Church Militant: for they openly express hate toward many Church leaders, and they speak as if Christ’s Church was corrupt. They also express hate toward many other persons and groups.

9. God, of His Supreme Goodness and Mercy, would not permit anyone to be punished eternally unless he had incurred the guilt of voluntary sin. — “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.” [Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, n. 7.]

Number 9 is listed as an error, even though it was explicitly taught by Pope Pius IX.

10. A man is sure of his salvation once he is justified. — This is an error. We cannot be sure of our salvation.

11. One can be saved by merely an implicit desire for Baptism. — An implicit baptism of desire brings one into the state of grace, the person must persist in that state, or return to it by repentance after actual mortal sin, so that he also dies in the state of grace.

12. There are two Churches, the one visible, the other invisible. — There is one Church, but She has visible and invisible members.

13. There are two kinds of membership in the Church. — explicit and implicit, also called formal and non-formal.

14. Membership in the Church can be invisible or even unconscious. — It is not unconscious in that the person is conscious of their choice to love others selflessly, to love God in a non-Catholic or non-Christian religion, and is conscious of following his own conscience.

15. To know and love the Blessed Virgin is not necessary for salvation. — It is necessary, but if the person does not know of this necessity, by invincible ignorance, they are excused.

Many of the above supposed errors are truths, or are in need of explanation to be true or false. The list of errors does show that the leaders and teachers at the SBC have gone far astray from the true faith.

7. Error, not Heresy on this point:

The Fate of Unbaptized Infants In Light of the Universal Necessity of Baptism
Apr 25, 2005 Mike Malone
https://catholicism.org/unbaptized-infants-malone.html

The position in this article is that unbaptized infants go to the limbo of Hell, to be punished solely by deprivation, not by active sufferings. As I argue in my book, Forgiveness and Salvation for Everyone, this view is no longer tenable, given a number of recent teachings of the Magisterium (too lengthy to present in this article).

8. Feigning Belief in Church Dogma

Doctrinal Beliefs
Apr 15, 2019 Brother André Marie
https://catholicism.org/doctrinal-belief.html

The schismatics at the SBC reject the above teaching in a clever manner. In the article “Doctrinal Beliefs”, Brother Andre claims that the members of SBC believe all that is to be held definitively or with divine and catholic faith (Canon 750 n. 1 and 2). But he neglects to state submission of will and intellect to the non-infallible teachings of the Popes, Councils, and Bishops. He also references the “interpretation” of EENS and makes the false claim that the interpretation proposed by SBC is in accord with that of the Magisterium.

Finally, he makes the laughable claim that the teachings of the SBC and of Fr. Feeney found at Catholicism.org, when they are in opposition to Church teaching, should be treated as merely posted for reference and research:

“If any other text posted on this website be in opposition to what is contained in this document, the Saint Benedict Center affirms that said text is posted for purposes of historical reference and research.”

As this article proves, there is much heretical material on your website, Brother Andre, and it is not presented as if it were merely for historical reference or research. It is presented as if it were the correct interpretation of dogma, to be believed in order to be saved. Remove it for the good of souls! It is hypocritical to claim that the Church is the sole Ark of Salvation (true) and then lead souls away from that Ark by teaching grave error.

Church Militant

Michael Voris and Church Militant, in recent videos and a past news article, have misrepresented the conflict between the SBC and the Catholic Church. Voris claims that it is a conflict between the SBC and one official of the local diocese, when in fact that official was acting on behalf of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a decision approved by Pope Francis.

“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 defending the SBC, Michael Voris has deceitfully limited his explanations of their position to “Outside the Church, No Salvation”. He fails to indicate to his readers that they utterly reject the implicit baptism of desire. And there seem to be two views at Catholicism.org, with some writers permitting very narrow forms of baptism of blood and explicit desire, and others excluding all but water baptism. Both positions are heretical. The former may be termed mitigated Feeneyism and the latter is historical Feeneyism.

By supporting the SBC and specifically defending their interpretation of EENS, Michael Voris and his staff at Church Militant have sided with schismatics and have taught heresy, in contradiction to the decision of the CDF on a grave matter of faith. They therefore incur the penalty of automatic excommunication along with the members of the SBC.

Canon 751: “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

Canon 1364, n. 1: “an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication”

Can. 915 “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Canon Law 1373: “A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.”

In addition, Church Militant and Michael Voris have many times spoken as if they were above the Popes and the Cardinals and Bishops, as if they had the role to judge and condemn their teachings, decisions on discipline, and even their very souls. This behavior is schismatic as it is entirely incompatible with the submission that all Catholics owe to the Pope, to the Magisterium, and to the Bishops individually and especially as a body. Church Militant is a schismatic website that pretends to have the authority to decide all questions of doctrine and discipline definitively.

Note that Michael Voris complains that the diocese of NH will not respond to his inquiries and questions, while he himself does not respond to inquiries and questions from his critics. He also refuses to clarify his own position on salvation for atheists, non-Christian believers, non-Catholic Christians, and unbaptized infants.
https://ronconte.com/2019/04/12/questions-for-michael-voris-on-eens/

More reading: Michael Voris versus Feeneyism

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian
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* My translation of the Bible
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