Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

25 March 2012: Fifth Sunday in Lent

Erroneous Judgment

    A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his
conscience.  If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn
himself.  Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance
and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already

    This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility.  This
is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true  and good,
or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of
committing sin."  In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he 

    Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others,
enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of  autonomy of
conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack  of
conversion and of charity:  these can be at the source of errors of 
judgment in moral conduct.

    If -- on the contrary -- this ignorance is invincible, or the moral  subject is
not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the  person
cannot be imputed to him.  It remains no less and evil, a privation, a  disorder.
One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

    A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity
proceeds at the same time "from a pure heart and a good conscience and
sincere faith."  "The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do  persons
and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by  objective
standards of moral conduct."
                        -- Catechism of the Catholic Church
                            paragraphs 1790 - 1794

            Create a clean heart in me, O God.  (Psalm 51)

This is the fifth part of a series during Lent on conscience, taken from
the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Next week:  The right to 
religious liberty.

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