INFORMED CONSCIENCE – [What is it and how is it aquired]
“in matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful, for their part, are obliged to accept their bishops’ teaching with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind” We seek competent authority and submit our conscience to that authority. [ Second Vatican Council, On Religious Liberty (1965), §14]
We are convinced, however that there is a real problem for Catholics in “acquiring” truth. The upcoming election is most crucial to the churches and our Bishops have provided us with some excellent guides and statements. But, how are ALL Catholics to hear or read these truths. The secular media will not further truth; rather it will further animosity to what we believe and teach. Their propaganda is the main input for most of us. So, Bishops must proclaim the true meaning of informed conscience. The most effective tool you have is the pulpit of every parish Church – far more effective than all the Catholic media, to which relaively few Catholics are exposed. Yet, all Catholics hear directly and indirectly [from fellow Catholics & secular media] what is said by the parish priest. Sadly, very few pastors proclaim your teaching – some fear the IRS and others fear divided parishoners – how sad! If the current government wins, they will brag over the deaths of another 6 million aborted babies and over 50% of Catholics will cooperate in that total! It will surely happen if the people don’t hear you.
Obviously pastors risk punishment if they speak candidates’ names but will only face criticism from some if they clarify the vital issues of life, liberty and marriage as God created it. Woe to us all if fear and criticism are silencing pastors but that seems to be the truth. We are convinced that pastors must be called to obedience in proclaiming the issues.