Should I trust this Catholic home study course?

Since coming home to the Catholic church this past Easter from Protestantism my faith has grown tremendously, Praise God. Suprisingly, the ups and downs I used to have with reguard to my thirst for knowledge has remained strong and constant and I hope this doesn’t end. My question is reguarding one of the Catholic home study courses I saw advertised in Envoy Magazine. It was a set of Catholic Philosophy courses by the St. Augustine Institute for Catholic Studies. I looked at the St. Augustine Institutes website and since the new one is under construction and the old is a little confusing I want to be sure that they are an orthodox and reputable organization. And if possible do you have any comments on the quality of their home study courses?

The main thing that threw me on thier website was that they seem to agree with the fundamentalist view of creation (the world is ~ 6000 yrs old), and from my understanding the Chuch has not taken a definative stance on creation vs. evolution except that Catholics are obliged to believe in a literal Adam and Eve and Original Sin. Thank you for your time and I apologize for the length.

God Bless,
Ken

Dear Ken,

The St. Augustine Institute for Catholic Studies is an arm of the St. Benedict Center in New Hampshire—which is not affiliated with any Benedictine Monasteries which have centers with the same name. This St. Benedict Center is staffed by “The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” a group of brothers and sisters who adhere to the stance of the late Fr. Feeney who was excommunicated for a period of time for his extreme view that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation—even for those who through no fault of their own do not have the true Faith, yet live a virtuous life. This latter part is very-much a part of Catholic Church teaching.

This group still adheres to Fr. Feeney’s position, yet insists that it is in full communion with Rome. “We do not reject the authority of the hierarchy. We respect their offices and do what we can to obey, short of betraying our principles, which are based on fidelity to the Deposit of Faith. Obedience is a moral virtue based on justice; it is not above the Theological virtue of Faith, but is inferior to it. Fr. Feeney’s policy and ours is that our congregation will willingly submit to a bishop who believes in ‘Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.’ Until then we respect their authority, but will oppose their liberalism.”

So there you have it. Do you want to entrust your family to a program produced by such an organization? Your concern over their view of the age of the world is an astute one. Here is a link with information on several trust-worthy Catholic home school programs: members.tripod.com/~catholic_homeschool/homestudy.html

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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