REACTION TO FROST SHOW
by the hietarchies of Holland, MR. ST. JOHN-STEVAS (Dec. 13) in his remarks on the Cardinal's interview with David Frost implies that the Cardinal contradicted the Scottish bishops but is supported Belgium, France, Germany, Canada and Scandinavia. I have studied very carefully these statements, along with those of the bishops of the U.S., the Philippines and Ireland. My conclusion is that not one single hierarchy has deviated from the traditional teaching of Catholic moralists on conscience. Briefly this is:
(a) Conscience is the judgment we make about the moral goodness or badness of the way of acting we now face; (b) • Conscience is certain when we have no doubt about the morality of what we are thinking of doing, but convincingly stamp it either as good or bad;
(c) Conscience is doubtful when we are undecided as to the morality of the action now before us; (d) Conscience is correct when our final judgment reveals the true morality of the action as it is objectively; (e) Conscience is false when it erroneously judges that this present evil action is good or this present good action is evil; (f) We must always act on the command of a certain conscience;
(g) We are never permitted to act with a doubtful conscience;
(h) In doubt, we must either make certain that the action is allowed or refrain from doing it;
(i) When a merely doubtful law is in question we may follow a solidly probable opinion;
(j) Probabilism may be used only when we doubt whether a law exists or that it applies to the existing situation.
(Rev.) Francis J. Ripley. Liverpool 3.