In his 1972 speech on “Conscience in Our Time,” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger quotes a remark by Adolf Hitler:  "I liberate man from the coercion of a mind that has become an end in itself; from the dirty and degrading self-inflicted torments of a chimera called conscience and morality and from the demands of a freedom and personal autonomy to which only a very few can ever measure up."

The Cardinal explains, “The destruction of the conscience is the real prerequisite for totalitarian followers and totalitarian rule.  Where conscience prevails, there is a limit to the dominion of human command and human choice, something sacred that must remain inviolate and that in its ultimate sovereignty eludes all control, whether someone else’s or one’s own.  Only the unconditional character of conscience is diametrically opposed to tyranny; only the recognition that conscience is sacrosanct protects man from man’s inhumanity and from himself; only its rule guarantees freedom.”