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Joseph Stanko

Joined: Mar. 30, 2012

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Re: ND prof says, “The immorality of birth control is no longer a teaching of the Catholic Church.”

Mar. 30 at 3:55am | see this comment in context

I actually agree with some of what he says, but his conclusion baffles me.  

He starts off asking the perfectly sensible question "Who decides that God has given, say, the Catholic bishops his authority?"  He says "we have long given up the idea that our government can legitimately designate the religious authority" and I agree, this is the essense of the Establishment clause of the 1st Amendment.  Congress does not have the authority, nor should it, to designate who speaks for God.

Thus he concludes "In our democratic society the ultimate arbiter of religious authority is the conscience of the individual believer."  And again I agree, we each have the right under the Free Exercise clause to freely choose whether or not to submit to the religous authority of the Bishops.  No one can or should be compelled to be a Catholic.

But... and this is where he loses me... the arbiter is the conscience of the individual, not the majority of Church members.  If I personally choose to follow the Bishops and to accept their teaching, why does it matter if I am "outvoted" by my fellow believers?  The Obamacare mandate violates my individual conscience rights regardless.

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