By Bro. Peter Dimond, O.S.B.
Related Article: Mark Pivarunas (CMRI) Embarrasses Himself
Many traditional Catholics are familiar with the priests of the CMRI. For those who are not, the CMRI is a society of priests that professes to be Roman Catholic, ordains men validly according to the traditional Roman Rite, rejects the New Mass, Vatican II and the Vatican II antipopes. The CMRI has done some good things in favor of tradition and against the Vatican II Counter Church.
However, in our newsletters and magazines we have pointed out the unfortunate yet undeniable fact that the priests of the CMRI are heretical (as will be shown below). The priests of the CMRI adhere to heresy first and foremost because they deny the solemnly-defined dogma that the Catholic faith is necessary for salvation. The CMRI holds that non-Catholics can be saved without the Catholic Faith. Such a position is heresy. I ask those supporters of the CMRI who are unfamiliar with the CMRI’s position in this regard not to dismiss this assertion, for it is true. Please consider the points below, as well as the admission in this article: Fr. Bernard Welp Confirms The CMRI’s Horrible Heresy: That Jews Who Reject Christ Can Be Saved.
Since priests of the CMRI reject a Catholic dogma, no one aware of this fact (which will be further proven below) can support them under pain of mortal sin. Those who continue to do so obstinately will partake in their mortal sins against the faith and will follow them to damnation.
1. The CMRI twice published in their Quarterly Magazine an article entitled, “The Salvation of Those Outside the Church.” It was published in the Winter 1992 issue of The Reign of Mary, The CMRI’s publication (Vol. XXIV, No. 70, p. 10.).
The article indicates that those who die as non-Catholics can be saved. That’s a blatant rejection of Catholic teaching. In fact, the title of the article “The Salvation of Those Outside the Church” is a word for word denial of the Catholic dogma “Outside The Church There Is No Salvation.” It is equivalent to publishing an article entitled: “The Original Sin Mary Had.”
This heresy was so blatant that I called the headquarters of the CMRI in Washington and spoke to one of the priests about the article. He told me that he had “no problem with it.” They hold this heresy because they adhere to Protocol 122/49, the heretical letter which is also called Suprema haec sacra. It was published in 1949 against Fr. Leonard Feeney. That hertical, non-infallible letter teaches salvation by “implicit” baptism of desire, including for those in “invincible ignorance.” It also teaches that those who are not “members” of the Church, and “who do not belong to the body of the Catholic Church”, can be saved. In other words, it teaches that there is salvation for some people who don’t possess the Catholic faith or believe in Jesus Christ. That is blatantly heretical. The teaching contained in Suprema Haec Sacra is refuted by Catholic dogma, as we prove in the section on this matter in my book: Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation.
The CMRI recently published a pamphlet defending “baptism of desire” that contains arguments which have all been refuted in the aforementioned book. They use a combination of fallible texts (which don’t prove the point), misunderstood texts (which don’t state what they claim), and mistranslated texts to inculcate their false position. In fact, it’s outrageous that they still use the “except through” mistranslation of Sess. 6, Chap. 4 of Trent. In their dishonest pamphlet, they also don’t discuss their heretical position that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. can be saved without the Catholic faith.
2. In the Winter of 1996, The Reign of Mary (publication of the CMRI) Vol. XXVI, No. 83, pp. 4-5, featured another heretical article called “The Boston Snare,” by Bishop Robert McKenna. Like the CMRI, Bishop Mckenna believes that members of all kinds of non-Catholic religions can be saved. He says that the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation only applies to those “knowingly” outside the Church, which is a heretical idea.
Bishop Robert McKenna, “The Boston Snare,” printed in the CMRI’s Magazine The Reign of Mary, Vol. XXVI, No. 83: “The doctrine, then, of no salvation outside the Church is to be understood in the sense of knowingly outside the Church… But, they may object, if such be the sense of the dogma in question, why is the word ‘knowingly’ not part of the formula, ‘Outside the Church no salvation’? For the simple reason that the addition is unnecessary. How could anyone know of the dogma and not be knowingly outside the Church? The ‘dogma’ is not so much a doctrine intended for the instruction of Catholics, since it is but a logical consequence of the Church’s claim to be the true Church, but rather a solemn and material warning or declaration for the benefit of those outside the one ark of salvation.”
