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Common Ground: CCC 1776-1802

by PastorMinton on October 4th, 2017

PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST

SECTION ONE: MAN’S VOCATION

CHAPTER ONE: THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

ARTICLE SIX: MORAL CONSCIENCE

The human conscience is a many-splendored thing. It is that little voice inside our head that tries to help us determine right and wrong. Conscience is “a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed” (paragraph 1778).

The main difference between the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran ideas of conscience are basic, yet drastically different. The Catechism tells us, “Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil” (paragraph 1777). The Catechism teaches that the Christian’s conscience is redeemed through Jesus’ blood on the cross and is cleansed of the stain of original sin in Baptism. Therefore it is only able to lead us into what is right. This idea is how they rationalize their view of works righteousness apart from Pelagius’ heresy. Dignitatus humanae (1965) teaches that a man should not act contrary to his conscience. This is the same grounds Luther stood upon at the Diet of Worms (1521). It is not too surprising that the Roman Catholic Church would agree with Luther 444 years after his stand.

For Lutherans, human conscience is a valuable gift from God. It is part of the image of God in which we were created, but it is plagued by sin even after Baptism. This is the great split between Rome and Luther over original sin. Rome teaches that original sin is destroyed in Baptism. Luther taught that original sin remains in Christians and tempts us to commit actual sins.

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