Recent Posts

Monday 10 November 2014

Denial of Natural Law Continued

Two of the heresies which are growing in modern society are the denial of natural law and the denial of free will. Readers have the list of free will posts here below......

Let me start with the first problematic belief, which takes the shape of people denying responsibility for actions because "they do not know" something is wrong.

The Catholic Encyclopedia is a good starting place for the understanding of natural law. The entire idea hinges on the fact that human being were created in the image and likeness of God.

Such philosophies are relativism, subjectivism and determinism deny the fact that we are all created to be with God in heaven, that we have this goal from the very fact that we are human beings, and that our intelligence and free will guide our actions and thoughts. 

In other words, anything which is against human nature, as created by God, is against natural law. Human nature is the discriminating norm for natural law. 

According to St. Thomas, the natural law is "nothing else than the rational creature's participation in the eternal law" (I-II.94). The eternal law is God's wisdom, inasmuch as it is the directive norm of all movement and action. When God willed to give existence to creatures, He willed to ordain and direct them to an end. In the case of inanimate things, this Divine direction is provided for in the nature which God has given to each; in them determinism reigns. 

Like all the rest of creationman is destined by God to an end, and receives from Him a direction towards this end. This ordination is of a character in harmony with his free intelligent nature. In virtue of his intelligence and free willman is master of his conduct. Unlike the things of the mere material world he can vary his actionact, or abstain from action, as he pleases. Yet he is not a lawless being in an ordered universe. In the very constitution of his nature, he too has a law laid down for him, reflecting that ordination and direction of all things, which is the eternal law. The rule, then, which God has prescribed for our conduct, is found in our nature itself. Those actions which conform with its tendencies, lead to our destined end, and are thereby constituted right and morally good; those at variance with our nature are wrong and immoral.

To be human is to have knowledge of natural law. God ordered the universe and, specifically, human nature, to reflect Himself. The Divine nature informs human nature, and the Divine authority gives all all an innate obligation to follow natural law.

The discriminating norm is, as we have just seen, human nature itself, objectively considered. It is, so to speak, the book in which is written the text of the law, and the classification ofhuman actions into good and bad. Strictly speaking, our nature is the proximate discriminating norm or standard. The remote and ultimate norm, of which it is the partial reflection and application, is the Divine nature itself, the ultimate groundwork of the created order. The binding or obligatory norm is the Divine authority, imposing upon the rational creature the obligation of living in conformity with his nature, and thus with the universal order established by the Creator. Contrary to the Kantian theory that we must not acknowledge any other lawgiver than conscience, the truth is that reason as conscience is only immediate moral authority which we are called upon to obey, and conscience itself owes its authority to the fact that it is the mouthpiece of the Divine will and imperium. The manifesting norm (norma denuntians), which determines the moral quality of actions tried by the discriminating norm, is reason. Through this faculty we perceive what is the moral constitution of our nature, what kind of action it calls for, and whether a particular action possesses this requisite character.

The ability to reason is the faculty given to us by God, separating us from all other creatures, gives us the clarity as to what is moral, what action follows this knowledge of morality in a specific situation, and whether an action is moral.

This ability is in us by the very fact that we are human, and not because we are in sanctifying grace although sanctifying grace can inform natural law and lead to an understanding of other laws.

And, here comes an area of confusion for moderns: there are primary and secondary binding precepts.

To the first class belong those which must, under all circumstances, be observed if the essential moral order is to be maintained. The secondary precepts are those whose observance contributes to the public and private good and is required for the perfection of moral development, but is not so absolutely necessary to the rationality of conduct that it may not be lawfully omitted under some special conditions

In addition, natural law is universal, to all people of all times.

Natural law is immutable; as long as humans exist, natural law exists.

And, here is the answer to those modern lawyers of all kinds who deny natural law. There is a new class both of civil and canon lawyers who have erroneously moved away from natural law philosophy.

The question arises: How far can man be ignorant of the natural law, which, as St. Paul says, is written in the human heart (Romans 2:14)? The general teaching of theologians is that the supreme and primary principles are necessarily known to every one having the actual use of reason. These principles are really reducible to the primary principle which is expressed by St. Thomas in the form: "Do good and avoid evil". Wherever we find man we find him with a moral code, which is founded on the first principle that good is to be done and evil avoided. When we pass from the universal to more particular conclusions, the case is different. Some follow immediately from the primary, and are so self-evident that they are reached without any complex course of reasoning. Such are, for example: "Do not commit adultery"; "Honour your parents". No person whose reason and moral nature is ever so little developed can remain in ignorance of such precepts except through his own fault. Another class of conclusions comprises those which are reached only by a more or less complex course of reasoning. These may remain unknown to, or be misinterpreted even by persons whose intellectual development is considerable. 

