Information on the Heresy of Feeneysim

An excellent article from Fr. William Most on EWTN has relevant discussions for Vatican II. (Linked Here)

One of its final conclusions;

Following proper theological method, the Fathers and the Magisterium saw two things: a)the Church is necessary for salvation; b)In some way God must make provision for those who do not find the Church. This was already stated in Romans 3.29 by St. Paul. If He did not do that, He would act as though He were not their God- He would condemn millions to hell who never had a chance!. Such a God could not be a God at all, but a monster.

So what is the heresy of Feeneyism that the Church as condemned. That a water baptism is the only way to be saved. It is a strict interpretation of outside the Church there is no salvation. Feeneyism denies a baptism of desire (one without water but through conscience and actions often involving invincible ignorance)

Vatican II often talks about how those outside the visible (not invisible Church) can be saved. These texts have caused much controversy. It would be good to recall that the Church has explicitly condemned the idea that only water baptism can lead to salvation and that baptism by desire does not happen. The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions this topic in paragraphs 846 and 847 quoting from the very document which condemned the Feeneyism heresy.

Thus, when Vatican II talks about baptism of desire for Muslims or Jews or for other religions do not be so hasty to think that Vatican II is therefore wrong.

The article linked from EWTN goes into great depth contrasting different quotes from Popes and Church Fathers showing that only a selective use of Church Father quotes says that baptism of desire is not possible, while a broad and full understanding show that the Father’s held to baptism of desire. When they seem to disagree there is often reasons and context that show that there rather strict sentences do not contradict baptism of desire because they were only speaking of those with moral culpability (not ignorant).

Did you know that baptism of desire even goes as far back as St. Ambrose?

Published by PromoteVaticanII

Protecting, Providing for and Promoting the message of Vatican II

6 thoughts on “Information on the Heresy of Feeneysim

    1. Thank you for the comment. Because, I don’t think it did destroy Catholicism. In fact, since 3 Vatican II Popes are now saints Pope Paul VI, John XXIII and Pope John Paul II and they were very pro-Vatican II it seems that the Holy Spirit itself is wanting us to promote it. Perhaps, Pope Francis another pro Vatican II Pope the 5th in a row will also become a saint. I think that Vatican II was in continuity with the faith before. As Ven. Fulton Sheen has said about Vatican II, it is a sign of its truth that it is so much opposed. What we are trying to do here is to be obedient to the Popes who have made Vatican II thier primary focus of their offices and missions. I think that following the Popes lead will produce much more fruit that going a different direction. God speaks through our superiors. I think that there is a lot of miss understanding as to what cultural/secular trends have caused and what Vatican II itself caused. The easiest way to show this is that if the faith was really that strong before Vatican II, it should have been able to withstand the trials of change (if Vatican II was really that bad) but the faith declined. Interestingly though only in the western world. In Asia and Africa Vatican II has brought about rapid growth in numbers.

      Would you like to join us in prayer in supporting Vatican II.


      1. Rapid growth in numbers if the doctrines have been corrupted is not progress.

        What many faithful Catholics are praying for is a Church repudiation of the pastoral Council that can be abandoned. It was not a dogmatic or doctrinal council, thus it can be easily jettisoned if there is the will to do so.


      2. Thank you for the reply. I disagree and agree at the same time. Vatican II did teach doctrine in documents like Lumen Gentium. Plus, it did not define extraordinary dogma (like immaculate conception) but it did teach on the level of the ordinary magisterium. When all the bishops in line with the Pope teach something, as happened at Vatican II and withheld for the last 50 years, it requires religious assent. Vatican II cannot be abandoned just as Nicea or others cannot be abandoned. Vatican II was also not just pastoral.

        Yet, I can agree that many faithful Catholics are praying for a reversal of Vatican II. There are faithful on both sides of the argument. I myself get many things wrong and have changed my opinion in the past, even in the area of Vatican II. I recognize that anyone interested enough to look up Vatican II and think about its correctness, is not lukewarm but has the faith on fire in their hearts. I just disagree with the direction that fire should be headed.

