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Religions 2017, 8(10), 201; doi:10.3390/rel8100201

“My Conscience is Clear” (1 Cor 4:4). The Potential Relevance of Paul’s Understanding of Conscience for Today’s Fundamental Moral Theology

Department for Theology, University of Warmia and Mazury, ul. Hozjusza 15, 11-041 Olsztyn, Poland
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 17 September 2017 / Accepted: 21 September 2017 / Published: 23 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics)
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Abstract

The objective of this paper is to examine the Pauline understanding of conscience, with the view of gaining an inspiration from it for the contemporary discussion on the foundations of the Christian ethics. The meaning Paul attaches to it depends on the context (mainly in Rom and 1 and 2 Cor), ranging from the personal to the communal one. Conscience holds the secrets of human hearts, evaluates concrete circumstances, and discerns right from wrong. It enjoys special relationship with the Holy Spirit, who gives it credibility. Paul’s teaching on conscience extends beyond the personal to the communal. One of the most important inspirations we can draw from him is the one concerning the proper relationship between various members of the ecclesia: those appointed to hold authority, and those supposed to submit to it. How should we balance the communal demands and personal freedom of every baptized member of the community? What is common and what is personal? Despite a multitude of cultural differences and real-life problems in the world of Saint Paul and our own, a careful lecture of his writings may stimulate our debates on the foundations of Christian ethics in a positive way and ensure that they do remain the theological ones. View Full-Text
Keywords: conscience; moral autonomy; Pauline letters; self-awareness; faith; freedom; ecclesiastical community conscience; moral autonomy; Pauline letters; self-awareness; faith; freedom; ecclesiastical community
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Machinek, M. “My Conscience is Clear” (1 Cor 4:4). The Potential Relevance of Paul’s Understanding of Conscience for Today’s Fundamental Moral Theology. Religions 2017, 8, 201.

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