Informed Conscience

My Mother-in-law and I had a “discussion” regarding church teaching and the subject of informed conscience came up. My MIL claims that an informed conscience trumps church teaching when there seems to be a conflict between that teaching and what a truly informed conscience perceives to be right. Okay,* maybe* I can buy that in a very few situations not specifically outlined by the church but her example just blew me away. She claims that a theologian told her an abortion may not only be permitted in some situations but it would be a sin to not abort in some situations. I did some reading last night and from what I gather an informed conscience is to be formed by catholic teaching itself. So my question is, is there ever a situation where a decision to not have an abortion a sin?

As a side note this same MIL was a catechism teacher at her church for several years. A few years ago she was suddenly dismissed. I think I know why now. Praise God!

In terms of abortion - no such would be a grave error. An erroneous judgment -that needs to be corrected.

Unless he meant an “in direct abortion” where such happens as an unintended side effect of say removing a cancerous uterus that is going to kill the Mom. But that is not an “abortion” but an unintended death from a good action that was necessary to save the Mother. One may never kill the child directly -never intend their death etc - for any reason.

Ones Conscience is to be formed with the Teachings of the Church.

The Churches Teaching is part of a well formed conscience.

“Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church.” ~Catechism of the Catholic Church

This will be a good overview:

(so any “conflict” would be of the person against themselves…)

“told her an abortion may not only be permitted in some situations but it would be a sin to not abort in some situations.”

Can’t see how its even plausible let alone possible. Is there an example to go along with the proposal?

God and His Church are “one”. There can be no such thing as a well informed conscious that trumps Gods. Unless it can be proven God and His Church are not one, then I can’t see where one can inject themselves in-between God and His Church.

Further, in forming our consciences, we must be “guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church” (ibid.; cf. Dignitatis Humanae [DH] 14).

In forming their consciences the faithful must pay careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church. For the Catholic Church is by the will of Christ the teacher of truth. It is her duty to proclaim and teach with authority the truth which is Christ and, at the same time, to declare and confirm by her authority the principles of the moral order which spring from human nature itself (DH 14).

Any conscience can be informed, by just about any sort of clap-trap; but a *well-*formed conscience is one formed in line with God’s teaching, which we find in the Catholic Church.

The time when this actually becomes an issue is in a crisis or emergency, when one must rely on one’s own conscience instead of having the time to consult those more onowledgeable than we. This is why it is important to learn about moral theology in a period of calm rather than piece-meal only when necessary.

There may be a misunderstanding here (as Bookcat noted), but if this is true as stated, then it would seem the theologian here is the one who lacks a well formed conscience. :wink:

True, and he might be a non-Catholic theologian.

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