I should qualify, or clarify, my comment now that I have had a chance to read over the portion Francis quoted.
I should have said that trusting one's discernment _can be_ difficult. And the difficultly often lies, not in the initial act of discernment itself -- more often than not if one listens to one's conscience quietly and with focus, the "right answer" is crystal clear -- rather it is in ignoring all of the noise, social conditioning, distractions, financial, career and peer pressures, and other influences that tend to dampen that inner voice.
The best example to show this may be in one of the comments by Scoot in the Orthosphere blog that prompted Francis' response in the first place: To wit, from the beginning, it was in fact quite clear to Scoot what the right thing to do was; and it was only as things played out that it became more difficult -- more painful in terms of personal sacrifice -- to follow that voice of conscience.
For those practiced in the discipline of following a path of truth and discernment, the initial act of discernment is often not difficult; following through on it, however, can be for a myriad of reasons. But it is a discipline and habit that must be developed and reinforced over time.
I fully agree. As I mentioned yesterday:
Daniel is correct about the difficulty, which helps explain why so many Christians shirk the responsibility of personal discernment in favor of anything that promises to relieve them of that "burden". Unfortunately, the world is full of Grand Inquisitors who are all too eager to take on that "burden" in exchange for surrendered freedom and, ultimately, the damnation.
Unfortunately, Christians often turn to, look for, and erroneously identify that "burden relief" in Christianity itself -- in scripture, tradition, and theology.
They then resort to abusing scripture, tradition, and theology to rationalize, obscure, or unload the responsibility they have shirked -- id est, the failure of following through on the initial act of personal discernment.
Why does this matter? Well, to reiterate the main point from yesterday's post:
The responsibility of personal discernment has become the sine qua non of Christianity.
Without the responsibility of personal discernment, Christianity is not Christianity.
Without the responsibility of personal discernment, Christianity is not possible.