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440

Part Three

II.

T

he

F

ormation of

C

onscience

1783

Conscience must be informed and moral judgment en-

lightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It

formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with

the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education

of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected

to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own

judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1784

The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the

earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice

of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education

teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride,

resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born

of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience

guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1785

In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light

for our path;

54

we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it

into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the

Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided

by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative

teaching of the Church.

55

III.

T

o

C

hoose

in

A

ccord with

C

onscience

1786

Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either

a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or,

on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

1787

Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make

moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must

always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will

of God expressed in divine law.

1788

To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of expe-

rience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence,

by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy

Spirit and his gifts.

54 Cf.

Ps

119:105.

55 Cf.

DH

14.

2039

1742

890

1955

1806