Vin Lewis: if nothing else is amusing


#1

I found this while I was browsing. It is from 1998. Karl Keating’s Dragnet series

THROWING AWAY THE KEY

Greg Adams is incarcerated at the Charlotte Correctional Institution in Punta Gorda, Florida. We don’t know what he was convicted of, and we don’t particularly care. But we do care about his soul-his and those of other prisoners-which is why Catholic Answers has never turned down a request by prisoners for free literature, including subscriptions to This Rock. Given our Lord’s admonition in Matthew 25 (see the account of the sheep and the goats), our policy has seemed right and necessary. But not all Catholic apologists agree. Mr. Adams sent us the following letters, reprinted in full because there is a lesson in them that should be learned by all.aspiring apologists. First, his letter to Catholic Answers . . .

"I am writing to request a free subscription to your publication. The reason for this is because recently I sent a request to another organization, supposedly of Christian origin. My response from the organization was that, in order to prove myself worthy of a subscription to their publication, I must first obtain a subscription to yours, read and review it, and then send my opinion of it to Mr. [Vincent P.] Lewis of All Roads Ministry in order to show my worthiness of my receiving a subscription to Armamant [Lewis’s newsletter].

"I am truly sorry that your organization is being used as a judgment seat of other Christians. I at first could not believe what Mr. Lewis had written to me in response to my simple request for more knowledge about our Lord and Savior. His response was that it was his ministry’s practice not to cast pearls before swine, i.e., convicts. The hatred in his letter was very appalling to me and the other brothers whom I allowed to read it. It hurt me to my heart to know that this man and his organization are considered to be Christian. It let me know that if Jesus returned today, he would be tried and convicted-yes, convicted-once again by people like Mr. Lewis. I will include Mr. Lewis’s letter to me so that you may understand better my feelings.

"Please, even if you do not consider me worthy of your publications, if you could return Mr. Lewis’s letter to me. I will keep it always to remind myself why Christian men come to prison and turn away from God. I see these men come to hate God and to reject Jesus Christ, and I never knew why, but now I do. Now I feel anger at those so-called Christians who tear at the body of Christ and raise their blood-stained hands to the faithful and say, ‘Look at the good I have done in the name of Jesus.’

“I am sickened at the thought of how many more like Mr. Lewis are inflicting themselves on the babes of the faith. In this place, prison, a great many come to God only to be driven away by the Mr. Lewises in the Church. In my heart I feel an all-consuming anger at this man. I await your response to my letter. Please forgive my words; they are words of pain.”

Mr. Adams enclosed the following letter from Vin Lewis, head of All Roads Ministry, a one-man organization located in Hopewell Junction, New York:

"You recently wrote us and asked for donations of materials. Our policy is NOT to give such to cons. There are several reasons for this. One is that most ‘catholics’ behind bars and outside do not really want our stuff. It is real Catholic apologetics and evangelism and that is not popular. You are probably not any different, and if we gave you anything it would most likely be pearls case to swine. I try not to do that.

"However-who knows?-you may be different. So I write this letter. As a good deal of our funds come from contributions, I must husband them carefully and not waste our resources, and, of course, like every other con, you have no money (does not anyone go to prison for theft any more? Do none of you guys have families? PLEASE do not answer me; I don’t care!).

"So, if you care, then you submit yourself to a test to see if you are worthy of our stuff. If you are like most other cons, then you won’t bother and I can ignore your request with a clear conscience. Here is your test: (1) Write to the following address: This Rock, P.O. Box 17490, San Diego, CA 92177. Ask them for a FREE subscription to their publication. (2) When you get one or two issues, read it carefully. (3) Review it and send your review to me. This will give me a better understanding of judgment as to your worth.

"I don’t expect every to hear from you again, as I expect that you will find even this ‘too much’ to do. But, nevertheless, good luck, and God bless.

"By Our Lady & St. Luke,


#2

It is always amazing to me how modern Catholics can make snap judgments with hardly any facts.

The first time I listed to a Vin Lewis tape, I threw the tape away – because I thought him to be so intolerant, narrow, and stupid. As I progressed along the path to Tradition, I gradually lost my “big-tent,” “diverse,” “inclusive,” “whatever goes” values from my earlier days. I read the saints and saw how incredibly narrow and focused they were. I even read the Gospels at one sitting and saw how Jesus was not the meek and mild character of popular Catholic myth, but just the opposite. He was a fanatical, doctrinaire, religious zealot who had the temerity to preach that He was God and that He alone possessed the Truth.

