Monday, July 19, 2010

Conscience Rules


This is my favorite swimming hole in Red Creek in Dolly Sods Wilderness. It is about a two hour hike from the car. It always feels like freedom.
Before and after the 4th of July I've been thinking a lot about freedom of conscience. Many very devout Catholics have a hard time understanding that conscience is the ultimate norm of morality. I know it seems sort of contradictory to quote authority to support following one's conscience, but I collect quotes about it. I value this latest addition from the current pope when he was just young Father Josef Ratzinger commenting on Vatican II in 1967:
"Over the Pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one's own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even the official Church, also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism."
One of my life goals is to help people to celebrate and use their freedom.
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