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The Church Courtyard => Non-Catholic Discussion Subforum => Topic started by: Conclavist on March 25, 2019, 10:44:54 PM

Title: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Conclavist on March 25, 2019, 10:44:54 PM
Is this the right subforum to post this in? If not, let me know.

I appreciate any corrections if anything is inaccurate, and I offer thanks in advance.

I was just going to publish it, I guess it's kind of like a "public draft".

Strict Jansenism Is Responded To With Lax Modernism

The Jansenist [1] heresy in the 17th and 18th centuries, over-emphasized strictness and an attitude that only few will be saved. Writing during this time period, St. Lenoard of Port Maurice (1676-1751) [2] in his sermon, "The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved", wrote correctly that the common opinion of the fathers of the Church is that few will be saved [3]. In response to this maybe in the 18th century and onward, the tendency towards laxity and modernism and an emphasis on the hope of God saving all, or many, became more predominant. Fr. Lasance wrote about this topic in 1910 in "The Young Man's Guide" [4], saying: (note that formatting may be corrupted due to copying from the "full text" option on the noted link, anyone is welcome to clean up this)

"Apropos of these considerations, some reflec-
tions on the number of the saved and lost are
not out of order.

As we read in the Gospel of St. Luke (xiii. 23),
a certain man said to our blessed Saviour :

"l ord, are they few that are saved ?" Jesus
simply replied: "Strive to enter by the narrow

"It is a question," says Father Walsh, S.J.,
in his admirable and consoling study, "The
Comparative Number of the Saved and Lost/'
"about which there is no -authoritative decision
of the Church, nor unanimous opinion of her
Fathers or theologians.

"Many, notably Suarez, hold — as Fathef
Faber does — that the great majority of adult
Catholics will be saved. Some, amongst whom
we are glad to count the illustrious Dominican,
Father Lacordaire, hold or incline to the opinion
that the majority of mankind, including heathens
and heretics, will be saved.

"Pere Monsabre, O.P., Father Castelein, S.J..
and Rev. Joseph Rickaby, S.J., advocate this
mildest opinion. Father Rickaby says in his
Conference, 'The Extension of Salvation': 'As
to what proportion of men die in sanctifying
grace, and what proportion in mortal sin, noth-
ing is revealed, nothing is of faith, and nothing
is really known to theologians. If ever you find
a theologian confidently consigning the mass of
human souls to eternal flames, be sure he is
venturing beyond the bounds of Christian faith
and of theological science. You are quite free
to disbelieve his word. I do not believe it myself.

"'The rigor of the older theologians culmi-
nated in Jansenism. To the Jansenist the elect
were the few grapes left upon the vine after a
careful vintage (Is. xxiv. 13). Since the extir-
pation of Jansenism, the pendulum of theological
speculation has swung the other way, and theo'
logians generally hope more of the mercy of
God, or, at least, speak with less assurance of th0
range of His rigorous justice,'

"The reasons," continues Father Walsh,
"which have induced me to think the mildest
opinion, namely, that the majority — and I
scarcely fear to add, the gnat majority — of
mankind will be saved, are: First, because the
study of God's character urges, if not forces,
me to do so. Second, because this opinion
appears to make most for His greater honor and
glory, and for the merits of Christ. Third, be-
cause the belief in it is better calculated to make
is love God, and to serve Him the more from

The rest is worth reading, but basically it goes on to state a hope in salvation for the majority of mankind due to God's Merciful Nature. I think here Fr. Lasance correctly also notes that we don't know how many will be saved, but may tend to downplay the above-mentioned quote about the common opinion of fathers about expecting few to be saved. In any event, as a practical judgement, I have reached some of the conclusions as mentioned above independently with "pope" Michael, and another idea has been that it would seem prudent to act as if few will be saved, because if few are saved and you are among that few, then that would be a good thing, and if many were saved then you would be saved as you are among the few who otherwise would be expected to be saved. As St. Anselm (Doctor of the Church) wrote, "If you would be quite sure of your salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few. Do not follow the majority of mankind, but follow those who renounce the world and never relax their efforts day or night so that they may attain everlasting blessedness." This can be done to some extent in any vocational state of life.

