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Author Topic: Your Conscience in Roman Catholicism  (Read 1993 times) Average Rating: 0
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Donna Rose
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« on: May 06, 2005, 02:48:02 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Hey all - I have a question regarding the RCC that came up last night in a discussion I was having with my good friend who is RC. He went to Jesuit elementary, middle and high school, and he said that all throughout his schooling his teachers taught him that the RCC teaches that, if the Roman Catholic Church says something that goes against one's own conscience, ultimately it is okay to believe according to your conscience. This seemed shocking to me (since I am coming from an RCC background and never heard of such a thing), and when I asked where he learned this, he said in school, and that it is probably in the catechism or something. Has anybody heard anything about this? And nothing like this expressly exists in the Orthodox Church, right? I have never heard of the placement of the *individual's* conscience over the Church's, in either Church.

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Donna Mary
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Rilian
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2005, 02:50:33 PM »

That's not what they teach, you're supposed to follow the church.  The Jesuits are regarded by nearly everyone in the church as mavericks.
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2005, 03:29:55 PM »

No, I've heard non-Jesuit Catholic priests say the same thing about their church. A Catholic in the modern (don't know about the pre-V2) church may, after a disciplined process of carefull prayer and discernment, elect to disagree with a church teaching if he/she feels that it goes against their inner conscience.

However, that Catholic does not have the right to take their own beliefs and proclaim it as an official teaching of the church.

At least, that's as far as I know about modern RC teaching.
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2005, 03:38:15 PM »

If a truth is defined as a dogma of the faith Catholics are required to believe it. If the Church teaches something as true but does not define it dogmatically as such then in all conscience Catholics, after due reflection and prayer, can choose not to give their consent to it. The Church is believed to be inerrant in questions of faith or morals but not otherwise.

For example the Church was very strongly opposed to the illegal invasion of Iraq but those cafeteria Catholics who supported it were perfectly free to do so.

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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2005, 03:44:20 PM »

No, I've heard non-Jesuit Catholic priests say the same thing about their church. A Catholic in the modern (don't know about the pre-V2) church may, after a disciplined process of carefull prayer and discernment, elect to disagree with a church teaching if he/she feels that it goes against their inner conscience.

That's probably a broadly liberal trend though, which in America goes well beyond the Jesuits. I still believe it's wrong according to the teaching of the church, your conscience can't conflict with its teaching. Here are the related parts of the CCC. http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/moral.html
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2005, 08:12:06 AM »

Catholics teach that you are supposed to follow your conscience above all, even (theoretically) if it wants to go against Church teaching, but since they will also tell you that your conscience is to be formed by Catholic teaching and principles, I don't know what possible case there might be in which, after such formation, one would be prompted to act against it by one's conscience.  The teaching is not carte blanche (sp?) to do whatever you want after "serious thinking", which is how I think most people want to interpret it. 
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Donna Rose
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2005, 10:01:26 AM »

Interesting stuff said by all.

Quote
The teaching is not carte blanche (sp?) to do whatever you want after "serious thinking", which is how I think most people want to interpret it.

So, what would you say the teaching is, if not this (and maybe some serious prayer thrown in with the serious thinking)? Suffice it to say, I know my RC friend believes this bit that I quoted from Mor *is* the teaching.

And also, am I right in guessing that nothing like this exists in thr Orthodox Church? I mean, the only situation that remotely resembles this might be when the collective Church rises up against corruption or heresy in its heirarchs, as has happened in history, but then I would say that it is the people who constitute the Church, not the heirarch in question, and so there is no issue. Plus, it is the difference between *individual* conscience and the *collective* conscience of the whole Church, which is a very important distinction to make, IMO.

Thoughts?
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2005, 01:31:30 PM »

Donna,

You're making me type more than usally but from the RCCC;

> #1796: Conscience is a judgement of reason by which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act.

> #1798 : A well formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgements according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. Everyone must avail himself of the means to form his conscience.

> #1799 : Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgement in accordance with reason and the Divine Law or on the contrary, an erroneous judgement that departs from them.

> # 1801: Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgements, such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.


I think the RCCC is online, just gave a few examples.

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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2005, 01:49:56 PM »

Well, I think there are maverick Orthodox priests who let their parishioners go all "yee-haw!" with their own opinions. 

When I was RC I had priests act that way.  I also came to realize that these priests were not following the teachings of the RCC, which all converts are required to pledge they believe. 
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