It might be thought that the never-sufficiently-to-be-cursed Feeneyites made up the notion that one must be a Catholic to save one's soul. Certianly, clergy of all parties (modernists, sspx, or whatever) similarly regard the idea that they are absolutely essential as rank heresy. That is, if the Church is not necessary for salvation, neither are they. Doubtless, on a human level, many Feeneyites might wish their clerical presecutors were correct; that way, the priests would be totally unnecessary. No one would have to listen to them (unhappily, most of these latter have no courage of conviction--otherwise they would find real jobs). However, "Feeneyism" was not the product of the late Father Leonard Feeney. Rather, it was the constant teaching of the Church from Christ's time to the past century.
If Catholic truth really is unchangeable and unchanging then the Feeneyites are right. If not, then there is no such thing as Catholic truth, only a party line. The following quotations, taken from innumerable others should help to illustrate this. Just in case you may be wondering how to interpret or nuance what you are about to read, look first at the Anti-Modernist Oath imposed by Pope Pius X on all clergy. If you could take this yourself in good conscience then you really are a Catholic! If not, then you may be on your way to high ecclesiastical office.
[this guy thinks that heretics can be clergy in the Catholic Church, it seems... :rolleyes:]
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
Pope Pius XII
Some say they are not bound by the doctrine explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.
Humani Generis cap. 27
They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the bonds of unity, and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.
Mystici Corporis cap 41
Council of Braga
Neither commemoration nor chanting is to be employed for catechumens who have died without baptism.
Sacrorum Conciliorum, Mansi vol 9 pg 774
Heretics worship a God who is liar, and a Christ who is liar.
Against Faustus the Manichean
Heresies are embraced only by those who, had they persevered in the faith, would be lost by the irregularity of their lives.
Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Edited by M.F. Fr. Toal
If anyone holds a single heresy, he is not a Catholic.
"On Heresies," no. Pg. 88
God does not forgive sins except to those who are baptized.
To Catechumens on the Creed, sermon vii: 15
No doubt, without Baptism no one can come to God. But not everyone who receives Baptism comes to God.
Migne, Patrologia Latina, XXXVIII, page 559
No one can find salvation except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Church you can find everything except salvation. You can have dignities, you can have Sacraments, you can sing "alleluia", answer "Amen", have faith in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and preach it too; But never can you find salvation except in the Catholic Church.
Sermon to the People of Caesarea, Rouet de Journal, Enchiridion Patristicum, #1858.
The Lord has determined that the kingdom of heaven should be conferred only on Baptized persons. If eternal life can accrue only those who have been baptized, it follows, of course, that they who die unbaptized incur everlasting death .
Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, 1882
Therefore the three witness in Baptism are one: the water, the blood, and the Spirit; for if you take away one of these the Sacrament of Baptism does not exist. For what is water without the cross of Christ? A common element without any sacramental effect. Nor does the mystery of regeneration exist at all without water: "For except a man be born again of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom" (St. John 3:5). Now, even the catechumen believes in the cross of the Lord Jesus, wherewith he also signs himself; But unless he be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, he canot receive remission of his sins nor the gift of spiritual grace.
De Mysteriis, chap IV, no. 4
No one ascends into the kingdom of Heaven except by the Sacrament of Baptism not infants, nor anyone hindered by any necessity. When the Lord Jesus came to John, and John said: "I ought to be baptized by Thee, and dost Thou come to me?" Jesus said: "Permit it to be so for now. For thus it becometh us to fulfill all justice"(Mt. 3;14-15). Behold how all justice rests on Baptism!
Even heretics appear to possess Christ, for none of them denies the name of Christ. Nevertheless, anyone who does not confess everything that pertains to Christ does in fact deny Christ.
"On Luke", Book VI:101
The Lord severed the Jewish people from his kingdom, and heretics and schismatics are also severed from the kingdom of God and from the Church. Our Lord makes it perfectly clear that every assembly of heretics and schismatics belongs not to God, but to the unclean spirit.
