"We need to be humble and pliable to seek and receive God's will for us, and thoughtful and "mature" in sharing it in our relationships and actions toward others. Misguidedly relying defiantly on the absolute truth of our own conscience' is not Catholic."
In my continuing research to discern the veracity of Father Paul Byrnes' "Why Catholic" presentation yesterday on the topic of "conscience," I found a wealth of information that further debunks his teaching. I shared a sampling of my additional findings and thoughts with Deacon Loren Mooney (St. Patrick Church in Cumberland):
The more I research/read, the more reassured I am that my understanding of the Catholic teaching (as opposed to Protestant or Eastern, which is what it seems we heard yesterday) is the authentic one; and the more convincned I am that Fr. Byrnes, sadly, holds a distorted, stunted, misguided view of "conscience."
Look at this: http://www.beginningcatholic.com/conscience.html. The article notes: "It's a long story, but a lot of people have been taught weak or bad doctrine for many years...."
Speaking of the "long story," here's the article I was recalling yesterday: http://www.catholicepaper.net/eeusers/catholicreview/. It's by Archbishop O'Brien.
And while Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae encyclical ((http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html) may not be ex cathedra, it is a solid, inspired teaching that we Catholics are obliged to respect and obey.
I believe that "conscience," as a reasoned judgment to discern right and wrong, good and evil, in the context of our life's past, present and future, is intended to employ moral law, not usurp it; and to be a catalyst for seeking good information and guidance in order to discern facts or movements in a situation and then make sound decisions for promoting a poisitive personal impact in society; and to help us to develop the ability to learn from our mistakes or misjudgments and to know when and how to make amends with God and others for our errors or transgressions within the guidelines of the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Church's teachings and the laws of the land; and to grow a solid foundational understanding of moral truth that results in maturity -- that is, well-roundedness and responsibility -- in thought and aciton.
God is God: We are not. Our consciences are not the source of moral truth. Our consciences are ever forming, and they are falible. We need to be humble and pliable to seek and receive God's will for us, and thoughtful and "mature" in sharing it in our relationships and actions toward others. Misguidedly relying defiantly on the absolute truth of our own "conscience" is not Catholic.
Prayers 4 u (and 4 Father Byrnes),
Update: See my additional October 25 post.