Francis Cardinal George, pray for us.
It appears, according to this, that the Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, adheres to the notion of “primacy of conscience” with respect to communion for the divorced and remarried, and, for those individuals engaged in a same-sex relationships.
He says, “If people come to a decision in good conscience then our job is to help them move forward and to respect that. The conscience is inviolable and we have to respect that when they make decisions, and I’ve always done that.”
It is a grave injustice for Archbishop Cupich to disregard the fact that for a conscience to be “inviolable”, it must also be well-formed. Without this essential element, which he as a pastor owes a duty to support with clear teaching and example, the moral conscience “…present at the heart of the person,” which enjoins the person “at the appropriate moment to do good and avoid evil,” ceases to be what it is entirely. (CCC 1777).
“Conscience includes the perception of the principles of morality (synderesis)”. (CCC 1780). Where this perception is woefully lacking, conscience is (at best) gravely impaired.
Conscience includes the application of principles of morality “…in the given circumstances by practical discernment of reasons and goods.” (Ibid.). Where one’s (mis)application leads one to directly violate a Commandment, one can objectively conclude that conscience is (at best) gravely impaired.
Where one’s “conscience” fails to lead one to proper “…judgment about concrete acts yet to be performed or already performed, the truth about the moral good, stated in the law of reason,” there is no way to practically recognize the prudence of the individual in question on a particular issue (which is defined as choosing in conformity with this judgment). (Ibid.).
In other words, there is no way to recognize that the “conscience is inviolable” without first recognizing that the Commandments of God are inviolable, and thus, the conscience is inviolable only insofar as it remains within the individual “as the witness to the universal truth of the good.” (CCC 1781).
The person who knowingly violates his conscience by doing evil is arguably on safer ground than the person who refuses to recognize the objective evil of a particular act, because “…the verdict of the judgment of conscience remains a pledge of hope and mercy. In attesting to the fault committed, it calls to mind the forgiveness that must be asked, the good that must still be practiced, and the virtue that must be constantly cultivated with the grace of God.” (CCC 1781).
God does not force us to repent. In that sense, a “conscience” is inviolable. But without a conscience that properly “attests to the fault committed”, forgiveness is never sought, and thus, the soul remains in peril.
Let’s pray for the Archbishop’s conversion of heart on this issue. The Year of Mercy begins soon.