A reader asks about prudential judgments…

over at the Register. It turns out “prudential judgment” is not Latin for “ignore the Church if her guidance inconveniences you in any slight way.”

Leftist Catholics appeal to “primacy of conscience” when they want to ignore the Church. Rightist Catholics appeal to “prudential judgment” when they want to ignore the Church. But, in fact, the Church does not function according to Minimum Daily Adult Requirement Catholicism and it is not the case that you only have to listen to the Church when dogma absolutely requires it and can feel free to ignore the rest. In reality, the Church calls us to docility, and says we should only depart from the Church’s guidance when there is a really good reason to do so. We still have to use our brains and bishops can err on prudential judgments. But the default position is nonethless obedience and a willingness to actually engage the Magisterium and not merely casually glance at it before blowing it off in favor of one’s own pre-ordained conclusion.

“The Catholic Church is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.” – G.K. Chesterton

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