- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
- Pontifical Academy for Life, Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith.
- Pontifical Academy for Life
- Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance
Strategy to Abolish Right of Conscience
- Archbishop Alex J. Brunett* |
. . .I want to share with you my deep concern about a
growing threat to human life that could have grave
implications for the church: the campaign by abortion
advocates to deny Catholic health care providers their
fundamental human right of conscience to refuse to take part
in morally evil actions such as abortion and euthanasia. . .
The freedom of conscience rights
- Archbishop J. Michael Miller
*| . . .Lest the right of conscientious objection not be
recognized, Catholic health-care professionals, chaplains
and all those who assist them must love freedom enough to
insist on this right in the public forum. We must never
allow ourselves to become marginalized because of our lack
of courage. . .
Religion, reason, voting
- Francis Cardinal George
*| . .
. Conscience is not an excuse for doing something
irrational. We are to form our consciences according to the
social teaching of the Church and use that formation to make
political choices. This is not easy, because principles are
clear but practice often is clouded by confusion of fact and
the distraction of various forms of self-interest. . .
The moral conscience in ethics and the contemporary crisis
- Bishop Anthony Fisher* |
. . . Conscience is indeed the proximate norm of personal
morality, but its dignity and authority "derive from the
truth about moral good and evil, which it is called to
listen to and to express." Sincerity cannot establish the
truth of a judgment of conscience and freedom is never
freedom from the truth but always and only freedom in the
truth. . .
Conscience: the Aboriginal Vicar of Christ
- George Cardinal Pell*
| . . .It is interesting that few argue that if your
conscience instructs you to be racist or weak on social justice issues, it
is acceptable to be so. Primacy of conscience only appears with the sexual,
or like, issues. This does look rather suspicious. . .
Health Care Reform and the Future of the Catholic
- Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M.*
| . . .If you're a doctor or ethicist or hospital
administrator or system executive working in Catholic health
care, and in good conscience you cannot support Catholic
teaching or cannot apply it with an honest will - then you need to follow your conscience. The
Church respects that. Obedience to conscience is the road to
integrity. But conscience, as Newman once said, has rights because it
has duties. One of those duties is honesty. It
may be time to ask whether a different place to live your vocation,
outside Catholic health care, is also the more honest place for your
personal convictions. What really can't work is staying
within Catholic health care and not respecting its religious and moral
principles with all your skill, and all your heart. . .
Canadian Catholic Conference (Canadian Conference of
- 1 December, 1973 | . . .For a believer, this
teaching of the magisterium . . . cannot be just one
element among others in the formation of his
conscience. It is the definitive cornerstone upon
which the whole edifice of conscientious judgement
must be built. . . Moreover, it would be unthinkable
that the Spirit, speaking in the heart of the
redeemed Christian, would be in opposition to
himself teaching in the authority established by
Jesus . . . (Statement on the Formation of Conscience)
Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belgium
Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belgium
Conference of Catholic Bishops of Bolivia
- Pastoral Guidance on the Implementation of the Reproductive Health
Law: While we would have wanted the Supreme Court to nullify the
(Republic Act No. 10354), we must now contend with the fact that it has
ruled rather to strike down important provisions of the law in deciding
Imbong v. Ochoa, G.R. 204819 (April 8, 2014) and companion
cases. It is our pastoral duty to pass the necessary information and
instruction to our Catholics who, as health care workers (physicians,
nurses, midwives, medical aides, medical technologists, etc.), are
employed in health facilities, whether public or private, so that they
may know what their rights are under the law as passed upon by the High
Court. . .
Letter on the Morning After Pill, 23 March, 2001
| . . .Considering that the use of such a product
touches fundamental human values to the point of affecting
human life at its beginning, this Conference feels the
urgent need and duty to offer some clarifications on the
issue. In doing this, we are only re-stating well-known
ethical stands and principles supported by precise
scientific documentation and by Catholic ethical doctrine. .
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Testimony, 20 February, 2002 | . . .
Legislation that will protect conscience by prohibiting
discrimination against health care providers is urgently
needed to counteract these attempts nationwide to undo
existing protections. . . (Re: Kansas Health Care
Providers Rights of Conscience Act)
Arizona Catholic Conference
New Vision, May, 2008 | . . .Conscience is at the
heart of human dignity and freedom. The free will of
all people requires that individuals not be forced
to act contrary to their conscience. The Catholic
Church affirms and asserts this, especially in
religious matters. . . .(Freedom of Conscience: A Pastoral Statement)
California Catholic Conference
| . . . can we as Catholic individuals and Catholic
institutions continue to function as a viable part of
American society if we lose the "conscience clause" as a
method of opting out of immoral or illicit public policy? In
this paper, I will respond to these questions and assert
that the challenge of cooperation in American society is
synonymous with the challenge of keeping effective opt-outs.
