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The Sexual Revolution exalting consequence-free sex in the 1960s is now shaking the Catholic Church, with the court of private conscience trampling down God's laws on sexual morality.
Dissident clerics like Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., former head of the Dominican order, are getting bolder in pushing sex without consequences. According to an article published recently on the Dominican's official website, Fr. Radcliffe is advocating for a relaxation of Church law that forbids active adulterers from receiving the sacraments.
"We're in a similar moment now, when faced by so many good people whose marriage has collapsed — honest, kind people — now we, as the pope in the third century, have to say mercy must prevail," said Fr. Radcliffe.
The article summarizes his beliefs as follows: "If divorced people can face their own responsibility and failure, if they faced up to what they had done and been, then maybe the best thing was for them to come back to the medicine of the Eucharist." No mention is made, however, that to receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin is spiritually damaging.
In his talk, Fr. Radcliffe pits a Catholic's private conscience against Church teaching, saying that to stand on Church teaching is a type of absolutism and a "tyranny of tradition at the exclusion of creativity." This creativity for Radcliffe is following one's conscience, which at times can be contrary to Church teaching.
The parallels of this sexual revolution in society and in the Church are uncanny. As the secular courts trampled underfoot the laws of the people in the United States since the 1960s regarding contraception, divorce and remarriage, abortion and same-sex marriage, so too in the Church. The court of private conscience has trampled on the same Catholic moral laws.
Contracepting married couples were allowed to receive Holy Communion in the 1960s by dissident or weak clerics if the couples were not bothered by it in their consciences. Next, Catholic pro-abortion politicians were allowed to do the same. Now, sexually active Catholic adulterers and active homosexuals are told they too can receive the sacraments if they feel no guilt in their conscience.
The bishops of Germany last December said, "We priests are not here to replace a person's conscience. Francis wants us to be spiritual companions and not lords over people's faith."
Similarly, the bishops of Malta this January warned their priests not to refuse anyone who lives in objective sin from receiving the sacraments: "If ... a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages ... to acknowledge and believe that he or she is at peace with God, he or she can not be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist."
Watch the panel discuss how morality has become a political hammer in The Download—The New Sexual Tyranny.