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Old 15th July 2010, 12:24 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,591
Default Conscience and the scale of values

Joseph Ratzinger: "The fact is that under the pretext of goodness, people neglect conscience. They place acceptance, the avoidance of problems, the comfortable pursuit of their existence, the good opinion of others and good-naturedness above truth in the scale of values."

.079. Primacy of conscience

The human conscience has primacy, the first place in decisions of morality, only within certain limits. The primacy of conscience applies to a good conscience, formed in the light of moral truth from faith and reason.

Some persons mistakenly think that the idea of primacy of conscience permits them to do whatever they wish to do, as long as they think that it is right. Not so. There are objective truths on faith and morals. And people often rationalize their decisions, saying to themselves and to others that what they are doing is moral, when they know in their hearts that it is not.

Conscience is not above the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. Faith and reason must enlighten, form, and guide the conscience. Only then can conscience have a type of limited primacy, that is, primacy over the opinions of others on morality.

When a conscience is guided by love, faith, and hope, such a good conscience has primacy above other considerations.

Such a good conscience takes precedence in moral decisions over the opinions of secular society, over the opinions of family, friends, or co-workers, over the opinions of persons with secular authority, and over the opinions of persons with excellent reputations and credentials.
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
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