Skip to comments.Pope Calls for Universal Recognition of the Natural Law as the Basis of Human Rights
Posted on 05/06/2009 3:52:49 PM PDT by tcg
Pope Benedict XVI strongly reaffirmed the position of the Catholic Church that there is a Natural Law and that this Natural Law can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason. He affirmed that this Natural Law has also made known to all men and women the existence of fundamental human rights which are binding upon all Nations and for all time: The Church has always affirmed that fundamental rights, above and beyond the different ways in which they are formulated and the different degrees of importance they may have in various cultural contexts, are to be upheld and accorded universal recognition because they are inherent in the very nature of man, who is created in the image and likeness of God. If all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, then they share a common nature that binds them together and calls for universal respect.
The importance of this strong endorsement of the Natural Law as the basis of human rights by Pope Benedict comes at a critical time in the light of the current State of the West. In the U.S. and throughout much of Europe, there has been a denial of these Rights, beginning with the foundation of them all the Right to Life and including the Right to religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience. There has arisen a counterfeit rights talk which seeks to substitute judicially manufactured rights such as the counterfeit right to abortion. One can never have a right take innocent human life even if the positive law of a given State declares it, it violates the higher law.
(Excerpt) Read more at catholic.org ...
BRAVO Pope Benedict!!!
This is very important. I think it's significant that this came out of a meeting at which Mary Anne Glendon was present. I keep hoping that if Fr Jenkins and his superiors won't do the right thing, the Pope or somebody in Rome will intervene. Otherwise, the Obomanation has won an important victory in the PR war.
Does Bawney Fwank’s proensities come under question with “Natural Law?” I think they would...
Natural law is the law of the jungle. The Roman Catholic Church is first and foremost established to eliminate the law of the jungle.
Apparently you've never heard of symbiotic, mutual, and commensal relationships.
The natural law, as defined by Aquinas and other Fathers, is that part of the Divine Law which God has chosen to write on the heart of every man. Augustine likened it to the imprint of a ring on wax in which God's law is impressed on man's soul without ever changing in and of itself.
It has been referred to in Paul as being that imprinted law that allows even those (Gentiles) with you learning of the law to know what is right by nature.
Does that include, self-defense, an eye for an eye, you mess with my wife or kids and I’ll take you out?
“with you learning’ should be with “no learning”
“Natural law is the law of the jungle. The Roman Catholic Church is first and foremost established to eliminate the law of the jungle.”
I think you are confused.
The term “natural law” is ambiguous. It refers to a type of moral theory, as well as to a type of legal theory, but the core claims of the two kinds of theory are logically independent. It does not refer to the laws of nature, the laws that science aims to describe. According to natural law moral theory, the moral standards that govern human behavior are, in some sense, objectively derived from the nature of human beings and the nature of the world. While being logically independent of natural law legal theory, the two theories intersect.
Right to Life.
A despot must ruin the value of the law, and the value of life. In the case of murder, each case is dealt with individually. Both the victim and the perpetrator get a hearing in a court of law.
Abortion is indiscriminate and the victim is not provided a fair hearing before the court.
It ‘technically’ is against the law.
Pre-Roman civilization did not necessarily live 'in the jungle' nor were ruled by the law of the jungle.
Most of our modern 'law' concepts are based on the law of the Hammurabi.
And I don't think I'm telling you something you don't already know.
That may be what you mean by the term, but that isn't what the Pope means. He's talking about the law that is proper to man by virtue of his human nature and is written, by God, in every human heart.
"Natural law" distinguishes that kind of law from revealed law, which is known through Scripture and Tradition (and cannot be derived merely through reason), and statutory law, which is set up by human lawmakers.
This book (J. Budziszewski, What We Can't Not Know) is a superb explication and defense of natural law and the natural law tradition.
Ambiguous hell - I don't know whether to laugh or rant. Bert specifically said Natural law is the law of the jungle. The Roman Catholic Church is first and foremost established to eliminate the law of the jungle. And the article quotes the Pope as saying, (among other things), "If all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, then they share a common nature that binds them together and calls for universal respect.
NO ONE is talking about the generalized, non-contextual, ambiguous interpretation of "natural law" here except you. The very point of this article, of this proclamation by the Pope, is to specifically differentiate between "natural law" and the "law of nature" just as Bert directly observed.
But that clarity had to be blunted, right? So what better way than to declare the direct opposite of what is being stated, right?
A major problem of the western world is that there is a general collapse of ethics in science, technology and medicine. That is, there is a failure of the supporting philosophy of ethics, leading both to hideous relativism and amoral abuse of human rights.
The Catholic church is unique in that it is able to promulgate an ethical standard that will resonate around the world. It is unique even among Christian churches in its ability to do this. And critically, in establishing a doctrine of ethics beyond just for Catholics, but for everyone.
This is no easy task. It incorporates and advances beyond non-religious ethical standards as well, such as the Hippocratic Oath, and the Laws of War, and extends them to other human endeavors.
Its sources go beyond religion and incorporate what the Pope called Natural Law as well. Ideas must flow from every corner of the world, and throughout human history.
The eight Biblical Covenants, the Code of Hammurabi, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Magna Carta, the Geneva Conventions, etc., etc., etc., all must be at least considered in its creation.
Vast complexity, yet distilled to simple principles that can be appreciated by every human being, from prince to peasant.
In the final analysis, the greatest ethical challenge that mankind has every produced, to create a covenant with itself, using its collective wisdom to decide not what must be done, but what must not be done.
This is not a task for bureaucrats and diplomats, lawyers and politicians, but one that can only be done by the kinship of priests, those who have ministered to their fellow man.
It’s too late. Human rights are now based solely on personal opinions. Social progress does not exist.
In the “through the looking glass”, upside down, bizzaro world we live in, if this article makes it to DU, they’ll take the Pope’s assertion of natural law as proof that he’s a Nazi. All that despite the fact that Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are largely based on the concepts of Natural Law.
As a person who was born a catholic I can only say that the pope is a bit late. The founders of our republic reached that conclusion in 1776..
It’s still rather surprising that “Nazi” doesn’t qualify as a compliment among liberals. They probably don’t know that much about Nazis, just heard that they were “bad dudz”.
“NO ONE is talking about the generalized, non-contextual, ambiguous interpretation of “natural law” here except you.”
Ambiguity ws not what was in question, you open minded thinker, you. Thanks, but I will not “go away.”
The fact is that the term IS ambigous and far from being blunted, in this particular case, the TERM can easily be shown to be clarified by deconstructing it to reach the conclusion that even though there are attempts to complicate it, the different constructs ultimately merge with respect to the moral and the tangible. Your kneejerk reaction does not make it less so. Please see;
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 creation, man 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 will, man is master of his conduct. Unlike the things of the mere material world he can vary his action, act, 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.
Tolerate the ambivilance in your life and question belief and you will be stronger for it - no matter how convinced you are you have completely understood the other fellow. Nice meeting you. Laugh or rant...it is, after all, your choice, isn’t it?
With respect, the American founders got it from Thomas Aquinas and the entire Christian tradition. the Pope is not teaching something new, just reaffirming the 2000 year teaching of the Church.
Natural law theory was around long before 1776! The Founders were well aware of it, and its political implications had been discussed by people like the 16th century Spanish Jesuit Francisco Suarez and were quite well known in 18th century thought.
I’ve noticed lately that you frequently make very insightful and eloquent posts. Thank you, you’re a credit to FR!
Ummmm, that would be an enthusiastic YES!
Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Adams and a host of other Founders would say you are wrong.
Natural Law was the basis for everything they did.