Primacy of Conscience in Catholicism and Orthodoxy

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I have been participating in a Catholic RCIA class for the past few months (round two, after a previous attempt several years ago).  In the class, it has been brought up by the instructors and assistants that Catholics are obliged to follow their informed consciences, even if their conscience urges them to violate Church teaching.  I have been doing some studying on this issue, as I do not believe that is an accurate representation of Church teaching.

What does Orthodoxy teach about the role of conscience?  If one believes a Church teaching is false, can one claim the guidance of conscience, and then proceed how they wish?

Thank you.
 

pmpn8rGPT

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sometimes your conscience might lead you away from the Church and into demons.  The ability to interpret is given to the Church not to individuals. 
 

Nephi

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The Iambic Pen said:
I have been participating in a Catholic RCIA class for the past few months (round two, after a previous attempt several years ago).  In the class, it has been brought up by the instructors and assistants that Catholics are obliged to follow their informed consciences, even if their conscience urges them to violate Church teaching.  I have been doing some studying on this issue, as I do not believe that is an accurate representation of Church teaching.

What does Orthodoxy teach about the role of conscience?  If one believes a Church teaching is false, can one claim the guidance of conscience, and then proceed how they wish?

Thank you.
Why would a Catholic ever teach that following one's conscience can allow one to violate Church teaching? That's like saying that Luther was completely justified because he believed he was following his conscience: “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

As for the Orthodox view, I'm unsure as to the role of the conscience but I don't believe one could ever use the conscience as a ground for violating the Church's teachings. Otherwise, what would the point in having spiritual guides/fathers be if we could just use our own conscience as a guide?
 

choy

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My conscience is leading me to the Orthodox Church
 

FatherHLL

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The Iambic Pen said:
I have been participating in a Catholic RCIA class for the past few months (round two, after a previous attempt several years ago).  In the class, it has been brought up by the instructors and assistants that Catholics are obliged to follow their informed consciences, even if their conscience urges them to violate Church teaching.  I have been doing some studying on this issue, as I do not believe that is an accurate representation of Church teaching.

What does Orthodoxy teach about the role of conscience?  If one believes a Church teaching is false, can one claim the guidance of conscience, and then proceed how they wish?

Thank you.
Our consciences can be seared, and so are not wholly reliable:

"Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." (1 Tim 4.2). 

 

Fabio Leite

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I don't remember which elder or saint, but the recomendation was "Don't follow your heart while it is not illumined yet", or something to that effect. While the heart is not pure it loves bad things also - and it is true love, only directed toward non-Godly or ungodly things.
 

Fabio Leite

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Sinatra's "My Way" is a hymn to modern ideals, summing up all that people value and strive for. And how diametrically opposed to love, God and Orthodoxy that is.

Frank Sinatra My Way Lyrics
now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and ev'ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
"Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way"

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

Yes, it was my way
 

Azul

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Fabio Leite said:
I don't remember which elder or saint, but the recomendation was "Don't follow your heart while it is not illumined yet", or something to that effect. While the heart is not pure it loves bad things also - and it is true love, only directed toward non-Godly or ungodly things.
and how do you know when your heart is "illuminated" ? :)

i personally believe that whatever one seeks from pure undefiled conscience he will get to the head of it.. if your conscience tells you one thing than if you do the oposite you go against you and who you are.. what he believes(in his conscience, my emphasis) that is what he is, someone said..
 

Fabio Leite

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We have to go against who we are often because who we are hates God. Loving God is not just saying prayers and going to Liturgy but to give up our own will and desires, empty ourselves to be with Him like He emptied himself to be with us.

An enlighted heart will know. If we don't then we aren't.


Azul said:
Fabio Leite said:
I don't remember which elder or saint, but the recomendation was "Don't follow your heart while it is not illumined yet", or something to that effect. While the heart is not pure it loves bad things also - and it is true love, only directed toward non-Godly or ungodly things.
and how do you know when your heart is "illuminated" ? :)

i personally believe that whatever one seeks from pure undefiled conscience he will get to the head of it.. if your conscience tells you one thing than if you do the oposite you go against you and who you are.. what he believes(in his conscience, my emphasis) that is what he is, someone said..
 

choy

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Fabio Leite said:
We have to go against who we are often because who we are hates God. Loving God is not just saying prayers and going to Liturgy but to give up our own will and desires, empty ourselves to be with Him like He emptied himself to be with us.

An enlighted heart will know. If we don't then we aren't.
Nice.
 

Azul

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Fabio Leite said:
We have to go against who we are often because who we are hates God. Loving God is not just saying prayers and going to Liturgy but to give up our own will and desires, empty ourselves to be with Him like He emptied himself to be with us.

