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The Voice of Conscience in the Complexity of Political and Economy Life

Stjepan Baloban ; Katolički bogoslovni fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 339 Kb

str. 701-721

preuzimanja: 297



In the complexity of political and economic life, the fact of appeal to conscience is encountered more in political than in economic life. The concept of conscience belong to the group of those concepts that are used in a self-understanding kind of way, although there are big »misunderstandings« today when it comes to this concept: from the very understanding of the concept of conscience to the question whether one ought to appeal to conscience to the same extent in personal and family life as in the public life. The article titled »The Voice of Conscience in the Complexity of Political and Economic Life«, analyses the possibility to apply the voice of conscience in political and economic life with a special emphasis on the situation in the Croatian society. Due to the »misunderstanding« related to contents and usage of the concept of conscience, the first part, titled »Does Conscience Have a Right to Voice in Croatia? «, points out certain problems and issues related to the concept, as well as to the understanding and usage of concepts such as »appeal to conscience« and »conscientious objection«. After that, the variety of understandings and practical applications of conscience in the Croatian society is discussed, since these lead to confusion among ordinary citizens. The second part, titled »Christian Conscience on Test in the Political Life?«, notes the fact that the post-conciliar social teaching of the Church – in relation to other areas of Christian public life – deals fairly extensively with the issue of conscience of the faithful who participate in the political life. Pope Benedict XVI points out that the primary task of the social teaching of the Church is »to help form consciences in the political life and to contribute to ever greater awareness of the true demands of righteousness, and, at the same time, to eagerness to act on the basis of these, even when this conflicts with personal interest« (Deus caritas est, no. 28). The social teaching of the Church offers, therefore, »certain tools« that help Christian, Catholic, in the public life. The third part, titled »Economy Is More than just Work and Profit«, discusses a possible contribution of the Church social teaching to changes in business, i.e., in economic life. This has to do with the topic of development that, ever since Pope Paul VI, has become a theological concept, while Pope Ratzinger introduced concepts of fraternity, gratuity, and logic of the gift (Caritas in veritate) to the process of solving the problem of development. Hence, those who are rich and developed – freely – one could say led by their own conscience – should undertake necessary economic steps (the question of loans, investments, etc.) so that the undeveloped world could join the developed one over time. Is that possible? The Roman bishops, especially Pope Benedict XVI and in his specific way Pope Francis, similarly to Church Fathers in the first centuries of Christianity, emphasise that economy is more than work and profit and, therefore, the formation of conscience ought to follow this understanding in the contemporary society. This is equally valid for the Church in Croatia. Those holding offices in the Church, especially priests and pastoral workers in parishes, have a great opportunity to form consciences in the public life of various groups of believers, as well as of all people of good will. Precisely this is the prophetic dimension of the Church in Croatia in this historical moment.

Ključne riječi

voice of conscience, conscience in the political life, conscience in the economic life, education and formation of Christian conscience, conscientious objection, appeal to conscience.

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