Pope stands by us­ing one’s con­science

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

Pope Fran­cis reaf­firmed the “pri­macy” of us­ing one’s con­science to nav­i­gate tough moral ques­tions in his first com­ments since he was pub­licly ac­cused of spread­ing heresy by em­pha­siz­ing con­science over hard and fast Catholic rules.

Fran­cis is­sued a video mes­sage to a con­fer­ence or­ga­nized by Ital­ian bish­ops on his con­tro­ver­sial 2016 doc­u­ment on fam­ily life, “The Joy of Love.”

Fran­cis told the con­fer­ence that priests must in­form Catholic con­sciences “but not re­place them.” He stressed the dis­tinc­tion be­tween one’s con­science — where God re­veals him­self — and one’s ego that thinks it can do as it pleases.

When it was re­leased, “The Joy of Love” sparked con­tro­versy be­cause it cau­tiously opened the door to let­ting civilly re­mar­ried Catholics re­ceive Com­mu­nion. Con­ser­va­tives ac­cused the pope of sow­ing con­fu­sion and un­der­min­ing the church’s teach­ing on the in­dis­sol­u­bil­ity of mar­riage.

A group of tra­di­tion­al­ist and con­ser­va­tive priests and schol­ars ac­cused Fran­cis of spread­ing heresy.

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