Lax Modernism Is Responded To With Strict Feeneyism

Now, with the 20th century culimating in the Vatican 2 council of modernism, I think some attendant attitudes towards the necessity of water baptism arose, thereby creating the circumstances whereby feeneyism [5] arose. Some modernist writers or preachers said that since some unbaptized people may become saved by their desire without becoming water baptized, that therefore Catholics don't need to baptize people with water anymore (or at least this was the attitude that seemed to prevail by their actions). In response, feeneyites emphasized correctly that Catholic teaching emphasizes the necessity of water baptism for salvation, but then incorrectly excluded any possibility of salvation for the unbaptized. So, I think there is a modernist extreme that denies the necessity of water baptism, while the feeneyite extreme denies the existence of baptism of desire, with the Catholic teaching being the mean between the extremes that emphasizes the necessity of water baptism, but also recognizes that God may baptize certain people because of their desire for baptism if they are unable to become water baptized due to invincible ignorance or reasonable inability to become baptized.

Proposed Mechanics of Baptism of Desire (BOD)

Now I wanted to discuss how I believe these teachings work out, as they seem to proceed from natural reason once given certain assumptions of Catholic teaching. The Catholic Encyclopedia entry on "Error" states that, "An act done in invincible error, whether the latter regard the fact or the law, is never impeachable as sin." [6] Like a child or someone who "doesn't know any better" (given that they could not have put forth expected reasonable effort to know better) who commits a fault, this is not to be considered as sin since they otherwise may not done evil if they knew better. This seems to reflect the Gospel teaching in John 15:22, "If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin." [7] Jesus seems to speak about how knowledge affects culpability. Another Gospel principle to consider seems to be that of Luke 12:48, "And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more." [8] It therefore seems that God would judge justly, probably only known to Him, based on the knowledge of the Truth and graces given to respond to such knowledge, in these considerations we have about the salvation of whose not baptized by water.

Pius XI made similar comments about the topic of ignorance with respect to salvation in "Singulari Quidem" [9]: "Outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control." However, since baptism by water is necessary for salvation, and yet the invincibly ignorant are not to be considered as having sinned for doing something wrong when they didn't "know better", how is it that an unbaptized person could be saved while in a state of invincible ignorance (but not by their ignorance)?

So, it seems we have on this topic, we are focused on the fate of those who are not currently baptized by water. The issue of unbaptized infants is also a separate topic outside the scope of this writing (I did find one writer who said that a woman's child who had been miscarried, could have possibly been saved due to the desire of the mother to baptize it). I do not wish to give an in-depth consideration of this topic, but just to illustrate a few instances (if I do not cover all the instances that exist) that should show that feeneyism does not give consideration to these "mechanics" of how baptism of desire operates. It seems to operate with respect to one's knowledge and the goodness of the live one lived. A sufficiently bad person would not receive a baptism of desire, as they are essentially in a state of formal mortal sin as judged by God. This would seem to correspond to the general three requirements of mortal sin, that such sin be of a serious nature, there be full knowledge of wrong, and then that there is full consent of the will. Knowledge of right and wrong to some extent is written on the heart and exists in conscience which every person is born with, but the lights of conscience seem to vary from person to person and again it would seem up to God alone to be able to know and judge how people have acted in response to the graces given (which would be unknown to outside observers looking to judge a person's life with finality).

So, there are maybe three parameters here, #1 is knowledge. There are those who know little or nothing of Christianity, those who know a little, and those who know a lot about Christianity, and about corresponding obligations to become Christian and baptized by water and to live a Christian life. #2 is there are the graces that are received, relating to such knowledge. Then, #3 is what action people take in response to that knowledge and graces given, whether to attempt to become a catechumen and become baptized, or to not respond to such graces, or to in either respect live a good life in accordance with the graces and knowledge that they have and also based on the functioning of their conscience. So, for instance, a person who is aware of the need to become baptized and delays too much to the point where God judges them at culpable fault, might not then automatically be baptized by their desire when they die. Previously when I wrote about this, it seemed much more complicated, but as I write this now it seems pretty clear that God simply would judge a person's life, their action based on knowledge and graces given, and then decide to give a baptism of desire to those who have lived sufficiently good enough lives. Who has lived such a life, we cannot know subjectively, although we can judge outwardly what (at least material) sins have been committed. Either way, feeneyites and anti-feeneyites believe that God will judge justly and punish or reward people in proportion to what they have been given and what they do with what they have been given.