. .(Conscience Clauses and the Challenge of Co-operation in a Pluralistic
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
Viewpoint, Summer, 1998
| The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and
Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association have been working
with legislators to ensure the continuation of Catholic
health care in Pennsylvania through conscience protection
amendments to two managed care bills currently in the state
Senate. . .
The Catechism provides succinct statements of Catholic
Commentary from other sources is a reliable guide to Catholic
teaching only to the extent that it conforms to the teaching of
the magisterium of Pope and bishops in union with him.
The Health Care Professional as Person: The Place of Conscience
- Bridget Campion* | . . .Recently I was asked to present "the Catholic position"
on physician-assisted death as part of a panel discussion held at a downtown
Toronto hospital. The purpose of the event was not to debate the issue but
to educate participants about various points of view. I ran into some
difficulty when I was discussing the Catholic Church's interest in
protecting the consciences of health care staff. One panelist immediately
redirected our attention to the needs of the patient seeking
physician-assisted death and the conversation left the health care
professionals behind. In this short article, I would like to bring the focus
back to the doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, therapists, in
short, to the health care staff involved in patient care and who may have
objections to performing or assisting in physician-assisted death.. . .
The Fundamental Human Right to Practise and be Trained
According to Conscience
- Mons. Tarcisio Bertone, SDB
* | . . .When there is a conflict between the moral norm and
the law, i.e. between natural law and positive law, the only instrument to
overcome the dilemma or the clash is conscientious objection. Conscientious
objection represents a founded and legitimate dissent in relation to the
constituted order, due to its dissonance towards a higher law. . .
The Role of the Christian Conscience in the Promotion of
Life in Relation to Developing Countries
- Ivan Cardinal Dias*
| . . .To form conscience means to be convinced that as long
as in some part of the world people are dying of hunger,
there will be elsewhere those who eat for two, not because
they are hungrier than others, but because they have greater
abundance. . .
Choosing between good and evil
- Fr. Vincent Hawkswell*
| . . .We are forbidden to do evil. Moreover, "we have a
responsibility for the sins committed by others when we co-operate in them,"
warns the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We can do this "by participating
directly and voluntarily" in others' sins; "by ordering, advising, praising,
or approving" them; "by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an
obligation to do so"; and "by protecting evil-doers." . . .
- Fr. John Kelly*
| . . .are we really justified
in upholding the principle that one must follow
one's conscience, when so many people, by following
their conscience, seem to make so many mistakes? . .
Formal and Material Co-operation (with
- National Catholic Bioethics Center (USA)
| . . .Cooperation in the ethically significant sense is
defined as the participation of one agent in the activity of
another agent to produce a particular effect or share in a
joint activity. This becomes ethically problematical when
the action of the primary agent is morally wrong. . .
Courage to Refuse to Cooperate in Evil
- Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk*
| Great care, discretion, and courage are required as
we seek to avoid cooperation in medical situations where immoral practices
may not only be tolerated, but even at times almost imposed on us.
Rights, the Person and Conscience in the Catechism
- Janet Smith*
| . . . Many have observed that the modern world is so
pluralistic in its moral thinking that there is no common
moral discourse. Yet there is one mode of moral discourse
that seems to have a kind of universal currency and that is
the language of human rights. . .
Freedom to Choose God
- Janet Smith*
| . . . Religious freedom . . . is not absolute. It is a
fundamental human right but one subject to reasonable
limitation. Let me comment on the current state of bioethics
as a means of illustrating what can go wrong when we
misunderstand the proper reach of human freedom and why the
important element in religious freedom is not so much
freedom as it is religion. . .
Cooking Up a Healthy Portion of Conscience
- Donald DeMarco*
| . . . It is a commonplace misunderstanding of freedom that
it is something negative and somehow becomes more itself to
the degree that it is separated from knowledge. . . .
Another common misconception is that conscience can operate
alone, apart from objective truth. But conscience does not
create truth, but discovers it. . .
Conscience and Modern (i.e., Democratic) Totalitarianism
- Rev. Robert John Araujo, S.J.*
| . . . conscience is assumed to be a purely subjective
thing, a personal preference that is fundamentally
irrational. . .My objective here is to examine the exercise of
conscience and religious liberty in a particular light removed from the
drama and heroism of peaceful civil disobedience. My effort is designed to
look at the nature of properly formed conscience and the corresponding
exercise of religious freedom and what it may mean in the context of the
United States and other western democracies today. . .
What role does Conscience play
in Medical Ethics?
- D. Vincent Twomey, SVD*
| . . . conscience is assumed to be a purely subjective thing, a
personal preference that is fundamentally irrational . . . The sincerity of those who hold a subjective view of conscience
is not in doubt. But is it enough? More importantly, what is wrong about
that all-pervasive contemporary understanding of conscience? For the
rest of this paper, I will concentrate on such a misunderstanding in the
hope of clarifying what conscience in fact is. . .
