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.

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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.

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

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Social Justice and its Challenges in the Biden Presidency and the Papacy of Pope Francis

Wednesday, May 26 at 4pm PST on Zoom

ICTC joins “A Better Kind of Politics,” a consortium of Roman Catholic institutions, in a series of online discussions around topics relating to Pope Francis’ call in Fratelli Tutti for a renewal of politics through social and political charity measured by how we treat our neighbors, especially those “lying wounded along the roadside."

Dr. Connie Anthony and Dr. Patrick Schoettmer from SU's Political Science Department and Dr. Hosffman Ospino from Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry will discuss how, through the lens of social justice, the ideals of the Biden presidency and Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti inform and challenge the U.S.’s existing politics, both nationally and internationally, and including immigration policies. Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez, ICTC Director, will moderate the conversation.

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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)

US Healthcare 101: The Issues & Proposed Solutions

Dr. Erin Vernon, Assistant Professor of Economics at Seattle University's Albers School of Business and Economics

The US spends significantly more on healthcare compared to any other nation while also continuing to be the only high-income nation with an uninsured population. The reasons behind the higher costs and lack of insurance will be discussed followed by an objective analysis of proposed solutions. Examples from abroad and innovative solutions from within our own communities will also be highlighted. Health care is a divisive topic in the US, especially in the ways that our country approaches health insurance. This talk provides a non-politically motivated objective overview of different approaches to health care and highlights both positive and negative aspects of the approaches.