Brief Response to Objections

As far as material I can find online, the only systematic attempt at trying to put some of the feeneyite writing together seemed to be "Outside The Church There Is No Salvation And Refuting Baptism Of Desire" by Peter Dimond. Most of which, or all of this, seems to be online [10] (although I have a physical copy as well). A video with 5 most specific arguments called "The Best Argument Against "Baptism of Desire" by the vaticancatholic Youtube channel [11] also to me seemed to represent some core arguments (which may be in the text). I have previously written out the arguments from the video and refuted them, but I haven't accessed the file that has this, if anyone wants to write the 5 arguments with timestamps in the video and have me look at them again. As many links as could be found a few years were put on bibliography posts [12].

Effect on Temporal Punishment of Sin?

Off memory, from the video, the most specific argument against baptism of desire, I believe, was that since water baptism removes temporal punishments for sin as well as effects of original sin, and baptism of desire does not remove temporal punishments according to St. Alphonsus and St. Aquinas, that therefore baptism of desire is not baptism, since it is so different from water baptism. But I haven't seen anyone comment on why, from using natural reasoning, Alphonsus or Aquinas might have reached their conclusion. I believe they came to their conclusion because baptism of desire is different from water baptism, and therefore since the circumstances are different, the judgment about what each kind of baptism does would be different. With water baptism, a person can merit or demerit after having received it, if they are allowed to live a long life after having been baptized by water. They can thus accumulate and/or make satisfaction for sins committed, which create temporal debts. The person who is baptized by desire would not have such time to do so, if the baptism is given when one dies (it is possible that God could baptize such a person at any time though I suppose in theory, and would allow them time to merit). Thus, since such a person had no such time to merit or demerit beyond the life they lived, it would seem just to not remit the punishment for temporal sin. As I write this, it also seems possible that God could remit such temporal punishment, and that perhaps St. Alphonsus and St. Aquinas are incorrect on this point; I don't recall exactly if there was any other reasons that existed beyond what I gave above why the contrary was thought.

John 3:5

John 3:5 says, "Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." [13] At first glance, this seems to contradict the Catholic teaching of baptism of desire, as, if someone is not born again of water and the Holy Ghost by water baptism, one asks how then they can enter into the kingdom of God in light of this passage. Yet, if we also accept the principle of the invincibly ignorant being morally inculpable, we would arrive also at the contradictory conclusion that souls would be automatically damned without having committed culpable/formal mortal sin. Hence, it seems that this passage must be read to be referring to the obligation to become baptized by water, with the extremes mentioned before as it being wrong to willingly delay or not become baptized by water or to encourage abandoning seeking water baptism, and yet on the other hand it would be an error of the feeneyites to consider those who have no knowledge of the obligation as therefore automatically incapable of being saved. The teaching that baptism of desire may be applied for some who aren't baptized by water, does not give a license to abdandon missionary efforts or to seeking getting baptized. Feeneyites may have correctly been critical of a lack of missions or emphasis on the necessity of baptism for salvation, and then simply took this valid critique too far, in my understanding.

Those to me are the main two arguments that were being put forth, and all other such arguments from what I recall conform to the same kind of pattern for refuting them. Something was seemingly ambiguous or phrased in a certain way, which might have given room for erroneous interpretations, but it seems that a little more thought on these should be able to explain clearly how the principles operate.

Other Considerations

How Feeneyism and Universal Salvation Have Sometimes Unexpectedly Combined

Now, I don't think those who would be identified as feeneyites do this typically, but I will relate my own personal experience on how these issues seemed to have a strange intersection. When I grew up in the Vatican 2 church, I did hold somewhat feeneyite-leaning views. I seem to remember getting the impression that "unless people are baptized by water, they cannot go to heaven". Yet, at the same time, many people seemed to think that God was going to save everyone regardless of what they do or do not do. There was even a cartoon called, "All Dogs Go to Heaven", which is a different theological topic (on salvation and animals), but this kind of attitude also was applied to humans. So, in practice, some "Catholics" seemed to take a pride in being among an "elect" who were baptized, yet they also wanted to believe that no matter what bad they do they were going to heaven, along with everyone else. Sometimes they might like to judge others when other people were caught in a fault, and took a pride in being "a baptized Catholic", and yet when a serious fault was pointed out in them they might appeal to a hope of universal salvation. They might look down on non-baptized peoples and not desire they become baptized, as they took pride in being among the "special elect" who were baptized (as if the baptism of others would dilute this "specialness"). I may have only experienced a few minor incidents of this nature which I am drawing from, but I thought this might be related to this discussion of feeneyism or such related topics of attitudes and modernism. The faith ought to be looked at as a gift, and generally there should be a desire to teach and make disciples of all nations as the Gospel says.

