Archive for November, 2022

Feeneyism, named after the late excommunicated priest Leonard Feeney, has rapidly grown due to the aggressiveness and deceptive tactics of today’s Feeneyites. For the past several decades, groups such as Most Holy Family Monastery and Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have been arguing that the doctrine of Baptism of desire is a heresy because it contradicts Scripture and the teaching of the Council of Trent.

The doctrine of Baptism of desire is simply the doctrine that God can justify individuals apart from the Sacrament of Baptism in extraordinary circumstances. There may be no greater absurdity ever concocted by a group passing themselves off as Catholic as declaring heretical a doctrine that’s emphatically taught by the very council they claim it contradicts.  

In Session VI, Chapter IV, the Council of Trent declared:

A description is introduced of the Justification of the impious, and of the Manner thereof under the law of grace.

By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

In Session VII, Cannon IV, the Council of Trent added an anathema when it declared:

If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.

Literally every single theologian and canonist has understood these passages to mean that man can be justified either by the sacrament of baptism itself or the desire for it. Some examples of the greatest saints and theologians can be found in the footnote. [1]

Most importantly, all the Fathers of Trent have given us proof that they understood the decrees as meaning that desire for baptism will suffice in place of the sacrament. [2] All the acts of the Council of Trent have been meticulously recorded. In them we find precisely how the Fathers of Trent understood their own documents and how they approached them. They all undoubtedly believed man can be saved without the sacrament in extraordinary circumstances.

A few days after the Council adopted the decrees of the sixth session, they discussed all the possibilities on how man can be saved without the sacrament. One particular and striking example was Cardinal Cajetan’s theory that:

“Children who die in the womb of their mother can be saved, (as we have said above of those infants who die before it is possible to administer baptism to them)…They can be saved, I say, by the sacrament of baptism received not really, but ‘in voto’ [by the desire] of their parents [who would give] a blessing to the infants and invoke the Trinity.

Two reasons prompted me to come to this conclusion. First of all, it is proper that the divine mercy provide for the salvation of men in every natural condition, in such a way that in whatever state man may be found, he could not allege the impossibility of salvation. Now that impossibility would exist for an infant dying in the womb of his mother if the faith of his parents could not save him.

In [the womb] the infant is capable of receiving baptism of blood; if a child yet enclosed in the womb of his mother could receive death for Christ, he would be a martyr as the holy innocents. It is then reasonable to admit that the faith of his parents could produce the same result as suffering born of infants.

Thus then one could be acting prudently and wisely in the case where children come to die in the womb of their mothers, whether because of the mother’s sickness or a difficulty in birth, in giving the children a blessing with the invocation of the Sovereign Judge. Who can say the divine mercy would not accept that baptism received by the desire of the parents. This embraces no contempt of the sacrament, since it is the impossibility of the sacrament which forces parents to have recourse to it.”

For thirteen days the Fathers of Trent cast their ballots for or against the proposition: “Children in the wombs of their mothers can be saved by blessing and invocation of the Trinity.”

Over 50 votes were cast. Twenty-six asked for a condemnation. Six asked for a condemnation but with reservations that were not exactly what Cajetan proposed. Three bishops suggested that condemnation should be placed on the certainty of the proposition. The remaining twenty-one bishops said nothing or defended Cajetan’s proposition.

After the vote, it was sent back to the theologians for revisions, which left out Cajetan’s theory. The council was too divided over the issue but it never condemned Cajetan or his proposition. Pope St. Pius V did not eliminate the proposition as often asserted. However, the pope did eliminate Cajetan’s commentary on St. Thomas. There’s no solid historical evidence that St. Pius V had any influence on the decision.

What’s interesting about the whole affair is that it demonstrates that all of the Fathers of Trent understood that desire of those of the age of reason would suffice, but not necessarily the desire of parents for their unbaptized infants. However, Cajetan’s opinion is permitted to be held by the Church.

This brings us to the Council of Florence, Session 11, Feb. 4, 1442 which declared:

“Regarding children, indeed, because of danger of death, which can often take place, when no help can be brought to them by another remedy than through the sacrament of baptism, through which they are snatched from the domination of the Devil [original sin] and adopted among the sons of God, it advises that holy baptism ought not be deferred for forty or eighty days, or any time according to the observance of certain people…”

We know now based on the teaching of the Fathers of Trent that we are not bound by a strict interpretation of the Council of Florence’s teaching on this point. Florence was only advancing a general principle much like Our Lord does in John 3:5. There is no other remedy for infants than baptism generally, but that doesn’t leave out possible exceptions. Florence wasn’t dealing with exceptions.

