Conscience - Index

"Conscience paints a clear picture"
(IF we understand and use it properly,
Conscience can be a Faithful Guide
as we journey to our Eternal Home)


Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Body/Inferior Will/
Psychosomatic Powers
Sensory Appetite/

Superior Will/
Infused Knowledge/
(Dominant Partner)


Conscience ≠ a Virtue of the Soul
Conscience ≠ the Heart
Conscience ≠ the Will
Conscience ≠ the Intellect
= an Act, a Practical Judgment of the Intellect, a Faculty
of the Soul, and does not stem from Emotions or Feelings of the Body


Conscience - Index

from various sources including the
Catechism of the Catholic Church

angelbar.gif (3645 bytes)

The Encyclical Veritatis Splendor was issued in 1993 in order to clarify Catholic Moral Teaching against a background of Unsound Teaching. We can easily recognize the Evil Tendencies to which the Holy Father was responding. One (1) of these concerns Conscience:

§32 The Individual Conscience is accorded the status of a Supreme Tribunal of Moral Judgment which hands down Categorical and Infallible decisions about Good and Evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one’s Conscience, is unduly added the affirmation that one’s Moral Judgment is True merely by the fact that it has its origin in the Conscience. But in this way the Inescapable Claims of Truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion-of-sincerity, authenticity and “being at peace with oneself”, so much so that some have come to adopt a Radically Subjectivistic Conception of Moral Judgment.

Conscience truly is a Faculty of the Soul that is given by God to point us to the Truth, to call us to Act in a way that is Morally Good. If Conscience is Removed from the Realm of Truth, it can be given the status of an Independent Arbiter of Moral Truth (Garbage-In = Garbage-Out). "GIGO is a phrase commonly used to describe Failures in Human Decision Making due to Faulty, Incomplete, or Imprecise data" (Wikipedia, Encyclopedia).


sheen.gif (6584 bytes) "The denial of Truth is just as Fatal to the Mind, as the denial of Light is to Vision. Truth in its fullness is not easy to attain, even if one does admit its existence. To explore Truth in all its Complexity there must come moments when we confess Ignorance, when we frankly admit that we were Mistaken or Bigoted, or Prejudiced. These admissions are Painful, but they actually enrich character just as much as all approximations to Falsehood forfeit it".

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen


An Act Rather than a Power

lucifer.gif (13631 bytes) Conscience is no longer considered in its Primordial Reality as an Act of a Person’s Intelligence (Intellect and Will), the Function of which is to apply the Universal Knowledge of the Good in a Specific Situation and thus to express a Judgment about the Right Conduct to be chosen here-and-now. Instead, there is an Incorrect Tendency to grant to the Individual Conscience the Prerogative of Independently determining the Criteria of Good and Evil, and then Acting accordingly. Such an outlook is quite Congenial to an Individualist Ethic, wherein each Individual is faced with his own Truth, different from the Truth of God. Taken to its Extreme Consequences, this Individualism leads to a denial of the very idea of Human Nature.

Similar to the above Incorrect Tendency, every Individual Fallen Angel, because of his Sin of Pride, feels that he is capable of being God, and deciding what is Good and what is Evil for himself. Angels - by Father Richard Hogan.

Conscience may be correctly defined as:

The Judgment of Conscience is a “Practical Judgment”, a Judgment which makes known what Man must do or not do, or which assesses an Act already performed by him. It is a Judgment which applies to a Concrete Situation the Rational Conviction that one must Love and do Good and avoid Evil.

Conscience is an Act of the Intellect which applies the Moral Law to a Particular Case. Conscience therefore refers to a Primordial Moral Law, not to a Person’s own Feelings.

According to the Correct Traditional Relationship between Truth and Conscience:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) angelrt.gif (6896 bytes) Conscience proclaims the Law of God to us.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Conscience is like God’s Herald and Messenger; it does not Command things on its own authority, but Commands them as coming from God’s Authority, like a Herald when he proclaims the Edict of the King. This is why Conscience has Binding-Force.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Conscience must not be identified with Personal Choice or Moral Autonomy, because it cannot then Command or Act as an Imperative which we might in some cases Ignore.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) A Conscience is Erroneous when it directs a Person to do something which is Objectively Evil.

We Form our Conscience, over a Lifetime, by:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Studying the Moral Teachings of the Church.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Spiritual Reading.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Make an appointment with the Priest and ask him to help resolve a hard issue in our life.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) During Confession, listen carefully to the Priest's explanation and advice.

The following Treatises correctly and simply explain the Church's Teaching on Conscience, and the proper method for our Formation of Conscience. Formation of Conscience is our Own Personal Responsibility which we must Exercise during our Whole Life, from Womb-to-Tomb.

Responsibility for Formation of Conscience belongs to:
Our Priest? No
The Pope? No
Our Parents/Family? No
The Church? No
Our Schools/Society? No
Ourselves? Yes


Conscience - by Bishop John Keating

Conscience and Rationalization

Conscience and the Virtue of Prudence

by Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.

Conscience according to the New Catechism

Understanding Conscience - by Father Paul K. Raftery


Audio Clip on
Formation of Conscience

by Monsignor William B. Smith, STD
Professor of Moral Theology

An excellent 8 Minute Treatise on our Personal Responsibility
to form our Catholic Conscience during our Whole Lifetime.
We will be Judged by God during our own Particular Judgment
on our Success or Lack of it.

Audio Clip on
Conscience and our Free-Will

by Dr. Theresa Farnan
Faculty, Mount Saint Mary's Seminary