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How About a Nice Massage?

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

No, not that kind that relieve pain and stress. I’m referring to the kind that creates confusion and suffering. Because truth is so readily “massaged” these days, many people not only lack confidence in authority, but also resist what that authority promotes as the common good. Particularly in the Church, misdirection can come in many flavors: official blessings for homosexual relationships, allowing boys to use girls’ restrooms, and potentially, even mandated harassment and discrimination training.

Have you heard of I hadn’t either, until I read about it from a favored commentator, Phil Lawler. [1] Apparently this website is supposed to clarify fake news about Covid and its vaccines. It seems to have been abandoned as of September 2021, but the website is more of a front for Catholic vaccine propaganda. Believers have always been actively pursued with lies and misinformation—but to catch the propagandists at it…I shouldn’t be surprised.

Of course, not everyone will agree with Mr. Lawler, so readers can “check it out” for themselves. For what it’s worth, here’s my assessment of one seemingly innocent article entitled, “Why Catholic leaders oppose vaccine mandates and “religious exemptions.”

Initially, the author acknowledges the primacy of freedom of conscience with the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. ‘He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.’” (#1782)

But then the author of the misleading article (a priest, at that!), goes on to disparage freedom of conscience, noting that such freedom is “personal,” while there is a greater, common good to be had from "science" and "facts". For him, conscience remains free; but here the massaging begins. Supposedly, Catholics who wanted a religious exemption from the vaccine were making a personal choice, which could be “fallible¸” rather than a choice “based on fact.” But clearly this is dissimilitude or fancy rhetoric, because science makes mistakes as well.

The article's author points to a greater authority than himself, nothing less than a memo from the Archdiocese of New York [yeah, right], which states:

“…one factor individuals weigh about any given decision is their own personal impact on the common good, even though there are breakthrough cases, the vaccines do in fact lower the rates of infection and so there is good reason to take it to lower infection rates overall which obviously impacts the common good positively…This means taking them is not only a duty related to care of one’s own life as a gift from God, but also for the common good understood as the local medical capacity to care for the sick.” [2]

Catch that? A memo supposedly morally obliges, overriding even the rights of an informed conscience—for the sake of the common good based on statistics, even though everyone knows that statistics can, and often do, lie. The author swoops in to make his misleading point:

“Catholics whose consciences bind them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, however, must continue to take appropriate means to protect the common good.”

The scandal, here, is that the Church, in lockstep with politically polished faulty science, overrode conscience, and not just in the Archdiocese of New York but practically in every city and country throughout the world. Read on for yourself, if you wish, but it is my estimation that this article only continues to persuade conscience by restating the same point, maneuvering opinion towards compliance, and specifically on the part of Catholics. The faithful can take this as a backhanded compliment, that Catholic conscience matters, even if conscience ought to be managed and strategized by the scientific, or any other handily proposed, status quo.

And so we remain with hard lessons having been learned: bishops closed churches, denied the sacraments and mandated the vaccines, believing all of this was for the common good. In spite of the ongoing assessments about the incredible harm the vaccine has really caused, and continues to cause, not a hint of an whisper of an apology has been offered by our leaders. On the contrary, a strong contingent of vaccine believers can be readily found likely in every parish. For the time being, it appears, science has not yet settled on what, in fact, is good for the common good, but then, one must ask: is that an assessment science is equipped to make? Especially when there is large disagreement about what truth science has found?

If you’re like me, truth matters—it is essential—for directing one’s conscience and life accordingly. Discovering and defending that truth ought to be a primary goal for everyone, whether they are involved with investigation and research or not. But for my money, truths of faith should never acquiesce to political dictates, nor should the faithful be coerced to adopt popular agendas that pass for science. How to distinguish between truth and fiction requires moral integrity, which is something the world seemingly dismissed for the sake of receiving a reassuring massage.



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