An enlighted heart will know. If we don't then we aren't.


Azul said:
Fabio Leite said:
I don't remember which elder or saint, but the recomendation was "Don't follow your heart while it is not illumined yet", or something to that effect. While the heart is not pure it loves bad things also - and it is true love, only directed toward non-Godly or ungodly things.
and how do you know when your heart is "illuminated" ? :)

i personally believe that whatever one seeks from pure undefiled conscience he will get to the head of it.. if your conscience tells you one thing than if you do the oposite you go against you and who you are.. what he believes(in his conscience, my emphasis) that is what he is, someone said..
Didn`t God make you the way you are?I mean your character/personality, your essence.. Why would you need to become something else and go against who you are?Didn`t God make you this way?Did he do a mistake?Didn`t God made you to be you?

who we are can hate an idea of God.
 

Nephi

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Azul said:
Didn`t God make you the way you are?I mean your character/personality, your essence.. Why would you need to become something else and go against who you are?Didn`t God make you this way?Did he do a mistake?Didn`t God make you to be you?
Did you just forget the whole story of Adam and Eve? Why did Christ come again?
 

Fabio Leite

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Exactly. The most forgotten teaching of Christianity (and Judaism) is that we are *not* who God made us to be. It's the "Broken Nature" cosmology. The Universe is not as God intended, we are not born as God intended. Jesus job was basically two: healing our broken nature and deifying it.

Nephi said:
Azul said:
Didn`t God make you the way you are?I mean your character/personality, your essence.. Why would you need to become something else and go against who you are?Didn`t God make you this way?Did he do a mistake?Didn`t God make you to be you?
Did you just forget the whole story of Adam and Eve? Why did Christ come again?
 

Azul

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Fabio Leite said:
Exactly. The most forgotten teaching of Christianity (and Judaism) is that we are *not* who God made us to be. It's the "Broken Nature" cosmology. The Universe is not as God intended, we are not born as God intended. Jesus job was basically two: healing our broken nature and deifying it.

Nephi said:
Azul said:
Didn`t God make you the way you are?I mean your character/personality, your essence.. Why would you need to become something else and go against who you are?Didn`t God make you this way?Did he do a mistake?Didn`t God make you to be you?
Did you just forget the whole story of Adam and Eve? Why did Christ come again?
Uff.. Uff.. Christianity.. Christianity.. :)
 Banned for creating a duplicate account.
 

J Michael

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Sent to me (and a number of others) by a Byzantine Catholic priest of many years and much experience and used with his permission:
[size=10pt][size=10pt]
The very first thing they need to be taught is what the Church's teaching on "conscience" is, that "conscience" is not that little still voice that makes you feel guilty or not.   That it is a Spirit-guided application of God-given reason AND REVELATION to choose between objective good and evil.  More importantly still, the Church does NOT teach us to "follow your conscience", but "to INFORM your conscience to align it with the Church's teaching, and THEN follow it."
[/size][/size]
Emphases are mine.
 

orthonorm

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I might have to write my goodbye letter here soon too.

Does anyone think anymore?

Some of these threads lately are embarrassingly trite.

Regardless of how you decide things it is always in virtue of your conscious once it is at a reflective level.

The Church is no one's conscious as such once subjectivity is in play. People might allow "the Church" (whatever that means to them, the Priest they decide to listen to, the part of the Bible they think is relevant, the Patristic literature they find to be helpful) to inform their decisions, but in the end the radical openness of subjectivity means that for all people, they are choosing.

Luther was right about a lot of things. I would highly suggest actually reading his work as a descriptive analysis of hermeneutics rather than a prescriptive one.

Then move on to all the research done in his wake.

The Church's "teaching" is always a matter of subjectivity. This is no weakness and the recoiling from the insights of modernity is no answer to the problem. Subjectivity must be radically thought through by the Church in light of primarily Trinitarian thought.

Can't get around it, once you have reflected upon that which you thinking.
 

orthonorm

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J Michael said:
Sent to me (and a number of others) by a Byzantine Catholic priest of many years and much experience and used with his permission:
[size=10pt][size=10pt]
The very first thing they need to be taught is what the Church's teaching on "conscience" is, that "conscience" is not that little still voice that makes you feel guilty or not.   That it is a Spirit-guided application of God-given reason AND REVELATION to choose between objective good and evil.  More importantly still, the Church does NOT teach us to "follow your conscience", but "to INFORM your conscience to align it with the Church's teaching, and THEN follow it."
[/size][/size]
Emphases are mine.
Keep the emphasis cause everyone agrees on the Church's teaching.

I mean some people don't, but they aren't really representative of Orthodoxy.

To see examples of people disagreeing about the Church and its teachings, check out this link:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/
 
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