Against the primacy of Erroneous Judgment (1): We cannot appeal to conscience against the authoritative teaching of the Church

Over at the Register, Edward Pentin exposes the "innovators" modus operandi: Affirm Doctrine, Find Exceptions, Appeal to Conscience.

The Pope has used the "primacy of conscience" argument extensively to [Lent charity attempt] ignorantly and 'mercifully' suggest [/Lent charity attempt] the liceity of communion for incontinent adulterers, inter-communion with lutherans, contraception in the case of non-lethal transmissible disease/unproved non-lethal risks for the baby and possibly sacraments for incontinent homosexuals. All, of course, in the context of a 'pastoral' process and after some 'prayerful' listening to the promptings of the 'holy spirit'. (I'm using a lot of inverted commas because words assume different and contradictory meanings in the lips of 'innovators').

In a sense the method exposed by Pentin is the "old" everyday doctrinal/'pastoral' dichotomy in a more formal "sunday" theological suit.

Either way they are able to maintain a veneer of orthodoxy while effectively promoting heresy. Screwtape would approve (and probably did).

On a practical level, and as always, if you look at what they do and overlook what they say you won't be fooled.

But in a more fundamental way it becomes obvious that the way in which the “primacy of conscience” is being interpreted is itself a break with Tradition and this is what I will endeavor to defend in the remainder of this post with the help of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

The first and main point I will try to make is this:


The CCC explains why:
"1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened..."

  1785 In the formation of conscience ...[w]e are ... guided by the authoritative teaching  of the Church
Of course, we "... human beings ... are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings" (CCC 1783), but that doesn't make it right.

One possible objection would be:

but what constitutes "authoritative teaching" ?

The answer to that question can be found in Lumen Gentium 25 and in the Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei, but for lesser catholics we could do worth than stick with the Catechism of the Catholic Faith.

The Catechism, as Pope John Paul II teaches in the APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION FIDEI DEPOSITUM (which is not a tweet, nor an impromptu interview), is "a sure norm for teaching the faith", "a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine" and "is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes."

And, guess what, the Catechisms includes "authoritative teaching" concerning artificial contraception, communion for adulterers, inter-communon with lutherans and homosexual acts:
  • Artificial contraception used "whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil" (CCC 2370). So there's no loophole here for the well-formed conscience of married couples;

  • The same goes for communion for incontinent adulterers (CCC 1650-51, 2380). There's no loophole there either. It's either continence, confession and communion or nothing;

  • As for intercommunion with lutherans, the CCC states "Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible" (CCC 1400). That's clear enough;

  • Lastly, "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" (CCC 2357), meaning there is no intention or circumstances that will ever make it ever subjectively good.

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