Does Instructing the Invincibly Ignorant Harm Them By Making Them More Culpable?

I have seen an internet meme which said something to the effect of, "if we had a certain safety in our ignorance, why did you come and give us knowledge to make us more culpable?" In a section on an aforementioned book [14], it is asked, "Thus, preaching the Gospel to the non-Christians, according to [invincible ignorance], puts the pagans in a situation in which it is more likely that they are going to be damned." The idea implied is that, if people can be saved in ignorance, why should missionaries have gone to great lengths to have converted people? I do not believe this logic follows. Firstly, Catholics are obliged to go and teach and baptize all nations. So, a Catholic would be required to keep doing that, and could not simply stop doing so just because people might be saved who are invincibly ignorant. Additionally, such people, who are given knowledge, are more put into a neutral state or given greater blessing: they are more capable of good and evil, by being given religious knowledge. They can more deliberately live a Christian life, or live a life in opposition to Christian teaching. It does increase culpability, but this is not in itself an evil. So I do not see an issue with this objection.

Does Jesus Teach That The Invincibly Ignorant May Not Be Saved?

In another section [15], the Bible is quoted, John 8:23-24: “Therefore, I said to you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin.” In context, this seems to be among those who are aware enough that Jesus actually is the Savior, and therefore those who would be culpable for rejecting Him. Hence this should not be in support of Jesus teaching that the invincibly ignorant may not be saved. Other such passages in my reading fall by similar logic.

Why Would The Unbaptized Not Be Considered Members of the Church?

Another section [16] is critical that Catholics would not consider the unbaptized who might be baptized by desire as members of the Church. This seems to proceed from natural reason, as no one knows who would be baptized by desire until their death (and this would be unknown to the Church on earth until the Final Judgment), and clearly those who aren't baptized by water aren't yet visible members, so they couldn't be considered as members.

Many more such repsonses could be given, these were just a few topics that jumped out to me.

What Degree of Error is Feeneyism?

I don't have the answer here, as I have seen some call feeneyism a "heresy", while others call it a lesser error. I tend to think now of it as a lesser error but have not researched enough to figure out what theological censure [17] would apply to it, if anyone has input on this topic.


As with the common opinion of the Fathers who believed that few would be saved, but yet with Fr. Lasance who mentioned that no definite number of the saved has been authoritatively decided on and who hoped in many being saved, it would seem prudent to intrepret the Catholic teaching of the necessity of water baptism for salvation strictly leaning towards feeneyism, that we might believe that God will not save many by baptism of desire who are not baptized by water, but on the other hand it seems possible God could save many by baptizing them out of their desire to be baptized and that perhaps this ought to be hoped for by God's Merciful Nature, and certainly it must be believed by Catholics that some can be baptized by desire. Thus, the attitude of feeneyites might seem prudent, but their belief I understand as erroneous. On this topic, non-Catholics have the responsibility of becoming Catholic and becoming baptized by water in accordance with the knowledge and graces given to them and will be judged based on the action they take, while Catholics have the responsibility of teaching and making disciples of all nations and of baptizing and making converts. The rest seems up to God to judge justly, and what God judges of the unbaptized (or the baptized) might be mysterious to us since we do not have access to the knowledge of helps that God has given or the internal dispositions of a person and of how they responded to such helps given by God.

3. "The Teaching of the Fathers of the Church ... Note well that there is no question here of the human race taken as a whole, nor of all Catholics taken without distinction, but only of Catholic adults, who have free choice and are thus capable of cooperating in the great matter of their salvation. First let us consult the theologians recognized as examining things most carefully and as not exaggerating in their teaching: let us listen to two learned cardinals, Cajetan and Bellarmine. They teach that the greater number of Christian adults are damned, and if I had the time to point out the reasons upon which they base themselves, you would be convinced of it yourselves. But I will limit myself here to quoting Suarez. After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he wrote, "The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians, there are more damned souls than predestined souls."

Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, and Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, "Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom." Saint Anselm declares, "There are few who are saved." Saint Augustine states even more clearly, "Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned." The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: "Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence.""
11. 12. See posts on links and more links:
17. "Theological Censures" Catholic Encyclopedia Entry:

Appendix 1: Version 1
This piece could be revised to be definitively completed, and as such I would label this version one.

