Sunday, 4 April 2010

Conscience and its right to freedom

The title of this post is that of a book by the late Fr Eric D'Arcy, a gifted De La Sallean alumnus, the popularity of which amongst seminarians has no doubt fallen into desuetude. It deals in part with those things that fall between Caesar and Spirit, issues such as abortion, sterilisation, homosexuality and euthanasia. Traditionally as a society we recognised the primacy of individual conscience in such matters; Catholic surgeons were encouraged to make arrangements in the operating theatre to let someone else snip the vas deferens or excise the ovary, orthodox social workers were excused from counselling pregnant teens and so on.

It was the rise of liberalism, and not just the liberalism of the left, that abrogated wholly to the State those matters which previously had been regarded as within the realm of individual conscience. In the black Rousseau-esque world of the secular State, there is no room for personal liberty, no place for faith, and in that grey area in which the duty owed to Caesar and that owed to the self overlap, the State says that Caesar's interests must be paramount. But conscience is a quality interior to man, and whatever powers the State has over our mortal bodies, here is a place the power of the State cannot reach.

Neither is there room in faith for moral relativity, the scourge of our age and the cancer that eats at the Anglican church. The teaching of the Church must be a matter of moral absolutes or it is meaningless.

And when our interior, personal conscience and the teaching of the Church both together ajudge an act or course of action as morally wrong, there is no legitimate temporal authority on the Earth that can compel us to disregard the scintilla conscientiae, the spark of conscience.

As I have written previously, no Christian need be under any obligation to heed the assumptions behind Equalities or other legislation in so far as this violates the sanctity of individual conscience and Christian faith; being true to one's conscience is the prime duty we owe to our interior selves, and this is not a realm where Caesar has any authority.

And before those of you who are driven to do so leave vituperative comments, I would ask you to consider that I'm not seeking to compel or regulate your behaviour or beliefs, merely for the freedom for each individual to do so for themselves.


Anonymous said...

I agree entirely with these comments. It is depessing to realise just how constrained we now are by legislation that seeks to subjugate individual conscience, and does so.

Pat said...

It's not the rise of liberalism- but the complete change in the meaning of that word.
At the beginning of the 19th century there were many laws which disadvantaged the poor- and liberals sought with a lot of success to remove them. That job being pretty well done, those who currently call themselves liberals seek to impose restrictions on society in the hope of benefiting some group- they are certainly successful in imposing restrictions, though the benefits seem to me rather doubtful.

Elby the Beserk said...

Excellent post Raedwald. Thank you

Anonymous said...

You can't be true to your conscience and smoke.
If you want to find the truth, speak to a smoker only when they are smoking and a drinker only when they too are drunk, otherwise they only speak with those things that fall between Caesar and Spirit.
The teachings of the church... for 2000 years not one of them has produced a Jesus, a person capable of speaking wisdom from their own heart and not referenced from a book.

"...when our interior, personal conscience and the teaching of the Church both together ajudge an act..."

Intellectual Tosh.

See you behind the bike sheds.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Well said. An excellent and thought-provoking post for today.

Vituperative comments? Only from statist toadies, I suspect, and they won't be here in the first place, thank goodness.

Elby the Beserk said...


On Liberalism - quite so, and witness now how Labour have appropriated the word "Progressive".

Anonymous said...

Face piles and piles of trials with smiles, it riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave and keep thinking free. (Hayward & Lodge)

And quite so...this is what blogging does so very well and the politicians (and their political class) know this and hate us for it. But they just can't do anything much about it can they. Well not as much as they would like to anyway.

And so it is the duty of the blogger and the bloggers followers to keep the pressure on and highlight the lying baststards for what they really are.

We also must expose to the wider public just exactly where these so-called libertarians trip themselves up. Its simple "you aren't allowed to even think that homosexuals are wrong". Well how strange then that Labour have allowed Sharia courts to exist in the UK when homosexuality is expressly forbidden by Islam. Oops - another own goal by Labour!

Coney Island