Clarifying Our Terms for 2015
Catholic moral theology has a great way to sift through some of
the hardest moral debates.
- Mark Gordon*
Two-thousand-fourteen was a contentious year in the Catholic
community as debates on a variety of issues divided the faithful. In
the 2014 election,
54% of self-described Catholics voted for Republicans, with that
number rising to 60% among white Catholics. Healthcare and
immigration reform, Common Core education standards, religious
liberty, American foreign policy - including the torture debate -
and even the normalization of relations with Cuba all provided
fodder for often acrimonious food fights among Catholics . . .
- Michael Sean Winters*
| . . . We are called to conform ourselves to the moral law and so form
our consciences that this conformity is understood, properly, as a
genuine liberation, a freeing of one's capacity to choose so that we
choose the good. In short, our exercise of conscience is not just a
legal claim of immunity. . .
Conscience, Contraception, and Catholic Health-Care
- Janet Smith*
| . . . One of the most difficult teachings of the Church is
its condemnation of contraception. . . This essay outlines the process for
properly forming the conscience. It also explains why prescribing
contraception is morally wrong. . . .
Statement on the So-Called 'Morning After Pill'
Catholic Health Care Providers and the Issue of
Emergency Contraception: Offering Compassion and Truth
in Cases of Rape and Sexual Assault
- Kara A. Crawford
. . . The Church, cognizant of her duty to defend the
sacredness of human life, can never condone the use of any
abortifacient drug regimens or procedures, regardless of the
circumstances surrounding conception. However, this stance
must be distinguished from the administration of
contraception following rape or sexual assault, which is not
prohibited by natural law or by the Church. . .
Interview: Seeking an Ever Clearer Conscience
- A. Cyrenian | How a Catholic pharmacist followed his
convictions and stopped dispensing contraception.
Tube Feeding: Medical Treatment or Basic Care?
- Adrian Treloar*,
Philip Howard* | The authors
argue that feeding tube placement is a medical procedure and as such
requires consideration of the benefits and risks as for any other medical
treatment. However, the day-to-day use of feeding tubes, to provide
hydration and nutrition, constitutes ordinary care that does not require
medical supervision. Withdrawal of tube feeding raises major ethical and
Responses to Certain Questions of the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops Concerning Artificial
Nutrition and Hydration
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Nature and Necessity of Conscience
Protections for Health Care Providers
Belgian Catholic psychiatric hospitals
'adjust' their view of euthanasia
- Michael Cook*
| One of the last substantial barriers to
increasing the number of euthanasia cases for
non-terminally-ill psychiatric patients in
Belgium seems to have crumbled. A religious order in the Catholic Church, the
Brothers of Charity, is responsible for a large
proportion of beds for psychiatric patients in
Belgium – about 5,000 of them. The international
head of the order, Brother René Stockman, is a
Belgian who has been one of the leading
opponents of euthanasia in recent years. Nonetheless, in a surprise move this week,
the board controlling the institutions of the
Brothers of Charity announced
that from now on, it will allow euthanasia
to take place in their psychiatric hospitals. .
Brothers of Charity: Vision of Euthanasia Adjusted
- English translation | The Brothers of Charity group in
Belgium approved a changed vision of euthanasia in psychiatric illness
in a non-terminal situation. . .
Head of Belgian order explains shock move
- René Stockman (interview) | Brother René Stockman is the superior general
of the Brothers of Charity, a "congregation" of
the Catholic Church which cares for the poor and the needy. . . This
week the Belgian region, where the congregation started in the 19th
Century, announced the startling news that its hospitals would offer
euthanasia to non-terminally-ill psychiatric patients who request it. .
. MercatorNet interviewed Brother Stockman by email about this break with
Catholic opposition to euthanasia.
Belgian Catholic group explains switch on euthanasia
- Raf De Rycke (interview) | . . . A religious order
in the Catholic Church, the Brothers of Charity, which is responsible
for a large proportion of beds for psychiatric patients in Belgium
announced that it will allow euthanasia to take place in its facilities.
This has been an extremely controversial move because the Catholic
Church is unequivocally opposed to euthanasia. . . The local
organisation has clearly split from Rome on this issue. . . In the email
interview below, the chairman of the board of the Brothers of Charity in
Belgium, Raf De Rycke. . . explains the point of view of the dissidents.
Euthanasia for psychic suffering in a
- Brothers of Charity (Belgium) | The Organization of the Brothers of Charity continues to stand by its vision statement on euthanasia for mental suffering in a non-terminal situation. In recent weeks, paths have been explored to get both parties to the table. However, this has not yet produced any results. In the meantime, we will continue to request establishing a dialogue so that we would have a chance to explain our vision statement and our argumentation.
. . .
Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells
Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses
- Pontifical Academy for Life, Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith