Choose a topic from Vol 4:

Religion - Yes or No

Necessity of Religion
Reality of Religious Experience
Religion and life
Religious statistics
Nature of religion
Necessity of worship
Neglect of religion
Religion and history
Conversion of mankind

The Christian Church

Nature of the Church
Necessity of the Church
Visible organisation
Hierarchical constitution
Papal supremacy
Perpetuity of the Church

"This Shall Be the Sign"

Notes of identification
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolic succession
"Roman" but not "Roman Catholic"

Dogmatic Authority of the Church

Authority in religion
Catholic Church infallible
The Pope infallible
Papal definitions
Dogmatic spirit of the Catholic Church
"Religion of the spirit"
Individual freedom
Re-stating Christianity
Athanasian Creed
Meaning of faith
Faith and reason
Faith and science
Religion and education
Religion and morals
Catholic countries backward
Universities and religion
Natural Moral Law
Christian principles of morality
Catholicism versus the world

The Power-Complex Illusion

Legislative power of the Catholic Church
Coercive power of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church and political ambitions
Divided allegiance of Catholics
Rome and totalitarianism
Aim of the Catholic Church in America
Catholic Action
Political freedom of Catholics
Catholic infiltration of civic life
Catholicism anti-democatic
Rival totalitarianisms, Rome and Moscow
Catholic attitude to Protestants
Spanish Inquisition
Church and State
Federal Union or "One World State"

Life-Or-Death Social Problems

Social reform necessary
Trade unions
Protestant Churches and Communism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Family life
Primary purpose of marriage
Religion and marriage
Form of marriage
Mixed marriages
Birth control
"Catholic birth control"
Divorce and re-marriage
Catholics and civil divorce
Nullity decrees
Therapeutic abortion
Euthansia or mercy-killing

Those Exclusive Claims

Divided Christendom
Do divisions matter?
The "Only True Church" claims
Cause of sectarian bigotry
Reunion Movement
Catholic non-cooperation

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom
Catholic intolerance
Protestants and the principles of religious liberty
Rome and the "Four Freedoms"
Heresy and heretics
Religious rights of Protestants
Religious persecution
"Rome's historical record"
Protestant missionaries in Spain
In Italy
In South America
Conditions in Colombia

Are Only Catholics Saved

"Outside the Catholic Church no salvation"
Beliefs of Catholics
Salvation of Pagans
Salvation of Protestants
Why become a Catholic?
Duty of inquiry
Salvation of apostate Catholics
Test at the Last Judgment
Obstacles to conversion
Truth of Catholicism

Natural Moral Law

576. What is meant by the moral law?

A law is an appointed rule imposing a certain kind of action. We speak of the physical laws of the universe, such as that of gravitation. In social life there are positive laws enacted by human authorities for the gommon good. Now a moral law is one which a rational human being experiences as a sense of obligation within his conscience. If he neglects to do what it tells him he ought to do, or if he does what it tells him he ought not to do, he experiences a guilty sense of violation of duty; and this is quite independent of whether his fellow human beings know about it or not.

577. Is a knowledge of it arrived at by physical observation?

Knowledge of natural physical laws is got by reasonable deduction based on physical observation and experiment. In the physical order we study the activities of things around us. In the moral order, however, we observe human behavior and analyze human experience. We ask what conduct is in accordance with our rational moral nature, and what is a violation of it. The former is good, and it is the natural moral law that we should behave in such a way; the latter is evil, and it is the natural moral law that we avoid such conduct.

578. Is the idea of the moral law a purely theological or religious concept?

No. Reason alone would be enough to establish its existence. Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers argued that the existence of the human conscience proves man's moral nature, and that that in turn proves the existence of the natural moral law. The German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, taught the same thing in our own times by his doctrine of what he called the "Categorical Imperative"; that is, man's innate conviction that he is morally obliged to conform to standards of behavior not of his own making, but imposed upon him by the very nature he has been given.

579. I read recently a statement by an American non-Catholic Professor of philosophy, Dr. Mortimer J. Adler, who said that peace will never be possible until government is based on the natural law instead of on positive laws only. What did he mean by that?

By "positive laws only" he meant legislation made by any men who happened to be in power just because they are in power. This theory supposes that there is no higher law anywhere to which all men are subject, even rulers. Granted such a theory men in power could impose any laws they pleased upon others. Might would be right. On the other hand, by "natural law" Dr. Adler meant the Will of the Creator who has not only endowed man with a certain nature but obliges him in conscience to live in accordance with natural moral principles of justice. This means that there are certain rights and duties not originated by men themselves, which men cannot abolish, and which all are obliged to observe. Might is not right, but must be subordinated to what is right and used only to maintain and defend it.

580. How could this natural law be defined?

Cicero, who died in 43 B.C. and knew nothing of the Christian religion, gives in his "De Republica," III, 22, a definition of it as right reason in agreement with nature. Here are his words: "True law is right reason in agreement with nature. It is of universal application, unchanging, everlasting. It is a sin to try to alter this law; and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from it by Senate or people; and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. This law is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens, but is eternal and immutable, valid for all nations and for all times. God is the Author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient to it is fleeing from his true self and denying his own nature." Thus wrote Cicero. Each creature in the universe has been given its own nature by the Creator, in accordance with which it is intended to live. Brute animals are impelled to do so by the instincts the Creator has implanted in them. But men, endowed with reason and free will, are moral beings who are obliged voluntarily to conform their lives to the natural law of God as manifested by their own intelligence and enforced by conscience. It should be clear from this that if there were positive laws only, for which men are answerable only to themselves, then any law would be as good as any other law, provided those in authority chose to enact it; justice would be non-existent; ind talk of human rights as opposed to brute force would be meaningless. If, however, there be a natural moral law appointed by the Creator of mankind, the case is very different.

581. Can every man know the natural moral law?

Every man can know that there is a natural moral law which men should observe. One does not have to be a Christian to know that. But whilst all men can know that such a law exists, not everyone is equally able to see all its implications. Understanding of the range and of the various applications of the natural moral law will vary according to the degree of ability and the amount of time devoted to the study of the subject.

582. Could you give some examples of the natural law?

Here are two principles of that law which everybody who has come to the use of reason can know. Firstly, there is an obligation to do good and avoid what is wrong and evil. Secondly, since reason is man's highest power, he should behave in accordance with reason and not allow blind and lower passions to lead him into unreasonable conduct. Whilst, however, all people can know these two basic principles, difficulty can arise in deciding what is good and what is evil, or what is reasonable and what is unreasonable, in particular cases. Some things I would say that mOst people could know to be opposed to the natural moral law, if they used their reason as they should are these: to ignore all religious duties to God; to take one's own life by suicide, or that of another by murder; to steal, to tell deliberate lies; to indulge in unchaste actions alone or in promiscuous sex-relations; to violate the just rights of other people. Only those who are wilfully blind, and bent on doing evil, can deny those things to be violations of the natural moral law. 1 . Beyond those matters, however, and in complex situations, the correct application of the natural moral law could probably be discerned only by those of more than ordinary knowledge and wisdom. But the ordinary man would at least know in such circumstances that he ought to consult those better informed than himself.



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