Without Revelation, natural law is much harder to discern. Therefore, humans have a duty to pursue Revelation and supernatural law. See  Vatican Council, Sess. III, cap. ii CE

to be continued.....................

Confusion on Natural Law

If modern theologians and philosophers deny we can know natural law, naturally, they are..

  1. denying God
  2. denying we humans are different than animals
  3. denying the soul
  4. denying natural religion
  5. denying natural knowledge of God
  6. denying conscience
  7. denying free will
  8. denying the rational capacity of humans; in other words, denying reason
  9. denying Revelation, which is the restatement clearly of the natural law

more later...

Confusion About Excommunication

There are several situations in the Catholic Church which result in automatic excommunication.

These are the sins which cause automatic excommunication in the Catholic Church. These are clarified in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

These apostasy, heresy, schism (CIC 1364:1), violating the sacred species (CIC 1367), physically attacking the pope (CIC 1370:1), absolving an accomplice in a sexual sin (CIC 1378:1), consecrating a bishop without authorization (CIC 1382), and directly violating the seal of confession (1388:1)

Automatic excommunication for abortion (CIC 1398 and Evangelium Vitae 62) applies not only to the woman who has the abortion, but to "all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached, and includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed". Canon 1329 is applied. That is the point. The more severe, the most narrow the application is the rule for Canon Law. 

Canon Law 1329.1 refers to direct, immediate and grave. 

Also included is membership to the Masons and receiving Holy Communion while in an irregular marriage.

Automatic excommunication is called latae sententiae.

One does not need to understand what this means to be automatically excommunicated, as these are such grave evils. There are two types of knowledge.

Formal and material knowledge are these two types of knowledge. Natural law covers formal knowledge for any person over the age of 13.

One does not have to know it is an act which makes one an excommunicate, but only have to know it is really bad, like abortion for those brought up Catholics.

Material knowledge has to do with precepts within the law. One cannot attend a Mass where only the host is consecrated, for example and not the wine, which is a serious sin and an extension of natural law. Hitting a pope comes under material knowledge, which means one has to know it is an extension of natural law.

Not so with abortion, which is so evil, one would know how serious this is.

If one is a Mason and has gone through some of the ceremonies, one is excommunicated.  This would occurs about the fourth level, which equal automatic excommunication.

Some Canons are Church laws, and some are God's laws. God's laws is where one could not ever say "I did not know", such as with abortion.  One is culpable for breaking God's laws. 

Blasphemy, adultery, abortion, judicial murder, bestiality and so on NO EXCUSE.  Arbitrary justice, (lynch mobs, Star Chamber and so on ), is also a serious sin which a person cannot excuse themselves.

See the difference?

Big Prayer Request

A Mr. Finnell, who is a Bible Christian, keeps writing and trying to convert me to Protestantism.

I am asking all the Catholic bloggers to pray for his conversion.


Are You in The State of Grace?

Target Group One

VIP Watch This Ruling

Target Group Two


I was thinking today of the differences between university students' communication lifestyles and mine as a student. Now, I was an undergraduate in Iowa, but worked for a bit, then, went back to grad school at ND. Little had changed, however. My undergraduate room had the same furniture as this one. The bed was a settee in the day, and and then one pulled it out at night.

Some colleges did not even have phones in the individual rooms when I was in the dorm as an undergraduate. A few did, if one was in a top private college. Otherwise, everyone shared a public phone on the floor, and one had to use change, not credit cards.

For those of us who had private phones in the dorm rooms, one shared the line and number with one's roommate, and the number was an extension which came through a main switchboard at the college.

my phone as a teen at home...
Mobiles, or cells, had not yet been invented.

No one had a personal TV. One was in each floor common room, where we also did our ironing, made coffee, popcorn and pizzas.

Very large computers were used at my undergrad university for research only. By the time I was in graduate school, we were using computers, but only in the "computer rooms" of the university. The first PC I remember was a BBC. Of course, there was no Internet and the operating systems were interior to the university, with some computers, such as in the library, connected to other library databases.

