First, they perceived conscience as the possession of a general knowledge as regards moral principles.
In addition, it was also seen as a process towards being deliberated morally. Finally, these theologians examined the term conscience in terms of its usage in specific cases. The perspective of the Catholic Church is also threefold, as regards the term conscience. First, conscience is seen as that which an individual is able to experience as a reality, from within themselves. The term conscience is perceived as an analytical, evaluative and reflective judgment regarding that which is right in respect of particular cases. In this case, a call towards openness is called upon; if at all individuals are to identify the truth (Firer, n. d.). Finally, conscience is seen as an event that facilitates the attainment of a moral decision. In other words, it is the gateway that enables individuals to differentiate between that which is right, or wrong.
The exercise of conscience calls for its development and cultivation. To develop it, it is required of an individual to undergo through an experience that shall both deepen and sharpen their sensitivity in terms of the evils on the one hand, and the moral good on the other hand. This enables individual to 'see rightly' (Firer, n. d.).
Secondly, the development and cultivation of conscience may occur as a result of a learning process that entails making of judgment during times of conversation with say, a community as well as those responsible for giving such a community moral wisdom (Firer, n. d.). This way, individuals are assisted in judging rightly. Finally, the definite occurrence of arriving at a decision, coupled with the ensuing action, accords to each one of us what may at best be referred to as a ' track record' that upon reflecting on it, turns out to be our individual fountain of guidance as well as moral wisdom. This often takes time, but eventually, it enables us to 'act rightly'.
According to Wallace (2003), discernment may be seen as a conventional name that refers to the difficult process of arriving at decisions or choices, on the basis of the "moral imperative" of an individual's conscience, while taking part in a "reasonable dialogue" with experts in subject-matter and also spiritual guides. It is important to note that there is a variation between the process of making daily decisions on the one hand and discernment on the other hand. Wallace has also referred to discernment as a "thoroughgoing effort" (Wallace, 2003).
Logic alone is not enough to warrant recognition of discernment; the rest of our mental facilities are also called upon. To begin with, discernment tends to be in tune with the "the moral good", as opposed to the profitable that which is solidly conventional, or expedient. In other words, discernment is about trying to identify the best source of action to undertake from a moral perspective, as opposed to doing what we might find easier to accomplish, and that which may not lead to others criticizing our actions. Discernment also differs from the everyday decision making process in another way that could be seen as even more subtle. In this case, individuals take an assumption that sheer logic is not enough to help them attain "the good" (Wallace, 2003), thus calling for discernment.