On Dec. 16, 2015, Bishop Robert McKenna died. He was 88 years old. We had some familiarity and correspondence with McKenna over the years. Although he was a validly consecrated bishop who said some true things and held some true positions, McKenna was (quite sadly) definitely not a Catholic. He denied the dogma Outside The Church There Is No Salvation. In our correspondence with him, Bishop McKenna admitted that he believed Jews who reject Jesus Christ can be saved (see below)! That is, of course, horrible heresy. It is a bold rejection of defined dogma. McKenna believed that Jews who reject Jesus Christ can receive a ‘baptism of desire’. As the portion of his letter to us below documents, McKenna explicitly agreed with Fr. Denis Fahey’s horrible heresy in that regard.
Sorry, someone who believes that, especially in the face of the dogmatic teaching McKenna was presented with, is not a Catholic. Such a person completely rejects defined dogma, and consequently the faith of Christ and His Church. That person does not have the Catholic faith. The Eastern ‘Orthodox’ have externals, too. That doesn’t make them Catholic. To be Catholic one must believe in all the teachings of the Church, including the dogmas that one must be born again in Christ to be justified and that the Catholic faith is necessary for salvation. There is no doubt that McKenna rejected those truths. He was also so opposed to the dogmatic teaching on the necessity of water baptism that he would refuse Communion to those who don’t believe in the false doctrine of ‘baptism of desire’. But even if one were to ignore, for the sake of argument, that last point, McKenna was still a definite heretic for holding that Jews, etc. can be saved without the Christian/Catholic faith. Those who consider this assessment too harsh hold that it doesn’t make any difference whether one accepts Catholic dogma and believes in the necessity of Jesus Christ for salvation. They are quite wrong. We wish McKenna had been different, but he was an unbeliever and a heretic.
McKenna also published a heretical article in which he attempted to re-define the dogma Outside The Church There Is No Salvation. McKenna said the dogma only applies to those “knowingly” outside the Church, which is patently untrue and heretical. It departs from the definition of the dogma Outside The Church There Is No Salvation as the Church has proclaimed it. It is contrary to Vatican I on how dogmas must be understood: i.e. just as they were once declared. McKenna was a false teacher and a modernist. And what’s as disconcerting as McKenna’s horrible heresies on salvation, and his unbelief, is that so many other ‘traditionalist’ and sedevacantist priests hold the same heretical position. Furthermore, so many heretical laypeople don’t see the problem or care. That’s because they don’t have the true Catholic faith. They don’t believe that it matters. We are in the situation Our Lord predicted: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). Accepting the Church’s dogmatic teaching on salvation is essential. The failure to do so is perhaps the biggest reason why so many cannot see the full truth in our day.
Since McKenna was definitely a heretic who gave no indications in the external forum of having come out of his heresy, no true Catholic may pray for him.
BISHOP MCKENNA ADMITTING THAT HE BELIEVES JEWS WHO REJECT JESUS CHRIST CAN BE SAVED
Bishop Robert McKenna, to Bro. Peter Dimond, Nov. 25, 2004: “2. I answer your ‘one simple question’ regarding Fr. Denis Fahey’s saying, ‘The Jews, as a nation, are objectively aiming at giving society a direction which is in complete opposition to the order God wants. It is possible that a member of the Jewish Nation, who rejects Our Lord, may have the supernatural life which God wishes to see in every soul, and so be good with the goodness God wants, but objectively, the direction he is seeking to give to the world is opposed to God and to that life, and therefore is not good. If a Jew who rejects our Lord is good in the way God demands, it is in spite of the movement in which he and his nation are engaged.’
“Fr. Fahey in these words is in fact recognizing Baptism of Desire. I repeat them, emphasizing what you ignorantly overlook, with (in parentheses) his implications: “The Jews, as a nation, are objectively aiming at giving society a direction which is in complete opposition to the order God wants. It is possible that (subjectively) a member of the Jewish Nation, who (objectively) rejects Our Lord, may (subjectively) have the supernatural life which God wishes to see in every soul (Sanctifying Grace), and so be good with the goodness God wants, but objectively, the direction he is seeking to give to the world is opposed to God and to that life, and therefore is not (objectively) good. If a Jew who rejects our Lord is (subjectively) good in the way God demands (and therefore, by Baptism of Desire, in the State of Grace), it is in spite of the movement in which (objectively) he and his nation are engaged.’ I could not agree more with what Fr. Fahey says…”
Comment: There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Fr. Fahey taught that a Jew who rejects Our Lord can be in the state of grace (and therefore can be saved). Bishop Mckenna acknowledges it and fully agrees with Fahey’s horrible statement. He states: “Fr. Fahey in these words is in fact recognizing Baptism of Desire.” This is as heretical as it gets. Baptism of desire, according to Bishop McKenna and many other false traditionalists, means that certain Jews who reject Christ can be saved. This is outrageous heresy and a denial of a central truth of the Gospel.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra:
“The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia productive of eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.– But the Catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in unity… Therefore let him who wishes to be saved, think thus concerning the Trinity.
“But it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believe also in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ…the Son of God is God and man…– This is the Catholic faith; unless each one believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.”
1 John 5:11-12: “And this is the testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life. And this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life. He that hath not the Son, hath not life.”
“And he said to them [the Jews]: You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore, I said to you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin.” (John 8:23-24)
“He that believeth in the Son hath life everlasting: but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
“Amen, Amen, I say to you: he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber… I am the door.” (John 10:1, 9)
“For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.” (John 3:16)
“And when he [the Paraclete] is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin indeed: because they have not believed in me.” (John 15:8-9)
“For this was I born, and for this came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth: everyone who is of the truth, heareth my voice.” (John 18:37)
“Jesus saith to them: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)