Another fascinating point about the incident was how Cajetan speaks as a matter of fact that all the Fathers understood that infants in utero can receive baptism of blood if the mother is martyred. Baptism of blood is also denied by Feeneyites, even though all the Fathers of Trent believed it and the whole Church has recognized saints through Baptism of blood. [3]

We see clearly and understand how Trent is and was understood by the Church. However, the Feeneyites have to interpret Trent exactly contrary to the meaning that all the Fathers of Trent intended. According to Feeneyites, it’s heresy to believe in Baptism of desire.

Feeneyites claim that the definition of Trent was making the distinction on all that is necessary for the unbaptized. They say if Trent taught ‘and’ a desire for it, it would have invalidated all infant baptisms. Had Trent merely stated “laver of regeneration” [baptism] without mentioning a desire for, it would have been inadequate since desire is necessary for adults. It is simply telling us what cannot be missing in infants, and what cannot be missing in adults for justification.

Feeneyites further argue that Canon 4 should be interpreted in light of Canon 2 which states, “if anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit’ (John 3:5), are distorted into some sort of metaphor: Let him be anathema” and Canon 5 which states: “If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.”

When people are bent on believing something despite the obvious facts, they will evidently make fools of themselves with their explanations as Feeneyites do with Trent.

Desire for baptism is presumed with adults. It’s not the only thing needed for adults getting baptized. Faith is what is most needed. If Trent specified what must not be missing for adults, “faith” would be the optimal word, not “desire.” Baptism of desire is not accomplished by mere desire but great faith also.

Baptism of desire does not distort Canon 2 into some kind of metaphor. This Canon was simply condemning the Protestant heresies at that time. Some Protestants say the water, which Christ referred to, was a metaphorical expression being washed in the word of God and not actual water. Baptism is a work needed for salvation and Protestants reject works as necessary for salvation. This is what Trent was condemning in Canon 2.

As for Canon 5, Baptism of Water is not optional. One cannot opt out of it and be saved. Baptism of desire is for those who don’t have an option.

Feeneyites prefer their own erroneous interpretation of Trent over the interpretation of all the Fathers of Trent and all the theologians since. The very Fathers that taught the dogma on the absolute necessity of baptism that Feeneyites turn to, prove their case, would be heretics for not believing in the very thing they were defining. It just doesn’t get anymore ridiculous.

Of course, they won’t apply their own logic – by calling the popes, saints, and fathers heretics as they do with the average Catholic who follows their teaching on Baptism of desire. The Feeneyite goes from one absurdity to another. His reaction to articles such as this one is not to be humbled, but rather to get enraged, have a debate challenge, and condemning as cowardly if failure to engage.

They have proven to be like devils with their irrational thinking and debating them would be like arguing with devils deserving no recognition and only to be shunned. They have made themselves the final arbiters of truth as all antichrists do. They have a sickness of soul that can’t be fixed with facts, logic, and common sense, but only with prayer, fasting, and perhaps an exorcism or two.




[1] St. Charles Borreomeo superintended the redaction of the original Italian text of the Roman Catechism, which, thanks to his exertions, was finished in 1564. It was then published in Latin and Italian as “Catechismus ex decreto Concilii Tridentini ad parochos Pii V jussu editus, Romae, 1566” (in-folio). Translations into the vernacular of every nation were ordered by the Council (Sess. XXIV, “De Ref.“, c. vii).

The Roman Catechism taught that adults “are not baptized at once…The delay is not attended the same danger as in the case of infants, which we have already mentioned; should any foreseen accident make it impossible for adults to be washed in the salutary waters, their intention and determination to receive Baptism and their repentance for past sins, will avail them to grace and righteousness.” (p 179)  http://www.catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/catechism/Holy7Sacraments-Baptism.shtml

In 1582, 27 years after Canisius’ catechism was written, the English College of Rheims published the Rheims New Testament. It was the official English translation approved by Rome. In the commentary of John 3:5, the Rheims Bible reads, “…this sacrament [Baptism] consisteth of an external element of water, and internal virtue of the Holy Spirit…Though in this case, God which hath not bound his grace, in respect of his own freedom, to any Sacrament, may and doth accept them as baptized, which either are martyred before they could be baptized, or else depart this life with vow and desire to have the Sacrament, but by some remediless necessity could not obtain it.” 

