Moral conscience

Moral Moral conscienc conscienc e e 39 39 FETI, Domenico The Repentant St Mary Magdalene 1617-21 Oil on canvas, 98 x 78,5 cm Galleria Doria-Pamphili, Rome


FETI, Domenico The Repentant St Mary Magdalene 1617-21 Oil on canvas, 98 x 78,5 cm Galleria Doria-Pamphili, Rome. Moral conscience. 39. Compendium of the Catechism. 372. What is the moral conscience? 1776-1780 1795-1797 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Moral conscience

Page 1: Moral conscience

Moral Moral conscienceconscience


FETI, DomenicoThe Repentant St Mary Magdalene

1617-21Oil on canvas, 98 x 78,5 cm

Galleria Doria-Pamphili, Rome

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Compendium of the Catechism 372. What is the moral

conscience? 1776-1780

1795-1797 Moral conscience, present in

the heart of the person, is a judgment of reason which at the appropriate moment enjoins him to do good and to avoid evil. Thanks to moral conscience, the human person perceives the moral quality of an act to be done or which has already been done, permitting him to assume responsibility for the act. When attentive to moral conscience, the prudent person can hear the voice of God who speaks to him or her.

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“In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths"

(Gaudium et spes, n. 16).

GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco deSt Peter Repentant

1823-25Oil on canvas, 29 x 25,5 cm

Phillips Collection, Washington

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Main ideasMain ideas

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1. What is conscience?

Conscience is the inner voice which manifests to man the goodness or malice of an act, so that he is led to do what is good, and avoid what is bad. It is the judgment of reason through which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that one is thinking of doing, is already doing, or has done.

Conscience advises and makes itself felt: if one has done something that conscience disapproves of, it perturbs; if one has done what is good, it offers its approval and praise.

MICHELANGELO BuonarrotiJeremiah (detail)1511FrescoCappella Sistina, Vatican

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2. The various states of conscience With respect to personal assent,

conscience can be distinguished as: a) Certain: One is completely sure that the

morality of an act is exactly as conscience dictates.

b) Doubtful. It is a moral judgment that fears that it could be wrong. A doubtful conscience, therefore, lacks firm assent.

With respect to the object and its conformity to the moral norms, conscience can be distinguished as :

a) Correct. Conscience is correct when the moral judgment is in accordance with the objective norm, such that the act in question is truly good or bad just as conscience judges it to be.

b) False. Conscience is false when the moral judgment is not in accordance with the objective norm, such that conscience judges as good an act that is bad, or vice versa. This judgment is of course the result of an error.

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)The Sleeping SpinnerOil on canvas, 1853Musée Fabre, Montpellier

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3. One must act always with a certain conscience

One must always act with a certain conscience. When the certainty of one’s

conscience is based on the truthfulness or rectitude of the moral judgment, then there is no difficulty.

But, what if the certainty of one’s conscience is based on error?

the error is invincible – that is, not due to negligence or malice – then one should still follow the judgment of conscience: the act, even though it is not in accordance with the norm, would be subjectively good because the human will honestly wants what is good, and the ‘helplessly’ erroneous conscience tells it that it is so.

However, if there is unwillingness to know the objective moral norms, then the error is vincible. Such a conscience, however “certain” it may be, cannot and should not be taken as a norm of conduct. One must first rid oneself of the vincible error.

Raphael (1483-1520)The Stanza della Segnatura Ceiling: JusticeFresco, 1509-151170 3/4 x 70 3/4 inches (180 x 180 cm)Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

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4. The formation of conscience

We have the obligation to form our conscience, in order to know God’s will, which should be the basis for our moral attitude. The means to form one’s conscience are:1. Know your Christian


2. Do not act impulsively. Instead think calmly

3. Ask for advice.

4. Spiritual direction with a priest.

MUENIER, Jules-AlexisLa Leçon de catéchisme [The Catechism Lesson]Oil on canvas, 189026 3/4 x 46 1/4 inches (67.95 x 117.48 cm)Musée des Beaux-Arts, Besançon

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5. Importance of the formation of conscience

Very few are conscious of the importance of personal formation. Many instead limit themselves to a minimum of moral obligations such as avoiding mortal sins and not causing scandal

But human responsibility – the responsibilities of parents, people in authority, teachers, priests – is much more than that.

Although Jesus Christ warns us about the seriousness of scandal, he also exhorts us that he himself has come so that we “may have life, and have it in abundance.”

KAULBACH, Hermann (1846-1909)Allegory Of Wisdom And JusticeOil on canvas, 188837 3/4 x 25 7/8 inches (96 x 66 cm)Private collection

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6. Rules in order to always decide in conscience

Normally, if a person takes care of forming his or her conscience, it will not be difficult to know and do good. The interior attitude of trying to discern the will of God facilitates the solution when some difficulty arises. Here are some useful rules: One can never do evil in

order to achieve something good.

Do unto others what you would like them to do unto you.

Always respect your neighbour and his conscience.

CHARDIN, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon (1699-1779)The TeacherOil on canvasPrivate collection

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Resolutions for Resolutions for Christian lifeChristian life

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Resolutions to move forward

We should do a short examination of conscience every day before going to bed, to see if we have taken God into account in the things we have done.

Think if we are acting with a conscience that is certain and correct.