Frankly, this has to be one of the more heretical statements made by a person purporting to be a traditional Catholic bishop. As can be seen clearly from these words, Bishop McKenna (like almost every modern priest) rejects the true meaning of this dogma. He holds that non-Catholics can be saved without the Catholic faith. In a desperate attempt to defend his heretical version of Outside The Church There Is No Salvation, McKenna admittedly must alter the understanding of the dogmatic formula proclaimed by the popes. He tells us that the “true” meaning of the dogma is that only those who are “knowingly” outside the Church cannot be saved. Oh really? Where was that qualification ever mentioned in the dogmatic definitions on this topic? Nowhere!
Recognizing that such an understanding is contrary to the clear words of the dogmatic definitions on the topic – none of which ever mentioned “knowingly” and all of which eliminated all exceptions – Bishop McKenna attempts to explain away the problem.
Bishop Robert Mckenna, “The Boston Snare,” printed in the CMRI’s Magazine The Reign of Mary, Vol. XXVI, No. 83: “The ‘dogma’ is not so much a doctrine intended for the instruction of Catholics… but rather a solemn and material warning or declaration for the benefit of those outside the one ark of salvation.”
According to Mckenna and the heretical CMRI which printed his article in their magazine (Vol. XXIV, No. 83), the dogma Outside The Church There Is No Salvation is not a truth from Heaven. Rather, it is a warning or admonition written for non-Catholics! This is grotesque theological nonsense and flat out heresy.
Pope Pius X, Lamentabile, The Errors of the Modernists, July 3, 1907, #22: “The dogmas which the Church professes as revealed are not truths fallen from Heaven, but they are a kind of interpretation of religious facts, which the human mind by a laborious effort prepared for itself.”- Condemned
As we have already seen, dogmas are truths fallen from Heaven which cannot possibly contain error. They are not merely human statements written to warn non-Catholics. They are not subject to correction and qualification. Dogmas are infallible definitions of the truth that can never be changed or corrected, since they cannot possibly contain error. Dogmas are defined so that Catholics must know what they must believe as true from divine revelation without any possibility of error. But that is the opposite of what McKenna and the CMRI assert.
McKenna and the CMRI deny that dogmas are truths from Heaven and demote them to “warnings for non-Catholics” that are subject to correction. They do so in an attempt to justify their heretical belief that those “unknowingly” outside the Catholic Church can be saved. Their position in that regard is directly contrary to the clear words of the dogmatic definitions on salvation.
By such ridiculous argumentation (i.e. their false claim that the dogma only applies to those “knowingly outside the Church”), McKenna and the CMRI reveal that their position is incompatible with the words of the dogmatic definitions on the topic. They are modernists.
The CMRI has printed other heretical articles on this issue. However, it is a demonstrable fact, easily ascertained by just asking any of their priests, that they adhere to the heretical Protocol 122/49 and believe that invincible ignorance can save members of non-Catholic religions, even those who don’t believe in Christ. This heresy is held by almost all priests today.
3. A priest from the CMRI’s seminary in Nebraska and a nun from the CMRI convent in Washington told me (when I questioned them over the telephone) that non-Catholics who die in their false religions can be saved without the Catholic faith.
This has been the response of every priest of the CMRI that I have questioned about this issue. Even though they admit that they believe that non-Catholics can be saved without the Catholic faith, and that they have no problem with articles that deny Outside The Church There Is No Salvation word for word, the priests of the CMRI will also claim that they do hold the dogma Outside the Church there is no salvation! That’s because they are heretical liars: they claim to hold Outside The Church There Is No Salvation as they print articles that deny it word for word, and as they tell anyone who asks them the appropriate questions that non-Catholics can be saved without the Catholic faith!
Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Iniunctum nobis, Nov. 13, 1565, ex cathedra: “This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved… I now profess and truly hold…”
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 8, Nov. 22, 1439, “The Athanasian Creed”, ex cathedra: “Whoever wishes to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he holds the Catholic faith. Unless a person keeps this faith whole and undefiled, without a doubt he shall perish eternally.”
The CMRI is in heresy, therefore, against the above infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, in addition to many other statements from the Magisterium. For those who find it hard to believe that the priests of the CMRI could be this heretical and dishonest, do not be surprised at all. Basically every single heretic who denies the dogma will tell you that he is not denying it. The heretics who believe in salvation outside the Catholic Church know that the Catholic Church teaches that there is no salvation outside the Church. Thus, they cannot always come right out and blatantly deny it (although the CMRI did that in the article they printed). The heretics who deny this dogma don’t primarily reject it in name but in its meaning.
Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Sess. 3, Chap. 2 on Revelation, 1870, ex cathedra: “Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding.”
The only meaning of the dogma Outside The Church There Is No Salvation is that which holy Mother Church “has once declared” in Her definitions. That meaning is that all who die without the Catholic faith or outside the Church or in a non-Catholic religion cannot be saved.
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.”
The CMRI rejects this meaning, as does almost every modern-day priest. Their meaning or “version” of this dogma is not what the Church has declared; in fact, it is the opposite. Their “version” of Outside The Church There Is No Salvation is that members of non-Catholic religions can be saved without the Catholic faith in their false religions!
4. Recently, someone we know was attending a Confirmation class at the CMRI’s chapel in Santa Clarita, CA. The teacher of the class, a layman, publicly stated that Jews can be saved without the Catholic Faith.
The person who heard this heresy subsequently went to the CMRI priest in charge of the chapel in Santa Clarita, Fr. Dominic Radecki. The person asked Fr. Radecki what he had to say about the horrible heresy that had been promoted at his chapel. Fr. Radecki did not rebuke the layman who had stated that Jews can be saved without the Catholic faith. Rather, he defended the layman’s heresy (that Jews can be saved without the Catholic faith). That was just another example which confirmed what we at Most Holy Family Monastery have been saying for years: the priests of the CMRI reject the dogma Outside The Church There Is No Salvation. They are not Catholic.
5. The CMRI’s heretical denial of the dogma Outside The Church There Is No Salvation is also found in the book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott. The CMRI advertises for and sells the book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott (at least as of today, 9/24/03). The position of Dr. Ott on the dogma corresponds exactly to that of the priests and nuns of the CMRI.
Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 311: “It is the unanimous conviction of the Fathers that salvation cannot be achieved outside the Church.”
Here on page 311 Dr. Ott correctly tells us that it is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers (not to mention the solemn teaching of the Magisterium) that salvation cannot be achieved outside the Church. But watch this. On the page immediately before this (page 310!), Ott tells us word for word the opposite!
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Ludwig Ott, Imprimatur 1954, p. 310: “The necessity for belonging to the Church is not merely a necessity of precept, but also of means, as the comparison with the Ark, the means of salvation from the biblical flood, plainly shows… In special circumstances, namely, in the case of invincible ignorance or of incapability, actual membership of the Church can be replaced by the desire for the same… In this manner also those who are in point of fact outside the Catholic Church can achieve salvation.”
“But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil” (Mt. 5:37).
From one page to the next, Ludwig Ott contradicts himself on whether those who are outside the Catholic Church can achieve salvation! He even uses the exact same verb – “achieve” – in both sentences, but with the opposite meaning from one to the next: 1) “salvation cannot be achieved outside the Church”; 2) those “outside the Church can achieve salvation.” Is this not straight from the mouth of the devil or what? He uses the exact same verb to mean the exact opposite thing from what he stated on the page just before! His speech is not of God, but of the devil. Black is white and white is black; good is evil and evil is good; truth is error and error is truth; salvation cannot be achieved outside the Church and salvation can be achieved outside the Church. And this is exactly the heretical position of the CMRI, which is why they sell the book.