        This link here may help answer your objections to my comments by providing a longer and more robust response with quotes on how Vatican II taught doctrine and cannot be undone. Some quotes

        Was Vatican II just pastoral?
        “Vatican II also reaffirmed dogmas of the faith and developed key doctrines. In other words, the Council’s substance—as the names of its four constitutions make clear (see question 1)—are not merely dealing with pastoral matters.”

        and it be undone and is not binding?
        “But even when they are not affirming infallible dogma, the Second Vatican Council presents the teachings of the ordinary and universal Magisterium through an ecumenical council of the Church. This means that these teachings are assisted by the Holy Spirit (CCC 688), are promulgated by the pope in communion with the “authentic teachers of the apostolic faith endowed with the authority of Christ” (CCC 888), and require “religious assent which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it” (CCC 892). In short, the teachings are guarded from doctrinal error and are binding on all Catholics; they are not optional.”

        You may also see how St. Pope Paul VI said that the council, although did not define extraordinary dogma still requires religious assent.
        “On January 12, 1966, Pope St. Paul VI said in an audience: “Given the Council’s pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing, in an extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility.” This quote has often been used to suggest the Council’s teachings and decrees are not binding on Catholics.”
        “On the contrary, in the very next sentence he adds, “But it [the Council] has invested its teachings with the authority of the supreme ordinary magisterium, which ordinary magisterium is so obviously authentic that it must be accepted with docility and sincerity by all the faithful, according to the mind of the Council as expressed in the nature and aims of the individual documents.””

        I hope this helps
        Pray for me I will Pray for you
        Thank you for the comments again I learn from everyone and everything. The seeds of God are scatter abroad and I try to pick up as many as I can throughout the day!


      3. I made a post today to give you some content on your first point. It is now on the home page as well, as I think it answer the heart of most people and gives us on both sides of the argument a common ground on which to build. Yes, it may seem that things have been corrupted. That is not good. I don’t necessarily agree with that. Yet, even with a bad outlook this post is why I continue.

        Vatican II Hope against Hope

        Vatican II may look bad. It may smell bad. It may be ugly. (not saying it is but it may be) Yet, it is our ugliness. By being small, great things happen. Jesus sat with the sinners. He had a prostitute as a close and loving disciple. Jesus’ apostles betrayed him. But, they were his. Vatican II is our council -our generation. Were else are the words of eternal life? Will God grant victory to small Judas Maccabees if he plans his own war? Or will Maccabees win by charging full throttle forward without looking back- by hoping against hope? Risk the contradiction. It is not by having the best council that the goal will be achieved, but by moving forward with the council given to us by God. 5 Popes, 3 of them saints, more than 50 years, continuous implementation and promotion of Vatican II by the Popes and what do we have? God’s will. Yes, things may change in the future for a different direction. Yes, the past looked somewhat different. But, the same Spirit animates them all and it is the Present we are called to be faithful too. What is that present calling you to do from the mouth of the Popes? If you don’t like the Popes. Okay – you don’t have too. Yet, still do what they say. That will grant you holiness and your heart will be satisfied. If you think something has been taken away, you can only get it back through prayer and obedience. That will grant the conversion of hearts. If you think Vatican II looks bad. Hope against Hope. Be a virgin who thinks that marriage will preserve virginity. Be a father who thinks that sacrificing a son will grant him back again. If you think Vatican II is not all so great, trust in God – enact it and see that holiness and love will be given back even if you cannot see it.


  1. Aquinas: “Secondly, the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of ‘faith that worketh by charity,’ whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly. Hence Ambrose says of Valentinian, who died while yet a catechumen: ‘I lost him whom I was to regenerate: but he did not lose the grace he prayed for.’ ” (Summa Theologica III:68:2)

    Those who think baptism of desire is heretical call St. Thomas Aquinas a heretic.


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