Father Leonard Feeney last night was dismissed from the Jesuit Order.
His discharge, the latest event in his dispute with the Catholic authorities, came in the form of a decree from Rome signed by The Very Reverend Jean Baptiste Janssens, S.J., General of the order,
The decree arrived at St. Benedict's Center at 6 p.m. in a registered letter from The Reverend John J. McEleney S.J. Provincial of the New England branch of the Society of Jesus.
Father Feeney announced his own dismissal at a press conference last night. He translated from the Latin a sentence of the decree, which said: "Your dismissal from the Society of Jesus through judicial process has been approved."
Father Feeney, who is the chaplain of St. Benedict's commented, "The reason is because I will not leave St. Benedict's Center." He refused to do so in August, 1948, when he was ordered by the Jesuits to join the faculty of Holy Cross.
The reason for his disobedience, Father Feeney said last night, was a "conscience difficulty which Father McEloney will not listen to."
In a prepared statement for the press the former Jesuit added: "The conscience difficulty is that the diocese of Boston, under the auspices of Archbishop Cushing, and Boston College, under the auspices of Father John J. McEloney, S.J., both notably ignorant in the field of Catholic theology ... are teaching that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church."
Archishop Cushing declined to comment on this statement last night, and Father MeEleney could not be reached.
Father Feeney's insistence that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church has been the cause of the con- troversy which has gene on between the Archbishop and the Jesuits, on the one hand, and Father Feeney, on the other, since October 1947. Last January Father Feeney was "deprived on his faculties" by Archbishop Cushing. This meant that he could no longer say Mass or hear confession.
Despite this and the more recent punishment, Father Feeney announced last night, "I shall continue as a Catholic priest, loyal and devoted to the Church and to the Pope, at St. Benediet's Center."
The faculty and students of St. Benedict's in a statement signed by the secretary of the School, said last night; "Many of us have at one time or another been associated with Jesuit institutions, and know that their policies of late are motivated more by political expediency than by Christian charity.