Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
LAW OF CONSCIENCE
The natural law as it manifests itself within each person's conscience, where its dictates are expressed by certain basic tendencies of nature, evaluated and regulated by right reason. It is binding in conscience as the fundamental source of moral duty. Human law, on the other hand, is binding only insofar as it agrees with the natural law of conscience.
All human beings are subject to the law of conscience, no matter when or where they live. It is, therefore, universal and unchangeable. No one can dispense from its observance, which becomes binding as soon as a person reaches the use of reason.