How do we know if we are truly making the right moral decisions? Our conscience affects all kinds of decisions we make in life- from the shows we watch to the way we vote and everything in between. Today, Dr. Sri explains the Catholic view on conscience and emphasizes the importance of forming it according to God’s plan.
Snippet from the Show
Our conscience is not just a vague feeling, it is the very voice of God echoing in our hearts and minds that propels us towards the good and the truth.
As Catholics we have a responsibility to form our conscience according to God’s law and plan for humanity. Our conscience is not just a vague feeling, it is the very voice of God echoing in our hearts and minds that propels us towards the good and the truth. Our conscience plays a huge role when it comes to making moral decisions in our lives. When we continually act against our conscience, it can become dull, weak, and numb.
What is Conscience?
The Catechism on Conscience
“Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”- CC 1776
“Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.”- CC 1777
“Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law.” – CC 1778
Conscience is the judgment of practical reason about the moral quality of a human action. Conscience is a part of the virtue of prudence and involves our mind making an act of judgement. As an act of judgement, we can judge correctly or incorrectly. Conscience acts in 3 ways:
– Before you commit an action ( antecedent conscience -a judgement which precedes an action)
– During an action (concomitant conscience- a judgement which accompanies an action)
– After an action ( consequent conscience- a judgment which follows an action)
Forming our Conscience
Fill your mind with good principles and continually act on those good principles
- Know God’s law- Study Scripture, ready the Catechism, and understand the life of Jesus.
- Live out God’s law in your life. Consistently do the good.
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- Find more of Dr. Sri’s episodes at ascensionpress.com/allthingscatholic
- Clear Conscience: A Catholic Guide to Voting
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Meet Your Host: Dr. Edward Sri
Dr. Sri is a theologian and the author of several best-selling books. He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. A founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Dr. Sri currently serves as its vice president of formation. He appears regularly on EWTN and resides in Colorado with his wife, Elizabeth, and their eight children.
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