Monday, April 11, 2016
The Primacy of Conscience!
"Conscience is the ultimate norm of morality." This sentence is from a catechism published in the 1890's and still being used in a Catholic High School in the 1940's. The primacy of conscience is the traditional teaching of our 2,000 year old Catholic Church. We were reminded of it in the seminary in the early 1960's. The Second Vatican Council reinforced the teaching several times. In the document on religious freedom the Council said, "In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience faithfully in order that he may come to God for whom he was created."
In the late 20th and early 21st century this teaching was so muted that when I would talk about it, some people thought I was saying something contrary to Catholic teaching. When Pope Francis emphasized the importance of conscience in the document he released on Friday it was news.