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Human acts are directed to their true end by LAW and law is applied by CONSCIENCE.

Hence, law and conscience are the directives or norms of human acts.

St. Thomas defines law: An ordinance of reason, promulgated for the common good by one who has charge of society.

A law is an ordinance. An active and authoritative ordering or directing of human acts in reference to an end to be attained by them.

A law is an ordinance of REASON and not an arbitrary or whimsical decree of the legislators will. A law does, of course, come from the will of the lawgiver, but from his reasonable will, that is from his will illumined by understanding of an end necessary or useful to be attained, toward which the law serves as a proper direction.

Hence, law must be reasonable and this means that: It must be just, honest, possible of fulfilment (not exacting undue or extraordinary effort on the part of those bound by it), useful and in some degree permanent.

A law is promulgated, i.e. made known to those bound by it and these are called its subjects. This is a requirement of law as reasonable. By promulgation a law is put in application as an authoritative ordinance.

A law is promulgated for the common good. This is the purpose of law. In this point, a law is distinguished from a precept, which is an ordinance issued by public or private authority for the particular or private good of one or several persons.

Law is not meant to impose hardships or needless restriction upon its subjects, but to promote their good and hence to protect and promote true liberty among them. When a law is truly a law, that is to say, when it has all the requisite qualities of law and is just, honest, possible, useful, relatively permanent and duly promulgated- then is inevitably acts as a liberating agency and not as an enslaving one.

True law tends to make men good, and tends to liberate them from the perverse and mistaken judgments that would lead them astray in the quest of their ultimate end.

A law is promulgated in a society. This is evident from the fact that law is for the common good and hence suppose a commonality or community of subjects and a community is a society.

Law in the fullest sense can exist only in a perfect society for such a society alone has the full and the perfect right to legislate for all subjects.

The supreme and perfect society in the natural order is the State; the supreme and perfect society in the supernatural order is the true church. In the fullest sense, therefore, human laws can come only from the Church and the State.

A law is promulgated by one who has charge of a society. By one is meant a person, whether this be a single human being or a body of men united to form the governing power (moral power). Here, we have indicated the author of the law, that is the lawgiver or legislator. A legislator is one who has the just authority of saying what is rightin the community and is empowered to enact and promulgate true laws.

Here, we have indicated the author of the law, that is the lawgiver or legislator. A legislator is one who has the just authority of saying what is rightin the community and is empowered to enact and promulgate true laws.

Almighty God is the Supreme lawgiver And properly constituted human legislation has its power and authority, directly or indirectly from God.

To insure observance the author of the law establishes sanctions for laws i.e. inducements (rewards and punishment) sufficiently strong to lead reasonable men to follow the prescriptions of the law.

According to their immediate author, laws are distinguished as divine laws, which come directly from God and Human laws which are the enactments of Church or State. Human laws enacted by the Church are called ecclesiastical laws, while human laws enacted by the State are called civil laws.

According to their duration, laws are temporal or eternal. The Eternal law is Gods plan and providence for this universe. All human laws are in themselves temporal, although some of them give expression to requirements of the Eternal law.

According to the manner of their promulgation, laws are distinguished as the natural law and positive laws. The natural law in the widest sense is that which directs creatures to their end in accordance with their nature and so understood, it coincides with the Eternal law.

Usually, however, the laws that govern irrational creatures in their being and activities are called physical laws, While the moral law which is apprehended by sound and matured human reason is called the natural law.

Positive laws are laws enacted by a positive act of a legislator, and these fall under the classification already made as divine and human.

According as they prescribe an act or forbid it, laws are affirmative or negative. Negative laws are also called prohibitory laws.

According to the effect of their violation, laws are distinguished as moral (violation of which is fault or sin). Penal (violation of which is renders the violator liable to an established penalty, but does not infect him with sin. Mixed, (violation of which involves both fault and penalty)

ETERNAL LAW The Eternal Law is Gods eternal plan and providence for the universe. God decreeing from eternity to create the world for an end, eternally plans and directs all things toward that end.

Thus there is from eternity a a plan of Divine wisdom as director of all acts and movements- and this is Eternal law. St. Augustine defines Eternal law as the Divine reason and will commanding that the natural order of things be preserved and forbidding that it be disturbed.