Appendix 2: Extra Link: I see this discussion seems to still have relevance today, as this production is newer.

Appendix 3: Cross-examination of what an orthodox website thinks on this topic, just of interest: "Does this mean that all now outside the Church will go to hell? No. Bishop Kallistos Ware suggests that “While there is no division between a `visible’ and an ‘invisible’ Church yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense we cannot always say” (The Orthodox Church, p. 248, 1993 edition)."

“You ask, will the heterodox be saved… Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such concern. Study yourself and your own sins… .”

And there are the words of the Metropolitan Philaret who was the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad a very conservative theologian:

“It is self evident, however, that sincere Christians who are Roman Catholics, or Lutherans, or members, of other non-Orthodox confessions, cannot be termed renegades or heretics—i.e. those who knowingly pervert the truth… They have been born and raised and are living according to the creed which they have inherited, just as do the majority of you who are Orthodox; in their lives there has not been a moment of personal and conscious renunciation of Orthodoxy. The Lord, "Who will have all men to be saved” (I Tim. 2:4) and “Who enlightens every man born into the world” (Jn. 1.43), undoubtedly is leading them also towards salvation In His own way.“

However, Elder Nektary of Optina said:

"God desires not only that the nations be saved, but each individual soul. A simple Indian, believing in his own way in the Creator and fulfilling His will as best he can, will be saved; but he who, knowing about Christianity, follows the Indian mystical path, will not.” [Ivan Kontzevitch, Elder Nektary of Optina, p. 181].

Individuals within Orthodoxy might give you all sorts of different answers, but the most uniform response you will get about who God will save outside of the Church is that we simply do not know.

*edited for formatting
Title: Re: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Non Nobis on March 25, 2019, 11:09:38 PM
Interesting... I'll be watching this thread, and will read your post more closely.  I think this is an important topic that definitely causes a lot of controversy. Note that Kaesekopf once asked that we do not discuss Baptism of Desire, but maybe that rule is not being strictly enforced. This forum has become quieter over time, and some people are gone for Lent, so maybe this won't cause as much turmoil as the topic often causes.

Some people think Baptism of Desire is Catholic (St. Thomas Aquinas) and others don't.. so maybe "Non-Catholic Discussion" is as good a place to  put this as any other...
Title: Re: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Kreuzritter on March 26, 2019, 06:18:34 AM
You call it "baptism of desire", but it's clear you're proposing salvation without faith in Christ. Yawn. Same tired old sophistry,  illogical inferences and arguing away of scripture.

Conclavists God lacks either the will or power to let his elect know his Son during their mortal lives.

Yet, if we also accept the principle of the invincibly ignorant being morally inculpable, we would arrive also at the contradictory conclusion that souls would be automatically damned without having committed culpable/formal mortal sin.

Souls are automatically damned "without having committed culpable/formal mortal sin". Council of Florence:

“We define also that . . . the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go straightaway to hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds.”

Therefore the Church has infallibly defined that men go to Hell even without mortal sin. Therefore your argument against John 3:5 falls apart.

Title: Re: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on March 27, 2019, 09:59:01 AM
I've seen logic used to explain everything under the sun and I've seen logicians go at it for ages without any agreement reached.  Scripture is clear about the necessity of baptism.  The Church was clear as well, until theologians began using logic to weasel away at it.

To me, I'd rather believe in the strict necessity of baptism by water and hope that God is making miraculous baptisms (by water) for those, whom through no fault of their own, died without the possibility of knowing Christ.  What in the world is the benefit of believing that baptism by water is not necessary?  If nothing else, from a practical standpoint, the slippery slope is so extremely obvious and its bad fruits manifold.
Title: Re: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Prayerful on March 30, 2019, 08:11:56 PM

St Leonard was probably speaking in a time when the long sermon was usual, but the case (in what of it I heard) is well made.

John iii, 5 is plain, and the words of the Council of Florence are as plain, admitting none of the comfortable obfuscations. Thinking in the manner of the Jesuit probalism exposed by Blaise Pascal, answering a doubt with complacent and comforting error, has been the scourge of the Church. It is strange when elaborations supported only by dubiously translated decrees of, I think, Trent, or maybe something in the Baltimore Catechism, are put forward as Church teaching. Vatican 2 and the errors which followed from it, and which preceded it, spawned in that swamp.
Title: Re: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Xavier on March 31, 2019, 12:35:05 AM
During the High Middle Ages, the Thomistic view that Faith in Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation was always believed and taught by most Catholics, especially missionaries, and it ever bore the greatest fruits. St. Francis Xavier, missionary who baptized about 3 million people in India and Asia, said he was taught the answer by the Holy Spirit of God Himself, as the Lord had promised in the Gospel, to all His Apostles.