After I came to Tradition, I heard Vin Lewis speak in person at a conference, and I bought all of his tapes and materials. You know, he is a full-time apologist who lives very humbly. And, yes, he is narrow. For example, he thinks all Protestants are of ill-will, something he has been much criticized for in modern Catholic apologetic circles.

But have you ever discussed the Eucharist with Protestants and had them read John Chapter 6? Their reaction is uniformly the same: they aren’t interested in Truth, the Bible, or anything else except their own well-worn opinions, which they will parrot back to you, no matter how earnestly you implore them.

After going through this repeatedly, I said to myself. How can this be?! Vin Lewis is right!


#3

I think Vin seems very intelligent. i wish he would modify his stance on No Salvation Outside the Church. He believes water baptism is absolute necessary in every case for someone to go to heaven. He denies baptism of desire.


#4

Concerning Baptism of Desire, please read the following INFALLIBLE DOGMATIC propositions from the Council of Trent.

Canons concerning the Sacrament of Baptism

Canon 2. *If anyone says that true and natural water is not necessary for baptism *and thus twists into some metaphor the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, let him be anathema.

Canon 5. * If anyone says that baptism is optional*, that is, not necessary for salvation,[13] let him be anathema.

Now, please formulate a definition of Baptism of Desire that does NOT violate one of these Infallible Canons. The Sacrament of Baptism is NECESSARY for salvation (canon 5), and water is NECESSARY for Baptism. The definition given for baptism of desire usually state that either the Sacrament of Baptism is NOT necessary for salvation or that Baptism can be had WITHOUT water. Both are heresies and will leave those who beleive in them accursed (anathema). So, sorry all, Vin Lewis is right!


#5

A very possible scenario: An adult catechumen is looking forward to his baptism, and on the way to the church to receive it is killed in an automobile accident.

Think about it.

The doctrines of Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood do NOT say that they Mystery of water baptism is not necessary.

All they say is that in extraordinary circumstances, God can give Baptismal grace in an extraordinary manner.

All the more does it urge us to hasten to baptism, should this not have been done.

Trent was NOT the last word in theology, believe it or not. What Trent was condemning were those Protestants who taught that baptism had nothing to do with salvation.

Read this:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism_of_desire


#6

Vin Lewis is great! He is a great debater.
This is his website: allroadsministry.com/

By the way regarding baptism of blood and baptism of desire,**** there are four groups approved in the Catholic Church**** (Catholic Diocese of Worcester) that hold the same position that Fr. Feeney did.

Three of them have websites and they are listed on the Diocese of Worcester page **(see my signature below for the links). **

Fr Frank Pavone even gave a retreat at their house:
March 22nd-24th: pro-life retreat – Still River, Mass.
priestsforlife.org/clippings/95,12-14wanderersched.html
**
Also here they are on Zenit News Source:**
zenit.org/article-25799?l=english

Also, see what the Ecclesia Dei commission says:

e. The question of the doctrine held by the late Father Leonard Feeney is a complex one. He died in full communion with the Church and many of his former disciples are also now in full communion while some are not. We do not judge it opportune to enter into this question.
ewtn.com/library/curia/cedsspx2.htm

I can answer all of your questions about baptism of blood and baptism of desire:
but you may want to visit this website which answers all those questions better than I can:
catholicvox.blogspot.com

Also, to see what Fr. Feeney believed about catechumens, go to the “horse’s mouth” and read the chapter called “Waters of Salvation” from his book “Bread of Life” at the following link:
http://web.archive.org/web/20040607045422/www.catholicism.org/BoL/chapter7.htm

Also, may I add that a book called “They Fought the Good Fight: Orestes Brownson and Father Feeney” by Brother Thomas Mary Sennott which is a defense of Feeney received the Imprimatur of the Bishop of Worcester in 1987. Here it is on amazon.


#7

It’s too bad that Vin, in this case, missed an opportunity to “visit the imprisoned”.


