Chapter 5 Conscience Formation by sdfgsg234

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									           Chapter 5: Conscience Formation

Review and Reflection – p. 125
1.   List and discuss four wrong ideas about conscience.

     Wrong ideas about conscience include: a) conscience as majority
     opinion; b) conscience as a feeling; c) conscience as superego
     (“should” and “have-tos” from childhood); d) conscience as gut
     instinct; e) conscience as a “Jiminy Cricket” internal voice; f)
     conscience as myth.1

2.   Note a definition of conscience as given in the Catechism of the
     Catholic Church.

     “Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person
     recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to
     perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed”
     (CCC, 1779).

3.   Explain conscience as awareness.

     Conscience is awareness of a) God’s call to be, and b) God’s call to
     know and do the good, that is, to love.2

     a) Conscience is awareness of God’s call to be.

              Vatican II teaches that our conscience is the secret place at the
              core of our beings where we are alone with the Triune God. There
              we can hear God’s loving invitation to each of us to be the persons
              he calls us to be from all eternity: God’s special child, made in his
              image and likeness. Thus, conscience is very personal.

     b) Conscience is awareness of God’s call to know and do the good,
        that is, to love.

              Our vocation as persons with profound dignity is to reflect our Triune
              God, who is love. We do this when we respond to the good. We do

       1Michael Pennock, Your Life in Christ: Teacher’s Wraparound Edition (Notre
Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2008), 144.
      2
        Michael Pennock, Your Life in Christ: Foundations of Catholic Morality (Notre
Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2008), 124.



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             this when we love. We do this when we shun that which is evil. We
             do this when we obey the law written on our hearts: the law of love
             of God and neighbor as oneself. Thus, conscience is a basic
             awareness of good and evil.3

4.   Where in the decision-making process does conscience come into
     play?

     Conscience “helps us in the here-and-now of a particular, concrete
     act to discover the loving path and to avoid the path that is evil.”4

Review and Reflection – p. 128
1.   Why is growth in virtue and overcoming vice important in moral
     decision-making?

     “Growth in virtue and overcoming vice are important because most
     decisions we make are made by habit and we give them little
     thought. An increase of virtue improves our chances of making good
     decisions.”5

2.   What are the two key principles involving conscience?

     “Christians are called to live these two important principles regarding
     conscience: (1) You must always form and keep forming your
     conscience, and (2) You must follow your conscience.”6

3.   What three moral rules must never be violated when making
     conscience decisions?

      1. Never do evil so good may result from it. (A good end does not
         justify evil means to attain it.)

      2. “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (The
         Golden Rule, Mt 7:12).

      3. Love your neighbor as yourself (cf., Rom 14:21; CCC, 1789).7



      3 Ibid.
      4 Ibid.
      5 Pennock, Your Life in Christ: Teacher’s Wraparound Edition, 148.
      6 Pennock, Your Life in Christ: Foundations of Catholic Morality, 126.
      7 Ibid.




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4.   List several factors that we must study before deciding to act.

     “We must study information about the moral object, the motives, the
     circumstances, and the consequences, as well as any alternatives.
     We must also review the fundamental principles of morality and how
     to apply them, as well as seek out trusted mentors for advice.”8

5.   What role does prayer play in making moral decisions?

     Prayer reminds us of God’s love for us, and it helps us to respond in
     the most loving way to a concrete situation.

6.   Why is it important to review our decisions?

     By reviewing our decisions we can help to determine if our
     consciences are clear. And we can “discover what we have done
     (or not done) to become (or not become) the kind of persons the
     Lord calls us to be.”9

Review and Reflection – p. 131
1.   Must a person always follow his or her conscience? Why or why not?

     Yes. A person must always follow his or her conscience as long as it
     is certain and not doubtful: “A human being must always obey the
     certain judgment of his conscience. If he were to deliberately to act
     against it, he would condemn himself.”10

2.   List several factors that can lead to an erroneous conscience.

     •       ignorance of Christ and His Gospel
     •       bad example given by others
     •       enslavement to one’s passions
     •       assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience
     •       rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching
     •       lack of conversion and of charity




        Pennock, Your Life in Christ: Teacher’s Wraparound Edition, 148.
         8

        Pennock, Your Life in Christ: Foundations of Catholic Morality, 128.
         9
      10 Catechism of the Catholic Church (Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic

Conference, Inc., 1997), 1790.



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3.   Discuss how we can guard against a wrong conscience.

                Sincere people will make a lifetime commitment to forming and
                continually informing their consciences. They do so out of the
                virtue of humility, acknowledging that they do not know it all. They
                strive to have an upright and truthful conscience, one that is formed
                by reason and conforms to God’s law. Moreover, they strive to
                form their consciences in light of God’s word. Therefore, they will
                look to Christian mentors who are models of holiness and wisdom,
                which they have mastered from daily life, the Bible, and active
                living in Christian community.11




      11   Pennock, Your Life in Christ: Foundations of Catholic Morality, 130.



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