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What is the problem with the CMRI priests?
We know it can be somewhat overwhelming for people who are first discovering traditional Catholicism to then hear that the priests who introduced them to such truth – the traditional Mass, the rejection of Vatican II, etc. – are themselves denying aspects of the Faith. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s true. It’s part of the spiritual test that God has allowed this world to go through. People must have a strong faith anchored to Him, the Church itself and her authoritative teachings, or else they will be swept away in desolation and confusion upon discovering that so many of those they thought were traditional are, in fact, heretical. The priests of the CMRI, like the priests of the SSPX and SSPV, certainly do some good. They promote and offer the traditional Mass; they reject Vatican II and the major aspects of the new religion. However, the sad fact is that their priests don’t have the Catholic Faith. It’s simply a fact that they believe that non-Catholics – including Jews who reject Christ – can be saved by being “united” to the Church by “baptism of desire” without faith in Christ or baptism. This has been confirmed in conversations with them – even their nuns hold the same! – and is clear from their articles (see below). Thus, they reject what they know the Church and Sacred Scripture to have taught about the necessity of Christ and His Church for salvation. The fact that they believe it’s possible for members of false religions to be saved, including Jews who reject Christ, means that they cannot hold for certain that any non-Catholic is excluded from salvation. Consider the implications of this and how it would impact their everyday dealings with spiritual affairs. Since they cannot say that any person who dies as a non-Catholic is definitely excluded from salvation, they believe it’s possible for a soul to be saved in any religion. This destroys their entire faith in the necessity of Jesus Christ Himself and affects their entire outlook on the spiritual world. It shows that they have no real faith in God’s revelation whatsoever. Proof for this: In the Winter 1992 issue of The Reign of Mary (the CMRI’s publication), the CMRI ran an article called “The Salvation of Those Outside the Church.” In the Winter of 1996, The Reign of Mary (publication of the CMRI) featured another heretical article called “The Boston Snare,” by Bishop Robert McKenna. Bishop McKenna believes that souls who die as non-Catholics can be saved; he also believes that it is not heretical to believe that Jews who reject Christ can be in the state of grace, as confirmed in an exchange of letters that we had with him in the Spring of 2004. Ironically, Bishop McKenna’s thesis in the article is that this “heresy” of denying “baptism of desire” and “invincible ignorance” was the Devil’s snare which was sown in Boston, when the truth is actually just the opposite. Let’s look at an excerpt from his article.In a desperate attempt to defend his heretical version of Outside the Church There is No Salvation, McKenna admittedly must change 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. This is absurd, for none of the dogmatic definitions declared this. They declared just the opposite. (By the way, when McKenna says “knowingly” he means those who know of the Church and are convinced of its divine institution; for he believes that Jews who know of the Church, but still refuse to enter because they are not convinced of Christ, could be saved even though they know of the Church and reject it.) McKenna (in the CMRI publication) denies the infallibility of a dogmatic definition by belittling it to nothing more than “a solemn and material warning” for non-Catholics. In this we see how his heresy has corrupted his faith in a dogma – it has gone from an infallibly stamped communication of divine truth to nothing more than a fallible human warning or admonition. The CMRI also vigorously promotes and defends the birth control practice of Natural Family Planning. Their lack of faith is further displayed by the fact that they don’t hold the sedevacantist position to be something that must be embraced. At some of their chapels, in fact (as we’ve been informed), the priest never speaks about the issue or explains why Catholics must hold it. (This is because they are faithless and spiritually weak.) In that sense, they are sedevacantist in name only or in opinion only, since the people receiving Communion there may totally reject the position or never even hear about it from the CMRI priest. Considering all of this, one must say that the CMRI is a heretical group which no Catholic aware of these facts should support under pain of promoting heresy.
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