Fr. Feeney had originally been a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Jesuits. The Jesuit order dismissed Fr. Feeney in 1949 on account of disobedience, and on 4 February 1953 the Holy Office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) declared him excommunicated "on account of grave disobedience to Church Authority, being unmoved by repeated warnings". He was reconciled to the Church in 1972. Fr. Feeney co-founded the group known as the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.