1. St. Francis De Sales summarizes, "The Japanese, complaining to Blessed Francis Xavier, their Apostle, that God, Who had had so much care of other nations, seemed to have forgotten their predecessors, not having given them the knowledge of Himself, for lack of which they must have been lost; the man of God answered them that the divine natural law was engraved in the hearts of all mortals, and that, if their forerunners had observed it, the light of Heaven would without doubt have illuminated them ... an Apostolic answer from an Apostolic man": here's a letter St. Francis Xavier wrote just before his death, and you can see clearly that the same thoughts on the necessity of the light of Christ.
"By the favor of God we all arrived at Japan in perfect health on the 15th of August, 1549. We landed at Cagoxima, the native place of our companions. We were received in the most friendly way by all the people of the city, especially the relations of Paul, the Japanese convert, all of whom had the blessing to receive the light of truth from heaven, and by Paul's persuasion became Christians. During our stay at Cagoxima the people appeared to be wonderfully delighted with the doctrines of the divine law, so entirely new to their ears ... We began by proving to them that the divine law is the most ancient of all. Before receiving their institutions from the Chinese, the Japanese knew by the teaching of nature that it was wicked to kill, to steal, to swear falsely, and to commit the other sins enumerated in the Ten Commandments, a proof of this being the remorse of conscience to which any one guilty of one of these crimes was certain to be a prey.

We showed them that reason itself teaches us to avoid evil and to do good, and that this is so deeply implanted in the hearts of men, that all have the knowledge of the divine law from nature, and from God the Author of nature, before they receive any external instruction on the subject. If any doubts were entertained on the matter, an experiment might be made in the person of a man without any instruction, living in absolute solitude, and in entire ignorance of the laws of his country. Such a man, ignorant of and a stranger to all human teaching, if he were asked whether it were or were not criminal to kill, to steal, or to commit the other actions forbidden by the law of God, and whether it were right to abstain from such actions, then, I say, this man, so fundamentally without all human education, would most certainly reply in such a manner as to show that he was by no means without knowledge of the divine law. Whence then must he be supposed to have received this knowledge, but from God Himself, the Author of nature? And if this knowledge is seen among barbarians, what must be the case with civilized and polished nations? This being so, it necessarily follow that before any laws were made by men the divine law existed innate in the hearts of all men. The converts were so satisfied with this reasoning, as to see no further difficulty; so that this net having been broken, they received from us with a glad heart the sweet yoke of our Lord.... Now, men of this sort were wonderfully delighted with the divine law. One of them embraced the faith of Jesus Christ at Yamaguchi, after being many years in the university of Bandou, where he had a flourishing reputation for learning. Before we came to Japan he had thought of becoming a bonze; afterwards he changed his mind and married. The reason he assigned for this change was, that he had seen the falsehood and emptiness of the Japanese religions, and therefore did not believe in them at all, but felt that he was bound to pay his homage to the Author and Creator of the universe. Our Christians were overjoyed at his accession, for he was and was thought to be the most learned man of the city ..."

2. The teaching of St. Alphonsus confirms the preaching of St. Francis Xavier, "St. Thomas explains it, when he says, that if anyone was brought up in the wilds, or even among brute beasts, and if he followed the law of natural reason, to desire what is good, and to avoid what is wicked, we should certainly believe either that God, by an internal inspiration, would reveal to him what he should believe, or would send someone to preach the Faith to him, as he sent Peter to Cornelius.  Thus, then, according to the Angelic Doctor, God, at least remotely, gives to infidels, who have the use of reason, sufficient grace to obtain salvation, and this grace consists in a certain instruction of the mind, and in a movement of the will, to observe the natural law; and if the infidel cooperates with this movement, observing the precepts of the law of nature, and abstaining from grievous sins, he will certainly receive, through the merits of Jesus Christ, the grace proximately sufficient to embrace the Faith, and save his soul.” (The History of Heresies, Refutation 6, para 11, p. 457)

The same is taught in the Athanasian Creed, where it is said whoever wishes to be saved must first and foremost and above all else hold most firmly to the Catholic Faith, and especially must he know and believe in the Trinity and Incarnation, if he wishes to be saved.