"Expl. of Luke" ch. 7, 91-95
One is the Baptism which the Church administers, the Baptism of water and the Holy Ghost, with which catechumens need to be baptized.
Exposition on Psalm 118, s.3
St. Thomas Aquinas
It is not enough merely to believe. He who believes and is not yet baptized , but is only a catechumen, has not yet fully acquired salvation.
To be subject to the Roman Pontiff is absolutely necessary for salvation.
Against the Errors of the Greeks
The sinner is not restored to the Church except by the decree of the priest. If anyone has Perfect Contrition before the absolution of the priest, he obtains remission of his sins by the fact that he intends to subject himself to the keys of the Church, without which intention there is no real contrition.
Sunday Sermons on the Great Fathers vol I edited by Fr. M.F. Toal
It follows that ignorance has the nature of mortal sin on account of either a preceding negligence, or the consequent result; and, for this reason, ignorance is reckoned one of the general causes of sin. ALL sin proceeds from ignorance.
Summa Theologica I-II, Q.79, art 3
Consequently, if anyone were sanctified in the womb now, they would need to be baptized in order to be conformed to the other members of Christ by receiving the Character of Baptism. Summa Theologica III, Q68, art 1, obj 3
He who adopts an opinion against a formal text of Scripture, or against the universal sentiment of the Church, cannot be excused from culpable error.
Dignity and Duties of the Priest, St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori
St. Gregory of Nazianzen
Of those who fail to be baptized, some are utterly animal or bestial; others honor Baptism but they delay, some out of carelessness, some because of insatiable passion. Still others are not able to receive Baptism because of infancy or some involuntary circumstance which prevents their receiving the gift, even if they desire it. I think the first group will have to suffer punishment, not only for ther sins, but also for their contempt of Baptism. The second group will also be punished, but less because it was not through the wickedness so much as foolishness that brought about their failure. The third group will be neither glorified, nor punished; for although un-Sealed ,they are not wicked. If you were able to judge a man who intends to commit murder solely by his intention and without any act of murder, then you can likewise reckon as baptized one who desired Baptism, without having received Baptism. But, since you cannot do the former, how can you do the latter? Put it this way: if desire has equal power with actual Baptism, you would then be satisfied to desire Glory, as though that longing itself were Glory! Do you suffer by not attaining the actual Glory, so long as you have a desire for it? I can not see it!
Oration on the Holy Lights
Pope Pius IX
It is necessary that you inculcate this salutary teaching in the souls of those who exaggerate the power of human reason to such a point that they dare, by its power, to investigate and explain the mysteries themselves, than which nothing is more foolish, nothing more insane. Strive to call them back from such a perversity of mind, explaining indeed that nothing was granted to men by God's Providence more excellent than the authority of the divine faith, that this faith is to us like a torch in the darkness, that it is the leader that we follow to Life, that it is absolutely necessary for salvation, since 'without faith is impossible to please God,' and 'he that believeth not shall be condemned (Mark 16, 16).'
Singulari Quadam D. 1645
"...Assuredly when, released from the fetters of the body, we shall see God as He is, we shall then clearly see the intimate and exquisite way in which the mercy and justice of God are combined; but let us, so long as here on earth we are weighted down by this mortal body which dulls the soul, hold firmly to our Catholic doctrine: one God, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4,5) to try and inquire further is sinful."
Singulari Quadam D. 1647
Council of Trent
Canon 5. "If any one shall say that baptism is free, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.
Canon 2. "If anyone says that true and natural water is not necessary in Baptism, and therefore interprets metaphorically the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: 'Unless one be born again of water and the Holy Ghost': let him be anathema."
Canon 23. "If anyone says that a man once justified can avoid all sin, even venial sins, throughout his entire life without a special privilege of God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin: let him be anathema."
"The Sacrament of Baptism is the "Sacrament of Faith", without which faith there can be no justification for anyone."
