Rejection of (Church) Authority......a Mortal Sin?

Meaning reasonable, designated, legitimate authority…that due to Caesar & that due to God. Obviously, God’s requirements/commands taking precedence over that Caesar demands.

God providing his visible, parochial leadership in the world …to which we owe respect and obedience. If reform needed, it always to be accomplished from within, with God’s assistance, always via prayer, supplication & repentance. God’s anointed ones, the Pope & Bishops, always held accountable to God for governance errs and needed governance renewal.

I think we owe first allegiance to our conscience. Should any of us do what we believe to be wrong simply because we are told to do it?

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths (CCC 1776).

Milgrim’s famous experiments come to mind.

I think this is our starting point…but, it alone can’t lead us to the Truth. Many times my conscience alone misled me. It would oft times pull me off into situation-ethic mazes. And, inevitably I would choose the easier pathway.

The answer to the initial question is not hard to arrive at if one has the correct understanding of just exactly who the Church is, namely, Christ’s Mystical Body.

Yes such can be grave matter for mortal sin. Depending on what is meant.

Yeah… I don’t really understand the supremacy of the conscience, becase when i returned to the Church, I still “felt” that certain things were OK. Gradually I just said, well, I am going to obey the Church, not my conscience, and after a while, my conscience fell into line.

I think there must be a teaching somewhere that explains the other side of this. I can see that one should not commit acts one’s conscience says are wrong (but then you get into cases of excessive scrupulosity…), but some take this as meaning one does not sin if one’s conscience says something is all right.

A conundrum…

A conundrum? Not necessarily. This, I think, is where a good and trustworthy spiritual director is essential.

it’s my understanding that our conscience is to be formed by the Church and her teachings, not the other way around…

i read a great post about this topic at called to communion.

Yes. It would be a grave sin (heresy). Here are some quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church about it:

2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

891 “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed,"419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith."420 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.421

In citation 418 above it cites Lumen Gentium 25 by Vatican II and Vatican Council I-DS 3074. Because it cites the ecumenical council in the DS that sentence must be believed because the council said it infallibly.

All you need to believe is what the 21 ecumenical councils declared infallible and what the pope says ex cathedra. Vatican One mentions the pope’s authority.

Yes. Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”(GS 16.) In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

Well, what about developing a well-formed conscience? If a Catholic, out of scrupulosity believes that Mass is evil, should they then not go to Mass?

The Church has set certain guide lines for us and they need to be followed–preferably more out of love than obligation.

This may help

The Teachings of the Church -including the authority of the Church – are not some “external” element but are “part” of the very conscience of the Christian who is a Catholic.

So in this case it was a disparity for a time between feelings which do not per se = conscience (often this gets confused) and conscience. So in obeying the Church you were obeying in fact your conscience --and in time your “feelings” fell in line.

If one can be found… :frowning:

Thank you to you and the others who mentioned resources about the full teaching on conscience :slight_smile: This will be great!

Reading the CCC, with its full, well-reasoned, documented teachings …went a long way to better forming my conscience…on church authority & tradition. Those two always a tough hoe for ex-protestants …schooled in past papal abuses since grade school days.

Absolutely, but I still would not do what I believed to be wrong/evil. For example, if the Church today again said “we should endorse the burning of heretics” (God forbid that it should), I would say “no, I believe that to be evil”. The Church needs to be held account as much as we do individually, because the Church is made up of individuals.

I agree SF. They are out there though.

We are bound by the moral portion of mosaic law that is in line with the conscience. We are also bound by teachings of Christ which includes promulgation by the Church via Peter and successors.

Has the Pope ever endorsed burning heretics?

[quote=Michael Allen;10501076**]I think we owe first allegiance to our conscience.
[/quote]

Should any of us do what we believe to be wrong simply because we are told to do it?

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths (CCC 1776).

Milgrim’s famous experiments come to mind.

As the catechism teaches us, our conscience must be an informed conscience. That is, steeped in Catholic teaching. You quoted the catechism correctly so that is why I wonder why you would make a statement that our first obligation is to our conscience. Our first obligation, in the words of Our Lord is: “To love your God with your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole being. The second is like unto this: to love your neighbor as yourself.” So, our first obligation is not to our conscience but to God and His law.

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