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Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood
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THEORY OF JUSTIFICATION BASED ON AN ERRONEOUS CONSCIENCE
The text of the psalm should make us ponder.
Holy people have always been conscious of Psalm 19: 12-13.
"But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults."
The Holy Spirit in the words of the psalm is teaching us an eternal
truth. That we have hidden faults. St. Augustine was
conscious of this. How can these hidden faults escape our
conscience? One does not feel any guilt from committing his
hidden fault because his conscience makes a mistake in judging.
And so, as you commit the sin, the conscience is silent. When
the conscience finds no guilt, often because of an error in
judgment, it remains silent. And, in the Catholic world, the
consciences of most Catholics are silent. And this is a more
dangerous state of soul than if one feels guilty after doing
something wrong. One who no longer notices that adultery is a
sin has fallen farther than the one who still recognizes the
shamefulness of his action, because the former is further removed
from the truth and conversion.
Christ compared the Pharisee who appeared to
have done nothing wrong and had done good deeds. . .to the Tax
collector who seemed to have done nothing good and done much evil.
And Christ obviously praised the tax collector and condemned the
Pharisee because the Pharisee had a silent conscience while the tax
collector had a good conscience. The silent conscience made
the Pharisee impenetrable to God and men; while the feeling of guilt
of the tax collector made him capable of truth and love. He
has not become unreachable for the change that God expects of him.
Jesus can move sinners but not the self-righteous who hide behind
the screen of their erroneous conscience. He becomes
unreachable for the change that God expects of him. Christ was
ineffective with the "righteous" because they are not aware of any
need for forgiveness and conversion. Their consciences no
longer accuse them They justify them. The scenario is
worse when one is Catholic, a priest or even a bishop. The titles
justify them and blind their consciences.
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