Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

Living Your Faith as Citizens and Leaders in Politics, Culture, Society and Business

Forming Your Conscience: What is a Well Formed Conscience?

The US Catholic Bishops, in their in 2007 Statement, Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship, note that the role of the Church is to help persons form their conscience.  This is a long term process.  Election cycles are an important moment for voting.  Such voting requires citizens to have a well formed conscience.

Here is what the Bishops write:

“Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should not do. Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning what is evil” (paragraph 17).

The Church’s primary role is to help its members to form their individual conscience and to engage the laity in its work.  

The Bishops outline the proper method of conscience formation: “The formation of conscience includes several elements. First, there is a desire to embrace goodness and truth. For Catholics this begins with a willingness and openness to seek the truth and what is right by studying Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church as contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is also important to examine the facts and background information about various choices. Finally, prayerful reflection is essential to discern the will of God. Catholics must also understand that if they fail to form their consciences they can make erroneous judgments” (paragraph 18).

What do you think?

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Filed under: Personal Reflections, Politics, Social Doctrine

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