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Document Details :
Title: Is it Better to Die Excommunicated than Act against One's Conscience?
Subtitle: What Aquinas Famously (Never) Said on Conscience and Church Authority
Author(s): ANDERSON, Justin M.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 95 Issue: 4 Date: 2019
Thomas Aquinas is often presented as a champion of personal conscience over and against Magisterial Church teaching. This is done by reference to an oft-cited, but never explored passage. In this article, I explore his supposed passage on conscience and the Magisterium, and its historical, medieval context. After tracing the ways various contemporary theologians have employed Thomas’s passage, I contrast the two contexts and meanings, and conclude that the contemporary use of the passage is unjustified. I close by exploring a mysterious notion of 'the truth of life' that Aquinas mentions and explore its implications.