Fr. Jerry Pokorsky: Guardians of the Natural Law

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By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky, Catholic Culture, Sept. 16, 2019

As the classic Christmas hymn has it, with the birth of Jesus, God and sinners are reconciled. Jesus Christ is true God and true man: one Person, two natures. The mystery of the Incarnation provides us with the metaphysics of our reconciliation with God; the words and deeds of Jesus give the method. Jesus elevates and completes natural law.

Natural law is a code of moral behavior accessible by human reason, generally without the light of God’s revelation. Natural law recognizes the rules of upright conduct that derive from the inclinations every person has in the search for lasting happiness.

We know, by reflecting on our human condition, that we must choose good and avoid evil to attain happiness. Most of us realize, for example, that lying, cheating, and murder are immoral and ultimately bring misery. The overarching moral code of Western civilization is built, to a large extent, on the precepts of natural law. Natural law provides the context for a kind of secular moral code. (For example, natural law forms the basis of the U.N.’s 1948 “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”) Observing the reasonable and objective precepts of natural law is the path to natural goodness and happiness. ….