Overcoming Scrupulosity With Intellectual Conversion

Magis Center | 10/17/2019 | John Clark
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In the 1957 movie, “12 Angry Men,” a dozen jurors are assembled for the purpose of determining whether a boy, accused with the murder of his father, is guilty of the alleged crime. The first ballot, though one-sided, lacks the required unanimity to convict: 11 guilty; 1 not guilty.

And so, the arguments begin.

Juror - Facts—maintains - Boy - Deliberation - Juror

Juror #4—who seems motivated purely on the facts—maintains that the boy is guilty. However, after much deliberation, Juror #4 removes his glasses, revealing marks on his nose. Reminded of similar marks on one of the eyewitnesses, Juror #9 asks Juror #4, “Can those marks be made by anything other than eyeglasses?”

Juror #4 realizes that, for all his intelligence, he had failed to see a pivotal aspect in the case (one which we won’t give away here). Employing a paradox popularized in the ancient Greek plays and myths, it was in removing his glasses that he was finally able to see. Juror #4 then changes his vote to not guilty.

Scene - Juror - Underwent - Form - Conversion

In this scene, Juror #4 underwent a form of intellectual conversion; that is, he had come to see the truth, and—this is crucial—embrace the truth. The embrace of truth is a wonderful thing, indeed. In this case, intellectual conversion was needed to exonerate a suspect. In real life, intellectual conversion is necessary not only to see the innocence in others, but sometimes, in ourselves.

Previously, we referenced Cardinal Ratzinger’s illustration of the vital importance of a properly-formed conscience. Focusing on the danger of laxity, Cardinal Ratzinger states that “Whoever is no longer capable of perceiving guilt is spiritually ill.” From the perspective of scrupulosity, we should observe that the reverse is also true—whoever is no longer capable of perceiving innocence is spiritually ill.

Ratzinger - Analogy - Conscience - Lamp - Soul

Cardinal Ratzinger uses the analogy of conscience being a “signal lamp” to the soul....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Magis Center
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