This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The problem with ‘prudential judgment’

Now we may refer again to what was said at the beginning of this section. It should be clear now that there is more to the exercise of prudence than the simple claim that “I have considered the matter and I am doing what I think is best.” Quite often we hear sincere believers adopting this stance in order to disregard or oppose the teachings of a pope, taking refuge in this supposed “prudential judgment,” believing that by doing so they escape any sort of guilt for their departure from the Magisterium. But if such a person has not been carefully cultivating and forming the virtue of prudence, then it should be clear that prudential judgment is a simple impossibility. Far from being a “privilege” that one is born with and which one may invoke at any time, prudential judgment is rather a weighty undertaking that we find before us. Few ever become adequate to the task.

Now, as was the case with “primacy of conscience,” we do not mean to disregard the possibility of prudential judgment as a valid concept: it is certainly possible that a particular papal suggestion or idea is not binding, or that a principle of CST is up for various forms of application depending on the situation. Applications do indeed call for prudential judgment. But, in actual experience, we find that the invocation of the phrase in question is rarely used within this legitimate context, and is more often a cop-out used to keep the Church from interfering with our political agendas.

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