Esteemed John Vennari, equally esteemed Robert Siscoe, and all of their followers, especially the "Fatimists" - seem to me, in my very amateurish opinion, to be living in a contradiction. The Catholic Family News for March, 2013 - pages 13, 14 and 16, contains an excellent exposition by Robert Siscoe, of the worst form of Anti-Semitism, that which encourages Jews in the false belief that the Old Covenant still holds true. But as Mr. Siscoe demonstrates, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, it is mortally sinful for a Catholic to participate in any of the ceremonies of the Old Law, such as a Seder Supper – because “all ceremonies are professions of faith”, and to partake of a Seder Supper is a betrayal of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Who is the new and real Paschal Lamb and Whom the Jews deny.
Now to say it is a mortal sin – objectively speaking – to partake of a Seder Supper with Jewish friends, may seem to be overly strict on the part of St. Thomas – and the Church, (as in Mortalium Animos by Pope Pius XI), but followers of Father Leonard Feeney and his dogma of Sola Aqua, by which he explicitly denied the teaching of the Ordinary Magisterium – that salvation is also attained by desire and/or by blood (martyrdom), are unreasonably strict. The traditional authority for this doctrine is found on pages 356-357 in Ludwig Otts’ – Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. The most compelling defense of this teaching is given by St. Thomas in the Summa, Part III, question 66, article 11 and 12. To deny the traditional doctrine is to place one’s self outside the Magisterium – as represented most explicitly by the Council of Trent and the phrase “aut eius voto”. (Ott, p.357 and see, Canons and Decrees….)
The true teaching has been poorly taught, especially in North America, where the heresy of Americanism, based on a sentimental pluralism, among other factors, (such as an exaltation of activism over more “passive” forms of intercessory prayer and virtue). It needs to be emphasized, for example, that those saved by desire, (plus faith), and/or blood (martyrdom), do not receive the mark that alone grants admission to the other sacraments. Therefore, if a person survives whatever death threatened them, they are absolutely obliged to seek water baptism. For “desire” and/or martyrdom are not sacraments. There is only one sacrament of baptism, just as we say in the Nicene Creed at Mass: Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum….This is the Sola Aqua of the sacrament. The followers of Fr. Feeney focus exclusively on the words of Our Lord to Nicodemus, and on the three ecumenical councils that clearly taught the necessity for sacramental baptism in order to be saved. Only Trent added the voto, but on the authority of a very strong tradition of Sententia fidei proxima, the second degree, after de fide, of theological certitude.
This whole area of “criteriology” – is a late theological development occasioned by the rising tides of unbelief, which have come to a pitch of rampant atheism, both theoretical and practical, - an almost universal loss of faith, in our times of apostasy. Who, for example, amongst the most devout followers of Father Feeney, would doubt that every human being born into this world, possesses as a doctrine of the Church – a guardian angel. Only the degree sententia certa, - the 3rd degree but pertaining to the faith and theologically certain. (Ott, p.9-10). But the doctrine, indeed, the dogma of the necessity for water baptism or the desire thereof, is more certain than sentential certa, because more closely related to the de fide dogma itself, pertaining to the very nature of what we must do to be saved. We must, first of all, have the supernatural virtue of faith, infused at baptism – with hope and charity and the gifts of the Holy Ghost – all in potential as to their perfect actualization by a life of service of God in whatever state.
The subject is vast because every dogma/doctrine of faith is somehow related to every other. In the last analysis, everything presupposes Creation, because Creation concerns the nature of God, and if we get that wrong, everything else is awry. As our times abundantly demonstrate. If anyone is interested, there is quite an extensive literature on the subject. I,myself, wrote a lengthy study entitled, “Conversations with the Followers of Father Feeney.” It is said that Father Feeney was not excommunicated by Pope Pius XII for any doctrinal error or heresy, but simply for his disobedience in failing to follow the orders of his Jesuit superiors. That may be true, but there were doctrinal issues involved in the “Letter”, concerning the case. If my memory serves me correctly, I tried to deal with the serious ambiguities I found in this “Letter.” I believe the case is still open and that some day, the Church must deal with it again, especially in view of Karl Rahner’s – “Anonymous Christian”, and Pope John Paul II’s universalism. These two heresies require the Church’s attention, especially in view of their widespread acceptance by the so-called “faithful”, today as a consequence, not only of the modernism permeating and motivating all the documents of Vatican II, but also of the ever-evolving heresy of Americanism, which canonizes democratic equality of truth and error, grants evil practices such as abortion, equal rights in law with whatever might be deemed virtue, and so on. But the Feeneyites go to the opposite extreme and refuse salvation – even in a place of merely natural happiness – to those guilty of no explicit sin against Divine or natural law…