Without the Right of Conscience, There Is No Common Good

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich recently mandated that all priests and employees of his diocese receive vaccinations against COVID-19. While medical exemptions to his mandate will be granted, religious exemptions will be refused.

You read that correctly.

With a broad appeal to the “common good,” the cardinal is refusing to recognize individual objections of conscience. Perhaps someone who has the cardinal’s ear can ask him what he means by a “common good” wherein freedom of conscience does not exist?

He won’t find such a definition in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. See, for example, Guadium et Spes, which defines the “common good” as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.” The crucial point here is that if individual persons do not have “ready access to their own fulfillment,” then the common good cannot be achieved.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines conscience asa judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right.”

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