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Life in Christ

441

1789

Some rules apply in every case:

— One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

— the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you,

do so to them.”

56

—charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and

his conscience: “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding

their conscience . . . you sin against Christ.”

57

Therefore “it is right

not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble.”

58

IV.

E

rroneous

J

udgment

1790

Ahuman being must always obey the certain judgment of

his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would

condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains

in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be

performed or already committed.

1791

This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsi-

bility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out

what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost

blinded through the habit of committing sin.”

59

In such cases, the

person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792

Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by

others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken

notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s author-

ity and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can

be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

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.

1794

A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith,

for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good

conscience and sincere faith.”

60

56

Mt

7:12; cf.

Lk

6:31;

Tob

4:15.

57

1 Cor

8:12.

58

Rom

14:21.

59

GS

16.

60

1 Tim

5; cf. 3:9;

2 Tim

3;

1 Pet

3:21;

Acts

24:16.

1756

1970

1827

1971

1704

133

1860