Pope Flare Up: Conscience Scripture


#1

Yeah, I’m getting my anti-Catholic “friends” taking me to task on the Pope’s thoughts about following one’s conscience. Specifically, the response that says that a person who does not know God can get into Heaven, provided they follow their conscience.

My initial response:

Matthew 25:31-40

[quote]31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32 and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

The righteous judged favorably because they did what was right, not because of their professed believe in Our Lord, not because of the church they attended, not because of anything else except they did what was right.
[/quote]

This friend is having a hard time with the idea that a person’s conscience can be “right” or “wrong.” Rather, he asserts that a person’s conscience is completely detached from the spiritual world. He asserts that the conscience is completely subjective and not objective. I replied with the following:

I’ll look for Bible references where it shows that man and woman, being made in the image and likeness of God, have written on their hearts the truth.

So, could you please help me to find a nice scriptural teaching that will help him to see that we all have the truth inscribed on our hearts???
Thanks!!


#2

I fear you will find the opposite is true and that men need a heart transplant to right themselves with God.

Ezekiel 36:26
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

I have read outside the Bible that the conscience is the immortal soul.


#3

Writing of non-Jews (i.e. Greeks and barbarians) Paul says:*Rom 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.*Also *Rom. 2:15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.*Refer also to Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Splendor of Truth in which he refers to conscience over 100 times. The document has many scriptural references too. Consider keyword searching it for brevity.


#4

Thanks - perfect. Wow, that hits the spot.


#5

I think that the issue of the conscience being subjective has merit.

The thing to remember is that, even if the conscience doesn’t get everything right all the time, so long as one is working from the correct principles and acting honestly, the just Judge will take this into account.
Should your friend wish to ask what the correct principle is - you can refer him to these,
Mt 22:36-40 - Love is the core of the Law and the Prophets - John 13-34-35 The world will know we are His disciples by our Love for one another - and 1 John 4:7-8, which says that he who knows Love, knows God - for God is Love.

Now the person who has, through no fault of his own, not heard the gospel - or even of God - can attain heaven through right acting on a rightly formed conscience.
A conscience that works from a core of Love.

Just some thoughts

Peace
James


#6

Yup, makes sense. I think I will have to explore this area of thinking, too.


#7

If you haven’t already read it, I would strongly suggest reading the Catechism section on Conscience - paragraphs 1776 thru 1794.
(The footnotes contain quite a few Scripture references.)
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P5Z.HTM


#8

Please consider reading the Pope’s comments which have been greatly distorted by the media. The Pope said NOTHING about non-believers getting into heaven. Here is the relevant passage.

So I come to the three questions you put to me in the article of August 7. It seems to me that, in the first two, what is in your heart is to understand the attitude of the Church to those who don’t share faith in Jesus. First of all, you ask me if the God of Christians forgives one who doesn’t believe and doesn’t seek the faith. Premise that – and it’s the fundamental thing – the mercy of God has no limits** if one turns to him with a sincere and contrite heart**; the question for one who doesn’t believe in God lies in obeying one’s conscience. Sin, also for those who don’t have faith, exists when one goes against one’s conscience. To listen to and to obey it means, in fact, to decide in face of what is perceived as good or evil.** And on this decision pivots the goodness or malice of our action**.

As you see, nothing is said about non-believers getting into heaven. He says that God’s mercy is limitless for those who turn to Him in repentance. Duh, if they are turning to Him, they are no longer non-believers. But as to true non-believers, the Pope is completely in line with Romans 2:14-15:

“or when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law.15They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts,* while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them

Yet again, he does not say they will get into heaven, he only confirms that their actions according to conscience will reflect whether their choices were sinful or not.

Also, please understand that this letter by the Pope is in response to an inquiry about Lumen Fidei by a non-believer. If you read Lumen Fidei, an encyclical by Pope Francis, you will see that he has plenty to say about the importance of faith in our salvation. See paragraphs 19-21.

What was the title of the article that I got the Pope’s quotes from? “POPE ASSURES THE SKEPTICS: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BELIEVE IN GOD TO GO TO HEAVEN.” This is a bald faced lie and we know who is the father of lies. So to your anti-Catholic friends, you might want to call them on this and ask them if they read all of the Pope’s remarks in full or they just stopped at the title.


#9

Yup, you’re right. I should have backed up and done lots of research before going down the road I did go down. I figured that the summaries that I did read were legit. While the text contained in those summaries was written by the Pope, what was missing is exactly what you highlighted.

In the meanwhile, I had backed up and I did read the Pope’s comments as he sent them, and I did see that the Pope’s words were skewed quite a bit. People were intentionally misleading in this way. In the back of my mind, I knew I should have researched it myself before making any comment whatsoever.

Thanks!


#10

=in_servitude;11194807]Yeah, I’m getting my anti-Catholic “friends” taking me to task on the Pope’s thoughts about following one’s conscience. Specifically, the response that says that a person who does not know God can get into Heaven, provided they follow their conscience.

My initial response:

This friend is having a hard time with the idea that a person’s conscience can be “right” or “wrong.” Rather, he asserts that a person’s conscience is completely detached from the spiritual world. He asserts that the conscience is completely subjective and not objective. I replied with the following:

So, could you please help me to find a nice scriptural teaching that will help him to see that we all have the truth inscribed on our hearts???
Thanks!!

NOT A NEW TEACHING WHEN RIGHTLY UNDERSTOOD.

If One does not KNOW God because God has not made it possible for them too Know Christ through His One God; One Faith and One Chuech through NO FAULT of there own,
it is just what the CC teaches.

CCC 780, 846 & 847:thumbsup:


#11

I do agree that the pope has articulated the faith properly. The good news is that the pope may possibly be reaching people that would otherwise not be reachable. But, no doubt his real message is being twisted by some reporters (I don’t know that it’s intentional - maybe, maybe not).


#12

=in_servitude;11208531]I do agree that the pope has articulated the faith properly. The good news is that the pope may possibly be reaching people that would otherwise not be reachable. But, no doubt his real message is being twisted by some reporters (I don’t know that it’s intentional - maybe, maybe not).

Thanks and God’s continued Blessings


#13

Rom2 : 11 *For there is no respect of persons with God.
: 13 *For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
: 14 For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law; these having not the law, are a law to themselves:
:15 Who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing, or excusing them,
:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
:2 For we know that the judgment of God is, according to truth.
:6 *Who will render to every man according to his works:

I find these verse’s read well in todays secular society when I substitute “The knowledge of God” for “The Law”.
And for me these verses clearly show that even an Atheist like my brother, who is one of the most moral and just persons I know can make it to heaven. Unlike him I need to live by faith in an effort to make myself righteous before God
Rom : 17 For the justice of God is revealed therein from faith to faith: as it is written: *The just man liveth by faith.


#14

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