1582 Douai Rheims Douay Rheims First Edition 3 Of 3 1582 New Testament : Douay (Douai) Rheims College – scanned by www.fatimamovement.com : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Francisco Suarez, S.J. (1548-1617) cites St. Robert Bellarmine S.J. on Baptism of Desire in his 1602 work Opus de triplici virtute theologic, a Tractus de fide, Disp.XII, sect.4, n.22 : [As to] what is further added, that outside the Church there is no salvation, some say, as Cano, that this proposition is to be understood of the Church in general, as it always was, and not only of the Church, as it was specially instituted by Christ. But this response is unsatisfactory, both because the Church is always one, and also because the Councils really speak of this Church of Christ, and one must hold as true in some sense concerning it, that outside of it nobody is saved. Thus it is better to reply according to the distinction given between necessity in fact, or in desire [in re, vel in voto]; for thus nobody can be saved, unless he should enter this Church of Christ either in fact, or at least in will and desire. Bellarmine responds thus to a similar question. And it is manifest, that nobody is actually inside this Church, unless he is baptized, and yet one can be saved because the will to be baptized is sufficient, and likewise the will to enter the Church; thus we say the same of any faithful person who is truly penitent and is not baptized, whether he shall have come to explicit faith in Christ, or only to implicit faith : for by that faith he can have at least an implicit desire, which is sufficient with regard to baptism, as St. Thomas teaches in the aforesaid places.  Suarez, Francisco, S.J. Opus De Triplici Virtu, Te Theologica, Fide, Spe, Et Charitate. Cum superiorum permissu & Privilegio Caesareo. Sumptibus Hermanni Mylij Birckmanni, Excudebat Balthasar Lippius, 1922.

St. Robert Bellarmine  who taught in his De Controversiis: De Sacramento Baptismi. Lib. I, cap. 6., 1596 A.D.

First proposition: Martyrdom is rightly called, and is a kind of Baptism. 

Second proposition: Perfect Conversion, and Penance is rightly called Baptism of wind, and it supplies for Baptism of water at least in cases of necessity. Note that not just any conversion is called Baptism of wind, but perfect conversion, which includes true contrition, and charity, and also desire, or will to receive Baptism.

Secondly, note that this proposition was not as certain with the ancients, as was the above. For as regards Martyrdom none of the ancients, as far as I know, denied that it could supply for Baptism of water: but as regards conversion and penance there were some who denied it. Indeed the book written on the dogmas of the Church, which is falsely attributed to Augustine, chap. 74. openly teaches that a Catechumen is not saved, although he should have lived in good works, unless he be purified by the baptism of water or of blood. Also it is clear from epistle 77 of St. Bernard, that some in his time believed the same.

But without doubt it is to be believed, that true conversion supplies for Baptism of water, when not through contempt but through necessity someone dies without Baptism of water. For this is expressly held by Ezech. 18: If the impious shall do penance for his sins, I will no more remember his iniquity. Ambrose openly teaches the same in his oration on the death of Valentinian the younger: “He whom I was to regenerate, I lost; but that grace, for which he hoped, he did not lose.” Likewise Augustine book 4 on Baptism, chap. 22. and Bernard epist. 77. and after them Innocent III. chap. Apostolicam, of an unbaptized priest. Thus also the Council of Trent, sess. 6. chap. 4. says that Baptism is necessary in reality or in desire. Finally, true conversion is associated with Martyrdom, and with Baptism of water, in the name of Baptism and in two effects; therefore it is credible that it also be associated in another effect, which is to forgive guilt, and to justify man, and in this way to supply for Baptism of water.

Fr. Cornelius à Lapide, S.J. (1567- 1637) a Flemish Jesuit and renowned exegete wrote in his great biblical commentary on John 3:5 around 1615: “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.”

Lastly, born of water ought here to be understood either in actual fact, or by desire. For he who repents of his sins, and desires to be baptized, but either from want of water, or lack of a minister, is not able to receive it, is born again through (ex) the desire and wish for baptism. So the Council of Trent fully explains this passage (Sess. 7, Can. 4).

Some are of opinion that the sacrament of baptism was at this time instituted by Christ. But it is not probable that Christ secretly, in the presence of only Nicodemus, instituted the universal sacrament of baptism. Rather, He publicly instituted it at His own baptism in the river Jordan. Baptism, however, although it had been publicly instituted by Christ, was not binding upon the Jews and other men until after Christ’s death, at Pentecost. For then the promulgation of the Evangelical Law took place, whose beginning is baptism. Of this time Christ here speaks. As though He said, “The time for the obligation of the Law of the Gospel is close at hand. When that shall have come, the ancient Law, and circumcision, will cease, and in its place the new Law will succeed, and baptism, in which none save those who are born again of water and of the Holy Ghost will be able to enter into the kingdom of God.” Wherefore this precept of Christ has rather reference to the time after Pentecost, than the present.

Moreover, the expression, unless any one shall have been born again, intimates that baptism had been already a short time previously instituted by Christ. For Christ spake these words to Nicodemus shortly after His own baptism. And He would not have told him that baptism was necessary for salvation, unless He had already instituted it.

