Father Leonard Feeney (b. Lynn, Massachusetts 1897-02-18 - d. Ayer, Massachusetts 1978-01-30 )[1] was a U.S. Jesuit priest who defended the strict interpretation of the Roman Catholic doctrine, extra Ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside The Church there is no salvation"), arguing that baptism of blood and baptism of desire are unavailing and that therefore no non-Catholics will be saved.[2][1] He fought against what he perceived to be the liberalization of Catholic doctrine.[1]


On 8 August 1949, the Holy Office sent an official declaration of the meaning of the dogma extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, which Feeney refused to accept.[3] After repeatedly refusing summons to Rome, Feeney was excommunicated on 13 February 1953 by the Holy See for persistent disobedience to legitimate Church authority, and the decree of excommunication was later published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. His followers maintained that his excommunication was invalid because Fr. Feeney was not given a reason for his summons.[4]

Feeney then set up a community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[5] [1] [2] He was reconciled to the Church in 1972, but was not required to retract nor recant his interpretation of extra Ecclesiam nulla salus,[2][1] which is inscribed on his tombstone.

Feeney was Editor of "The Point," which ran many anti-semitic articles. The following quotes provide the general tenor of the publication.

"During two thousand years, the Jews have remained the most tenacious, dangerous foes of Christ and His Church" (January-February, 1958)

"Since American newspapers are a typical product of that unholy ferment which has been agitating the western world since the time of the French Revolution, it is quite easy to isolate one cause of their being the way they are; namely: the influence of the Jews. Essential to the understanding of our chaotic times is the knowledge that the Jewish race constitutes a united anti-Christian bloc within Christian society, and is working for the overthrow of that society by every means at its disposal." (April, 1958)

"Those two powers, the chief two in the world today, are Communism and Zionism. That both movements are avowedly anti-Christian, and that both are in origin and direction Jewish, is a matter of record." (September 1958)

"As surely and securely as the Jews have been behind Freemasonry, or Secularism, or Communism, they are behind the “anti-hate” drive. The Jews are advocating tolerance only for its destructive value — destructive, that is, of the Catholic Church. On their part, they still keep alive their racial rancors and antipathies." (January 1959)

The following are article titles from 1957:

January: "Jewish Invasion of Our Country--Our Culture Under Siege" February: "When Everyone Was Catholic--The Courage of the Faith (Regarding the Jews) in the Thirteenth Century" March: "Dublin's Briscoe (Jewish Lord Mayor) Comes to Boston" April: "The Fight for the Holy City--Efforts of the Jews to Control Jerusalem" May: "Our Lady of Fatima Warned Us (About Jewish Communists)" June: "The Rejected People of Holy Scripture: Why the Jews Fear the Bible" July: "The Judaising of Christians by Jews--Tactics of the Church's Leading Enemies" August: "A Sure Defense Against the Jews--What Our Catholic Bishops Can Do for Us" September: "An Unholy People in the Holy Land--The Actions of the Jews" October: "The Jewish Lie About Brotherhood--the Catholic Answer--Israeli Brotherhood" November: "Six Pointers on the Jews"
Feeney has been described as Bostons homegrown version of Father Charles Coughlin, who is also described as an antisemitic priest.[6] Speaking two decades after the controversy Avery Dulles considered Feeney's doctrine as quite sound. After hearing Feeney preach at the Saint Benedict Center in Cambridge Evelyn Waugh described him as "stark raving mad...a case of demonic possession and jolly frightening".[7]

See also

  • Feeneyism, a pejorative name for Feeney's theology


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Neumann, John. "A Latter-Day Athanasius: Father Leonard Feeney". Crusade of Saint Benedict Center, Richmond. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Feeney Forgiven". Time Magazine. 1974-10-14.,9171,908875,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  3. Letter of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office]
  4. Michael J. Mazza, Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus: Father Feeney makes a comeback
  5. "Our History". Sisters of Saint Benedict Center, Still River. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  6. "The death of American antisemitism", Spencer Blakeslee, p. 93, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000, ISBN 0275965082
  7. "Something Happened", Commonweal, July 16, 1999 by James T. Fisher, feteched 13 Sept 2009[1]

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Leonard Feeney. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.