Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Conscience and Catholic Politicians (Part 1)

An excellent interview on Zenit with Father Koterski of Fordham University.
While he recognizes, as the Church does, the "supremacy" of conscience. He
gives a succint definition of conscience:

"In the correct sense of the term, conscience is the judgment that we make
about whether an action we have done or are about to do is in conformity
with the objective and universal moral law that comes from God and that can
be known by us as the natural law. "

"Q: To what extent are Catholic politicians and public officials bound by
their individual consciences, even when they conflict with Church teaching?

Father Koterski: The issue here, I think, concerns the meaning of the term
"conflict with Church teaching."

The term "Church teaching" is a broad term by which people group together
various things that need to be carefully distinguished. The term can easily
run the range from "universal moral precepts that bind always and
everywhere" to recommendations of a practical nature made by one's local
pastor on a particular question.

Catholic politicians and public officials are bound just like the rest of
us to conform to Catholic teaching on matters of moral principle. In fact,
they have a special duty in this regard, precisely by reason of the office
they hold and their obligation to work for the common good. "

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