Today’s Sunday Globe has an article by James Carroll entitled “The American Heresy”. The article blasts the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict in particular for their criticism of moral relativism. Of course, he eventually gets to his usual criticisms of the Church including their supposedly rabid anti-Semetic stances throughout the ages and the Pope’s recent statements on HIV and condoms. Carroll is so far off the rails in terms of being a “Catholic voice” that it’s laughable when he tries to speak for the church. This article should instead be entitled: “James Carroll - an american heretic”.
It would have been helpful if Mr Carroll had done 5 minutes of research on the topic of baptism of desire and Fr Feeney.
In less than 10 minutes, I found out about the centuries-earlier acceptance of the teaching on baptism of desire on page 304 of Medieval Theology on google books, and more accurate information about Fr Feeney and his denial of the teaching of baptism of desire than was presented in this article, which is simply liberal Church-bashing, imo.
Liberals tend to be allregic to the truth.
Don’t believe anything James Carroll says, even if it’s “good morning”.
I disagree with the spin he puts on the Pope’s pastoral out reach to SSPX, and I also disagree with his suggestion that Pope Benedict is ambivalent about the Vatican II reforms (I think he embraces the reforms, but may not always communicate that cleanly). I don’t see any factual errors here, however. In particular, what does he misstate about Fr. Feeney’s teachings?
The author said that Fr Feeney, when he said that no one who was not baptized and overtly (?) Catholic in this life could attain salvation, was teaching what the Church had taught, and that the Church with all the talk of baptism of desire, etc., had made certain changes to accommodate the Jews after the Holocaust.
The Church had taught for centuries that EENS did not mean what Fr Feeney said it meant, and the Church’s teaching on the subject did not change. Therefore, everything the author said afterwards was based on false information and hence totally ridiculous.
And the guy is paid by a newspaper, so presumably should know how to look things up on the internet at least, so it’s a double whammy: it’s not like this is a guy off the street writing on a non-Catholic blog, he is paid to report on religion in Boston.
OK, fair enough. I agree that the Church’s teaching has always included the possibility of salvation for the non-Catholic, and I agree that the author misstates that. To be fair to the author, I took him to be relating what he was taught as a child. Many young Catholics were taught EENS without mention of baptism of desire, or were taught that the desire must be explicit (e.g. a catechumen who dies before finishing his or her instruction).
I am no Church historian, but my impression is that there were several centuries during which many or most Catholics interpreted EENS as meaning you had to be either Catholic or expressly seeking to become Catholic to be saved. I don’t think that the early Church believed or taught that, and it certainly isn’t what the Church teaches today.
hey, i like your quote. i have to remember that!