Arroyo’s Interdict and Cupichean Conscience

Jesuit Father Anthony Spadaro, the controversial advisor to Pope Francis, has re-tweeted (how I dislike that verb, just in passing) a call by Anthony Annett, an assistant to the director of the International Monetary Fund, to ‘interdict’ EWTN until they get ‘rid of’ broadcast host and interviewer Raymond Arroyo.  I’m not sure Mr. Annett knows what an interdict is, but I presume Father Spadaro does.

So this is what it has come to, an interdict? To shut people up and stop any criticism of the papacy and its policies? To have to go to confession for daring to watch Mother Angelica’s network?

To paraphrase Aristotle, an error of one inch, if not corrected, will soon lead one five miles off the mark, and even the Pope and his advisors, as Saint Paul taught, must also at times be corrected, firmly and without hesitation, which is often the best way to lead one to the truth. So onwards, Mr. Arroyo, with respect, in the truth, and with confidence.

On that note, Cardinal Cupich of Chicago has a rather curious idea of conscience, and himself could use some correction, with a call for clarification (which is a lot of c’s in one sentence). What one ‘feels’ subjectively in one’s conscience does not make that conscience ‘good’.  In fact, as Pope John Paul II taught in Veritatis Splendor, it can make it quite bad, even if, in some rare cases, one may be in invincible ignorance, which is ignorance one cannot conquer on one’s own, and indeed of which one is not even aware.  It would be difficult for one who has all the moral truth, not least of sex and marriage, at their very fingertips (easily accessible in this age of internet) to claim such a state of invincibility.

Further, even in invincible ignorance, or even extreme constraint, an intrinsically evil action such as adultery “does not cease to be an evil, a disorder in relation to the truth about the good“, and, whatever one’s subjective guilt, the act still harms the person and all those involved in the sin, the abandoned spouse, the children, future generations, to name but a few.

In light of my reflections on the Chair of Peter, some clarity on conscience is long overdue, and ignorance most definitely is not bliss.