I entered the Catholic church by exercising my private judgment (as all converts to any religion or cause must – if thinking has any rational basis – do). But once I exercised this private judgment, I was required to exorcise all further exercise of private judgment (on matters of faith and morals). But that wasn’t hard because I handed over my private rational parts willingly to a religion that taught that private judgment is a Protestant aberration. One person’s private judgment may lead to Protestantism and its two main branches: Arminianism (dead you chooses to be raised to new life) and Calvinism (dead you can’t choose to be raised to new life because you’re dead, silly). In both systems, however, private judgment remains active.
On the other hand, another person’s private judgment may lead to Catholicism, where you use your private judgment to mentally assent to its doctrines, one of which is “leave your noggin (in matters of faith and morals AND of church history) at the Church door.” So, if the pope tells you that if you rock up to the showground in your country where he is to appear, you’ll get a plenary indulgence, you will do it. Or will you take a rain check? (Plenary indulgence – the time you would suffer in purgatory, which could many thousands of years, if you had to die now).
According to a decree signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Pope Benedict XVI will grant two types of indulgences for the international gathering of youth. Those who “gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage” to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, will be able to receive a full or plenary indulgence, the decree says. Partial indulgences will be available to “all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome.”
As I wrote elsewhere, one of the reasons I left the Roman Catholic Church was this idea – purgatory itself was bad enough – of plenary indulgences. On entering the Roman Catholic Church, I didn’t really leave my private judgment at the Church door.
But there is, of course, much more than private judgment in coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, for ”what goodness it is when He Himself implants in us the desire of seeking (Him) while we are still enemies” (Andrew Murray (Jnr; in: Andrew Murray and His Message – by W. M. Douglas)