|Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J.|
John F. Kennedy was very much a child of post-Enlightenment 20th-century America in an age where progress was often marked by extensions of the presumed right of the individual to be free in his or her private life from institutional coercion or control.
But Clark had become a convert to Catholicism long after the Catholic Church had concluded the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which had produced, among other things, a Declaration on Religious Liberty. Father John Courtney Murray, a Jesuit priest who led the way in the adoption of that document, would later say the idea that
"I have a right to do what my conscience tells me to do, simply because my conscience tells me to do it" is a "perilous theory" leading to subjectivism, and is not at all what the Council taught.
Link (here) to The New American to read the full piece.