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Book review: Harvard to Harvard by Abbot Gabriel Gibbs OSB

By Michael Humphrey, CICA
Catholic Internet Catechist and Apologist

Harvard to Harvard, the story of Saint Benedict Center's becoming Saint Benedict Abbey, by Abbot Gabriel Gibbs OSB, Click to order the book today!

Book review: Harvard to Harvard
ISBN: 0911218475
by Abbot Gabriel Gibbs OSB

By Mike Humphrey, CICA

Over the past twelve years we have been answering questions from either the CPATS.ORG or AskACatholic.com web site, one of the most frequent areas visitors have had confusion with is the proper understanding of Catholic doctrine:

"Outside the Church there is no Salvation" CCC 846

At the core of the development or clarification of this teaching were secular and ecclesiastical events that surrounded Father Leonard Feeney in the late forties and early fifties.

I have to state up front, that most, if not all these events happened before I was even born.
My friendship with the Benedictines of St. Benedict Abbey developed through a Benedictine Oblate,
who introduced me to Abbot Gabriel, and then Brother Peter, Brother Xavier and the other monks after they had moved from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Harvard, Massachusetts. Their love for the Catholic Church and witness of living a holy lifestyle did a lot to form who I am today.

For this I am greatly appreciative!

During this period of spiritual development for me, I not only stayed close to the Benedictines but my local parish as well. Overtime, among parishioners and priest-friends, I heard different views and versions of what happened back at the corner of Bow and Arrow Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

As I listened to my Benedictine friends, I had a better understanding of their account; most of which
I believe is true.

After reading Abbot Gabriel's book, what I came away with is this:

Whether your impression of Fr. Feeney [and/or] St. Benedicts in Cambridge is

  • one of hatred and anti-semitism, or
  • one who sees this priest and his flock as martyrs standing up for Roman Catholic doctrine at a time when no one wanted to listen to True Church teaching.

You at least own it to your conscience to heard out both sides.

The first part of Abbot Gabriel's book will give you a lot of insight into issues you probably won't hear from others like:

  • Fr. Leonard was never excommunicated for doctrinal reasons and was [exonerated|vindicated] by the Church in 1972 before his death, 6 years later. The heading that precedes paragraph 846 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is a testament to what he stood up for!
  • At one point Cardinal Cushing had high praise for Fr. Feeney's work in Cambridge:

    "The recently installed Archbishop said he was so impressed by what he had heard of Father Feeney's work in stimulating Catholics students in the practice of their faith and in attracting many non-Catholic young people to study about the Church, that when he was presented with Mrs. Clark's request [that Fr. Feeney be chaplain of St. Benedicts Center] he happily relayed it to the also-newly-appointed Jesuit provincial for New England, Very Rev. John J. McEleney. S.J."

    Page 18, From Harvard to Harvard

  • And finally, in order for the monks to affirm they were in the good graces of the Church all the Church required is that they all recite the Creed. Period! They never had to recant anything.

If you want a good scoop on the history of the so-called Boston Heresy Case, I highly recommend this book. Click here to buy it.

Get the other side of the story today!

From Abbot Gabriel's Analysis of Where we are today.

Right from the beginning, Sister Catherine, Father Leonard, and the Center Family knew that the Church's teaching about salvation was important to Catholics as well as non-Catholics. Baptism is not magic. Being born a Catholic is not a free pass to Heaven. We have been talking about “No Salvation outside the Church”.

What about Salvation inside the Church? Everyone has to ask:

  • What must I do to attain eternal life?
  • What am I willing to do to gain the prize of eternal happiness?

Finally, as I have stated on the pages dealing with postings on No Salvation outside the Church, next to my temporal father, Stephen William Humphrey, who sacrificed so much so we would have a better life,
I would like to thank Abbot Gabriel Gibbs whose fatherly memories had a great impact on my life and for which I am also grateful.

I would ask any father of a family or priest of a parish to contemplate how my father's had such an impact on my life and strive to model yourself to have a similar impact on your children, whether they are biological or spiritual.

Mike Humphrey

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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