A matter of conscience : a collection of short stories



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This collection of eight short stories is based on a single, contemporary theme of religious doubt and conflict in the lives of twentieth-century Catholics. Since Vatican II, both clergy and laity have been living in a world of epistemological and theological chaos. At the center of this conflict, one finds the modern interpretation of the superiority of individual conscience to the more traditional teachings of the Church in defining a conscious, moral act as "sin." Each of the stories I have written illustrates characters engaged in interior debates of conscience-some humorous, some serious-but all in conflict with the pressures of modern society. It may of interest to the reader to know that I have been a Catholic all of my life and have taught religion to young children for the past ten years. Nevertheless, at the start of this project, I found myself in a state of moral confusion and looked forward to doing research in the areas of modern theological trends and Catholic morality, and also I sought new ideas on the formation of conscience. This research has led me to an increased awareness of a change in attitude felt by others of my own faith, but, more importantly, it has greatly contributed to my own self-awareness as an individual and a Catholic. I had expected to find the Church faltering under the weight of the great debates taking place between traditional Rome and the more modern teaching of theologians the world over; instead, I have found that the fluent exchange of thought has served as a therapeutic. Contrary to popular belief, the Church is alive and well. As proof, the reader need only go to the nearest library. Never has there been so much of interest directed to the Catholic layman. [...]