A quick search returned the following from the Compendium of Catechism of the Catholic Church <http://bit.ly/10wHxJ>.
372. What is the moral conscience?
Moral conscience, present in the heart of the person, is a
judgment of reason which at the appropriate moment enjoins
him to do good and to avoid evil. Thanks to moral conscience,
the human person perceives the moral quality of an act to be
done or which has already been done, permitting him to assume
responsibility for the act. When attentive to moral conscience,
the prudent person can hear the voice of God who speaks to
him or her.
I believe I see your point. I would have a very difficult time reconciling this with Bourgeault's False Self in Action model of human morality, if I may call it that.
But you said, "it's also a matter of conscience." Have you reconciled these two radically different approaches to morality?
Kevin, I think the false self model presented by Fr. Keating and elaborated on by CB is a good way to understand our human brokenness and innate tendencies to attach to the agendae of the lower energy centers. It's primarily a psychological model, however, which is both its strength and its limitation. There are deeper spiritual levels of awareness in play at all times, and conscience has more to do with the moral dimension of spiritual intuition than with our cultural conditioning. Of course, the latter can and does influence conscience, but it doesn't totally determine its operations.
A couple of pertinent quotes:
- from Vatican ii document on religious freedom.
Although conscience is primarily ordered to discern moral action, the intuition through which it operates is also sensitive to other faith-related issues. That's more what I was referring to in the quote you posted above. So when I read something on spirituality and theology, I'm not only attentive to what the author is saying, but to how it affects my conscience and sense of the faith. I notice what resonates, strengthens, challenges, and disturbs. The latter deserves special attention, and I try to dig deeper to discern what disturbs me, and why. That's some of what I've shared about CB's book in this discussion. It doesn't mean I'm right, of course; what disturbs me might be a summons to grow. It also might indicate a teaching that is incongruent with Church teaching, however, and that's a serious matter, imo.
I hear you. And I respect your stand on faith, religion and the Church. Our respect for and approach to these things is clearly different. But I hope we can agree to disagree and will remain willing to engage one another again sometime soon.
Thank you Phil, for your thoughtful responses, challenging questions and, most of all, your respectful and congenial approach to our conversation. I learned more than a few things.
Looks like you're signing off, Kevin. I've enjoyed the exchanges as well, and hope you'll share with us sometime in the future what parts of this book spoke to you.
Hello Phil, No not signing off. Just giving this thread a rest.
I couldn't help google your name. Have you ever been to the Malvern Retreat House <www.malvernretreat.com>? I've taken many a retreat there. I'm sure you'd be a welcome member of their retreat leader staff.
Another thing we have in common is a fondness for May, Nouwen, St. John of the Cross and 12-Step spirituality. I worked the program - and it worked me - for 6 years in the late 80s.
Sounds like we have a lot of common interests, Kevin.
I've never been to Malvern Retreat House, but it looks like a really great ministry. I'd welcome an opportunity to visit there sometime.
Phil, Let me know when you're in the area. I would love to join you on a visit to Malvern <http://g.co/maps/srg4b>.
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