Volume 1, Part 8

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Making moral choices can be complex. Well-formed consciences aided by Prudence are required. At the personal level, the exercise of one's conscience begins with the rejection of sin! At the societal level, the exercise of one's conscience begins with the outright opposition to existing and proposed policies and laws that violate human dignity or the sanctity of life! Those who knowingly, willingly, and directly support a public policy or piece of legislation that opposes or undermines Catholic or universal moral principles cooperate with evil!

To aid us in our formation of conscience and to guide our actions, the Church offers a moral framework. This moral framework is presented to us both as individuals and as the Catholic communion (Faithful Citizenship, USCCB). It is based upon a consistent ethic of life expressed as seven key themes. These themes from Catholic social teaching provide a moral framework that does not easily fit with political ideologies. These themes are neither partisan nor sectarian – they reflect fundamental moral or ethical principles that are common to all people.

Rightly understood, this moral framework neither treats all issues as morally equivalent – which they are not – nor does it reduce Catholic teaching to one or two issues. Rather, it anchors the Catholic commitment to defend human life, from conception until natural death, in the fundamental moral obligation to respect the dignity of every person as a child of God. It unites us as a People of Life for Life (Evangelium Vitae) pledged to build what Pope John Paul II called a "culture of life" (Evangelium Vitae). This culture of life begins with the pre-eminent obligation to protect innocent life from direct attack and extends to defending life wherever it is threatened or diminished.

Deacon Joseph B. Gorini, Mechanicsburg PA <///><  [First Published October 17, 2010]

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