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What is a well-formed conscience? How do I develop my conscience?

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“Conscience is a judgement of practical reason that helps us to recognize and seek what is good and to reject what is evil” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1778, 1796).

A well-formed conscience is an ongoing exercise (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1784). The Church offers the following process in forming one’s conscience:

  • When examining any issue or situation, we must begin by being open to the truth and what is right.
  • We must study Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church.
  • We must examine the facts and background information about various choices.
  • We must prayerfully reflect to discern the will of God (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, no. 18).

The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults adds:

  • The prudent advice and good example of others support and enlighten our conscience.
  • The authoritative teaching of the Church is an essential element.
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit help us develop our conscience.
  • Regular examination of conscience is important as well (p. 314).
  •  (“What is Conscience?”)

See also – A Well-Formed Conscience

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