Conscience - Index
from various sources including the
Catechism of the Catholic Church
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:
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).
"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
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:
Conscience proclaims the Law of God to us.
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.
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.
A Conscience is Erroneous when it directs a Person to do
something which is Objectively Evil.
We Form our Conscience, over a
Studying the Moral Teachings of the Church.
Make an appointment with the Priest and ask him to help resolve a hard issue in our life.
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:
by Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.
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