In this post I am going to address one of the principal heresies of Father Feeney, and most Feeneyites. For an account of the circumstances and events of Fr. Feeney's life, here is a very good article: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=963&CFID=9453139&CFTOKEN=13786252
Father Feeney held a very strict "interpretation" of the dogma "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" He believed that baptism by water was absolutely necessary for salvation, and that one could not go to heaven unless he had first been baptized by water. However, he did admit that a person could be justified for a desire for baptism, but that baptism itself was necessary for a person to be saved. He was probably forced to admit justification through desire for water from the council of Trent, which explicitly says that a person can be justified by the desire for baptism.
These two positions, however, led him to an untenable conclusion. Fr. Feeney stated that it was his belief that God would give to all the souls who were justified by desire for baptism, actual baptism before their death. However, he then went on to say that he did not know if there were any souls who died justified, but without baptism by water, but that if there were, than these could not enter heaven.
This, however, is a heretical position. It has been declared many times that a soul is immediately judged upon death, and if it is justified, it either ascends immediately to heaven, or to purgatory to be cleansed, whereas if it is not in the state of justification, it descends immediately to hell.
Let us see Fr. Feeney's position from his own writings:
"Q. Are the souls of those who die in the state of justification saved, if they have not received Baptism of Water?
A. No. They are not saved.
Q. Where do these souls go if they die in the state of justification but have not received Baptism of Water?
A. I do not know.
Q. Do they go to Hell?
Q. Do they go to Heaven?
Q. Are there any such souls?
A. I do not know! Neither do you!"(Bread of Life, Chapter VII, The Waters of Salvation)
Father Feeney wrote:
“He will then say, “Well, cannot you be justified in the New Testament without Baptism?”
The answer to this is, “Suppose you can?”
He will then say, “If you die in the state of justification, without yet being baptized, are you not saved?”
You must answer him, “No, you are not. That is your reasoning in the matter. That is not Christ’s statement.”
And if he persists in saying, “Well, where does one go who dies in the state of justification which has been achieved without Baptism?” — insist that he does not go to Heaven.
And if he goes on to yell at you angrily, “Where are you going to send him — to Hell?”, say: “No, I am not going to send him to Hell because I am not the judge of the living and the dead. I am going to say what Christ said, ‘He cannot go into Heaven unless he is baptized by water.’” (Bread of Life, Chapter VII, The Waters of Salvation)
"Q. What does "Baptism of Desire" mean?
A. It means the belief in the necessity of Baptism of Water for salvation, and a full intent to receive it.
Q. Can "Baptism of Desire" save you?
Q. Could "Baptism of Desire" save you if you really believed it could?
A. It could not.
Q. Could it possibly suffice for you to pass into a state of justification?
A. It could.
Q. If you got into the state of justification with the aid of "Baptism of Desire," and then failed to receive Baptism of Water, could you be saved?
A. Never."(Bread of Life, Chapter VII, The Waters of Salvation)
“It is now: Baptism of Water, or damnation! If you do not desire that Water, you cannot be justified. And if you do not get it, you cannot be saved.”(Bread of Life, Chapter I, Christmas and Salvation)
"But, let us suppose an act of perfect love has occurred in a man’s soul. Can this man be said to be freed from original sin by this perfect act of love of God? He cannot, in the true and full sense. There has not been imprinted on his soul, by reason of this perfect act of love of God, the character which Baptism imprints, to seal him as redeemed, and outfit him for the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
Therefore, I should be inclined to say that this man, by his perfect act of love of God, was freed from one of the effects of original sin, namely, the absence of sanctifying grace, but was not freed from the obligation to go on and secure a title to the Beatific Vision."(Bread of Life, Chapter VII, The Waters of Salvation)
In this last statement particularly, Fr. Feeney states that a man who is justified but not baptized still needs to "go on and secure a title" to the Beatific Vision, implying that something is lacking to the one who is justified to attain heaven. This is directly contradicted by the Council of Trent:
"We must believe that nothing further is wanting to the justified, to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life, to be obtained also in its (due) time, if so be, however, that they depart in grace." (Sixth Session, Chapter XVI)
"This disposition or preparation is followed by justification itself, which is not only a remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts whereby an unjust man becomes just and from being an enemy becomes a friend, that he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting."Sixth Session, Chapter VII)
In regard to Fr. Feeney's position that a justified soul does not attain heaven, this is clearly contradicted by the teaching of the Church.
"1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.
1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, -- or immediate and everlasting damnation."(CCC)
Hence, following Trent, it is necessary to say that the justified man is immediately judged upon death, and receives entrance into heaven, either immediately, or after a purification.
"To be a member of Christ, it is not enough to be united with him in the bond of charity, some other union is needed. [Condemned]" (Council of Basel)
Since the justified person is united to Christ through the bond of Charity, it is clear that no other union is necessary for entrance into heaven, nor does he need "a title" to the beatific vision.
“Souls who after incurring the stain of sin have been cleansed whether in their bodies or outside their bodies, as was stated above, are straightaway received into heaven and clearly behold the triune God as he is.” (Council of Florence)
From this it should be clear that we must hold that all persons dying in a state of justification are saved, even if they have not received baptism by water. If Father Feeney had merely said that God's providence ordains it such that no one dies in the state of justification without baptism by water and left it at that, that would not be heretical. However, to assert that if a soul were to die in the state of justification without baptism by water it would not go to heaven is heretical.