#8

By the way regarding baptism of blood and baptism of desire, there are four groups approved in the Catholic Church (Catholic Diocese of Worcester) that hold the same position that Fr. Feeney did.


**And at least 2 of these groups are the remains of the Feeneyites, so that proves nothing.

Fr. Feeney also belived in the immaculate conception and assumption of St. Joseph.

St. Polyeuchtos (9 Jan on the Byzantine Calendar and 13 February on the Roman Calendar) was never baptized in water, but is commemorated as a holy martyr of the Church.

What would they say now?**


#9

Well it does prove something, because they have canonical status in the Church and they hold the same position. If they couldn’t hold that position they wouldn’t be approved.

So that means:
A) They are right
B) It is a valid theological opinion
C) The Church is allowing a heretical group to exist.

My whole problem with BOB and BOD is that it’s proponents can only provide evidence for that doctrine from fallible sources. You can’t find any statement of the Extraordinary Magisterium or Universal Ordinary Magisterium regarding these so called “baptisms”.

I looked up the saint you mentioned. Do we have any proof that they didn’t receive water baptism before being killed? Not all of the information surrounding the deaths of martyrs is accurate. For instance, According to St. Ambrose, Prudentius and Father Butler, Saint Agnes was beheaded. Others had said she was burned to death. Not all of the information given in the martyrdom narrative is necessarily accurate, consistent, or complete.

Look what a Pope has to say about the matter:

Pope St. Gelasius, Decretal, 495: “Likewise the deeds of the holy martyrs… [which] with remarkable caution are not read in the holy Roman Church… because the names of those who wrote them are entirely unknown… lest an occasion of mockery might arise. (Denzinger 165)

And about Fr. Feeney believing in the IC and Assumption of St. Joseph. I never heard that, if you could provide a source I would be interested to know more about that. At the same time it has no bearing on this matter.


#10

As far as Vin goes, he is a good debater, and you can learn some good things about debating and logic from his materials, but his approach is “off” let’s say. I think you could study his stuff though and use the arguments in debates with Protestants and, let’s say present the same arguments in a more charitable way. I wouldn’t endorse using his approach, but the substance of his work is useful if you want to get into apologetics. A mature person can sift out the good arguments from the uncharitable approach. I do wish Vin would realize that today the medium IS the message.


#11

It is my understanding that the Church has said that groups/persons can hold to a strict interpretation of water baptism. Meaning that they can hold that only those persons who are actually water baptized can be saved. However, they cannot say that this is the only possible position, and that all others(positions) are heretical (such as implicit desire). Correct me if I am wrong.

Also, I believe Feeney, as well as Mr Lewis said/says just that–that only formal members (those who are baptized) of the Church will go to heaven, and that this is the only position one can hold.


#12

I don’t know about this. I don’t think there has ever been an official statement. Maybe the Diocese of Worcestor has said something. All I know is that when Fr. Feeney was reconciled to the Church, he did not recant and was not required to recant.


#13

I looked up the saint you mentioned. Do we have any proof that they didn’t receive water baptism before being killed?


It’s mentioned in the official liturgical books that contain their lives, such as the Prologue and Martyrology that they were baptized in their own blood.


#14

In response to Bsbasilphx:

"A very possible scenario: An adult catechumen is looking forward to his baptism, and on the way to the church to receive it is killed in an automobile accident.

Think about it.

The doctrines of Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood do NOT say that they Mystery of water baptism is not necessary.

All they say is that in extraordinary circumstances, God can give Baptismal grace in an extraordinary manner."

So BOD and BOB do NOT say that water baptism is not necessary, yet in extraordinary cases, water baptism is not necessary. Do you hear yourself? These 2 position are contradictory. Only a mad-man can believe both. Either water baptism is necessary or it is not. It can NOT be both. God gives baptismal grace in an extraordinary manner, that is, without water? This still violates the doctrine of baptism and is heresy.

“Trent was NOT the last word in theology, believe it or not. What Trent was condemning were those Protestants who taught that baptism had nothing to do with salvation.”

