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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 16, Issue 2, Summer 2016

Elliott Louis Bedford
Pages 255-272

The Reality of Institutional Conscience

Opponents of conscience protections for Catholic Health Care institutions claim that, since institutions are not autonomous individuals, they are not subjects of conscience. Therefore, since institutional conscience does not exist, it does not deserve protection. In this article, the author demonstrates not only that institutional conscience exists but that it is an activity that pervades all human institutions. He provides a metaphysical sketch that illustrates how institutions are organic outgrowths of human social nature which mitigate the natural limitations of human individuals. Consequently, the activity of conscience is inherently a component of the life of human institutions.

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