Tagged: Conscience

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Such May Be Slain But Not Crowned

St. Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage. He died a martyr’s death in 258. His skill in Latin was so impressive that he was considered the Church’s best Latin writer until Augustine and Jerome. Cyprian was key to resolving the Novatianist schism. As such, he had quite a lot to say about the evils of schism. If you doubt whether this man has something to teach you about faithfulness, just look at his final conversation...

sentire cum ecclesia

Do you believe everything the Church teaches? But do you really?   When candidates make their profession at the Easter Vigil, they are asked, “Do you believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God?” The question cannot really be asking, “Do you in fact have specific knowledge of each and every thing that the Church teaches? If so, do you assent to those teachings?” It’s...

The Pope Francis Generation

I’m too young to have known John Paul II. He died before I cared about Jesus, let alone the pope. Benedict was pope during my conversion at the end of high school and during college. But I was too deeply entrenched in culture war stuff to care much about what the pope had to say. Back in college I binged listened to Catholic Answers. I read The Catholic Thing pretty much daily. I regularly read...

John Calvin and Communion in the Hand

John Calvin, the Reformation theologian in Geneva who lead the development of Protestant theology, was nothing if not a brilliant mind. Calvin’s contributions to the history of theology are almost always wrong, but they are so skillfully wrong that I cannot help but be impressed by their intricacy. One example of this is Calvin’s perception of the numinous, a concept not elucidated until 1917 by the Lutheran Rudolf Otto. In his most famous work, The...

Sheep Gotta Sheep

Yesterday, I outlined the role pastors play in helping to form our consciences. Because the teaching office of the Church has been established by Christ and is preserved by the Holy Spirit, we are called to be sheep and to listen for the voice of Jesus in our pastors.  But what happens when we reject our role as “sheep”? Anecdotally, I have heard from at least a few people who distrust the Pope that they...

Pastors Gotta Pastor

The Christian faithful need pastors to guide them in the truth, to help form their consciences, and to call them to greater holiness. In the past weeks (regarding the synod), years (regarding Francis’ papacy), and decades (regarding the post Vatican-II Church), many Catholics have rejected their pastors, falling into a state of categorical distrust of the Church under the guise of conscience. It’s true: the Church gives the conscience a high place.  Our experience of...

Hedge Maze

A Moral Maze

Over the past couple of weeks, Where Peter Is has featured some articles presenting dueling metaphors about Christian freedom, conscience, and the place of other people in informing conscience. Paul Fahey first drew a picture of a garden, walled by God, in the middle of a wasteland. He suggested that there should be complete freedom of movement within this garden, and that though some people may find a need to limit themselves further to avoid...

Out of the Garden

To live in the freedom of Christ is to live in hope, peace, and joy. Yet, during our earthly life, our Christian freedom is constantly in danger, through our own sinfulness, the temptations of the world, and our own human weaknesses.  Some can have confidence, through various signs, that their lives are permeated with the grace of God, but all risk creating in themselves attitudes of self-assuredness through pride. We cannot claim to “possess” what...

Modern Pharisees and the Abuse of Freedom

There’s an image that I would like to use as a framework for this article. Imagine the moral life as a garden, an oasis surrounded by a wasteland. We, the persons in that garden, have everything that will make us truly happy, yet we all have this disordered desire to go out into the wasteland. So God set up a fence around the garden, a clear barrier between life and death so that we would...

Malforming Consciences in Ireland

I watched in sadness as the Eighth Amendment vote in Ireland unfolded. While, like most Americans, I know people with familial connections to Ireland, I had no means to influence the vote in even a minimal way. Like a bad movie where the disappointing ending is telegraphed from the first act, the ultimate vote was tragic but sadly not unexpected. Before proceeding on this contentious issue, I’d like to ensure my readers are familiar with...

Did Amoris Laetitia open the door to contraception coverage at Notre Dame?

In February of this year, Fr. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame, wrote a letter explaining that after years of fighting in court, and even after being granted an exemption by the federal government under the Trump administration, Notre Dame would allow for their health insurance programs to directly cover “simple” and non-abortifacient contraceptives. In this statement, Fr. Jenkins referred to the “conscientious” decisions of Notre Dame’s employees and students...