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Wednesday 14 May 2014

Conversations on Conscience Three

The Awakening Conscience by Holman Hunt
Thank God, however, the eternal principles of virtue, justice, and truth, the perception of the essential difference between good and evil, right and wrong, are too deeply engraved in the human heart to be altogether erased. Even from the depths of what seems a hopelessly hardened conscience, a divine voice is heard calling out in this wilderness of sin for repentance and reform. The inextinguishable voice of true conscience cries aloud, as in St. Augustine, sunk in the mire of sin, for healing, light and guidance.

I want to highlight the lax conscience in this last of three posts on conscience. The lax conscience is one which is ignored. Unlike the reference above, a person who ignores the voice of God through natural law in one's conscience denies the Holy Spirit working in them.

Such a person is totally responsible for ignoring that "still, small voice" which is the voice of God.

Many times a lax conscience happens when one purposefully chooses to ignore the advice of holy people, or even peers who understand the law of the Church.

When I was a teenager, I went on a weekend retreat in college. Someone had brought an Ouija board and set it up during "relaxation" time. A small group started to play with it. This was in the late sixties, and no one seemed to be familiar with this board, and some were curious. Thankfully, we have many more warnings now about the demonic connection with the Ouija board. One girl went over and touched it and immediately drew back. She almost yelled, but said this, "Stand back, this is dangerous. I am having nothing to do with this."

Some of those around here, thankfully, left the group. This is an example of how others can warn us of spiritual dangers and sin.

A mother told me her girl was hanging around wiccas. She warned her adult daughter to drop those friends. Many horrible things happened to the girl, like repeated car accidents and losing job after job, until she began to listen to her mom. Her so-called friends wished evil onto her through malice.

We are responsible for the loss of keenness in our consciences.

A couple which is living in fornication repeatedly make excuses for their living in sin. A side-effect of self-delusion is the hardening of conscience.

But, God's grace is stronger than any person's hardness of heart.

Pray for those who have allowed their consciences to become lax.

They have dulled their sense of sin. From the CCC. 

1849 — Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is a failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. Its wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”
1850 — Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight” (Ps 51:4). Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin (of Adam and Eve), it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods” (Gen 3:5), knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.” In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation (cf. Phil 2:6-9).


Sorry got this late, but may not be too late

Floor vote for Heartbeat Bill Now Possible
with a Discharge Petition! 

Heroic Pro-life Leader Representative Ron Hood, with the help of Rep. Matt Lynch, is now circulating a discharge petition to bring the Heartbeat Bill to an immediate floor vote. If we can get 50 state representatives to sign it, the Heartbeat Bill will be brought to an immediate floor vote!   

The Good News is, it's been done before and the Better News: it was Rep. Ron Hood who did it!   Back in 1994, Ron Hood was the only State Rep. who helped circulate the discharge petition that successfully brought the nation's first ban on Partial Birth Abortion to an immediate floor vote and into law.  This was against the wishes of a Republican Speaker (just like now).

PLEASE make your calls before 1:00 today if possible--when the Republican caucus is meeting and leadership in the House (including Speaker Bill Batchelder, who signed the discharge petition 20 years ago for a much less protective bill) is likely to fiercely fight our effort.   

Here is the first round of phone calls that need to be made ASAP with the message:  "Please sign the Discharge Petition to bring the Heartbeat Bill to a floor vote!" Even Speaker Batchelder signed a discharge petition for a much less protective bill in the past!  It's time to "choose life" and do what it takes to protect babies!  That's what we elected you do do!"

  1. Rep. John Adams: 614-466-1507
  2. Rep. Kristina Roegner: 614-466-1177
  3. Rep. Peter Beck 614-644-6027
  4. Rep. John Becker 614-466-8134
  5. Rep. Cliff Rosenberger: 614-466-3506
  6. Rep. Jim Butler: 614-644-6008
  7. Rep. Terry Boose: 614-466-9628
  8. Rep. Ron Young: 614-644-6074
  9. Rep. Terry Johnson: 614-466-2124
  10. Rep. Christina Hagan 614-466-9078
  11. Rep. Kirk Schuring: 614-752-2438
  12. Rep. Matt Huffman 614-466-9624
  13. Rep. Mark Romanchuk 614-466-5802

Once you make your calls, please pray for Reps. Ron Hood and Matt Lynch, who are leading the charge!  Then, forward & post this email asking your friends to call.  

Conversations on Conscience Two

The Church is quite clear on the teaching regarding conscience. There are several types of conscience.

Sadly, some teachers in Catholic institutions do not teach this fact, from the CCC.

1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

Invincible ignorance is an evil, a disorder. It is not a "pass-go" into heaven. How this idea became corrupted, I do not know, but those who teach that invincible ignorance exonerates someone entirely from pursuing the truth is not Catholic teaching.

Natural law is given to all by the fact that we are human. Therefore, those who suppress natural law within their consciences are guilty of sin.

As the CCC notes, "one must work to correct the errors of moral conscience".

Here is a reminder of the primacy of natural law as against the false laws of men. From Dignitatis Humanae:

1. A sense of the dignity of the human person has been impressing itself more and more deeply on the consciousness of contemporary man,(1) and the demand is increasingly made that men should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty. The demand is likewise made that constitutional limits should be set to the powers of government, in order that there may be no encroachment on the rightful freedom of the person and of associations. This demand for freedom in human society chiefly regards the quest for the values proper to the human spirit. It regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society. This Vatican Council takes careful note of these desires in the minds of men. It proposes to declare them to be greatly in accord with truth and justice. To this end, it searches into the sacred tradition and doctrine of the Church-the treasury out of which the Church continually brings forth new things that are in harmony with the things that are old.
First, the council professes its belief that God Himself has made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve Him, and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness. We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men. Thus He spoke to the Apostles: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have enjoined upon you" (Matt. 28: 19-20). On their part, all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and His Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it.
This Vatican Council likewise professes its belief that it is upon the human conscience that these obligations fall and exert their binding force. The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.
Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.
Over and above all this, the council intends to develop the doctrine of recent popes on the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society.
2. This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.
The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.(2) This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.
It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth. However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.
3. Further light is shed on the subject if one considers that the highest norm of human life is the divine law-eternal, objective and universal-whereby God orders, directs and governs the entire universe and all the ways of the human community by a plan conceived in wisdom and love. Man has been made by God to participate in this law, with the result that, under the gentle disposition of divine Providence, he can come to perceive ever more fully the truth that is unchanging. Wherefore every man has the duty, and therefore the right, to seek the truth in matters religious in order that he may with prudence form for himself right and true judgments of conscience, under use of all suitable means.
Truth, however, is to be sought after in a manner proper to the dignity of the human person and his social nature. The inquiry is to be free, carried on with the aid of teaching or instruction, communication and dialogue, in the course of which men explain to one another the truth they have discovered, or think they have discovered, in order thus to assist one another in the quest for truth.
Moreover, as the truth is discovered, it is by a personal assent that men are to adhere to it.
On his part, man perceives and acknowledges the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation of conscience. In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious. The reason is that the exercise of religion, of its very nature, consists before all else in those internal, voluntary and free acts whereby man sets the course of his life directly toward God. No merely human power can either command or prohibit acts of this kind.(3) The social nature of man, however, itself requires that he should give external expression to his internal acts of religion: that he should share with others in matters religious; that he should profess his religion in community. Injury therefore is done to the human person and to the very order established by God for human life, if the free exercise of religion is denied in society, provided just public order is observed.

More here...

The types of conscience follow, beginning with the faulty ones:

A dubious or doubtful conscience suspends judgement, and is faulty. Many of the relativists have not developed their consciences and live in this area of doubt or agnosticism. They are absolutely responsible for not developing their consciences. Many who followed the philosophy of Existentialism fell into this trap of non-judgement. But, the false tolerance of today is connected with the doubtful conscience.

A false or erroneous conscience is one which confuses right with wrong. If we are culpable for such, our consciences would be culpably erroneous. Only those in true invincible ignorance could fall under this title.
of inculpably erroneous. Perhaps people in isolated areas of the world, or those who are under strict communist or Islamic tyrannies may have not heard the truth of the Gospel.

If we are responsible, and most people in the West would fall under this sanction, then we have a culpable erroneous conscience.

A certain conscience is one which we must follow even if there may be errors. For if we are certain of something and do it against our conscience, we fall into sin.

An example would be if a Catholic did not realize that the bishops of his conference did not declare Friday fasts as obligatory, but thought eating fish on Friday was a mortal sin, and did eat fish on Friday, that certain conscience would be violated and there would be sin.  Protestants who believe something in the Catholic Church is seriously wrong and avoid the Church because they believe that thing is sinful, such as devotion to Mary, are less culpable but still in error. They must try and find out their errors, but if they are following a certain conscience, they are less culpable. Error is in not growing in truth.

The true conscience is one formed according to Revelation and the Teachings of the Catholic Church.

That this teaching on the formation of consciences has been overlooked is a serious matter for Catholic teachers.

If you want to read more, go to Summa Theologiae Ia, q. 79, a. 13 and

as well as Fr. Laux' Catholic Morality. 

to be continued....

Conversations on Conscience

We have a conscience before we are born. It is given to us from the moment of our conception. This ability to apply natural law to situations is actually a judgement from reason. As all people are born with reason, all people at some levels of competency are able to judge according to conscience.

St. John Chrysostom writes that since all humans have a conscience, no human needs a guide or teacher with regard to natural law. He also writes that no one can "...pretend to ascribe the neglect of virtue to ignorance..."

Some Catholic teachers have been very wrong is saying that humans have no culpability for certain actions, such as abortion or contraception or homosexual sex. The Catholic Church through her teaching has always held that simply by the fact that we are human, we know certain things are unnatural and sinful

But, it is also the duty of Catholics to develop their consciences to become more sensitive through the teachings of the Church.

God is the first Creator of Law, both natural law and revealed law, the Ten Commandments. Natural law and the Ten Commandments are one and the same. God revealed the Ten Commandments because men forgot to look into their own reason and sinned against their natural consciences.

Christ Himself, through His Life and teaching also taught us how to follow and illuminate our consciences through the sacraments of the Church, through those conduits of sanctifying grace.

God is the first Creator of Law in the Church as well.

St. Paul is the first person to use the word conscience in the Scriptures, as teachers have told us.

Romans 2:15

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them.

When we die, we shall stand before God and accuse ourselves in our particular judgment. I had a small glimpse of this almost three years ago and it was a terrible but revealing happening. I have written about this before. One so-called small venial sin before the Perfection, Goodness and Purity of God is like a mountain.

What I have learned about conscience has been taught to me through the teachings of the Catholic Church from my Holy Communion prep days until even this day. None of what I write about the conscience should be new or startling. But, many false teachers make excuses and even deny natural law, to the peril of the souls of those they teach.

St. Paul also states,

Romans 9:1

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit—

When we are in the Holy Spirit, after baptism, we have the ability to develop our consciences.  A really good  conscience is one which finds the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church. One author, who taught about the conscience, Fr. Laux, which I use in teaching religion and who I used in home schooling and from whom I have been reminded of the above truths, writes this:

"A true conscience speaks the truth; it tells what is truly right and truly wrong. It is a genuine Echo of the voice of God."

to be continued..

Let us pray for all those who are depressed

This novena, found on two sites here, may help all those who are in depression, including one of my brothers. Join me in this novena

Well, for once I agree with an EU ruling

Buffett's Triumph over Life

Equals deaths of 2.7 million babies.


There is no sunset in God's land.
One lives in the bright morning ever
new, ever young, waiting for nothing,
wanting nothing, but content in the
moment of light.

There is no sunset in God's land,
where one rests for the first time,
off the line of battle, taking deep
breaths of air newer than the
first days of earth.

There is no sunset in God's land.
You and I will both be young again,
both inside and out, full of new life
where all dreams meet and desires
are met in grace.

There is no sunset in God's land,
only the Light of Him Who is Light,
no sun, no moon, only the shared
illumination of love.  One must learn
to stand in light.

There is only dawn in God's land,
the sweet colors of duck egg blue
and pink-orange meaning life, new
ever, new, like on that first day
we knew we loved,

And were loved.

Hope, Faith, Love and The Sins Against the Holy Spirit

Even educated Catholics have fallen into error concerning free will, the formation of conscience, and sin.

Conversations today and yesterday remind me that many Catholics do not understand the sins which surround them. The false teaching in many places regarding culpability created mushy minds which cannot grasp the fact that those who choose against the Catholic Faith after having been given the opportunity to see the Truth are those who have sinned seriously. We need to pray for those who have turned their back on the Church after hearing the Gospel preached and after having been taught some of the basics, or even higher levels.

One of Newman's contemporaries said that he admired him but one could not understand how Newman could choose the Catholic Church.

Blindness? Obstinacy?

Below is a list of the sins against the Holy Spirit. Yes, people do freely choose these. To deny choice is to deny free will in these matters.

Envy of spiritual goods may be a vastly common sin, as some people who are suffering in the throes of sin refuse to repent and, therefore, hate those who are in sanctifying grace. Satan hates those in sanctifying grace. 

Obstinacy in sin forms a huge blockage, as one has been told the truth of sin and repentance, but one chooses to go against such teaching. 

Why a person is obstinate may be for simple reasons, like wanting one's own way, or wanting to be popular.

Final impenitence denies the fact that God desires all the be saved. 

Some of the sins against hope are presumption and despair.

These are sins against the Holy Spirit directly, as one turns away from Truth to listen to the devil, the world, or the flesh.

If one knows the Truth and turns against it, this sin is a serious mortal sin, depriving the mind of discernment and the soul of grace.


1. Presumption of God's mercy.
2. Despair.
3. Impugning the known truth.
4. Envy at another's spiritual good.
5. Obstinacy in sin.
6. Final impenitence.

