Ireland goes to the polls in the coming week to decide what is literally a matter of life and death as voters decide on whether to retain or repeal the equal protection of life given to both the mother and the unborn child in the Irish constitution. SS102fm didn't host any debates or discussions on the referendum because a) we wanted to give our listeners a "sacred space" on a Sunday morning away from the 'noise' of main stream media and b) because to do so would have meant having to give balanced airtime to both sides of the campaign under BAI rules which we could not do.
However, on this mornings programme we decided to repeat an interview which we conducted with Bishop-emeritus Dr Donal Murray back in 2015 about the issue of conscience and having an informed conscience. At that time, the interview was ahead of the same-sex marriage referendum and the purpose of the interview was to set out clearly what is meant from a Catholic point of view about discerning and voting with your conscience.
"Freedom of conscience" is regarded as one the key human rights of the current age but what does it actually mean from a Catholic perspective? What is conscience? Can a person be compelled to act against their conscience? How is a person to form his conscience so that it is not just their opinion but a considered and informed discernment?
You can listen to this weeks full programme podcast HERE.
You can listen to the discussion about informed conscience excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.
Some links around the issue of conscience:
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Cardinal Newman and conscience - Birmingham Oratory
- How Can We Hear the "Voice of God"? Blessed John Henry Newman and conscience Stephanie A. Mann The Catholic Answer
- EWTN - Catholic Conscience and Dissent
Jesus said to his disciples:‘When the Advocate comes,whom I shall send to you from the Father,the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father,he will be my witness.And you too will be witnesses,because you have been with me from the outset.‘I still have many things to say to youbut they would be too much for you now.But when the Spirit of truth comeshe will lead you to the complete truth,since he will not be speaking as from himselfbut will say only what he has learnt;and he will tell you of the things to come.He will glorify me,since all he tells youwill be taken from what is mine.Everything the Father has is mine;that is why I said:All he tells youwill be taken from what is mine.’