The Personalist Project

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Accessed on December 09, 2019 - 10:40:50

Conscience and “original truth”

Katie van Schaijik, May 07, 2019

I'm thoroughly enjoying my re-reading of great JP II documents in preparation for the ToB conference in June. All my favorite themes keep getting pinged. Take this item from Familiaris Consortio.

The education of the moral conscience, which makes every human being capable of judging and of discerning the proper ways to achieve self-realization according to his or her original truth, thus becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced.

Sit with that line for a minute: "achieve self-realization according to his or her original truth".

I don't know about you, but in the conservative world I grew up in and still mostly inhabit, the idea of "self-realization" was practically derided as liberal claptrap. So was the idea that there's such a thing as "original [i.e. subjective] truth" Even today, you find flat denials that any such thing as "my truth" or "your truth" exists. I wrote about it here. Conscience is talked about as if it's nothing more and nothing other than a rational application of natural law to particular cases. Individual subjectivity is practically irrelevant.

I'll say it again: John Paul II and his great body of magisterial teaching is too often misunderstood in conservative circles, because those circles fail to duly recognize, appreciate and absorb the "turn to subjectivity" that everywhere complements and qualifies the late Pope's robust defense of objectivity.