I cannot make good choices unless I develop a mature and prudent conscience that gives me an accurate account of my motives, my intentions, and my moral acts.
The immature conscience is one that bases its judgments partly, or even entirely, on the way other people seem to be disposed toward its decisions. The good is what is admired or accepted by the people it lives with. The evil is what irritates or upsets them.
The immature conscience is not its own master. It is merely the delegate of the conscience of another person, or of a group, or of a party, or of a social class, or of a nation, or of a race. Therefore, it does not make real moral decisions of its own, it simply parrots the decisions of others. It does not make judgments of its own, it merely “conforms” to the party line.
It makes true love impossible. For if I am to love truly and freely, I must be able to give something that is truly my own to another. If my heart does not first belong to me, how can I give it to another? It is not mine to give!
Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, “Conscience, Freedom, and Prayer”
There is nothing new under the sun.
What we bemoan now we bemoaned seventy years ago Seven hundred years ago
What we give away now, we gave away then
The freedom Jesus promised To burn at the stake To defy a tank To hang on the cross