3. According to St. Benedict's Centre, it was the view of St. Augustine, that just as God would ensure a pagan who responded to His Grace and sincerely sought the Truth would be given the knowledge of Christ, (and possibly Grace before that, but leading up to this), so also Grace would bring such a sincere pagan to Baptism itself. The Magisterium has declared this possible and the Augustinian view has great plausibility as well. Cornelius himself, the example given by both St. Thomas and St. Alphonsus, while he certainly received the Holy Spirit as a Catechumen, as we read in Acts 10, and therefore received Baptism of Desire and justification by it, also received Baptism of Water, as we read in the subsequent account of St. Luke, and the words and action of St. Peter confirm. St. Augustine said elsewhere that "Baptism is administered invisibly to one whom not contempt for religion but death excludes", and it's not clear if he's referring to Baptism of Desire as such there, or to an invisible Water Baptism that is hidden from us. Both are theologically defensible.

"Perish the thought that a person predestined to eternal life could be allowed to end this life without the sacrament of the mediator. (Saint Augustine) ... The Catholic truth is not a sad story for which we need to apologize; it is a proclamation of the greatest good news that could ever be told. No matter how sternly its message is phrased, it is still the one and only hope in the world. Only love and security can afford to be severe. When we say that outside the Church there is no salvation, we are also and at the same time announcing that inside the Church there is salvation. The world already knows the sad part of our story, because the world finds no salvation in the world. The Church does not have to tell the unbelievers that they are in sin and in despair; they know that in the depth of their hearts. What is new to the world in the Christian story is that, through Mary, the gates of heaven are opened, and that we are invited to become brothers of Jesus in the Eternal Kingdom of God. This is not a story which can be told with the subdued and hesitant voice of sentimental theology ... Saint Augustine taught, as is clear from this article’s epigram, that the providence of God would see to it that a justified catechumen would be baptized before death. God alone, in any event, knows which of those, with a votum for baptism and perfect contrition, He has justified. The Church can only assume, as the arm of Christ, the Principal Agent in baptism, that all are in need of receiving the sacramentin order to not only have all sin forgiven and abolished, but to be a member of the Church, the Body of Christ. Anticipating the rejoinder that no one is lost who dies in the state of grace, let me just affirm that I agree. Not only that I agree, but that I submit to this truth as I would a dogma of Faith. The Church, however, allows the faithful the freedom to believe that the providence of God will see to it that every person dying in the state of grace will also be baptized. This preserves the literal sense of Christ’s teaching in John 3:5: “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” and His apostolic mandate to preach and baptize all nations in Mark 16: 15-16."
Title: Re: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on March 31, 2019, 03:27:13 AM
What is the benefit of belief in baptism of desire?
Title: Re: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Xavier on March 31, 2019, 04:03:16 AM
Since the Church has taught it in Her Catechisms (e.g. that of Pope St. Pius V after Trent and that of Pope St. Pius X, the Baltimore Catechism which was approved by Pope Leo XIII etc), the question is not whether it benefits us or not, but rather that we know it is true and so we should believe in it. Baptism of Desire is nothing other than an Act of Perfect Love of God or of Contrition, united to the Desire of Receiving the Sacraments. The Church teaches both Her Catechumens and Her Penitents to Desire the Sacraments and strive to make Acts of Contrition every day, every hour if possible. But contrition is difficult, since the soul naturally tends to love herself, and only with difficulty manages to love God above all things, as the first commandment requires; contrition requires sorrow for sins committed because they offend God, Who is All-Good and deserving of all our love. It is certain that both those preparing for Baptism or for Penance can receive grace and justice through the Desire of the Sacraments.

The question of the ignorant native sincerely seeking to love God above all things is somewhat distinct: St. Thomas says he will be illumined about Christ, and therefore die a Christian and be saved as one. St. Augustine suggests he will die a baptized Christian. I incline towards St. Augustine's teaching after studying the matter. It is defensible and plausible. But Baptism of Desire certainly exists and is true. Its benefits are that if we meditate on the fact that love of God and contrition justifies us, we should each strive to do it more and more. To Love God with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our souls, with all our strength is the first and greatest commandment.
Title: Re: Refutation of Feeneyism and Explanation of How It Came To Be
Post by: Davis Blank - EG on March 31, 2019, 09:06:26 AM
the fact that love of God and contrition justifies us

Is this the initial justification or later ones?