Trent was not the last word in theology as it was not the last infallible council, granted. But the council and the canons I quoted ARE infallible Church doctrine. If you do not believe them, you are a Protestant. If you merely give lip service to the dogmas and then teach the exact opposite and say it is an “extraordinary way that God works” you are a Protestant and not a real Catholic.
As for the catechumen getting killed on the way to the baptismal font, I would point out to you that there is such a thing as Divine Providence. These things are known to God and are in His power. God did not make a mistake and kill a good-willed catechumen without getting the water baptism He made NECESSARY for us to be saved. This would make God contradictory which is impossible.
Also, whatever insight you have into the intentions of the member of the Council of Trent, the words they gave were clear, as is every dogma. The sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation. Water is necessary for Baptism. BOD and BOB violate 1 or both of these depending on the definitions given, which are various (unlike dogmas).


#15

But the council and the canons I quoted ARE infallible Church doctrine. If you do not believe them, you are a Protestant.


**Your interpretations of the canons are VERY fallible, and the tradition of the Church is against you.

St. Augustine himself gave the example of the catechumen who dies on the way to his own baptism. I know who St. Augustine is. Who are you?**


#16

Can you provide a link to the book that contains this?

Also you did not respond to my quote from the Denzinger-

Pope St. Gelasius, Decretal, 495: “Likewise the deeds of the holy martyrs… [which] with remarkable caution are not read in the holy Roman Church… *because the names of those who wrote them are entirely unknown… lest an occasion of mockery might arise. *(Denzinger 165)

That is my problem with BOB and BOD proponents, they cannot provide even one infallible source that advocates their view.

If a Catholic who is going exactly by what the Chair of Peter (the dogmatic text) has declared is not finding the truth, but is engaging in “private interpretation,” as you claim, then what does he go by? Who interprets the dogmatic statement? And who interprets the interpretation of the dogmatic statement? And who interprets the interpretation of the interpretation of the dogmatic statement? And who interprets the interpretation of the interpretation of the interpretation of the dogmatic statement? The answer is that it would never end, and no one could ever arrive at the truth on anything. The “interpretation” ends with the words of the dogma itself! If it doesn’t, then it never ends. If the buck doesn’t stop with the infallible definition (the Chair of Peter), then it never stops.

Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Sess. 3, Chap. 2 on Revelation, 1870, ex cathedra: “Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding.

St. Francis De Sales (Doctor of the Church), The Catholic Controversy, c. 1602, p. 228: “The Councils… decide and define some article. If after all this another test has to be tried before their [the Council’s] determination is received, will not another also be wanted? Who will not want to apply his test, and whenever will the matter be settled?.. And why not a third to know if the second is faithful? – and then a fourth, to test the third? Everything must be done over again, and posterity will never trust antiquity but will go ever turning upside down the holiest articles of faith in the wheel of their understandings… what we say is that when a Council has applied this test, our brains have not now to revise but to believe.”


#17

I’m not talking about the councils as a whole, but two canons of Trent that you have taken from their historical context.

Keep to one subject, please.


#18

I will keep to one subject but you still did not provide a link for the official book that contains BOB saint or my Denzinger quote which thoroughly refutes your objection and shows how stories of martyrs are very weak authorities.

Additionally you have not provided one infallible source which advocates BOB and BOD.
You also provided no source for your claim that Fr. Feeney believed in the IC and Assumption of St. Joseph (which was quite irrelevant to the debate anyway). I on the other hand have provided a source to back up all of my statements.

To answer your Trent objection:

You are saying that dogmas only apply to certain historical periods within “historical contexts”. Actually they are TRUTHS that are “fallen from heaven”. Valid for all times. Trent was simply telling the Protestant “Reformers” what the Church has ALWAYS and everywhere believed. They did not create the dogmas, they also did not just write them to refute Protestant errors, they testified to what the Church has always believed which the Protestants denied.

Pope St. Pius X, Lamentabile, The Errors of the Modernists, July 3, 1907, #22:
“The dogmas which the Church professes as revealed are not truths fallen from heaven, but they are a kind of interpretation of religious facts, which the human mind by a laborious effort prepared for itself.”- Condemned


#19

That’s very funny. According to you, infallible doctrines, even when merely recited word for word, are now “interpretations”. Who can really know what is meant by ANY infallible decree, right? Yes, the Fathers of the Council said those words, but who really knows what they meant, right? Again, you are oozing Protestantism, for this is exactly what they do. Here are the doctrines again, with NO interpretation:

Canons concerning the Sacrament of Baptism

Canon 2. If anyone says that true and natural water is not necessary for baptism and thus twists into some metaphor the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, let him be anathema.