Pope Boniface VIII
Urged by faith, We are obliged to believe and to hold that the Church is one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic. We firmly believe in her, and We confess absolutely that outside of her there is neither salvation, nor the remissions of sins... Furthermore, We declare, say, define, and pronounce, that it is wholly necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.
Pope Innocent III
One indeed is the Universal Church of the Faithful, Outside which no one at all is saved...
The Pope explains the reason for the law forbidding the baptized (whether catechumens or un-baptized infants.) to be buried in consecrated ground:
"It has been decreed by the sacred canons that we are to have no communion with those who are dead, if we have not communicated while alive.
Decr., III, XXVIII, xii
Pope Sylvester II
I believe that in Baptism all sins are forgiven, that one was committed originally as much as those that are voluntarily committed, and I profess that outside the Catholic Church none is saved.
Letters of Gerbert, Harriet Pratt Lattin, trans. pg. 224
Council of Florence
The most Holy Roman Church believes, professes, and teaches that none of those who are not within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in eternal life, but that they will go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels unless before death they shall have entered into that Church; and that so important is the unity of that ecclesiastical body that only those abiding within this unity can profit from the Sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and that they alone can receive a reward for their fasts, their almsgiving, their other works of Christian piety and duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved unless he abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."
Therefore, there is no equality between the condition of those who have adhered to the Catholic truth by the gift of Faith and of those who follow a false religion.
Chapter III, Dei Filius, D. 1794
Since without the Faith it is impossible to please God, no one is justified without it, nor will anyone attain eternal life unless he perseveres to the end in it.
Pope St. Leo the Great
"The Catholic Church despises the errors of heretics barking against the Church. who deceived by the vanity of worldly wisdom, have departed from the truth of the Gospel."
These words are the words of life and just as they raise up to Heaven those who confess them, so do they plunge down into Hell those who deny them.
Sermon 85, PL 54:329
Pope Pelagius II
We can no more pray for a deceased infidel than we can for the devil, since they are condemned to the same eternal and irrevocable damnation.cf Dialogues, IV
Pope St. Gregory I
Consider that therefore whoever is not in the peace and unity of the Church cannot have God.
Ep. to Schismatic Bishops , D. 246, 247
Pope Innocent III
With our hearts we believe and with our mouths we confess, but One Church, not that of the heretics, but the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which we believe no one is saved."
Pope Clement VI
We ask if you believe and the Armenians obedient to you, that no man of those travelling outside the faith of the same Church and the obedience to the Pontiff of the Romans can finally be saved; . . if you have believed and believe that all those who set themselves up against the Faith of the Roman Church and died in final impenitence will be damned and descend to the perpetual torments of hell."
D. 507 (b)
Pope Benedict XIV
There is only One Universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one can be saved.
Pope Gregory XVI
A person would be deceiving himself by the fact that he had been reborn of water; the branch that has been cut from the vine resembles any other branch, but what does its form avail, if it does not live off the root.
Pope Pius IX
It must be held a matter of faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church no one can be saved, that the Church is the only Ark of Salvation, and that whoever does not enter it will perish in the Flood."
Neither sanctity nor salvation can be found outside the Roman Church.
Raccolta 626 Venerable Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX declared in his Syllabus of Modern Errors: It is an error to believe that:
16. "Men can, in the cult of any religion, find the way of eternal salvation and attain eternal salvation."
17. "One ought at least to have good hope for the eternal salvation of all those who in no way dwell in the true Church of Christ."
It is an error to believe that: 18. "Protestantism is nothing else than a different form of the same Christian religion, in which, equally as in the Catholic Church, it is given to please God." D. 1718
Pope Leo XIII
He scatters and gathers not, who gathers not with the Church, and he most assuredly struggles against God who labors not with the Church. The Church of Christ, therefore, is the only and ever-enduring Church; and all who depart from it, depart from the will and command of Christ the Lord. They have left the path of salvation and are headed toward destruction.