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  Conscience (Mon Dec 8, 2003  7:41 pm)

Moral judgments are based on personal perceptions of rightness or wrongness, as well as reality, which are gained by experience and from trusted others. Conscience bids us to always choose good over evil based on our perception of reality, even though it may be mistaken at times. The formation of Conscience is evolving continuously as we grow in wisdom and knowledge assuming we are willing to do so. Faith prompts us to accept the norms of conduct, as well as aspects of reality, on the word of another whom we trust as long as it does not contradict our own experience.

God bids each to do the best we can and live according to the grasp of reality we have. To do otherwise is sinful, even if we are dead wrong. Refusing to be open to new insights to reality, or enlightened norms of behavior, is a problem called culpable ignorance. This is especially true when new personal experiences challenge long held assumptions. For this reason the Church teaches that all Catholics have the right to follow their informed (and continuously evolving) conscience in all matters. This is not just a right, it is what God expects of us. (Commentary on Right No.1 in the Charter of Rights of Catholics in the Church)


Other voices

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Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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