Natural Law

Overview


Wise people in all traditions recognise truths about what is good, through reflection and reasoning based on human experience and observations of the world. Using reason, communities have determined fundamental duties and rights of persons, and have based civil laws on this.

Christians believe God, the Creator, is the author of the ‘Natural Law’ revealed in creation: In our own hearts and the created world, using intelligence and reason we can discern much about the purposes, goodness and wisdom of God.  However, ‘Natural Law’ has limits. It may not be perceived the same way by different people, in different settings.  Medical research, for example, continually extends horizons. Organ transplants, and the healing options for many diseases may not fall easily within ‘Natural Law’ as understood from the created world.


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“This is what he taught them:
‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Happy the gentle, they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn; they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right; they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful; they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure i heart; they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers; they shall be called children of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.”
(Matthew 5:2-12)

“Love one another as I have loved you ...” (John 15:12-14 )

The Law of the Gospel fulfils and surpasses the Old Law and brings it to perfection: its promises, through the Beatitudes of the Kingdom of heaven; its commandments, by reforming the heart, the root of human acts. (Catechism of the Catholic Church No 1984)

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, A Consistent Ethic of Life: An American – Catholic Dialogue, Gannon Lecture, Fordham University, December 6, 1983: Click to download pdf

‘TEN COMMANDMENTS’     Exodus 20:1-21         Deuteronomy 5:1-22

Catechism of the Catholic Church

(Paragraph numbers for the Catechism are shown - Click the Nos section to view)

Natural Law Nos 1954-1960

Moral Teaching in the Scriptures:
The Old Law   Nos 1961-1964 
The New Law or the Law of the Gospel  Nos 1965-1974 
IN BRIEF Nos 1975-1986  

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS  (Click here to view)
IN BRIEF  Nos 2075-2082  

 YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND  No 2083
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT – Worship and Serve God 
IN BRIEF  Nos 2133-2144
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT   (Click here to view)
IN BRIEF  Nos 2160-2167
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT  (Click here to view)
IN BRIEF  No 2189-2195 

YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF  No 2196
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT  (Click here to view)
IN BRIEF  Nos 2247-2257 
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT  No 2258
IN BRIEF  Nos 2318-2330 
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT  (Click here to view)
IN BRIEF  Nos 2392-4000 
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT 2401  IN BRIEF  Nos 2450-2463 
THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT  No 2464 
IN BRIEF  Nos 2404-2413 
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT  Nos 2514-2516  
IN BRIEF  Nos 2528-2533
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT  No 2534 
IN BRIEF  Nos 2551-2557 

Psalms and readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, and Mass readings.

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