It appears the one doctrine liberals would like to have precisely defined and understood (and from which, ironically, they will brook no dissent) is one whose basis is much less firmly established than those concerning, for example, female ordination or artificial contraception. That doctrine is the one which allegedly says that dissent from non-infallible Church teaching is permissible.
They claim that this doctrine — which, by the way, I have not found stated in any formal magisterial teaching — allows one to dissent, in good conscience, from doctrines which have not been taught infallibly, provided you “have tried sincerely, but without success, to keep the directives of the Church”, etc. (see the first comment in this thread).
But the existence of such a doctrine, if it exists, introduces a paradox (on which I have commented before): Granting for the sake of argument that it is an established teaching of the Magisterium of the Church, still, if it has not been infallibly defined, does it not fall into the category (which allegedly exists) of those doctrines from which Catholics, in good faith and in accord with individual conscience, may dissent?
Therefore, am I not allowed to dissent from the doctrine that says dissent is permissible (provided I have “tried sincerely”, blah blah blah)? Am I not free, as a faithful Catholic, to believe that dissent is *not* permissible?
But here’s where the paradox comes in: In dissenting from the teaching that dissent is permissible, I am denying my own right to dissent. But denying the right to dissent is itself an act of dissent. Thus, you can’t avail yourself of the right to dissent to this doctrine, without denying the very doctrine which gives you that right.
Do we not have to conclude therefore, that for the Church to teach, as a matter of doctrine, that dissent is permissible, would be logically incoherent?