I was reading about conscience in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and it says (paraphrasing here) that if a man were to ignore his conscience, he would condemn himself. Is this true?

If someone knew that they shouldn’t ignore their conscience, but decided to do something they thought their conscience was telling them not to do, does that mean they can’t be saved, even if they repent of not following their conscience? What if they weren’t sure whether or not it was their conscience telling them not to do that thing or an irrational fear or even an evil angel trying to get them to think they’ve sinned?

I suggest you NOT paraphrase. I also suggest you not take one provision out of context.

What the Catechism actually says is:

1790 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 committed.

So . . . answering you second set of questions first, it is important to note the term “CERTAIN”. If you aren’t “sure”, the provision does not apply.

The Catechism also says:

1781 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:

So . . . answering your first question next, if a person repents of committing an evil against the just judgment of his certain conscience, he is forgiven if he sincerely seeks the forgiveness.

. . if you only ask.

Do you happen to struggle with scruples?

If a person completely abandons conscience and morality in his life, that decision would be an actual mortal sin. He repents before he dies, or he suffers eternal punishment.

Ignoring your conscience in a matter that is venial would only be a venial sin. But ignoring your conscience in a grave matter would be objectively grave.

We are judged by God according to our consciences. So our consciences might excuse us, in some cases, if we were sincere in seeking moral truth, but erred. On the other hand, if we ignore conscience and do not care at all about moral truth, we sin against conscience and against God.

Thanks for your answers, guys.

Yeah, I do struggle with scrupulosity a little bit. My main problem with it at the moment seems to be I’m having trouble deciding whether or not it’s my conscience telling me to do something or my scruples. I’ve told my regular confessor about my scrupulosity, so hopefully when I go next he might have some advice for me to deal with it.

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