Well-formed Conscience


Just want to open this up for discussion…

Will a well-formed conscience always agree with Church Teaching?


[quote=frdave20]Just want to open this up for discussion…

Will a well-formed conscience always agree with Church Teaching?

Perhaps not. But it will always yield to Church teaching.


Do you have a specific question in mind?


my priest and I were having lunch and we began to talk about the idea of conscience. specifically, how some people use ‘conscience’ to justify there belief in pro-choice, women priests (to be specific to Catholic issues)… I said that a well-formed conscience will always conform to Natural Moral Law… but then I would propose to go further, in that since the Teaching of the Church is guided by Faith and Reason, and since Reason is subject to NAtural Moral Law, we should be able to deduce that a well-formed conscience will agree with Church Teaching…

if not, then there is a serious problem…
however, one aspect of my theory is the example of slavery. some have argued that the Church, in the past, stated that one could own slaves and still be a moral person… this example would fly in the face of my premise…


About this slavery issue. Yes you can own slaves and still be a moral person. Also it in not condemned in the Bible.
This Natural Moral Law thing is worth talking and debating. It seems that people look at it the wrong way though. They see it as the guiding light to all the questions about how we should live instead of an outline. Second of all you need to be guided by something. The God, Church, Parents, etc to teach us, we might feel something is wrong, but there are some things that we wouldnt know were wrong unless someone told us. Also we dont want to mix up “well formed conscience” and “Natural Moral Law”. They do work together, but there is more to the conscience than Nature’s instincts.

About “always agreeing with Church teaching?” This is worth talking about. It seems that there might be things that you would not feel like believing/doing, but a good conscience would also teach you to obey.


Even the best-formed conscience is influenced by the culture of the time and place in which it finds itself. Slavery seemed normal back in the day, and only a refined and well-formed conscience would have had an issue with it back then. Capital punishment is perhaps another good example; until relatively recently it did not weigh on too many people’s consciences, but now many (like me) who once argued in favor of it have had more time to reflect and have changed their perspective.


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