MORE HYPOCRISY: New Investigative Report Exposes Group’s Efforts to Restrict Academic Freedom on Catholic Campuses
The 28-page report is the latest installment in an ongoing investigative series, “Opposition Notes,” aimed at exposing groups that promote a narrow view of Catholicism—one that excludes support for reproductive health services and denies the primacy of conscience. The document goes further to suggest an alternate vision of Catholic education with room for dialogue, diversity and dissent. Previous reports have investigated the Catholic League, Priests for Life, the American Life League and others.
Msgr. Swetland signed a letter sent in 2008 from the Vote Yes for Life Committee and the Catholic Voters of South Dakota titled “Voting One’s Conscience in Pursuit of Justice ” Nevertheless, it contained very specific instructions on what recipients’ consciences should say: “As a moral theologian and a priest, I would be the last person to tell someone how to vote ” But the monsignor goes on to say that “it is my opinion as a Catholic moral theologian that the most moral choice is to vote ‘yes’ for this referendum ”
Thomas More has been venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church since 1935, and since 1980 his name has been included in the Anglican calendar of saints. He has been recognized as a symbol of integrity and a hero of conscience by people regardless of their nations or beliefs. His last words, “I die the King’s good servant and God’s first,” remain an inspiration for all those who dedicate their lives to the service of the common good.
A martyr for freedom, then, precisely because he was a martyr for the primacy of conscience which, firmly grounded in the search for the truth, renders us responsible for our decisions, that is to say, masters of ourselves and thus free from all bonds except that bond — proper to a creature — which binds us to God. Your Holiness has reminded us that the moral conscience rightly understood is a “witness of God Himself, whose voice and whose judgment penetrate the intimacy of man down to the roots of his soul” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 58). This — it seems to us — is the fundamental lesson Saint Thomas More offers all statesmen: the lesson of flight from success and easy compromises in the name of fidelity to irrevocable principles, upon which depend the dignity of man and the justice of civil society — a lesson truly inspiring for all who, on the threshold of the new Millennium, feel themselves called to expose and eradicate the snares laid by new and hidden tyrannies.
I guess it doesn’t apply when the tyrant(s) is the Men in the Church.
Article 12b rightly recognizes that ‘freedom of research […] is part of freedom of thought’. This is a necessary but not sufficient condition, in the sense that to conduct research with true freedom there is a need likewise to guarantee freedom of conscience and religion. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 18) put freedom of conscience and religion on the same level as freedom of thought. Therefore, the words ‘freedom of conscience and religion’ should be added wherever mention is made of freedom of thought in connection with freedom of research.
One such misconception that seems to never go away is the idea that conscience is the final arbiter of what is morally right — a misconception often designated under the expression ‘primacy of conscience’.
But to put it bluntly,
conscience is not the final arbiter of what is morally right, nor has the Church ever taught that it is. In its truest sense, conscience is the intellectual apprehension of the Divine Law. For this reason, Divine Law is primary.
Divine Law that has the imprimatur of the Men on Vatican Hill, of course.
Does anyone remember Galileo?