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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 2:17 pm 
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So a Catholic health worker in that situation would either have to follow his conscience, or - according to you - use "human reason" to "determine with certainty" what he should do.
False dilemma; his conscience is the application of human reason to determine what he should do.

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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 3:53 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
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So a Catholic health worker in that situation would either have to follow his conscience, or - according to you - use "human reason" to "determine with certainty" what he should do.
False dilemma; his conscience is the application of human reason to determine what he should do.

Yes, but it is Caleb's false dilema. It is Caleb who is saying that a person's conscience may be right or may be wrong, but his human reason can determine with certainty what is right and what is wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:00 pm 
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I strongly doubt caleb said that.

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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:08 pm 
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caleb wrote:
torn wrote:
All there is, according to you, is a conscience which may be right or may be wrong.
To the contrary, I don't say that the conscience is "all there is." Actually, that is closer to your view. In addition to the conscience, which is a faculty of judgment, there is the moral law which is exterior to the person and which commands the obedience of the conscience.

What I meant by that is that, according to you, the only conscience is a conscience which may be right or may be wrong. According to you, there is no true conscience by which a person can know what is right and what is wrong.



caleb wrote:
torn wrote:
I have never been taught what you are proposing.
I don't know who has taught you, but I'm proposing nothing of my own invention.
torn wrote:
you are saying that even if we are true to the voice of conscience, it may not be true to us, it may mislead us.
Yes, the conscience can mislead because the conscience is a human faculty of judgment, not an objective law. I'm repeating the CCC:
CCC wrote:
Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility.
. . .
1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.
You can at least grant, I hope, that I haven't invented the idea of a conscience that (1) does not know right from wrong (ignorance) and that (2) makes mistakes and can be guilty of its mistakes.

You have not invented the Catholic idea "of a conscience that (1) does not know right from wrong (ignorance) and that (2) makes mistakes and can be guilty of its mistakes". However, I think you may have invented the Catholic idea of a conscience that never knew right from wrong (ignorance) and that (2) makes mistakes but therefore cannot be guilty of its mistakes because it never knew right from wrong. How can a person be blamed for mistakes if he never knew right from wrong and has no way of knowing right from wrong?

The Catholic Church teaches that a conscience can become improperly-formed, and it is the responsibility of the individual to make sure it does not become improperly formed, and if he allows an improperly-formed conscience to develop, he must bear at least some of the responsibility for this development. But the Catholic Church, as far as I am aware, does not teach that people have an improperly-formed conscience to begin with. Because if that was the case, how could a person be responsible for not knowing right from wrong if he never had any way of knowing right from wrong?

But you say every person has a way of knowing right from wrong - not by consulting his conscience deep within himself, but by human reason. And yet no matter how many times I ask you, you won't tell me how this process of determining with certainty right from wrong, through human reason, actually works. I know how to consult my conscience. I don't know how to use human reason to determine with certainty what is right and what is wrong. Could you please try to explain. Otherwise I will find it difficult to believe you. Give practical example of how the process works, if you can.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:12 pm 
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torn wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Quote:
So a Catholic health worker in that situation would either have to follow his conscience, or - according to you - use "human reason" to "determine with certainty" what he should do.
False dilemma; his conscience is the application of human reason to determine what he should do.

Yes, but it is Caleb's false dilema. It is Caleb who is saying that a person's conscience may be right or may be wrong, but his human reason can determine with certainty what is right and what is wrong.


Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I strongly doubt caleb said that.


caleb wrote:
You are not listening. Human reason can in fact determine with certainty the right and wrong of specific actions, but the judgment of conscience, like all activities of human reason, is not infallible. The judgment of conscience is not immune from making mistakes.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:35 pm 
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If a person has to decide between right or wrong actions - e.g. should a health worker in Africa distribute condoms to prostitutes or not? - my question is not will he choose the right action? (He may or he may not.) My question is ought he be able to choose the right action?

If so, how ought he be able to? By consulting his conscience? But if his conscience does not know, then how ought he to know which action to choose? How can he blamed for choosing the wrong course of action if he has no way of knowing which course of action is right?

However, Caleb says that human reason can determine with certainty the right and wrong of specific actions. How? :scratch: Can anyone do it, or just clever people? Do you have to be a Catholic to do it, or can non-Catholics also do it? How does one go about doing it?


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 8:01 pm 
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torn wrote:
It is Caleb who is saying that a person's conscience may be right or may be wrong, but his human reason can determine with certainty what is right and what is wrong.
I said that people are not infallible. Despite their being capable of mistakes, they are capable of knowing things with certainty. You seem to believe that unless a person cannot ever be mistaken, he cannot ever know with certainty that he is correct about anything. To the contrary, I can know many things with certainty despite my not being able to know everything with certainty.
torn wrote:
How does one go about doing it?
As I said before (but not too often), a person judges his specific situation in relation to the unchanging moral law. The sincerity or intentions of a person have no effect on the correctness of his actions.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:02 am 
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caleb wrote:
torn wrote:
It is Caleb who is saying that a person's conscience may be right or may be wrong, but his human reason can determine with certainty what is right and what is wrong.
I said that people are not infallible. Despite their being capable of mistakes, they are capable of knowing things with certainty. You seem to believe that unless a person cannot ever be mistaken, he cannot ever know with certainty that he is correct about anything. To the contrary, I can know many things with certainty despite my not being able to know everything with certainty.

Then we are back to the point that if a person sincerely acts according to his conscience, and nevertheless does something which is wrong, he cannot be blamed for doing wrong if he has no way of knowing that it is wrong.

Previously, on this point, I said:
torn wrote:
What then is the person's way of knowing right from wrong? If a person has to choose between two acts, one which would be the right act to do and the other the wrong act, how does he know which one to do? How can he be blamed if he chooses the wrong one unless he knows it is the wrong one?
:scratch:
Explain that to me.

To which you replied:
caleb wrote:
You are not listening. Human reason can in fact determine with certainty the right and wrong of specific actions, but the judgment of conscience, like all activities of human reason, is not infallible. The judgment of conscience is not immune from making mistakes.
torn wrote:
How can he be blamed if he chooses the wrong one unless he knows it is the wrong one?
As I just said, it is wrong to assume that without an infallible conscience no one can ever tell what is right and wrong. Let's leave that aside.

Let's now come back to it: You are now saying that human reason can in fact only sometimes determine with certainty the right and wrong of specific actions. So my point is that when human reason is unable to know if an action is the right or wrong action, and as - according to you - conscience may not necessarily know either, then a person cannot be blamed for acting wrongly if he has no way of knowing that he is acting wrongly.

For example, any sane person knows that it is wrong to go out and murder the first person you take a dislike to. But if a single man and a single woman (e.g in a committed loving relationship) want to sleep together without going to all the trouble of having to wait to get married first (one or both of them may not even want to get married), how are they to know that it is wrong if they both believe that, according to their conscience, it's absolutely okay, there is nothing wrong with it, they are doing no-one any harm, they are just like a married couple without the piece of paper? How can they be blamed if they have no way of knowing that it is wrong?


caleb wrote:
As I said before (but not too often), a person judges his specific situation in relation to the unchanging moral law. The sincerity or intentions of a person have no effect on the correctness of his actions.

How does a person know what the unchanging moral law is? Where can it be consulted?

