Following Your Conscience Can be Sinful

“Conscience, in order to be followed without sin, must be correctly formed and must conform to objective norms of morality, among which are divine laws. Artificial birth prevention is forbidden by God. A conscience that is not in agreement with God on this issue is erroneous and cannot be followed licitly. Sometimes priests are misquoted or misunderstood and perhaps that is the case here.”

Do you agree with this quote?

Yes, I do agree with it.

Yes, I believe that a person’s conscience can make a wrong decision if it isn’t properly formed. Take terrorists for example; they are following their conscience and doing what they believe is right – yet we see them murdering countless innocent people and comonly commiting suicide in the process.

The Holy Spirit speaks to us through our conscience. If a person’s conscience is misformed or misinformed, it’s like looking at a picture through a warped piece of glass. You can easily get the wrong idea.

I should point out for the benefit of those who say no, that this statement is taken from the official website of the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln.

It is only licit to follow your conscience when your conscience agrees with the teachings of the Catholic Church. It couldn’t be any clearer than that.

I agree with the quote also. Before converting to Catholicism, there were things my conscience would have thought were okay. That’s not the case now that I have worked on forming a correct conscience.

It’s probably less sinful than doing something you fully know is wrong, but yes, something bad doesn’t become good just because you were mistaken.

Of course it can especially if you are following an uninformed conscience.

One is stuck with following one’s conscience whether erroneous or not until such time as one becomes aware that that conscience is in conflict the Church and/or natural law. At that point culpability comes into play as one is required to not do something said to be gravely wrong until a resolution is reached: a resolution that agrees with the Church or natural law. A sincere effort to resolve such conflicts is absolutely required before proceeding. Church teaching and natural law, once one is aware, always trumps individual conscience.

probably the ideal would be if our conscience and the teachings of the Catholic Church always agreed.
And if somebody is a convinced Catholic, he or she will probably NOT feel something is right to do if it is against church teachings.
So then going against church teachings WOULD also be going against your conscience.
Maybe what tells us to do otherwise sometimes isn’t really our conscience?
I do believe somehow that deep inside we all know what is good.

There are some borderline cases probably where the teachings aren’t completely clear-cut (example that just came to mind: Following civil law when you feel it is inhumane).

Then, a question I was asking myself: If the question wasn’t “could it be sinful” but “could it be mortally sinful”, what would the answer be then?
Because by definition, a mortal sin can only be committed if you know something is sinful. And when you feel your conscience telling you otherwise, then you don’t really “know” it is sinful… but shaky grounds, kind of, this.
So I didn’t vote. Because I am not sure.


Yes, I fully agree with the quote. One must have a properly formed conscience that is in agreement with the Magisterium in all moral matters. :thumbsup:

Yes, with a quibble.

“Artificial birth prevention” is a strange phrase. Replace it with “deliberate contraception” and I’m 100% on board. The original phrase is too vague and does not exclude unintentional side effects of legitimate medical treatment.

Your conscience SHOULD always be your guide. But the conscience is not inborn, nor immutable. It must be formed properly and the surest norm for that are the teachings of Christ preserved and interpreted in the catholic church.

God did not give us a conscience so that we could be our own pope. He gave us a conscience so that we could exercise discernment in difficult situations

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