But for the pre-Vatican II heretics who condemned the staunch priest Father Leonard Feeney, despised the dogma Outside The Catholic Church There Is No Salvation, and sowed the seeds for the Great Apostasy that is now upon us, it’s no problem to hold that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church, while simultaneously pretending to believe that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. It is no problem for these people because they are of evil (Mt. 5:37).
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio, May 27, 1832, on no salvation outside the Church: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life… You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation… Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that THIS IS INDEED THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. He says: ‘The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.’ Official acts of the Church proclaim the same dogma. Thus, in the decree on faith which Innocent III published with the synod of Lateran IV, these things are written: ‘There is one universal Church of all the faithful outside of which no one is saved.’ Finally the same dogma is also expressly mentioned in the profession of faith proposed by the Apostolic See, not only that which all Latin churches use, but also that which the Greek Orthodox Church uses and that which other Eastern Catholics use. We did not mention these selected testimonies because We thought you were ignorant of that article of faith and in need of Our instruction. Far be it from Us to have such an absurd and insulting suspicion about you. But We are so concerned about this serious and well known dogma, which has been attacked with such remarkable audacity, that We could not restrain Our pen from reinforcing this truth with many testimonies.”
The priests of the CMRI (and those who knowing this information persist in supporting them), as well as those who obstinately support or agree with the heresy advanced by Ludwig Ott in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, should rightly fear, as Pope Gregory XVI says, because they will without a doubt inherit a place in Hell for obstinately denying a Catholic dogma if they do not repent and convert.
Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 13), Aug. 15, 1832: “They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that ‘those who are not with Christ are against Him,’ (Lk. 11:23) and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore, ‘without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate (Athanasian Creed).”
6. The CMRI and its heretical leader, Bishop Mark Pivarunas, are also adamant defenders of birth control by means of Natural Family Planning.
The CMRI priests instruct people that Natural Family Planning is an acceptable form of birth control. Bishop Pivarunas also publicly defended this sinful birth control practice at one of their conferences. Most recently, in the Winter of 2003, the CMRI carried an article entitled “On the Question of Natural Family Planning,” which also teaches that couples can limit the size of their family by means of the Natural Family Planning birth control method. Natural Family Planning is a sinful method of birth control that subordinates the primary purpose of marriage (the procreation and education of children) to secondary ends. It is a calculated attempt to phase new life out of existence. For a full discussion of why Natural Family Planning is evil, consult the article on our website.
7. The CMRI has been sedevacantist (that is, they correctly hold that the Chair of Peter is vacant and that Benedict XVI is not the pope) for a long time; yet, they still administer Holy Communion to people who reject the sedevacantist position. According to people who have attended their Masses for years, from the pulpit the priests of the CMRI say little to nothing about the issue that Benedict XVI is not the pope.
Thus, although the CMRI’s publication states that their priests do not hold that Benedict XVI is the pope, this belief is not enforced at their chapels. As far as many people who are unaware of these issues yet attend their chapels are concerned, the CMRI does hold that Benedict XVI is the pope. That’s because they say little to nothing about it and do not require adherence to the Catholic principles and conclusions that are relevant to this matter (e.g. that a person who says we shouldn’t convert non-Catholics is outside the Church). They also allow non-sedevacantist nuns to join their society and receive sacraments from them as their “sisters in Christ”.
So, although they claim to reject the errors and heresies that arise from obstinate adherence to the Vatican II Counter Church, since they don’t preach about this publicly at their chapels, they are – in reality – a group that accepts Benedict XVI. They tolerate the unorthodox position that Benedict XVI is the pope and give Holy Communion to people who reject the true position.
For these reasons, no one aware of this information can support the CMRI in any way under pain of grave sin and denying the Catholic Faith.