For example, if the couple I've just mentioned wanted to know, how would they go about knowing? Or the health worker who has to decide whether or not he should distribute condoms to prostitutes in poor areas of Africa where AIDs is killing people, how would he decide what he should do? Consult his conscience? Use human reason? Act according to "the unchanging moral law"? But how does he know or find out what the unchanging moral law is in this case, so that he can act according to it? :scratch: That's the bit I don't get.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:36 pm 
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torn wrote:
You are now saying that human reason can in fact only sometimes determine with certainty the right and wrong of specific actions. 
That isn't precisely what I've said. I've said that conscience is capable of being mistaken. You've altered my statement with phrases of your own that carry a different meaning: "can only sometimes determine" and "no way of knowing." These phrases are your misrepresentation or misunderstanding of my words. Further, you're claiming that human fallibility makes knowing the truth impossible. To the contrary, being capable of making mistakes doesn't make certainty impossible. If we were talking about mathematical formulas, anyone would immediately see the absurdity in your claiming that because a person is capable of making math mistakes, there is no way of knowing mathematical principles.
torn wrote:
But if a single man and a single woman (e.g in a committed loving relationship) want to sleep together without going to all the trouble of having to wait to get married first (one or both of them may not even want to get married), how are they to know that it is wrong if they both believe that, according to their conscience, it's absolutely okay, there is nothing wrong with it, they are doing no-one any harm, they are just like a married couple without the piece of paper? 
Again, it's premature to talk about specific cases without establishing the principles of the moral law, reason, and conscience. In any judgment of the morality of an action, it is not the consent of conscience that gives legitimacy to the moral law. The moral law precedes the conscience and gives legitimacy to the conscience. Additionally, an action does not become good when there are good intentions and sincerity. The morality of an action is determined by the universal standard of the moral law, the knowledge of which is each person's responsibility. Conscience is the awareness of the law as an external command.

Finally, the Church has the authority to command interior acts. Whenever the Church defines moral precepts, these precepts are binding on the conscience. Contrary to what you're trying to claim, the force of a moral precept is more obvious, not less obvious when the person experiences the precept as a stark command.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:19 pm 
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caleb wrote:
torn wrote:
But if a single man and a single woman (e.g in a committed loving relationship) want to sleep together without going to all the trouble of having to wait to get married first (one or both of them may not even want to get married), how are they to know that it is wrong if they both believe that, according to their conscience, it's absolutely okay, there is nothing wrong with it, they are doing no-one any harm, they are just like a married couple without the piece of paper? 
Again, it's premature to talk about specific cases without establishing the principles of the moral law, reason, and conscience.

How long do I have to wait before you are ready to answer? Could you just go ahead and establish "the principles of the moral law, reason, and conscience" and then answer my specific questions:

If a person does not know that an action is wrong - which he sincerely believes to be right, according to his conscience - and he has no way of knowing that it is wrong at the time of performing the action, then how can he be blamed for doing the wrong thing?

If a single man and a single woman (e.g in a committed loving relationship) want to sleep together without going to all the trouble of having to wait to get married first (one or both of them may not even want to get married), how are they to know that it is wrong if they both believe that, according to their conscience, it's absolutely okay, there is nothing wrong with it, they are doing no-one any harm, they are just like a married couple without the piece of paper? How can they be blamed if they have no way of knowing that it is wrong?

If a health worker has to decide whether or not he should distribute condoms to prostitutes in poor areas of Africa where AIDs is killing people, how would he decide what he should do? Consult his conscience? Use human reason? Act according to "the unchanging moral law"? But how does he know or find out what the unchanging moral law is in this case, so that he can act according to it?


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:00 pm 
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torn wrote:
How long do I have to wait before you are ready to answer? Could you just go ahead and establish "the principles of the moral law, reason, and conscience" and then answer my specific questions:



Are you a lawyer?

Are you conducting a cross examination?

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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:28 pm 
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torn wrote:
Could you just go ahead and establish "the principles of the moral law, reason, and conscience" and then answer my specific questions
As I've said, discussing specific cases without establishing universal principles is premature. You believe that there are no universal moral laws or that universal moral laws cannot be known. You believe that whenever a person sincerely believes he is right, he is blameless no matter what he does. I'm expressing different views, namely, those of the RCC: A person's beliefs, even his 'sincere' beliefs, do not establish the objective right or wrong of his actions. Certainty is possible. Truth exists and can be known. The Church has the authority to command acts of conscience.

