Choose a topic from Part 2A:

94. The Natural Law

1. As we have seen, the natural law is the eternal law asknowable by sound human reason without the aid of supernaturalrevelation. The natural law becomes naturally known (and is thuspromulgated) to normal human beings as they advance frominfancy to fuller and fulleruse of reason. The natural law isnot, in itself, a habit in the human mind, but it tends tobecome a habit. The habitual knowledge of first moral principles(summed up in: "Do good-avoid evil") becomes a true habitin the human mind; it is a habit called by the namesynderesis.

2. The basic precept of the natural law, "Dogood-avoid evil," is the root out of which definite preceptsand prohibitions grow as a person advances in awareness of thingsand recognizes their good or their evil. The natural law embracesall these directives.

3. The natural law indicates and directs man'sinclination to act in accordance with reason. Hence, since allvirtues accord with reason, we may say that all virtues areprescribed by the natural law.

4. The natural law is one and the same for all men. Yet,in certain persons, it may be perverted by passion, habit, or evildisposition, as, for instance, in ancient Sparta where lies andthefts and successful trickery were not considered wrong. Now, suchexceptions only prove the rule. Such exceptions do not destroy theuniversality of the natural law anymore than the prevalence ofmalaria among a certain people destroys the universal understandingof what is meant by human health.

5. The natural law is changeless in the sense that itsprecepts cannot be upset or destroyed. It can change by extension,by new applications, as experience brings new situations andcircumstances. Such a change is not in the natural law itself; itis extrinsic to the natural law; it is merely a new use of thenatural law. For instance, the question may arise as to the use ofatom bombs in warfare; we may inquire whether the use of suchweapons is in conflict with the natural law. Such a question isnew; it could not arise in the days when atom bombs were entirelyunknown. The question seeks to apply the unchanging natural law ina changing world.

6. The basic and general principles of the natural lawcannot be eradicated from human nature. St. Augustine (Conf.ii) says, "The law is written in the hearts of men;iniquity itself does not efface it."

"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"Does our conduct correspond with our Faith?"
The Cure D'Ars

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"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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