If one wanted to talk with friends, one went either to the dorm floor common room, if these friends were girls, as I went to Catholic universities, which had separate dorms for men and women, or one went out. One could meet up in the on-campus coffee shop or in the cafeterias, until these closed.

Main floor common rooms allowed students of the opposite sex until eleven, because of parietals.

So, most of the time, if we wanted to be with friends, we went off campus to various places, either in groups, or on a date.

And, dates were sometimes made in person and not on the phone. Long phone conversations could only occur if one had a private room, not a roommate and definitely not on a hall phone.

Amazing, just imagine talking in person most of the time and not on a phone.

Imagine life without a pc or laptop or tablet or cell phone.

Imagine planning meetings in person,

Many of us did have private phones at home, but most girls my age did not have their own phone number. The phone in our rooms were extensions, and dad or mom would monitor phone time when we were home.

I remember having my own phone number as an extension number in undergraduate college and thinking this was so cool...not my parents' number.

Then, in grad school, I had my own number. Wow!

Living without a PC and a private phone meant we met up with friends daily, in little groups or even groups of ten or twelve, doing things together, the girls taking about boys and the boys, I suppose, talking about girls.

Meeting in the common rooms meant planning, as these were popular for group study as well as talking. And, really, if one wanted to talk with one's boyfriend, one had to meet outside the dorm either on or off campus. Of course, meetings were in public. Such was the life we led in Catholic colleges and universities.

We still practiced manners, in those days. Hall phones in the dorms, because they were shared, involved very public conversations. Everyone knew who was going out with whom. No secrets in the girls' dorms.....

We read newspapers, magazines, and periodicals, some in the dorms, and some in the libraries. Some of us thought we were so cool to subscribe to our own personal favorite mags. These were delivered in the mail room, where we all had mail boxes, the size of small shoe boxes. Those of us who got newspapers or mags picked these up from a pile on the table in front of the mail boxes. We had individual keys to our mailboxes.

I was so cool to get The Guardian in college delivered to me, I was so avant garde, an American getting a foreign newspaper. Most of the time, I read such in the periodical room of the library.

Life was simpler and more under one's own control. We have something called privacy. No GPS, no one looking at what we read or ate or how we spent our money. No groups anywhere followed our daily habits.

We had no parents spying on us on Facebook. And, because phones were scarce, we, maybe, talked with our parents once every two weeks and we called them.

Some campuses had credit unions, but we did not have credit or debit cards, only checkbooks and so much cash to spend. I would have had the student version of this exact ticket in grad school.

We went to stores now and then to shop, as shopping was not entertainment and we had to organize going shopping with the few students who had cars, or take either a campus shuttle bus or the city bus.  Many of us had bicycles and used these regularly.

One kept one's bike in the dorm room and I remember carrying mine up several flights of stairs.

I was devastated when my new blue ten-speed Schwinn was stolen. And, one just did not replace a bike. I had used money I won from a poetry contest to buy it. Sigh...ended up with a not-so-cool second-hand bike.

Other than the lack of electronic devices, college life resembled today's student lives, except that, as Catholics in universities with in loco parentis, most of us were pretty good kids getting on with studying in highly competitive environments.

I wonder at the long hours of study in quiet reading rooms in the library or in the quiet hours of the floor common rooms.

As grad students, we had our own "carrels".  In fact, I would say that student life was still somewhat "monastic" with study hours, and communal hours, strict rules regarding visitors and so on.

One must remember that universities began with the monks and nuns in Europe, complete with the cloister-like quadrangle architecture on many older campuses even today.

We obviously had more quiet, more privacy, and more chance for thinking and reflection, as well as long talks in the quads with friends about philosophy, theology and politics. We also were outside a lot, walking, running, biking, playing tennis or whatever. We even walked when on dates.  It was cool to walk around the lakes at ND with one's special boyfriend.

If we went out to movies or dates, these things happened on the weekends, and not on Sunday night. We had too much homework and some seminars were held in the evenings. I distinctly remember breaking up tete-a-tetes with the happy saying, "Got to go, have a paper due (or an exam), remember?." (Although, to be honest, I was never a last minute paper writer and usually had mine done early.)

Somehow, we got through life without cells and tablets. Somehow, we did lots of serious research without the Net. Somehow, our lives were quieter, simpler, and more conducive to actually learning and thinking.

Nostalgia day......