As long as we dispute the fundamental principles that govern specific cases, why discuss the specific cases? First, we need to resolve the principles according to which specific cases must be judged.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:03 am 
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caleb wrote:
torn wrote:
Could you just go ahead and establish "the principles of the moral law, reason, and conscience" and then answer my specific questions
As I've said, discussing specific cases without establishing universal principles is premature. You believe that there are no universal moral laws or that universal moral laws cannot be known. You believe that whenever a person sincerely believes he is right, he is blameless no matter what he does. I'm expressing different views, namely, those of the RCC: A person's beliefs, even his 'sincere' beliefs, do not establish the objective right or wrong of his actions. Certainty is possible. Truth exists and can be known. The Church has the authority to command acts of conscience.

As long as we dispute the fundamental principles that govern specific cases, why discuss the specific cases? First, we need to resolve the principles according to which specific cases must be judged.


caleb wrote:
You are not listening.

Are you listening, caleb?

caleb wrote:
You believe that there are no universal moral laws
You are not listening, that's not what I believe.

caleb wrote:
You believe that universal moral laws cannot be known.
You are not listening, that's not what I believe.

caleb wrote:
You believe that whenever a person sincerely believes he is right, he is blameless no matter what he does.
You are not listening, that's not what I believe.

I have never believed nor said any of those things. Where do you get these false beliefs about me from? I have made myself very clear several times, and yet you still think I have said things which I have never said. Here is what I have said, which you need to read more carefully - try to read without imagining that I am saying something else:

torn wrote:
caleb wrote:
You believe that a person who sincerely believes he is right, can never be accountable for doing wrong. That is what I mean.

I don't know where you got that idea from. I have never said that. :scratch:


torn wrote:
caleb wrote:
Do you think a person can act with the sincere conviction that he is responding to the voice of God and therefore believe he is doing what his conscience demands, and not only be wrong but also be condemned by God for his actions?

A person can of course wrongly believe that he is following his conscience, when he is not following his conscience, and act from that belief with sincere conviction. Whether or how much God condemns him for his actions, I am in no position to judge. "Walk a mile in my shoes...".


torn wrote:
It's all very well to say there is a universal moral law, but how does a person know what it is and what it is not, unless there is something within him to let him know. What is the part of him that lets him know? I call it - as Cardinal Newman called it - the true voice of conscience which is in everyone (though in some people it can become very much buried and obscured through repeated improper behaviour and suppression and neglect, etc). What do you call that part of us that knows right from wrong, if you are not calling it conscience?


torn wrote:
caleb wrote:
Let's, however, take your notion of conscience to its logical end. If conscience is the infallible voice of right and wrong, then we should be able to reach an infallible answer to your question, and the answer should be the same for everyone. If conscience cannot be wrong, each conscience will give the same answer. What does the infallible voice of conscience say in response to your question? If you do not know offhand, then consult The Voice, deeply and sincerely and get back to us.

How many times do I have to make it clear to you that no-one is arguing with you that a person can make a wrong judgement when trying to follow his conscience? It's absurd for you to even think that I am suggesting otherwise.

But my point is as I have stated:
torn wrote:
No-one is suggesting that the judgement a person makes - after consulting his conscience - cannot be wrong. Obviously it can be wrong. But you are saying that it is the person's conscience that is wrong. You are saying that a person does not have a true voice of conscience which knows right from wrong. You are saying that there is no such thing. All there is, according to you, is a conscience which may be right or may be wrong.

My point is that deep inside we know what is right or what is wrong, otherwise we could not be blamed for not doing the wrong thing. However, for various possible reasons, we may not always be true to the true voice of conscience, we may not be open to what it can tell us. We may get it wrong, but if we get it wrong it's not because we cannot know what is right. It's not because the true voice of conscience is misleading us that we get it wrong. But we can still get it wrong, for many possible and complex reasons.

Whereas you are saying that even if we are true to the voice of conscience, it may not be true to us, it may mislead us.

