Voice of the Faithful New Jersey offers a helpful page of definitions of common Catholic terms that it calls “Setting the Record Straight.” More like setting the record crooked. Among it sources for its definitions is Fr. Richard McBrien, noted dissenter and alleged plagiarist. The definitions are hilarious and often erroneous. Since they’re basing themselves on McBrien’s work, it’s understandable that they don’t quite get the definitions of Tradition, doctrine, dogma, and dissent right.
In the introduction they include this quote from Fr. Donald Cozzens, an apologist for gays in the priesthood: “Our first fidelity must be to Christ and our conscience. The Vocie of the Faithful and a growing number of groups calling for renewal and reform are speaking from the center of their souls - what is heard is the voice of conscience.” But is that enough? I’m sure someone like Saddam Hussein or Adolph Hitler or Joseph Stalin would also say he spoke and acted from his conscience. They believed that what they were doing is right. The voice of the conscience is not necessarily Truth. Truth comes from God, not from ourselves. Our consciences must be properly formed and we know they are properly formed when they are in conformity with the Church’s teachings. That’s the measuring stick.
Now, the terms and definitions that are on the page there are a bit lacking in clarity, so I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting them. Herewith are “Important Terms and Phrases to Obscure Understanding.”
A New Voice of the Faithful Glossary