Shame, Shame, Shame Or: When We’ve Done What We Know We Shouldn’t Have Done

Our age is not an age of identity because we all sat around, contemplated, and found nestled in our psyche a whole batch of identity-nuggets that our forefathers had missed — our sex, race, gender, orientation, culture, and ideology. Our age is possessed by the immense will to identify ourselves within ever-expanding categories of being […]

Einstein’s Relativity Theory and Moral Relativism

Einstein’s relativity theory properly concerns the physical cosmos. But it seems to me to describe exactly the situation of the intellectual and spiritual world of our time. Relativity theory states that there are no fixed systems of reference  in the universe. When we declare a system to be a reference point from which we try […]

St. Basil, St. Augustine, and Cardinal Newman’s Toast to Conscience and the Pope

[Saint] Basil knows that love consists in keeping the commandments. for this reason, the spark of love, which has been put into us by the Creator, means this: “We have received interiorly beforehand the capacity and disposition for observing all divine commandments … These are not something imposed from without.” Referring everything back to its […]

On Guilt

[T]he feelings of guilt, the capacity to recognize guilt, belongs essentially to the spiritual make-up of man. […] It is as necessary for man as the physical pain that signifies disturbances of normal body functioning. Whoever is no longer capable of perceiving guilt is spiritually ill… —from On Conscience, a collection of two essays by Joseph […]

A man of conscience is…

I would say, when we are speaking of a man of conscience, we mean one who looks at things this way. A man of conscience is one who never acquires tolerance, well-being, success, public standing, and approval on the part of prevailing opinion at the expense of truth. + Thus, two standards become apparent for […]

The Capability of Man to Perceive the “Should”

When the only thing that determines what is morally right is one’s individual, subjective judgment, then there is no overarching moral truth to which all are bound. In such a situation, those who have the greatest power can impose their positions on other, unchecked by any authority apart from themselves. Indeed, such an understanding of […]

Community and Conscience

In the nearby village of Rebdorf, one is free to enter a field planted with strawberries and do one’s own picking. There is a little metal box at the edge of the field where one simply drops one’s coins for the berries picked—an unquestioned “honor system.” Religious practices and countless proverbs constantly reinforce this sense […]