In that case then we cannot be blamed for doing the wrong thing, if we do not know it is the wrong thing. However, you are saying that we can be blamed because there is a way of determining "with certainty the right and wrong of specific actions" through human reason. So explain to me how that works, because I don't understand how it works. Do you have to have above average intelligence to "determine with certainty the right and wrong of specific actions" by means of "human reason"? Is the process different for Catholics and non-Catholics? I'm really in the dark as to what you mean. I have always been taught that I should always consult and follow my conscience is such matters. I have never been taught what you are proposing. So please explain.

caleb wrote:
torn wrote:
For example, suppose a health worker in a poor African district is in a position to supply condoms to prostitutes (to help prevent the spread of AIDs). Should he?

I would say he should consult his conscience, deeply and sincerely.
In the case of supplying condoms, a Catholic health worker has the advantage of relying on the moral teachings of the Catholic Church which obligate him, so your example may not be the best example.

I think that is a very good example precisely because the moral teaching of the Catholic Church in regard to that precise situation is very unclear. So a Catholic health worker in that situation would either have to follow his conscience, or - according to you - use "human reason" to "determine with certainty" what he should do. So how would he go about using human reason to determine with certainty whether he should supply condoms to prostitutes in areas of Africa where AIDs is killing people?

You can answer it first of all, for a Catholic health worker, and secondly for a non-Catholic health worker, if you wish.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:07 am 
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Do I really have to explain it all again? Are you listening?

I believe - as Cardinal Newman believed - that in every person there is a true voice of conscience by which he knows right from wrong. In Cardinal Newman's words:
Quote:
But, of course, I have to say again, lest I should be misunderstood, that when I speak of Conscience, I mean conscience truly so called.
If a person did not have a true conscience, or never had a true conscience, how could he possibly be blamed for wrong actions, if he has no way of knowing that his actions are wrong?

You, caleb, are saying that it is not by means of his conscience that he knows what is right and what is wrong. But you are saying that he can nevertheless know by some other means - through "human reason" - what is right and what is wrong. It is not clear to me whether you mean that a person can always know through human reason what is right and what is wrong, or that he cannot always know. But if he cannot always know, then my point is that on the occasions when he is unable to know, then he cannot be blamed for choosing to do the wrong thing, as long as he at least attempts to do the right thing (i.e. by consulting his conscience).

But please try and understand: I believe that a person can always know what is right and what is wrong, what he should and should not do, by listening to the true voice of conscience within himself. You are the one saying he cannot know by listening to his conscience. It is you who is saying that, not me.

Al that I am saying is that if a person has no way of knowing what is right and what is wrong - and never had any way of knowing - then he cannot be blamed for doing the wrong thing, as long as he sincerely tries to do the right thing. That is as clear as can be.

So either a person has a way of knowing right from wrong, or if he hasn't, he cannot be blamed. So which is it? Does a person have a way of knowing right from wrong, always, or not always? If not always, then do you agree that on those occasions when he has no way of knowing - and if he never had a way of knowing - then he cannot be blamed if he does the wrong thing?

Or, if you think a person always has a way of knowing right from wrong actions, could you please tell me how he can know, if not by listening to the true voice of conscience?

Please illustrate your explanation by explaining how a person can decide the right course of action - other than by listening to the true voice of conscience within himself - in these situations:

If a single man and a single woman (e.g in a committed loving relationship) want to sleep together without going to all the trouble of having to wait to get married first, how are they to know that it is wrong if they both believe that, according to their conscience, it's absolutely okay, there is nothing wrong with it, they are doing no-one any harm, they are just like a married couple without the piece of paper? How can they be blamed if they have no way of knowing that it is wrong? Or if they have a way of knowing that it is wrong, please explain what that way of knowing is.

If a health worker in a poor African district is in a position to supply condoms to prostitutes (to help prevent the spread of AIDs), should he? How would he know what is the right thing to do if not by listening to the true voice of conscience within himself? If there is no way for him to know what is the right thing to do, but he sincerely acts according to his conscience, then how can he be blamed if he does the wrong thing?

In other words, ought he be able to choose the right course of action? If so, how ought he be able to?

For the benefit of Ancient Oracle, you do not have to answer any of my questions, caleb. But if you don't, I will draw my own conclusions. Please don't say yet again that it's too soon to answer them. It's been a long time now. I don't mind if you say anything else you want to say before answering them, as long as you then answer them, or else say that you are unable to answer them.

