Father Habiger is a Benedictine priest in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison Kansas. Since 2003 he has been a full-time member of NFP Outreach where his focus is primarily upon promoting God’s Plan for Marriage and Spousal Love, which includes counter acting the contraceptive and sterilization culture. He does this through parish missions, NFP parish weekends, Theology of the Body seminars, and consultations with priests and bishops during “clergy days”. Father Matthew has his PhD in Moral Theology from the Catholic University of America. He is very well qualified to address the challenging topic of “conscience”.
If you want to do some homework for today’s program, you can read about conscience in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) beginning with: http://www.usccb.org
1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment…. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God…. His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”
For many people–and clergy are no exception, conscience poses a difficult subject. The CCC says that we must obey our conscience. BUT, we must have a “well-formed” conscience (CCC, 1783), or we will be led astray by the evil one as a consequence of Original Sin.
Conscience poses a very serious challenge for many Catholics in their discernment about sexual morality, particularly in addressing contraception, sterilization, artificial reproductive technologies, and Natural Family Planning.