Canon 5. If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation,[13] let him be anathema.

Now, baptism of desire states that a person is given saving grace, that is, let into Heaven, WITHOUT receiving water baptism. There is no interpretation here, these doctrines are contradictory. It is a matter of plain Logic.

"Your interpretations of the canons are VERY fallible, and the tradition of the Church is against you.”
–In order for a teaching to be a Tradition, it must have been held by a majority of the Church Fathers and traceable back to the Apostles. There are only THREE Fathers of the Church who mention it, 2 for and 1 against. Neither does this doctrine go back to the Apostles. Church Tradition is NOT against me. However, the accommodating, “let’s not offend anyone” mentality of our post-revolution culture IS against me.

“St. Augustine himself gave the example of the catechumen who dies on the way to his own baptism. I know who St. Augustine is. Who are you?” -So you do not accept truth unless you know someone? What kind of a ridiculous statement is that? I would recommend a good course in Scholastic logic for you so you will not make such subjective arguments in the future.

By the way, so what about St. Augustine? Was he speaking as an infallible Pope or a fallible theologian? Just because he has the title SAINT before his name does NOT mean everything he ever said in his whole life was at a God-like perfection and can never be questioned. Let us be careful to HONOR the saints and not WORSHIP them. As an aside, I freely admit, St. Augustine DID put forth the argument that unbaptized catechumens can be saved. He also said (and I’ll be surprised if you have the good-will enough to actually read these quotes and acknowledge that they contradict both what he said and what you are saying now.):

St. Augustine: “How many rascals are saved by being baptized on their deathbeds? And how many sincere catechumens die unbaptized, and are thus lost forever! …When we shall have come into the sight of God, we shall behold the equity of His justice. At that time, no one will say: Why did He help this one and not that one? Why was this man led by God’s direction to be baptized, while that man, though he lived properly as a catechumen, was killed in a sudden disaster and not baptized? Look for rewards, and you will find nothing but punishments! ….For of what use would repentance be, even before Baptism, if Baptism did not follow? …No matter what progress a catechumen may make, he still carries the burden of iniquity, and it is not taken away until he has been baptized.” (The Faith of Our Fathers, Fr. Jurgens, bk. 3, 1496; On the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 13, Tract 7.)

St. Augustine: “Note that I speak now both to the faithful and to catechumens. What did I mention in connection with the spittle and the clay? This: the Word became flesh. The catechumens can hear this; but just listening to it does not accomplish that for which they were anointed. Let them hasten to the font if they seek the Light.” (The Divine Office, bk., p. 1620, from Fourth Week in Lent, Treatise 44 on John.)

St. Augustine: “What is the Baptism of Christ? A washing in the word. Take away the water, and there is no Baptism. It is, then, by water, the visible and outward sign of grace, and by the Spirit, Who produces the inward gift of grace, which cancels the bond of sin and restores God’s gift to human nature, that the man who was born solely of Adam in the first place is afterwards re-born solely in Christ.” (“On John,” 15:4, Patrologiae Cursus Completus: Series Latina, Fr. J. P. Migne, Paris, 1855, vol. 35.)

St. Augustine: “Or how can they fail to be saved by water… the same unity of the ark saved them, in which no one has been saved except by water. For Cyprian himself says, ‘The Lord is able of His mercy to grant pardon, and not to sever from the gifts of His Church those who, being in all simplicity admitted to the Church, have fallen asleep within her pale.’ If not by water, how in the ark? If not in the ark, how in the Church? But if in the Church, certainly in the ark; and if in the ark, certainly by water. …nor can they be said to have been otherwise saved in the ark except by water.” (On Baptism (De Baptismo), 5:28.)


#20

I found this site, which marshalls quotes from the fathers and other saints about baptism of desire and baptism of blood.

catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/currenterrors/bapdesire.htm

I know who St. Cyprian, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Alphonsus Liguori, among others, are.

Who are Tradicya, hamalot, and especially Fr. Feeney?

As far as the Martyrology and Prologue (also spelled Prolog) they are on line. Do your own homework.


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