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97. Changes in Law

1. Human laws are made by fallible man. They are thereforesubject to change as men gain more experience and are thus enabledto frame laws that more and more consistently serve the generalwelfare. Further, there may arise in a society conditions whichrequire new laws or alterations in existing laws.

2. Yet frequent or sudden changes in human laws are to beavoided. To serve its purpose, law requires a certain permanence; achange is, in itself, usually prejudicial to the general welfare.Therefore, unless the good to be achieved by change is great enoughto warrant the upheaval occasioned by the change itself, law is notto be altered.

3. Human reason which puts laws into words ofenactment may also express itself in deeds. And thuscustoms arise to serve the common good. Customs can cometo have the force of law itself. Indeed, it is possible for customto become so firmly and widely established that it supplantsexisting statute law. For the rest, custom is regularly thestandard by which existing law is interpreted.

4. It may be that a law which works generally for thecommon welfare is found, in certain cases, to inflict damage uponindividuals. The person in charge of the society concerned may, insuch instances, excuse the individuals from observing the law. Theauthoritative decree of excuse is called a dispensationfrom the law.

"The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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