More Conscientious Objection Encouraged

Social Doctrine Group Notes Range of Cases

VERONA, Italy, NOV. 6, 2007 ( Though the right to conscientious objection is being violated by some countries, there are more and more occasions in which a Christian should pay recourse to it, says a Church social-doctrine group.

Stefano Fontana, director of the Cardinal Van Thuân International Observatory for the Social Doctrine of the Church, recalled in a statement Friday that abortion and euthanasia are not the only cases where conscientious objection is required.

He noted, “Benedict XVI has recently recalled that pharmacists have the duty of engaging in conscientious objection.”

Fontana offered a series of examples: “Let’s think about a nurse who works in a hospital where abortions are performed. Let’s think about the employees of a city council where same-sex civil unions are registered.

“Let’s think about a person who works in a laboratory where the selection of human embryos is performed or about those who work in publishing houses or televisions that produce pornographic material or the many lawyers and judges that often have to deal with borderline cases.”


Thus, the director affirmed, conscientious objection has become a political issue.

“For these reasons, we have to undertake a thorough reflection on conscientious objection in politics, and consider it not only as an ‘opposition’ but also as ‘renewal,’ that is, as a commitment that is not only negative but also positive and propositional,” he contended.

However, Fontana pointed out that “alongside the widening of the range of cases in which we are called upon to exercise a conscientious objection, we also see frequent denials of this right.”

He affirmed that both the multiplication of cases calling for conscientious objection, and the denial of the right are products of relativism.

Relativism “advocates an almost absolute freedom of conscience, but if a city council employee would refuse to register a homosexual couple, that same relativism would not let him, and would denounce that freedom of conscience as an imposition and a violation of the freedom of conscience,” Fontana said. “This is one of the subtlest aspects of the ‘dictatorship of relativism.'”

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