Cardinal George and several bishops in Illinois held a meeting with IL Gov. Pat Quinn in order to re-teach him the meaning of Catholic conscience. When the governor tried to downplay the teaching element of the meeting and play up the social justice angle, the Cardinal and bishops responded.
Their response is a good summary of Catholic teaching on the nature of moral conscience:
“As Catholic pastors, we wanted to remind the Governor that conscience, while always free, is properly formed in harmony with the tradition of the Church, as defined by Scripture and authentic teaching authority. A personal conscience that is not consistent with authentic Catholic teaching is not a Catholic conscience. The Catholic faith cannot be used to justify positions contrary to the faith itself. It is a matter of personal integrity for people who call themselves Catholic to act in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
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