Eclipse of Conscience

In this morning’s conference we are dealing with natural law and moral choices and conscience in our of society. It is interesting that children are actually taught a great deal – a kind of creed – but sometimes we assume they have been taught very little.

They learn in a kind of anti-tradition and anti-creed that God is not important. They learn a traditionless tradition. They learn wrong mores and a wrong understanding of "authority".

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Scott W. says:

    I’d be interested in a summary of it. I recall an interview with Fr. Thomas Williams when he published Knowing Right from Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience. In the interview he said there are two major errors regarding conscience. One (and the more deadly and prevalent one in my estimation) is that conscience is moral law unto itself. So if one says their conscience says it’s ok to contracept, then it IS ok. This isn’t how conscience works and is similar to sitting in a room engulfed in flames and saying there is no fire because the smoke alarm isn’t beeping. The other error views conscience as nothing more than a referee whom you only hear from when you do something wrong. Properly, conscience also prompts one to betterment, cultivating virtues, etc.

  2. RlovesJ says:

    To me, this is the subject that most needs our attention in this chaotic culture. Any conference insights will be most appreciated.

  3. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I would love to trace the history of how conscience went from the little voice telling you what you should do when you wanted to do something else (a la Jiminy Cricket) to the authority by which you could do whatever you want, irregardless of what you should do.

    It’s one of the greatest tricks Old Scratch ever pulled off.

  4. bnaasko says:

    I expect that one of the reasons for this is the near total absence of real men in the lives of children. Many fathers are completely absent in the lives of their children, and many their fathers are not really authority figures in their homes. In the schools the situtation is reinforced. Nearly all elementary teachers are women and very few principals are men any more either. I think few children have much real experience of what loving authority is, because they don’t see it in Dad, and they don’t see it in school. And in many catholic parishes, they don’t really see it from the pastor either, because to many delegate their authority away to pious church ladies, who, as lovely as they are, are not men.

  5. John Enright says:

    It is extremely sad that “adults” seek to brainwash their children this way. There has to be a solution to this nonsense.

  6. I have to assume that the State is imparting just the sort of creed it wants to impart.

  7. mrteachersir says:

    Ya think, Father? I’m just a lonely school teacher, and I could have told you that!!!

  8. mrteachersir says:

    I meant lowly…I am certainly not lonely

  9. Thomas G. says:

    mrteachersir – Freudian typo, perchance? :)

  10. Thomas S says:

    It’s the TELEVISION. It is the dominant cultural influence in society. Whoever controls it, controls the culture. Even young kids from good families are misled by degrees because of the constant barrage and wind up in a very bad place.

    The Church has been civilization’s greatest patron of the arts and that needs to happen with our new(ish) media. And I’m sorry, but that doesn’t include Christian (wretch) Rock music and cheesy Kirk Cameron made-for-TV movies.

  11. tzard says:

    This post has prompted a lot of thinking on the subject.

    In my experience, Children start out knowing right from wrong, and authority (Mom and Dad)- early on. The Very young are much smarter than adults give them credit for. Even Infants know this stuff.

    Yet they also start learning the opposite (or unlearning) soon too. How much is the various influences (television, peers, school, society), or how much is due to original sin in the child is something that’s hard to generalize.

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