Anyone familiar with the history of the Church knows that not all of the Pontiffs were holy men, and that several were negligent in their duties, especially in their supreme duty to keep inviolate the depositum fidei which was given to the Church by Christ. In our day, many souls have been deeply concerned by certain things done by recent Popes, but nowhere has their negligence been more obvious than in their failure to defend the name and reputation of Father Leonard Feeney and, by implication, the dogma with which he was personally identified.
The one dogma of the Faith which Freemasons hate most vehemently is the one that proclaims the authority of the Church to teach and to command. Indeed, the initiation rite for one of the higher degrees of the “brotherhood” requires the initiate to stab with a dagger the Papal crown and tiara representing Pope Boniface VIII. Boniface was the Pope who defined ex cathedra the absolute necessity of personal submission to the Holy Roman pontiff in order to be saved.
It was the masonic philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau who wrote, at the climax of his book, The Social Contract ; that anyone who says that there is “no salvation outside the Church” should be driven from the state. A measure of the success of the Masons and their blood-brothers, the Modernists, is that, today, the effective suppression of this thrice defined dogma is an accomplished fact, for most people have been deceived into believing that the Catholic Church no longer teaches that one must be a Catholic in order to save his soul.
By their failure to “enlighten the world with the Apostolic doctrines,” the Popes of the past forty years have played no small part in this suppression. By their silence, they have permitted the continued defilement of the name of a holy and loyal priest; by their actions, or lack thereof they have given aid and comfort to those who would bury the one dogma so desperately needed by a weakened Church and an unbelieving world.
Certainly, we are disturbed by the apparent negligence of these Popes in this matter but, knowing that they must answer to Almighty God for the manner in which they proclaimed and defended this foundational dogma, we do not presume to judge them. God reserves that prerogative to Himself. However, our duty is clear: we must protect our own faith and continue to believe and teach the true doctrines of the Church no matter how those in high ecclesiastical office fulfill their own individual duties.
We must never forget that the Holy Ghost still guides the Church, and that special graces, such as no other living person receives, are poured down upon the person of the reigning Pontiff. It was these graces that prompted, from the lips of every single Pope since Pius XII (under whose pontificate Father Feeney was so shabbily treated and the dogma initially suppressed), a confirmation of the eternal truth for which Father suffered a virtual martyrdom.
The statements of these Popes have been a great consolation to us, and to men and women of good will who continue to look to Rome for the truths of salvation and guidance by the “living magisterium” of our time. Despite the fact that the actions of these Popes have not supported their words, we thank God for protecting the Church in these times of “diabolical disorientation” — when “the smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary” — by eliciting from the mouth of each Pontiff the following clear and definite statements affirming the truth of the dogma, “Outside the Church there is no salvation”:
Pope Pius XII
- The Church has received in totality…all the means of salvation left by the Redeemer…Christ has entrusted His Church with all truth and all grace…it is the unique, the absolutely true religion.
- Being by the divine mandate the interpreter and guardian of Sacred Scriptures, the Church alone is the entrance to salvation and depository of the sacred Tradition living within Her. She alone, by Herself under the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the source of Truth.
Pope John XXIII
- How beautiful is the Church of Christ, the “fold of the sheep!” Into this fold of Jesus Christ no man may enter unless he be led by the Sovereign Pontiff, and only if they be united to him can men be saved.
- Outside the true Catholic Faith no one can be saved, so help me God!”
Pope Paul VI
- Is the hierarchy perhaps free to teach what they find most to their liking on matters of religion, or what they expect will be most pleasing to the proponents of certain current views opposed to all doctrine? Certainly not! The prime duty of the episcopate is to transmit strictly and faithfully the original message of Christ, the sum total of the truths which He revealed and confided to the Apostles as necessary for salvation.
- The means of salvation and sanctification are known by all men, and are necessary to everyone who wishes to be saved.
- Not without sorrow can we hear people continually claiming to love Christ but without the Church; to listen to Christ but not to the Church; to belong to Christ but outside of the Church. the absurdity of this dichotomy is clearly evident in this phrase of the Gospel: “Anyone who rejects you, rejects me.”
Pope John Paul I
- Jesus and the Church are the same thing; indissoluble, inseparable. Christ and the Church are only one thing. It is not possible to say: I believe in Jesus, I accept Jesus, but I do not accept the Church.
- The ship of the Church is guided by Christ and by His Vicar…It alone carries the disciples and receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea, but outside one would perish immediately. Salvation is only in the Church; outside it one perishes.
Pope John Paul II
- As a sacrament of intimate union with God, the Church is in Christ, outside whom there is no salvation.
- The mystery of salvation is revealed to us and is continued and ac complished in the Church, and from this genuine and single source, like “humble, useful, precious and chaste” water it reaches the whole world. Dear young people and members of the Faithful, like Brother Francis [St. Francis of Assisi] we have to be conscious of and absorb this fundamental and revealed truth contained in the phrase consecrated by tradition: there is no salvation outside the Church. From Her alone there flows surely and fully the life giving force destined in Christ and in His Spirit, to renew the whole of humanity, and therefore directing every human being to become a part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
- And finally, there is this very clear and powerful challenge which Pope John Paul II presented to thirty-five American Archbishops in Rome, in March, 1989:
We are the guardians of something given, and given to the Church universal; something which is not the result of reflection, however competent, on cultural and social questions of the day, and is not merely the best path among many, but the one and only path to salvation.
As a result of the vision she was given of a future Pope being assaulted and stoned by an angry mob, the holy and venerable child Jacinta, one of the seers of Fatima, became singularly mindful of the need to pray for the Holy Father. Our Lady had said that he would have much to suffer. If the Pope suffers as the head of the Church, does not the whole Church suffer with him?
As members of the Mystical Body of Christ on earth we must constantly besiege Heaven with our prayers and supplications in behalf of the Holy Father and the Church. We must above all pray that the Pope have the grace and the courage, not only to speak with his lips the saving truth which the world so much needs, but that he also have the strength of will to take the strong and decisive actions necessary to restore the dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus to its rightful position of preeminence in the teaching of the hierarchy.
The present crisis of authority in the Church will be resolved only when this dogma is proclaimed and defended by the very hierarchy whose authority depends on it. Until that is done, the crisis will continue.
A good place to start would be for the Supreme Pontiff to do what Calixtus III did when he cleared the name of St. Joan of Arc, whose execution by Church authorities had been a scandal to the whole world.
In the minds of people everywhere, this infallible teaching of the Church is inseparable from the name of Father Leonard Feeney. To clear the good name of that holy priest is a necessary and salutary first step toward full restoration of the “Dogma of Faith” and the authority of the Church.