Judge reasserts primacy of conscience

Following Cardinal George Pell's dismissal of a complaint letter about him to the Vatican at the weekend, one of the signatories to the letter has said that he does not believe that the Cardinal has thought through his controversial rejection of the primacy of conscience.

NSW District Court Judge Chris Geraghty spoke yesterday with Stephen Crittenden on ABC Radio National's Religion Report.

The compaint was a response to the Cardinal's statement that the primacy of private conscience is not church doctrine are misleading the faithful, and not an accurate statement of Catholic teaching. The other signatories to the letter include Paul Collins, Sr Veronica Brady, Professor Max Charlesworth, and the pioneer of State Aid in Catholic Schools Fr Frank Martin.

Judge Geraghty said of Cardinal Pell: "He says there's no tradition in the Catholic church about freedom of conscience, he's quite wrong about that. I'm sorry, and Rome's going to have to tell him, because he won't listen to anybody else. We've gone to Rome because he doesn't listen to anybody else."

He stressed that Cardinal Pell holds a position of great influence in the community, and therefore he needs to be pulled into line if his teaching is erroneous.

"A lot of Catholic people, including Johnno Johnson, pay great attention to the Pope, and to our Archbishop. So he's got to be careful about what he says because he's forming consciences, he's guiding people, and yes, I listen to him, but I listen to a lot of other people too. I listen to my wife..."

Judge Geraghy said that although the Vatican has not responded to the letter, he believes Cardinal Pell has been notified from Rome about the contents of it, and he had his spin on it already planned when approached by the media for comment at the weekend and earlier this week.

NSW District Court Judge Chris Geraghty on Cardinal Pell and conscience (ABC Religion Report 22/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal Pell on True and False Conscience (Zenit/EWTN 10/2/05)
Frank Brennan SJ: A Catholic Social Conscience: Can it be Reclaimed in Our Time? (Australian Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs 10/6/04)

Pell derides 'dissenter' complaint (CathNews 20/2/06)

Pell Delated (Dominicanus 22/2/06)
Brian Lewis: The Primacy of Conscience (Australian EJournal of Theology February 2006)
Hey mate, don't touch my conscience! (Catholic Outsider 22/2/06)
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia (EWTN The World Over)
Australian Catholics seek CDF clarification on Cardinal's comments (Online Catholics 22/2/06)
Australian Catholics seek CDF clarification on Cardinal's comments (Online Catholics 22/2/06)
Pell accused of Catholic 'dictatorship' (ABC Radio The World Today 20/2/06)
Cardinal George Pell: Pill defeat a wake-up call for pro-life forces (Sunday Telegraph 19/2/06)
Catholics complain to Vatican about Cardinal Pell (American Papist)
Pell subject of complaint to Vatican (Sydney Morning Herald 20/2/06)
Catholics complain to Vatican over Pell (The Age 20/2/06)
Vatican complaints lodged over Pell (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 19/2/06)

23 Feb 2006