The Layman and His Conscience


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By Ronald Knox

A proper examination of conscience is surely one of the most challenging tasks of the Christian life. For the laity, charged with the work of sanctifying the world “from within as a leaven” (in the words of Lumen gentium), this task is made especially difficult by the clamorous distractions which come simply from being in the world, even if not of the world. To ease the difficulty of this task, Monsignor Knox offers in The Layman and His Conscience a retreat specifically for lay people to “remake their minds” by the power of God’s good grace. Leading his retreatants (and now readers) in a spiritual “spring-cleaning,” Knox throws open the windows of the soul and lets in the pure light and fresh air of the Holy Spirit to show our sins for what they are (and are not) and their causes in our bad habits and half-baked intentions, and sets down a programme of humble habits and holy intentions to keep our consciences clean and make our lives, here and now, “fit for heaven.”

You must not fall in with the manners of this world; there must be an inward change, a remaking of your minds, so that you can satisfy yourselves what is God’s will, the good thing, the desirable thing, the perfect thing. (Romans 12:2)

The last of the books prepared by Knox before his death in 1957, The Layman and His Conscience is a faithful companion to his earlier work, A Retreat for Lay People. Complementing and continuing the fine lines of spiritual insight and encouragement contained there, Knox opens the ears of the sheep to know—and love—the voice of the Good Shepherd. 


Ronald Knox (1888–1957) was an English Catholic priest, theologian, and author, and one of the most prominent twentieth-century converts from Anglicanism to Catholicism. Best known for his contemporary English translation of the Scriptures (the “Knox Bible”), he wrote numerous works of apologetics and collections of ser­mons, retreat conferences, and lectures, as well as six detective novels.

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Paperback: 206pp.

ISBN: 978-1685953133