• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Self Portrait November 19, 2017
      . . . A picture, photograph, or piece of writing that you make of or about yourself.And deeper . . .Self Portrait By David WhyteIt doesn't interest me if there is one Godor many gods.I want to know if you belong or feelabandoned.If you know despair or can see it in others.I want to knowif you are prepared to live in the worldwith its harsh needto change […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Photo of the Day November 18, 2017
      See also the previous Wild Reed posts:• Photo of the Day – March 5, 2017• Photo of the Day – April 1, 2016• Photo of the Day – March 15, 2016• Photo of the Day – April 4, 2015• Photo of the Day – May 24, 2014• Photo of the Day – October 17, 2012• Autumn, Within and BeyondImage: Michael J. Bayly.
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Christmas at Litmanova December 29, 2016
      The Marian Shrine of Litmanova, Slovakia.Christmas 2017A forest chapel at the Slovakian Marian shrine of Litmanova.Stunning painting of the Sacred Heart inside the forest chapel.
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • Not Our President November 16, 2016
      To hear the simplistic denial of those who scream out with naiveté “give Trump a chance” as they condemn others engaged in selfless protest against a certain political and social tsunami in the making, is to ignore his life-time public embrace of policies that tens of millions reject as not just destructive, but evil per se. They are not mistaken.Those in st […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
      Mark Van Steenwyk
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Salvation November 19, 2017
      The latest tv series I've been trying out is Salvation ... an American suspense drama television series, that premiered on July 12, 2017 .... The show centers on the ramifications of the discovery of an asteroid that will impact the Earth in just six months and the attempts to prevent it.I've only watched the first episode but it seems fun so far : […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

A Reader Responds: Conscience

In my post earlier this week about the current state of belief among UK Catholics, I reflected on the implications for conscience and the Sensus Fidelium. A reader, David Ludescher, has responded in a comment with some important questions arising from my observations.

Because these questions are good ones in their own right, and for ease of reference when reading my response, I reproduce here David’s questions, instead of simply leaving them to languish in a comments thread. David writes:

Terence,
So, how does a Catholic, wishing to be a faithful Catholic, Christian, and human, go about determining a methodology for discerning how to infom one’s conscience?
As I understand Catholic teaching, a person should rely upon the Holy Scripture first and foremost.  The teachings of the Magisterium in interpreting the Holy Scripture provides additional guidance for the person.  Ultimately the final arbiter of decision-making is the individual person.
In that sense, the people do not have a “whole church” or official teaching because individual consciences may vary.  Thus, while sensus fidelium may be useful to assist the Magisterium by offering data for our lived experience, it is not particularly useful for my individual conscience; in fact, unless I am careful it could be misleading.
For example, 30% of Brits believe that abortion should be permitted in all cases.  That does not give me any usefulinformation to inform my conscience.  It may mean that 30% of Brits actually believe, (sincerely, deeply, and validly) that abortion is morally permissible or it may mean that 30% don’t want anyone to tell them what to do, or it could mean that they simply don’t care about morality.
Here’s another example.  77% of the American Congress and about 80% of the American people thought the U.S.A. was justified in invading Iraq.  (Now the numbers are substantially less.)  The sensus fidelium of the people reflected the fear, ignorance, and vengence of the people.  It wasn’t a thoughtful reflection of the principles of just war.  (I think we all know where the Vatican stood on the matter.)
I would be interested to hear if you have any particular thoughts about how to resolve the first question posed above.
Advertisements

One Response

  1. […] in a comment box at the Open Tabernacle, where I cross-posted. (I have reproduced his questions in an independent post for easy reference). Just follow the link to read the questions in full. This is my […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: