February 2014 On Conscience by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). This book was required reading for my Moral Theology class at the University of Dallas this semester (Spring 2014). Its a short book that is really two lectures given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1984("Bishops, Theologians, and Morality") and 1991 ("Conscience and Truth") delivered to the Workshop of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Perhaps because these essays were delivered as lectures, they were highlighted with anecdotes and personal insights that made them very readable, despite the depth of the content. The most intriguing part of the essays was the authors discussion of the relationship between conscience, natural law, and the magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church. The analysis of the relationship among these is summed up with Cardinal Ratzinger's analysis of the statement of Cardinal John Henry Newman who, in a letter the the Duke of Norfolk said

"If I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts (which indeed does not seem to be quite the thing), I shall drink -- to the Pope, if you please --still to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards."

Cardinal Ratzinger's analysis of this is worth reading.