St. Alphonsus Liquori, (1696-1775 Doctor of the Church) who taught in his Moral Theology, Bk. 6, n. 95-7. Concerning Baptism:

Baptism, therefore, coming from a Greek word that means ablution or immersion in water, is distinguished into Baptism of water [“fluminis”], of desire [“flaminis” = wind] and of blood.

We shall speak below of Baptism of water, which was very probably instituted before the passion of Christ the Lord, when Christ was baptised by John. But Baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true Baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt, but not as to the impression of the [baptismal] character or as to the removal of all debt of punishment. It is called “of wind” [“flaminis”] because it takes place by the impulse of the Holy Ghost who is called a wind [“flamen”]. Now it is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, “de presbytero non baptizato” and of the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one can be saved “without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it”.

Baptism of blood is the shedding of one’s blood, i.e. death, suffered for the Faith or for some other Christian virtue. Now this Baptism is comparable to true Baptism because, like true Baptism, it remits both guilt and punishment as it were ex opere operato. I say as it were because martyrdom does not act by as strict a causality [“non ita stricte”] as the sacraments, but by a certain privilege on account of its resemblance to the passion of Christ. Hence martyrdom avails also for infants seeing that the Church venerates the Holy Innocents as true martyrs. That is why Suarez rightly teaches that the opposing view [i.e. the view that infants are not able to benefit from Baptism of blood – translator] is at least temerarious. In adults, however, acceptance of martyrdom is required, at least habitually from a supernatural motive.

It is clear that martyrdom is not a sacrament, because it is not an action instituted by Christ, and for the same reason neither was the Baptism of John.

Again, St. Alphonsus Liquori

Truly Baptism of Blood is the pouring forth of blood, or undergone for the sake of the faith, or for some other Christian virtue; as teaches St. Thomas, Viva; Croix along with Aversa and Gobet, etc. This is equivalent to real baptism because [it acts] as if it were ex operato and like Baptism remits both sin and punishment. It is said to be quasi – as if, because martyrdom is not strictly speaking like a sacrament, but because those privileged in this way imitate the Passion of Christ as says Bellarmin, Suarez, Sotus, Cajetane, etc., along with Croix; and in a firm manner, Petrocorensis.

Therefore martyrdom is efficacious, even in infants, as is shown by the Holy Innocents which are indeed considered true martyrs. This is clearly taught by Suarez along with Croix and to oppose such an opinion is indeed temerarious. In adults it is necessary that martyrdom be at least habitually accepted from supernatural motives as Coninck, Cajetan, Suarez, Bonacina and Croix etc. teach. ….

Not in passing that such was also the teaching of Coninck, Cajetan, Suarez Bonacina and Croix.

[2] Concilium Tridentinum: Actorum pars altera: Acta post sessionem tertiam usq… – Google Books

[3] The Breviary states:

“Emerantiana, a Roman virgin, step-sister of the blessed Agnes, while still a catechumen, burning with faith and charity, when she vehemently rebuked idol-worshippers who were stealing from Christians, was stoned and struck down by the crowd which she had angered. Praying in her agony at the tomb of holy Agnes, baptized by her own blood which she poured forth unflinchingly for Christ, she gave up her soul to God.”

This virgin and martyr died in Rome about the year 350. A church was built over her grave. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908), some days after the death of St. Agnes, Emerentiana who was still a catechumen, went to the grave to pray, and while praying she was suddenly attacked by the pagans and killed with stones. Her feast is kept on January 23 and she is again commemorated on Sept 16 under the phrase in caemeterio maiore (where she is buried). She is represented in the iconography of the church with stones in her lap and a palm of lily in her hands.

The liturgy has some more instances: 

In the Breviary in the office of Nov. 10, is that of St. Respicius.

“During the reign of the emperor Decius, as Tryphon was preaching the faith of Jesus Christ and striving to persuade all men to worship the Lord, he was arrested by the henchmen of Decius. First, he was tortured on the rack, his flesh torn with iron hooks, then hung head downward, his feet pierced with red hot nails. He was beaten by clubs, scorched by burning torches held against his body. As a result of seeing him endure all these tortures so courageously, the tribune Respicius was converted to the faith of Christ the Lord. Upon the spot he publicly declared himself to be a Christian. Respicius was then tortured in various ways, and together with Tryphon, dragged to a statue of Jupiter. As Tryphon prayed, the statue fell down. After this occurred both were mercilessly beaten with leaden tipped whips and thus attained to glorious martyrdom.”

St. Victor of Braga of Portugal is a saint who is commemorated in the Breviary on April 11. During the reign of Diocletian, he refused to adore an idol and with great courage confessed his belief in Jesus Christ. He was severely tortured and then decapitated being baptized in his own blood.

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