Friday, November 7, 2008


"It is of course undisputed that one must follow a certain conscience or at least not act against it. But whether the judgment of conscience or what one takes to be such, is always right, indeed whether it is infallible, is another question. For if this were the case, it would mean that there is no truth - at least not in moral and religious matters, which is to say, in the areas which constitute the very pillars of our existence."

- Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger in his 1991 address: CONSCIENCE AND TRUTH)

That is a very good point, TE. I actually have problems understanding what is meant by the terms half-Catholics, progressive Catholics, thinking Catholics, liberal Catholics, conservative Catholics, whatever. Just being a plain, persevering Catholic is fine by me, and it is a choice to be one. When we choose to be a Catholic, we choose to be in unity with the body of Christ, known as full communion with the Church. It is a unity that must of necessity be unbroken by heresy or schism, and requires agreement on essential doctrine and practise. This is not to mean that we have to be in absolute uniformity in theology and usage, provided that essential unity is maintained. When Catholics find cause in their consciences to express dissent to the Church, it must be worthwhile to determine whether this dissent involves any essential doctrine or practise. In today's challenging times when the faithful finds themselves in constant deliberations on public issues that concerns their faith, it is of essence to take note of Pope Benedict XVI's address on the three non-negotiables in the public sphere:

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable.

Among these the following emerge clearly today:


- protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;


- recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;


- the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity.

The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have. On the contrary, such action is all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, because this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, a grave wound inflicted onto justice itself.


To choose to be Catholic, is to respond to the call to be “credible and consistent witness[es] of these basic truths”.

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