Catholic Medical Quarterly

The Journal of the Catholic Medical Association (UK)

Building knowledge. Building faith. Protecting the vulnerable.

Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 64(2) May 2014


Dr Adrian Treloar

Adrian TreloarIn his letter on conscience  (CMQ Feb 2014) Dr Flood reminds us that “conscience ultimately remains the personal responsibility of the individual even if that person disagrees with the Church.” That is indeed fully true. But the fallibility of all men means that we are not acquitted merely by following our Conscience. St Paul  tells us (1 Corinthians 4: 1-5) that “what is expected of stewards is that each  one should be found worthy of his trust… True, my conscience does not reproach me at all, but that  does not prove that  I am acquitted: the Lord alone is my judge. There must be no  premature passing of judgement. Leave that until  the Lord comes.”  St Paul  was acutely aware that  living by one's conscience is essential,  but equally aware that our conscience must  be formed by  Christ’s teaching and the scriptures.

We too, must follow our consciences and do what we believe to  be right. But we can easily fall into error if we are not careful to form and audit our consciences. Therefore that conscience must always be formed by our Holy Mother the Church and we must always aim to show a “Catholic response” to the challenges we face. In fact, if we are willing to look, we can often can see that the Church’s teaching on so many issues guides us to  a better way. Working carefully, and conscientiously following the Church’s teaching leads to a better, more stable and more loving society. It also enables us to grow ever more hopeful of our salvation.