The Eternal law extends to all acts and movements in the universe. Thus, bodies obey the tendencies of their nature and follow the laws of cohesion, gravity, inertia, etc.: plants grow; animals follow the guidance of instinct; the earth turns upon its axis; the heavenly spheres swing through their mighty orbits.

Of all bodily creation, man alone may refuse the direction of the Eternal law in matters of free choice.

For the eternal law applies to all creatures and directs them in a manner consonant with their nature; and mans nature, in its rational part, is free.

But in matters that lie under mans free controlin a word, in human acts- it may be perverse and disobedient, refusing the direction of the Eternal Law as known to him by his reason. Thus, the Eternal law governs all things except human acts by necessity, that is allowing the things governed no choice in the matter.

Eternal law is unchangeable as the author himself. As part of the Divine plan, eternal law existed from all eternity in the mind of God even before the creation of the universe. Eternal law is absolutely universal for it rules all things and actions. There is no limit to the breadth of its application to corporeal and spiritual, to rational and irrational.

NATURAL LAW The Natural law is the Eternal law as known to man by his reason. It is in some sense , mans participation in the Eternal law. Man knows naturally, by the light of his understanding, that there are some things evil in themselves and some things which are necessarily good. Thus, man knows that lies and murder are evil and he knows that truthfulness and respect for life and property are good.

Our universe is composed of an infinite variety of beautifully arranged things. Indeed, nature shows a constant order which is the result of a universal plan and immutable laws. To these natural laws are subject all the movements and energies of the world, the behavior of atoms and molecules, the majestic course of planets and stars.

Man is included in this universal plan. As a living organism he follows the natural laws. As a rational and intelligent being he alone recognizes the laws governing nature and laws especially designed for him, which we called the natural moral law.

Natural law is the Eternal law known to man by his reason. It is in some sense, mans participation in the Eternal law. Man knows naturally by reason that there are some things evil in themselves and some things which are necessarily good.

The practical judgments by which man is aware of his moral obligations are the actual instruments by which God promulgates his eternal law in men.

The natural law has its proper sanction. To deny this fact would be to deny the wisdom of the lawgiver; for surely the legislator who frames a law wants the law fulfilled, else it is an absurdity and a sanction fitted to the nature of the law and of its subjects is the one means of giving the law force.

We may define a human positive law as an ordinance of reason, derived from the natural law or making a concrete and determinate application of the natural law, promulgated for the common good by a human agency in charge of society.

HUMAN POSITIVE LAW Human positive law is enacted by Church or State. When such a law is truly law-that is to say, when it is just, honest, possible, useful and duly promulgatedit derives its binding force from the natural law and so ultimately from Eternal law from God.

It is universal. The natural law is the reflection or promulgation of the eternal law of God in human nature which is common to all persons of all times and places. It is obligatory, for it imposes upon men the moral obligation to follow it as a necessary condition to attain the last end or happiness. It declares to man his duty; it is a voice of authority.

It is recognizable, for it cannot fail to be known and it cannot be forgotten by man; it is impressed in his reason. It is immutable and unchangeable, for it shares in the immutability of the eternal law

Human law should be in accord with the divine law. Human law should be in accord with natural law Human law must promote the common good. Human law must have a universal character.

Human laws require promulgation in an official publications. Human laws should inculcate not only justice but also self-discipline and upright living under the providence of God who is the source and the end of law. Human law can be fallible and prone to error.

Conscience is the practical judgment of reason upon an individual act as good to be performed or as evil to be avoided.

It is a judgment of reason, that is, it is a reasoned conclusion. Although the term conscience is also used to designate the act of reasoning out the right and wrong of a situation before choosing what to do, it is more properly employed as in our definition to signify the judgment which is the conclusion of that act of reasoning.

Now, an act of reasoning requires a principle or set of principles from which the process of reasoning proceeds. By principles we mean things known with certainty with which we may compare new facts or proposed actions and so discover new truths-new applications of the principles.

