Despite disagreeing with bishops on almost every political issue of controversy — contraception, LGBT rights, etc. — many progressives maintain their Catholic identity for one reason: primacy of conscience. But this doctrine is misunderstood, as I elaborated in my previous post on primacy.
Long story short, primacy of conscience means that a Catholic must always act consistently with her conscience. However, a Catholic’s first duty is to always have a conscience that’s consistent with the Church. Taken out of context, primacy seems to grant Catholics freedom. Taken in context, however, primacy gives Catholics freedom to do only what the Church tells them — which is not really freedom at all.
I strongly suggest that you read the entire post; I believe it has enough good reasons to convince most that primacy is a fallacy (at least in the way progressives usually understand it). Yet some still refuse to accept that a Catholic’s first duty is to obey, and I can sympathize; it implies that Catholics are intellectually enslaved.*
If the post doesn’t convince you, nothing I say will be enough. But maybe the Vatican’s recent actions will change your mind.
Progressive Nuns of the United States
While continuing to protect pedophile priests around the world, the Vatican is waging a war on nuns.
Why? After some investigation, the Vatican concluded that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)**, the largest group of nuns in the States, are apparently “radical feminists” who neglect their Catholic duty to fight contraception, defeat the gay agenda, and publicly agree with bishops’ political positions. (They were apparently too distracted by such relatively insignificant goals as feeding the poor and healing the sick.)
The LCWR’s offenses are so complex and countless that they’ve been assigned a
babysitter supervising bishop and given up to 5 years to make their organization more consistently bigoted Catholic.
“The main complaint is that sisters are thinking for themselves,” she says. “No one says it in those words, but that’s the bottom line: you’re thinking for yourself, and we don’t like that.”
“The Catholic Church has long recognized that an individual’s first duty is to obey his or her conscience, but the bishops say that any conscience that conflicts with their teaching is a conscience in error.”
“Any questioning is seen as disloyal, even heretical—bishops aren’t used to being questioned.”
“The Vatican works like a dictatorship. They want blind obedience, as opposed to thoughtful ideas. The bishops insist that a faithful Catholic must submit to them.”
Don’t Think, Just Obey
The Vatican’s message to the US nuns — and to every progressive Catholic — can’t be any clearer. There may be some progressive theologians who disagree, but there’s a reason all they’re allowed is speculation and theory.
In practice, liberal bishops, dissenting priests, and progressive nuns know that the Vatican preaches only one kind of primacy: the primacy of obedience.
* The word “heretic” comes from the Greek “hairetikos,” which means “able to choose.” Heretics are those who choose their own beliefs, despite the doctrines of the Church. Following this definition, is a Catholic then one who is “disabled to choose”?
Although the worst punishment for a heretic is now excommunication — essentially being sentenced to Hell — the Church used to be so impatient that they’d start eternal damnation while the heretic is still alive, inventing all kinds of torture to simulate Hell on Earth.
** The way the Vatican is treating the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (and women in general), they probably think LCWR stands for “Let’s Crap on Women’s Rights”
Comic source: http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/548*425/sack043012.jpg