I was recently informed that “The Father Feeney Archive” is back online. Don’t let the name fool you. The web master is no friend of Father Feeney or Saint Benedict Center.
In an email sent to his list, the site’s web master says, “We shall be adding a Fr. Feeney Forum soon so that all the issues can be debated openly and freely.”
The notice continues: “The website represents the real Saint Benedict Center and Fr. Feeney, others are only imitations so beware of pretenders who set up shop years after Fr. died and who do not represent the original and real SBC!”
The dig, we may assume from past experience, is against us.
Whether it is deliberate or not, I cannot say, but Mr. Sparks has produced a site which plays right into the hands of those who detract Father Feeney the worst. The distasteful graphics — featuring, among other things, Catholic clergy saluting Adolf Hitler — will no doubt thrill our bitterest foes, especially those who defame our apostolic-hearted Founder as a hateful person.
People acquainted with Father know better. For the rest, a glance at the Loyolas and the Cabots reveals that the disdainful graphical selections present him, and his community, in a woefully false light. Writing of the time just after the war, Sister Catherine recalls:
“There was worried talk about the revival of Communism. We had never been happy about America’s alliance with Russia during the war, and we were unpopular, often, for saying so. However, we felt that Communism, like Nazism and Fascism, had within it the elements of its own destruction. We were most disturbed about the silence of the Church at this time. Surely, now the Church should be giving the challenge of Christ to the ailing world. Surely, it should be shouting from the housetops for men to halt in their pagan plunge to destruction. Was there nowhere the voice of a St. Paul, or a St. Augustine, a St. John the Baptist who would bellow in all the land? …
“The students had not gone to battle, so they told us, to rid the world of Military Nazism only to return to college to be taught to base their thinking on Nazi ideology, the philosophy of Hegel, the psychology of Freud, the sociology of Karl Marx. If these thinkers and their numerous progeny were telling the truth, all right; but it had taken a global war to prove that their fruits were the fruits of error, and not of truth.”
The web master of this archive presents his stuff as an alternative to what “pretenders” and “imitations” have to offer, yet he never personally knew either Father Feeney or any of his disciples. Instead, drawing from his own eclectic interest in Jansenism, Nazism, and other non-Catholic systems, he paints a picture of Father that is of his own bizarre crafting, not true to the original.