By Bro. Peter Dimond, O.S.B.
Some of our readers are familiar with the independent traditionalist priest Fr. Kevin Vaillancourt. He purports to be a sedevacantist (i.e., one who doesn’t regard the Vatican II Antipopes as true Popes and holds the Chair of Peter to be vacant). In his booklet, I Baptize With Water, which is intended to be a defense of baptism of desire, Fr. Vaillancourt quotes Fr. Tanquery to teach that “those who are outside the Catholic Church can achieve salvation” (a direct denial of the dogma)!
Fr. Kevin Vaillancourt, I Baptize With Water, p. 18, quoting from Fr. Tanquery with approval: “Necessity of means, however, is not an absolute necessity, but a hypothetical one. In certain particular circumstances, for example, in the case of the invincible ignorance or of incapability, actual membership in the Church can be supplied by the desire for this membership. It is not necessary that this be explicitly present; it can be included in a willingness and readiness to fulfill the will of God. In this way those who are outside the Catholic Church can achieve salvation.”
Well, I guess we now know why Fr. Vaillancourt loves baptism of desire so much. It’s because Fr. Vaillancourt believes in salvation outside the Church and is not even Catholic. For a time he even had a warning about our material at the back of his chapel; but, as we see above, it’s quite clear whose material one must be on guard against. Fr. Vaillancourt typifies the “traditionalist” and sedevacantist priests who deny the salvation dogma. Even Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton would admit that the above statement is a denial of the dogma.
Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, The Catholic Church and Salvation, 1958, pp. 124, 126: “The teaching that the dogma of the necessity of the Church for salvation admits of exceptions is, in the last analysis, a denial of the dogma as it has been stated in the authoritative declarations of the ecclesiastical magisterium and even as it is expressed in the axiom or formula ‘Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.’
Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: “There is indeed one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved, in which Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice.” (Denz. 430)
There is no salvation outside the Church. These “traditionalists” priests tell us that there can be salvation outside the Church.
Moreover, in his booklet on baptism of desire, Fr. Vaillancourt misquotes the Council of Trent (p. 4); he uses the awful translation of “except through” instead of “without” from Sess. 6, Chap. 4 of the Council of Trent. On page 11 Vaillancourt uses the ridiculous argument from the errors of Michael du Bay, which is refuted in our book. The condemnation of the errors of Michael du Bay doesn’t indicate that there is baptism of desire in any way, shape or form (see the book for more details). On page 17 Vaillancourt indicates that Buddhists, pagans and Muslims could be saved, and that such an idea isn’t ruled out by Catholic teaching:
Fr. Kevin Vaillancourt, I Baptize With Water, p. 17: “Are there any more ‘good faith’ pagans in existence? Is it possible for the Communists of China or the faithful adherents of Buddhism and Mohammedism of the Near and Far East to either have never heard the Gospel, or else had the Gospel presented to them in an erroneous light?… Can the Chinese Communist, or the Indian Buddhist or the Pakistani Muslim be included in such a consideration [of invincible ignorance]? Only God knows, and it is not up to me to decide for Him. I write here merely to uphold the dogmatic principle of the possibility of such cases today, without admitting that all, or even a significant number of those who are in such circumstances will achieve salvation through justification.” (Catholic Research Institute, 2000)
So, Fr. Vaillancourt holds that pagans, Buddhists and Muslims could be saved without the Catholic Faith. He wrote his booklet to “uphold” the principle of such a possibility. Fr. Vaillancourt is a heretic who believes in salvation outside the Church.
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 for 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 produce 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.” (Denz. 714)
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832: “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.”
The sad and scary fact, however, is that what Vaillancourt believes is what almost all of the traditionalist priests and sedevacantists priests believe. Further, if we spoke with those who attend his chapel, they would almost surely deny that he believes that people can be saved without the Catholic Faith; when the fact is that he certainly does.
Another point worth mentioning is that Fr. Vaillancourt has publicly stated that no one should attend any Mass where John Paul II (now Benedict XVI) is mentioned as the Pope. However, when Fr. Paul Wickens died– who was a non-sedevacantist “traditionalist” priest who rejected sedevacantism for years – Fr. Vaillancourt published a laudatory commemoration of his life! Think about that: he published a laudatory commemoration of Wickens, who rejected the sedevacantist position for years; yet at the same time his position was that Wickens’ position was so contrary to the Faith that one couldn’t even have attended his Mass.