There is a great clamor for change. Clashing voices resound both in the real and virtual world. Who will you listen to? To an unexamined life, the 'melody' is quite confusing. Who will you trust? Will it be the voice whom you can agree with yout conscience? Can you really trust your own conscience? One's conscience is only as good as it is formed:"Senseless things may be vocal, a flute, for example, or a harp; but even with these, there must be distinctions between the sounds they give, or how can we recognize what melody flute or harp is playing? If a trumpet, for that matter, gives out an uncertain note, who will arm himself for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:7-8)
Conscience must then be properly and correctly formed early in life. Without such conscious effort, a malformed conscience is very dangerous - both for the person himself and those around him."Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1783)
"The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1784)
When a Catholic politician speaks of obeying his conscience in conceiving or agreeing to a law, it does not always mean that they have a properly formed and informed conscience. Quite the opposite may be the truth. When the Church speaks against a law, it is matter of conscience to speak for or against it. When the CBCP in communion with the Bishop of Rome infallibly determined that such law is against doctrine of morals, the faithful Catholics are called to manifest their faithfulness:
The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively. (Canon Law 749 § 2)
The RH Bill is one such law. A politician who purports to be a Catholic has a choice to make - assent to tthe judgment of the Church or proclaim 'non serviam'. There is no gray line separating the two choices. You cannot remain a faithful Catholic while agreeing and voting for the passage of the bill - no matter what other priests or bishops say. Those who are in communion with the Pope have spoken. Take side. Lukewarmness or fence-sitting is not an option for Catholic politicians.
Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it. (Canon Law 752)
Who upholds the teachings of the Church on this matter? Who stands with her in this difficult times? Who are faithful to the body of Christ?
Election is nearing - and we are looking for guidance. Some of our priests have betrayed us, leading some of us astray. The Church has spoken; yet, some priests abused the faculty lent to them and taught the opposite of what had been handed down by our 'fathers' - the bishops. Priests have no priestly faculties outside of his bishop. Therefore, when they disagree and speak against a teaching from the chair (ex cathedra) of the bishop in the pulpit, they are abusing the faculty lent to them. Beware of these shepherd-helfpers! Be wary of them or they will feed you to the wolves.
Yet, the problem within the faithfuls is not limited to the priests. The bishops must lead the flock and be proper shepherds. Their 'trumphet call' must clearly resound to all faithful Catholics. Will the apology in the PCP2 document on the contraceptive incident years before repeat itself? Will the bishops again demur for not doing enough to counter unjust laws directly against morals?
"If a trumpet, for that matter, gives out an uncertain note, who will arm himself for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8)