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Your Conscience (part 2)

There is one more detail that I ought to mention to help with understanding the misuse of conscience. I know someone who uses his conscience as his only sovereign authority. Amazingly, he is Catholic. He is fairly devout in his devotion to the Lord and His Church, but that appears to be only because his conscience in a number of areas coincidentally told him the same thing as the Church told him. If, however, an issue arose where the Church declared something that his conscience said different on, then his conscience would always win out.

When I would seek to correct him, in the most gentle manner, about an issue of Church teaching that he disagreed about, he would non-chalantly say, "I don't see it that way"--as though that settled the question. A few times, he even used this excuse on issues that were vital to his salvation, but since he "didn't see it that way" then he believed everything was fine, because his personal convictions were more authoritative than the Church of Almighty God.

Do we ever fall into this same error? We may not actually fall as heavily as my friend mentioned above, but is there a truth (doctrinal or moral) in which you allow your conscience to lead you away from what God has said through His Church? This is a grave abuse of the conscience. It is the reason why every time that the Catechism speaks of conscience, it reminds us that it needs to be "rightly formed".

In other words, my friend (whose soul I pray for frequently) had a conscience that was more formed by the world, the devil, and his own flesh, than by the truth of God. Let us each submit our conscience to God, and ask Him to help us form it rightly (even if that means that we have to admit we are wrong).


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