We earn 8% in referral fees when you shop Amazon through our link. We make it easy! Click to learn how.
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Appeals to 'conscience' weakened by rise of relativism

Catholic World News - September 13, 2011

When Church leaders appeal for government to recognize the rights of the individual conscience, Hadley Arkes remarks, they risk creating confusion, because the contemporary world does not recognize the proper meaning of the term:

The understanding of “conscience” has been deflated in our current law, along with the understanding of “religion.” John Paul II reminded us forcefully that “conscience” involves an appeal to an objective set of moral norms outside ourselves. The trend in the law, however, has been to accept as claims of conscience any beliefs personally and intensely held.

At one time the government recognized the link between conscience and faith, so that a “conscientious objector” was required to demonstrate a religious reason for refusing military service. But now any personal belief receives the same treatment, and individuals claim that they are obligated “in conscience” to perform acts (such as abortion) that others regard as profoundly immoral.

Arkes concludes: “We are flying an important banner when we unfurl the cause of “conscience,” but we are flying that banner in a culture that no longer understands us as we understand ourselves.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our March expenses ($33,009 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,991.25
94% 6%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Don’t touch that Smile! Helping CatholicCulture.org by shopping on Amazon. 6 hours ago
Church Fathers: Introduction to the Greek Apologists March 1
Ad Imaginem Dei: a gem of a blog on Christian art February 28
The Complexities of Persecution February 27
Ukraine: A great lesson in thinking like a Catholic. February 27

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis to address Congress in joint session in September CWN - February 5