DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY August 11, 1999 vol. 10, no. 150
NEWS & VIEWS
CARDINAL O'CONNOR CRITICIZED FOR SUPPORT OF LT. BERRY
NEW YORK, AUG 9 (ZENIT).- On July 29, Cardinal John O'Connor added his voice in support of Lt. Ryan Berry, who was reprimanded by the Air Force for seeking to follow his Catholic conscience, in his weekly "Viewpoint" column. In this week's column he reports the reaction. The diocesan office is receiving numerous calls from feminist groups accusing him of chauvinism and discrimination. Cardinal O'Connor denies this analysis. He states that the real issue behind Berry's case is that of integrity of conscience.
Citing his experiences in the Vietnam War, Cardinal O'Connor assures that integrity of conscience is necessary for military discipline. He quotes Vatican II to explain the Church's position. "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law that he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey."
"I can no more determine Lt. Berry's conscience than can his commanding
general. Nor can I determine whether this woman or that man is an
occasion of temptation or sin in a given set of circumstances. Nor am I
interested in trying to do either. My interest is in respect for the
human conscience. When I took an oath of office as a military officer, I
pledged, 'I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the
Constitution of the United States, against all enemies foreign and
domestic . . . so help me God.' Every military officer takes that same
oath. What guarantees fidelity to his or her oath but conscience?" the
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NEWS & VIEWS