Chapter 1: Towards Christian Anthropology

Christian Anthropology in General
 Believer’s understanding/vision of man
 Not only concerning what man is (descriptive)
 But also and especially what man should be (prescriptive/normative)
*Believer – belief of afterlife/higher being
> what man ought to do to become what he ought to be
Experience of conscience is a good starting point because reveals something
fundamental about the default design of man
Experience of Conscience 1 and what does this say about the way the human
person was designed (the default/design of human person)
Conscience as a human characteristic
 Basic experience
 Dynamism/gravitation/attraction towards the good
 “good” understood in different levels
 attraction towards good is pre-reflexive and instructive, not learned – it
reveals basic design of human person
 dynamism towards good reveals not what man wills but what he was
designed and meant to be
 phototropic quality of plants – plants are attracted to sun because it is
in being towards the sun that a plant is able to survive
 Moral phototropism: man is attracted towards good because it is in
doing of good that man becomes fully himself
 This experience leads us to observe that there is connaturality
between man and value
 Diesel engine and diesel fuel; original dvd and branded player
 Connaturality means immensely more than “bagay”
 We’re talking about how they can function, how they can fulfill and
realize what they were meant to be, how they can become most fully
 Human beings didn’t come with instruction manual. How do we
determine design of man?  by reflecting on experience of conscience
 What is this experience of conscience?
o Experience of being drawn towards good and being repelled by
o Fulfillment and satisfaction when we do the good
o Experience of inner conflict and turmoil when we violate good
that we know
o Design of human beings can be determined by how they react
from good and evil

o Design of human person, what ought to become, Christian
understand of human person
o Man becomes most fully himself in doing of the good
o Man was designed to be fulfilled and satisfied in doing good
0.2.2 Conscience as process – of reflection, prayer, discernment, research,
consultation, listening
> the process is demanded by the human characteristic
> the good to be done or the evil to be avoided is not always clear because
-- competing values
-- ambiguous culture
-- incomplete knowledge
-- changing circumstances
*Although, it must be asserted that not every issue is a conscience issue
*From the foregoing, it is also clear that our hold of the truth is fragile,
tentative, and not quite absolute
> We may need to amend our judgement
> There is always the possibility of error
> The need for the humble acceptance of the human condition, which
-- the need to examine and re-examine our norms
-- this is a responsibility that is constant and societal
-- the freedom of expression and “gadflies” [disturbs conventions)
must also be seen in this context.
*We talk of a sincere and correct conscience
> sincerity refers to the subjective quality of an individual who searches for
the truth
> correctness refers to the objective conformity to the objective good.
> almost the end result of sincerity
> a sincere conscience always seeks to be correct
0.2.3 Conscience as EVENT or JUDGEMENT concerning the good to be done
or the evil to be avoided. My comments hereunder will be organized under
two headings.
a. Regarding the event itself
> When we talk about “following my conscience,” or that “my conscience is
clear” or “my conscience is the voice of God,” it is conscience
> it is the concrete judgement of a specific person
-- therefore, it is not universal
-- Conscience does not legislate norms but applies the norm to a
concrete situation
-- judgement of conscience is morally infallible
-- moral infallibility does not obviate objective or factual error 

-- what it means is that the person acting according to the best lights
he cannot be accused of bad faith, or immorally or committing a sin because
a person’s most serious obligation is to do the good that he knows
b. What does this day about the human person? (Gaudium et spes 16 ||
Vatican II)
 Deep within his conscience, man discovers a law which he has not
laid upon himself but which he must obey… His dignity lies in
observing this law and by it he will be judged… Through loyalty to
conscience, Christians are joined to other men in search for the truth…
Hence, the more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and
groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by the objective
standards on moral conduct.
 “Man’s dignity” -> we had referred to the moral infallibility of
conscience. This means that the moral quality of our judgement and
the actions that follow therefrom (whether they are moral/immoral,
sinful or virtuous) is determined by its conformity with the judgement
of conscience, the good as we know it
o Unless I obey my conscience then I lose my dignity
o I cannot be morally wrong if I follow my judgement.
 A person’s supreme and eminent responsibility is to follow a wellformed (an honest) and a well-informed (a correct) conscience
 James Bretzke explains this in terms of the autonomy of conscience.
The person discerns the law [he does not invent it], then he applies the
law to himself.