I am really very interested in hearing how a person can know what is the right thing to do without listening to his conscience, in these situations I have outlined, and generally.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:17 pm 
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torn wrote:
You, caleb, are saying that it is not by means of his conscience that he knows what is right and what is wrong.
I'm saying that conscience alone is not a law unto itself and is therefore only a part of what leads a person to know right and wrong. What you're leaving out in your opinion of conscience is this: The conscience is a subjective faculty. The conscience isn't a repository of rules, as if the conscience were a book that a person only needs to consult. The conscience is a sense. Conscience is personal responsibility. This fact is why we say that a person develops his conscience. He develops his conscience by consulting the moral law. The moral law is an order that exists independent of individual circumstances and that governs them. It is from this moral law that the legitimacy of a person's actions comes; the legitimacy doesn't come from his conscience. The moral law is also unwritten, but we have codified judgments, prescribed by the Church, that represent the moral law and that are therefore binding.
Newman wrote:
But, of course, I have to say again, lest I should be misunderstood, that when I speak of Conscience, I mean conscience truly so called.
Why is Newman taking such care to make sure he isn't misunderstood. The reason is that Newman is speaking of conscience aligned with reason and the moral law. A person must always follow the certain judgment of his conscience. With regard to the conscience, certainty means that the person knows definitively that an action would either break from or conform to reason and the moral law. Having such knowledge, a person must act in accordance with it.
torn wrote:
In other words, ought he be able to choose the right course of action? If so, how ought he be able to?
As I said above, the Church codifies some principles, and a certain conscience will always conform to these codifications because the Church commands interior acts. The Church commands acts of conscience.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:39 pm 
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caleb wrote:
torn wrote:
In other words, ought he be able to choose the right course of action? If so, how ought he be able to?
As I said above, the Church codifies some principles, and a certain conscience will always conform to these codifications because the Church commands interior acts. The Church commands acts of conscience.

So how then would a person go about ascertaining the moral law and deciding what is the right course of action in this situation: If a health worker in a poor African district is in a position to supply condoms to prostitutes (to help prevent the spread of AIDs), should he?


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:17 pm 
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torn wrote:

caleb wrote:
You are not listening.

Are you listening, caleb?



More "So's your old man" response ...

You still need the Holy Spirit if you wanr wisdom and understanding.

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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:08 am 
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Ancient Oracle wrote:
torn wrote:

caleb wrote:
You are not listening.

Are you listening, caleb?



More "So's your old man" response ...

You still need the Holy Spirit if you wanr wisdom and understanding.

And so do you.


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:42 am 
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torn wrote:
Ancient Oracle wrote:
torn wrote:

caleb wrote:
You are not listening.

Are you listening, caleb?



More "So's your old man" response ...

You still need the Holy Spirit if you want wisdom and understanding.

And so do you.


"So's your old man"

The real answer to all your squirming is still to be found outside of you.

_________________
"If the world is against truth, then I am against the world."


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 Post subject: Re: Should you sometimes act against your conscience?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:53 am 
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torn wrote:
So how then would a person go about ascertaining the moral law and deciding what is the right course of action in this situation: If a health worker in a poor African district is in a position to supply condoms to prostitutes (to help prevent the spread of AIDs), should he?
"Deciding the right course of action" isn't a process that depends first on the situation. As I've said before, the judgment of specific circumstances is always subsequent to the moral law and to reason, from the consultation of which the will proceeds to action. The circumstances, no matter how complex and no matter how compelling, don't create the rule of action that the person must follow. To the contrary, the moral imperative of the law precedes the circumstances, and the law already contains the circumstances.

No matter how mutable the human condition is, the moral law remains static. No matter how hard the moral law is to know or to follow amid the vicissitudes of life, the moral law retains its coercive force. I take it that these points are the stumbling block, so without acknowledging the primacy of the law and reason, we can't address circumstances. Why not? Because the question you're asking with many colorful descriptions is no different than the question, Should a person supply condoms?


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