Conscious and responsible at Vatican II


Here I would like to show how the terms conscious and responsible are used in the various Vatican II documents.

The couple "conscious" and "responsible" and variations can be found in six documents listed below.

I have copied various sections from the documents where the couple "conscious" and "responsible" are found and for purposes of comparing the translations I have done this in Latin, French and English.

Comparing the texts side by side, we can see that gradually the term "responsibility" becomes more prominent although sometimes words like "officium" or "munus" (duty) are also used.

Similarly, the word "sense" is sometimes used for the word "consciousness" or "conscience" and it should also be borne in mind that in Latin and French the word "conscientia" or "conscience" means both "conscience" and "consciousness" in English.

Note that in Christus Dominus the term "conscious" is used including together with the word "duties" (officium in Latin) (Para. 16) which may also be a reference to the conscious-responsible couple.

In addition, the term consciousness is used in a significant manner in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. E.g. Para. 14: "Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism."

Similarly, Presbytero Ordinis on the ministry and life of the priest at Para. 18 refers to "conscious priests" while Optatum Totus on priestly training refers in Paras. 6 and 19 to being conscious of one's vocation and an apostolic Christian life.

Inter Mirifica on the media also makes use of the term "responsible" in a significant manner in Para. 11 referring to the duties of content producers.



Perfectae Caritatis.

Stefan Gigacz









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