is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility

external freedom

includes freedom from factors outside ourselves that threaten or destroy our power to exercise choice; includes harsh government, illness, and poverty

internal freedom

includes freedom from interior factors that limit choice


hold that every event, action and decision inevitably results from something independent of the human will, including genetics, environment, fate, and astrology


devising self-serving excuses for behavior


Dominican theologian in the 20th century

true freedom

liberates us to develop our God-given talents in a responsible way so we can live our lives for others and for God; serves what is good, just, and true

license/freedom of indifference

The power to choose between contraries; Does not recognize inclination towards good. Resides in the will; Is entire from the first moment; Has no need for virtue; Synonymous with self-assertion (social Darwinism); Moral law, natural law and any form of legality is seen as constrictive to freedom


Personal self conscious-activity integrating reason, emotion, and will in self-committed judgments about right and wrong, good and evil
Human process of assessment and judgment—not the authoritative voice of God

conscience (as defined by Catechism)

Judgment whereby the person recognizes the moral quality of a moral concrete act, he or she is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed

conscience (as defined by Vatican II)

In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he doesn't impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil....a law written by God. To obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary. There he is alone with God, whose voice resonates with his.


do good and avoid evil


study, prayer, discernment, talking with wise people; affected by maturity and quality of advice


healing process of assessment to judge a particular course of action

invincible ignorance

Ignorance of the moral truth which one cannot overcome, and for which one is not responsible

vincible ignorance

Ignorance of the moral truth which can and should be overcome—"conquered."

certain conscience

one which dictates a course of action in clear terms without fear of error

doubtful conscience

one which leaves a person undecided as to the proper course of action

healthy conscience

one that is a reliable guide to moral decision-making; a healthy conscience seeks the truth and avoids rationalization

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

Voice Recording