Fr Leonard Feeney.
Why is this?
In Phil Lawler's book, the first of many, we his ardent fans and admirers hope! entitled:
The Faithful Departed:
And if you haven't ordered it yet- WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????
Fr. Neuhaus of First Things wrote a review. The whole thing is here.
But the part that captured my eye was:
Fr Neuhaus says (after glowing praise of the book)
I differ with Philip Lawler on a number of points in his telling of the story. For instance, his treatment of the 1940s conflict between Father Leonard Feeney and Cardinal Cushing is, I think, too uncritical of Father Feeney. Feeney was out of line in the way he pressed the claim that only Catholics can be saved.
And what struck me was this. We are talking about priests- a handful of whom have become familiar names- Shanley, Geoghan, who were serial abusers of children. Men who left a wake of human destruction who exploited childhood innocence, who manipulated and cheated and who were able to continue their careers of child abuse for decades and then we have Fr. Feeney. (The man that Fr. Neuhaus can really become exorcised about!)I mean child abuse is bad and all but then we have Fr. Feeney!
And what did Fr. Feeney do?
- teach the Catholic Faith
- adhere to its tenets inspite a loss of human respect, a safe career path, a reputation built on his talents, political considerations and plead for the conversion of souls.
- do what he thought was right
- remain steadfast
- speak alone as a voice crying in the wilderness
- accept the abandonment of friends and his religious order (and we know how THAT turned out!)
Versus child abusers.
Right, wrong or insane, how does Fr. Feeney even merit the ire of Fr. Neuhaus?
If you are confused about the events that surround the case of Fr. Feeney I think there is only one thing that you need to know. Fr. Feeney was never asked to retract anything that he taught.
IF, Fr. Feeney were a heretic he would have to retract what he had erroneously taught.
Didn't happen. Couldn't happen. Won't happen.