Conscience is the rational faculty to judge whether an action is right or wrong, moral or immoral, and to act on that judgment. A well-formed conscience binds a person to do or not to do some action and, when some action has been done, it accuses the person if the action is contrary to the understanding by which it was judged and to defend the person if it is found to be in accord with that understanding. Conscience is an act of practical judgment that commands a person to do this or not to do that.

The 13th-century thinker, Thomas Aquinas, argued for the authority and inviolability of conscience. Anyone, he argued, upon whom a legitimate authority, in ignorance of the true facts, imposes a demand ...

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