The Judgment of Conscience
It is important for every person to be sufficiently present to
himself in order to hear and follow the voice of his conscience.
This requirement of interiority is all the more necessary as life often
distracts us from any reflection, self-examination or introspection:
Return to your conscience, question it....
Turn inward, brethren, and in everything you
do, see God as your witness. (St. Augustine)
The dignity of the human person implies and requires uprightness
of moral conscience. Conscience includes the perception of the
principles of morality (synderesis); their application in the given
circumstances by practical discernment of reasons and goods; and
finally judgment about concrete acts yet to be performed or already
performed. The truth about the moral good, stated in the law of reason,
is recognized practically and concretely by the prudent judgment of
conscience. We call that man prudent who chooses in conformity with
Conscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts
performed. If man commits evil, the just judgment of conscience can
remain within him as the witness to the universal truth of the good, at
the same time as the evil of his particular choice. The verdict of the
judgment of conscience remains a pledge of hope and mercy. In
attesting to the fault committed, it calls to mind the forgiveness that must
be asked, the good that must still be practiced, and the virtue that must
be constantly cultivated with the grace of God....
Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as
personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act
contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting
according to his conscience, especially in religious matters."
-- Catechism of the Catholic Church
This is the second part of a series during Lent on conscience, taken
from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Next week: The Formation
Saint Michael Faith Enrichment.