The Truth About Salvation: "He Who Believes And Is Baptized Shall Be Saved. He Who Believes Not Shall Be Condemned." (Mark 16:16)

FatherLeonard Feeney

If you were to ask almost any Catholic today—layman, priest, or bishop—if there is salvation outside the Church, the answer would be, “Yes,” followed by some unorthodox explanation how. No matter the reasoning the short answer is still “Yes, there is salvation outside the Church,” and yet this is the opposite of the thrice defined dogma, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus—Outside The Church There Is No Salvation.

The contradiction is due in large part to the silencing of Father Leonard Feeney seventy-five years ago.

Cardinal Richard Cushing who was the Archbishop of Boston during the Father Feeney Controversy went so far as to say that there are Protestant Saints. In the forward to the book, Profiles of Protestant Saints, by the Rev. Howard V. Harper, D.D., the Archbishop wrote:

“God raises up his saints where and when He chooses, and His grace does not require man’s approbation in the sanctification of souls. …

“It gives me a real satisfaction to acknowledge in these pages God’s over-arching and unconfinable love. I agree with Dr. Harper that there is nothing of contradiction in the term “Protestant saints.”

In this book, the first souls of God’s “unconfinable love” presented by Dr. Harper are the heretics, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley. Ironically, these “saints” denounced the “Idolatry of saints” as “Popery.”

In truth these religious rebels made their religion consist of protesting against the teachings of Christ. They all condemned papal supremacy, services in Latin, the “exaltation” of tradition and good works, purgatory, confession to a priest, clerical celibacy, transubstantiation, and the seven sacraments. They had no love for Our Blessed Mother and called the veneration given to her, “Mariolatry.”

To them belong the words of Christ when He said, “Go forth and teach all nations. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. He who does not believe shall be condemned.”

Father Feeney was following this command to teach when he was presenting the Catholic Faith to students from Harvard University and other colleges of Boston. He preached “in season and out of season” the Catholic Faith and the necessity of believing It every Sunday afternoon to thousands on Boston Common.

He was not preaching “Baptism of Desire,” to Christians already baptized with water. Nor was he addressing the “Invincibly Ignorant.” Many believed his forthright manner of speaking and he brought into the Church more than 200 souls. Many, however, did not believe because they were told by a clergy engaged in inter-faith dialogue that they could be saved outside the Church.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical correcting the new and false thinking of many theologians. Among other things he wrote, “Some would reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the Catholic Church.”

Father Feeney can never be accused of that charge.

This website will be publishing articles written by Father Feeney before and after the controversy in order to demonstrate that he was a priest devoted to the Church, Its teachings, traditions, and the love for Our Blessed Mother. His uncompromising zeal for truth and the salvation of souls was his unfailing mark of true Charity.