We acquire these principles-many of them in early life and when we have a workable grasp of them, we become responsible for our conduct, we cease to be infants and we are said to have come to the use of reason Now this acquired equipment of moral principles is called syntheresis. Synteresis is the starting point of the reasoning process which ends in the judgment of conscience.

Before action, conscience judges an act as good to be performed (i.e. as something obligatory, advisable or permissible) or as evil and to be omitted. After action, conscience is a judgment or approval or disapproval.

Conscience is a practical judgment. This means that it has reference to something to be done, i.e either the performance or the omission of an act. It is obvious that conscience is a practical judgment. It is a judgment that commands, forbids, allows or advises according as it declares an individual act obligatory, prohibited, permissible or prudent.

Correct or True Conscience: judges what is good as good and what is evil as evil. Erroneous or False Conscience: judges that what is evil is good and good is evil. Causes: Mistake in inferential thinking Ignorance of the Law Ignorance of the fact and circumstances Ignorance of future consequences

Certain conscience: is a subjective assurance of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of a certain act. Doubtful conscience is a vacillating conscience, unable to make a definite judgment on a certain action. Scrupulous conscience: is a rigorous conscience extremely afraid of committing evil.

Lax conscience: is one which refuses to be bothered about the distinction of good and evil.

In certain cases, we are mixed up because of the confusion between conscience and the built-in policeman in us called the super-ego. Why do I feel confused, restless and ashamed about doing this act? This is so precisely because the inner voice of the super-ego can be mistaken for Gods voice. What adds much to our confusion is the fact that conscience and super-ego have

Functions which are strikingly similar. Both command and prohibit certain actions in a given situation and accuse the offender when he or she fails to obey. Super-ego is made up of mental attitudes and rules of parents and those in authority that have been internalized in us along with prohibitions of society and which have influenced us from early childhood.

As time goes on these external restrictions are consciously processed in our mental mechanism and become part of us. The psychological process is known as introjection. Later on, these mentally processed external restrictions become an inner authority which functions in terms of prohibitions and commands.

These guilt feelings can be traced to childhood fears enforced by parents and authority figures. This is the fear of losing their love and approval The superego is not concerned with the inner goodness and badness of any moral act. There is no sense of moral obligation whatsoever. The law comes from the pressure of authority and society.

On the other hand, conscience is the call to love God precisely in others. Hence, its main concern is the love in moral acts which we feel impelled to do from the moral impulse/obligation: to do what is right/good and avoid what is evil. Thus conscience and moral law are not pressures from without, but something from within.



Dynamic;ables to deal with new situations

Static; does not grow and develop

Looks forward in order to improve the present

Always looks backward with guilt feelings



Acts with prudence based on reason and light of faith

Tends to act independently

Making a moral decision in complicated matters is both a challenge and anguish. In such cases, the problem requires information, reflection, and prayer.

Since the rightness and the wrongness of the moral choice depends in large measure on acts, it is important to properly informed about them. It is necessary, therefore that we consult others. This gives me the chance, to see the problem from different angles.

Every decision-making requires a reflection on the act itself. First of all, I must analyze the nature of the act. What is it that I am about to do? Second, I must ask myself, what is my intention in doing the action.

Thirdly, what are the circumstances that surround the action. After, gathering information about the act, the what follows is to make a judgment.

For any Christian who is trying to do the right thing from a specifically Christian perspective, we need to ask: What does Jesus want me to do? Prayer is the powerful way to get Gods help in searching out his will for us.

If there is no interior peace and when I think I will later regret my decision, I should review the process, including more prayer, for further discernment and change of decision if necessary.

Conscience is at work in us three ways, that is before we act, while we are doing the action and after we have performed it.

1. Before the action:

Antecedent conscience helps us to sort out the

data and examine the morality of an act before we perform it. This operation of conscience refers to the whole process of making moral judgement before the moral act.

2. During the action Concomitant conscience refers to my actual awareness of being morally responsible for the goodness and the badness of the particular act while I am doing it.

3. After the action

Consequent conscience is the process of looking

back at our past moral acts. It serves to review and evaluate the morality of what we have done. This reflection deepens our sense of responsibility which is manifested in our feelings of guilt when we have violated something or satisfaction when it judges we, when we have obeyed a moral imperative.