Searching for Divine Love or Self-Love?

Recently, I have been distressed by a good priest's emphasis on mortal sins needing to be confessed, but not necessarily venial sins. Venial sins chip away at the good intentions a Catholic may have regarding repentance. And, venial sins impede the way of perfection.

How can one enter seriously on the road to holiness without considering one's venial sins, which are impediments to perfection? How can one enter into purgation without admitting that these supposedly small sins do not affect one's discernment?

The will is weakened by venial sins. And, we cannot become saints if we tolerate these sins, as these are huge stumbling blocks for the use of the virtues and gifts of the Spirit.

Venial sins form walls and allow for the continuation of egotism. Venial sins reveal areas of self-love which must end before Christ allows us to experience the fullness of His love. Otherwise, we would misuse this love and merely feed ourselves, instead of the Church.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this:


1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134

Thoughts on Mary's Dowry

The time of mercy is coming to an end. Many people who pray have felt this. God has given us a wonderful time of mercy before the great trials of this century begin.

To think like a Catholic means being realistic and understanding the signs of the time. I am looking at a bright orange and reddish sunset. "Red sky at night, Sailors delight".

To read the signs of the time, one must have humility, realizing that God is in control, not men.

My discussions with Catholics in England have been frustrating of late because there is a vast number who do not see or understand the coming wrath of God.

Will God ignore the number of abortions much longer? Will He ignore the passing of laws which allow and even encourage one of the sins which cries out to God for vengeance?

Will God ignore the fact that the land where His Own Mother came with a message of humility and obedience has fallen into gross disobedience and pride?

Too many excuses...Pray for England, Mary's Dowry. We may not see her flourishing until after a great time of trial for Catholics who have been too complacent and too accepting of evil.

Confidence in God-Hope Part Two

Confidence in God is not presumption. One can have a healthy fear of the Lord, realizing one's sins and the need for grace and still be confident.

I have seen people actually undermine others' confidence on purpose. There seems to be an evil maliciousness in some people who do not like to see other people confident in God.

I think this evil may be envy of the good. Or, it may be the hatred of joy.

Hope gives us real confidence in God. St. Therese of the Child Jesus is one saint who points us to confidence, even in the middle of great suffering.

For those who think she did not suffer, read this.

"I get tired of the darkness all around me. The darkness itself seems to borrow, from the sinners who live in it, the gift of speech. I hear its mocking accents: It's all a dream, this talk of a heavenly country, of a God who made it all, who is to be your possession in eternity!  All right, go on longing for death! But death will make nonsense of your hopes; it will only mean a night darker than ever, the night of mere non-existence!" (SS, Ms. C., Knox translation)

Even the Little Flower was tempted to doubt, assailed by the evil demons who surrounded her in her trials. But, she did not give in to doubt and overcame sins against hope, either despair or presumption.

Do not listen to those who undermine your faith, your hope, your love.

Look to Jesus.

Thoughts of Hope, The Forgotten Virtue

I write this for all of those readers who have brothers and sisters, or cousins, or even children, who have fallen into despair.

Despair, the opposite of presumption, becomes an ugly monster which takes one away from God and into darkness. The evil one wants us all to concentrate on the negative, on our past sins, on the number and seriousness of our sins, instead of looking towards Christ.

Despair denies the Goodness and Power Who Is God.

It is difficult for those who have a habit of despair to break away from the lies of satan.

But, all Christians, in the sacraments of baptism, as given the theological virtues of faith, hope and love.

Most of us understand faith and love, but many fall away from cultivating hope.

St. Paul is clear on this subject.  We hope for our salvation in Christ and we hope for what we do not see.

Romans 8:24

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?

Hope is cultivated by prayer and meditating on the Cross, the sacrifice which Jesus made for each one of us.

Hope creates confidence that God will answer all our prayers. 

Too many people are negative about prayer. Even in this time of suffering in my family, praying for my brother who is so despondent, some do not believe that God can set things right. They persist in looking at the past and at sin or lack of faith, instead of having confidence that God loves all of us and wants us to be saved.

I think the over-emphasis on thinking that it is not God's Will to save all causes some who pray to lose hope.

Hope is a living virtue and  one to be used daily. 

I am tired of hearing people tear down those who pray-even Catholics do this. They lack hope. They lack the confidence that God is hearing all our prayers. They deny the Power and Goodness of God.

Here is St. Paul again.

Romans 12: 9-12 (NRSVCE)

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Please join me in prayer for my brother and all who have set aside hope, that this virtue would be given to them in times of trial, to bring them back to confidence in Christ.

We need the courage and confidence from hope to face evil and say "Get behind me, Satan."

Mary, Our Mother, increase our faith, hope and love, but today, especially, hope.