Conscience

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 […]

What Religion and Lions Have in Common

“Herod feared John,” knowing that he was a “just and holy man.” The wicked fear the good, because the good are a constant reproach to their consciences. The ungodly like religion in the same way that they like lions, either dead or behind bars: they fear religion when it breaks loose and begins to challenge […]