What prompted me to write this was a series given by a parish priest entitled something like “Dissent in the Catholic Church” with topics such as:
1.) Criteria for Dissent
2.) Divorce and Remarriage
With the recommended reading: Why You Can Disagree & Remain a Faithful Catholic
I did not attend so I can’t comment on what was actually said.
There is a wealth of information out there about “primacy of conscience.” It’s what I would call a typical Catholic disagreement- one that falls down the very familiar lines of conservative and liberal. Maybe better terms would be orthodox and heterodox… Whenever this argument is used, it almost always is used to justify not submitting to ecclesiastical authority on moral issues such as abortion (not usually), homosexuality (frequently), divorce (even more frequently), and contraception (routinely). Unlike many other arguments out there, “primacy of conscience” has *some *evidence. To me it is obvious that is this a widely misused and misunderstood teaching i.e. no one’s informed conscience can disagree with these teachings.
My questions are as follows:
1.) What is the authoritative teaching on primacy? If you are able, please direct me on where you are getting this (esp. from Vatican II).
2.) How can one persuasively argue that “primacy of conscience” cannot be used to object to moral teachings such as the ones described above?
3.) What is a good guideline to give people so that the “primacy of conscience” principle is not negated, but at the same time does not allow people to contradict the continuous moral teachings of the Church?