We the People and the Primacy of Conscience

We the People, and the Primacy of Conscience

A new series sponsored by the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture

In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. The upcoming 2020 election is an important election with many complex issues on the line.

ICTC offers a series that draws the best from our Constitution – “We the People,” and our Catholic Tradition – “The Primacy of Conscience” to enhance our democratic participation.

Sr. Quincy Howard at NETWORK says “in a secular democracy, voting is the closet thing we have to a sacrament.” Similarly, on the importance of civic participation, 44th President Barack Obama has said, “The choice is so stark and the stakes are so high that you cannot afford to be ambivalent in this race.”

This series will explore key issues to consider and discern as we move toward the November elections, why we are called to vote in elections, and stay involved in the political process.

We invite you to join us for this series and to claim your role in our democratic process. These presentations will present constructs to help us listen to one another, envision a more just future, grow as advocates in our democracy and prepare ourselves to act as justice-seekers in the 2020 election season.

Series Introduction

The current political crisis in the United States calls its people to respond with careful discernment and ethical action. This panel discussion will explore the meaning of the common good and the primacy of the moral conscience in shaping our political responses to this crisis.

Jessica Ludescher Imanaka (Philosophy, Management), Michael Jaycox (Theology and Religious Studies), and John Topel, S.J. (Law School) will speak on the panel (pictured left to right)

Jessica Imanaka, John Topel, Michael Jaycox

Series Intro Resources

Democracy, Communication and Conscience

Recording of panel available below

Faculty from the Communication Department will discuss the interplay between democracy, communication and conscience. Discussion will focus on free expression, disinformation and the social media bubble in contrast to interrogating the alternate realities of ‘facts’ and ‘experts’ in the media we consume; and from examining our ethical communicative roles in a free society, to scrutinizing how undecided voters are persuaded to vote. This panel will engage the audience with real world examples, application of theoretical frames, and challenge the audience to action.

Communication Department Faculty: Dr. Caitlin CarlsonDr. Jim Hanson, Dr. Julie Homchick Crowe and Dr. Rick Malleus (pictured left to right)

Communication Department Faculty: Dr. Caitlin Carlson, Dr. Jim Hanson, Dr. Julie Homchick Crowe and Dr. Rick Malleus (pictured left to right)

Democracy, Communication and Conscience from SeattleU ICTC on Vimeo.

The Primacy of Conscience and Faithful Citizenship 

Adapted from the U.S. Catholic Bishops guide on forming conscience

Politics in our country often can be a contest of powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites, and media hype. The Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of well-informed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable.

Catholics have a serious and lifelong obligation to form their consciences in accord with human reason and the teaching of the Church. Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere “feeling” about what we should or should not do. Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart.

The Formation of Conscience Includes Several Elements:

  1. First, there is a desire to embrace goodness and truth. For Catholics this begins with a willingness and openness to seek the truth and what is right by studying Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church.
  2. Second, it is also important to examine the facts and background information about various choices.
  3. Finally, prayerful reflection is essential to discern the will of God.

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