Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Forfeiting the right to enforce

Forfeiting the right to enforce

Let us look for a moment at two pivotal “doctrinal” positions put forth by those who believe that Vatican II brought to an end the “repressive old Church” and created a “new Church” in its place.

The first doctrine, “Primacy of Conscience”, puts forth the individual’s right to be bound by only those beliefs which one’s conscience agrees with. The final arbiter of truth becomes the individual, not the Church; the keys have passed from Peter to each individual. This, in effect, produces personal moral autonomy. “Tolerance” is then promoted to a virtue.

The second doctrine, loosely constructed, may be called “Social Justice”, which loosely seems to encompass a political activism which seeks to have the state impose solutions to all problems. A concomitant intolerance for opposition to state social policy is absolute.

Both of these doctrines are preached energetically today, in word and deed. Yet oddly, justice does not seem to be advancing in the world, but retreating. For those would be prophets of the new age, this must be very frustrating, and this frustration is observable in the way they hammer a congregation week after week with their message. Pew warmers are still pew warmers, it would appear. Or are they?

Consider for a moment, that the first doctrine grants me the primary underlying right to pick and choose that by which I will agree to be bound; remember, you gave me the keys. Now, when I hear the second, I may hear many thing which I think are great goals, but to achieve these goals, I’m also told that I need to change this or that, or give up this or that. Therefore, I apply the doctrine of “Primacy of Conscience,” and with perfect consistency with what I’ve been taught, conclude that any requirements of “Social Justice” that seem to impinge on my personal autonomy, do not apply to me.

This conclusion is actually in accord with law; John Keenan has been trying to educate me on the legal doctrine of “Estoppel.” Although it is hard for the uninitiated to understand the full language, in essence it comes down to the implied rights granted to the faithful by the first doctrine (the truth of the doctrine is irrelevant) precludes any enforcement against the faithful by clergy under the second. In other words, the majority of those who promote “Social Justice” as a binding Catholic responsibility have relinquished their ability to claim its binding nature since they have already relinquished the ability to bind in toto. The pew warmers, it turns out, are practicing what has been preached.


  1. You did a fine job in your analysis.

    Estoppel is a concept that arises when a party is forbidden by the court [or, as in this case, by act of reason] to speak against his own act, deed, or position.

    Therefore, in this case, as perverted as it is, where those folks who have adapted their lives and personal philosophy with the "spirit of post Vatican II" [SPVII], and who want to claim for themselves individual sovereignty over their own conscience with regard to the Truth, with regard to the rights and responsibilities of the Church or other authorities as set down by God. And, in contra thereto, the SPVII will assert against others, their political and social positions grounded on a political and social ideology rather than the Truth, thereby not suffering any patience or indulgence for those who may disagree.

    Therefore, in legal terms, the SVII crowd would be “estopped” from asserting any claim or right over the consciences of individual Catholics [or over the magisterium of the Church]; when asserting such a claim based upon the rules of their personal conscience, Catholic social justice teaching, or some other inventive interpretation of the Truth.

    In other words, they cannot assert against someone else a position that they themselves reject.

    I say, above, the "spirit of post Vatican II" because it was a spirit of the age, in the late 60s and 70s which was an age of social rebellion.

  2. Effortlessly do you bind us, Mark, hand and foot, in the inescapeable web of your logic. Ouch!