Cardinal Confuses Positive Law with Truth [Natural Law]

Cardinal Confuses Positive Law with Truth [Natural Law]

Washington LaDonna Cardinal Wuerl, a liberal relativist, has again defended Pope Francis’ controversial Amoris Laetitia.

Confusing (positive) law with truth [natural law], Wuerl said in his opening lecture for Georgetown University’s Sacred Lecture Series, “Church law certainly has great importance but it is not the only point of reference in pastoral ministry.”

“Positive law” are statutes laid down by a legislator which can take whatever form the authors want. Truth is what is in accordance with reality [natural law] or Holy Scripture [and Sacred Tradition]. Pastoral ministry can never forgo truth.

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3 comments on “Cardinal Confuses Positive Law with Truth [Natural Law]

  1. The USCCP, the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, the Cardinal Newman Society, and the Federalist Society, all need to have panel sessions on Natural Law and public policy debates to clarify the issues involved. There is a lot of confusion on this topic. It certainly has not helped that the liberal anti-Catholic Land O’Lakes conference agenda after Vatican II gutted Catholic identity at Catholic colleges and universities, leading to a decline in Catholic faculty trained to explain Catholic Natural Law and social teaching. President Garvey of CUA should have a chat with the Cardinal of Washington on the subject.

    • As I’ve said before, Howl, your point that Natural Law is non-denominational, and follows inviolably upon Reality, is vitally important.
      For that very reason, I would like to nitpick a certain point.
      There is no such thing as Catholic Natural Law. You don’t even have to agree with the Faith of the Church to agree with Natural Law. You just have to accept Reality; you just have to have reason, and the willingness to use it.
      Natural Law is susceptible of comprehension by natural reason, basic knowledge of Reality, and common sense.
      Those who do not accept it are lacking one or more of these things.

  2. One need not be a card-carrying Roman Catholic or follower of the papacy to have some understanding of Natural Law. That subject came up when Father John Courtney Murray, S.J. published We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition, Sheed & Ward, 1960.

    While the basis for Natural Law in ancient Greek philosophy has been outlined by Father Copleston and many others, there has been more than one exposition and interpretation of Natural Law presented by Catholic scholars. Germain Grisez , John Finnis, Maritain, et al. Historically, Natural Law becomes a Catholic theory in philosophical ethics, moral theology, and judicial philosophy with various proponents:
    (See Francisco Suárez, S.J., Philosophy of Law, Tractatus de legibus ac deo legislatore, 1612 A.D. )

    Since it fell into some confusion in Protestant circles due to Luther’s repudiation of scholasticism during the Reformation, clarity on the topic has been more apparent among Catholic philosophers and theologians. It was still being taught as the Catholic position on ethical matters by the Society of Jesus when I was in school and was advanced by Professor McInerny at Notre Dame even well after Vatican II. The point that “the law has been written in our hearts” has also been revealed makes the debate a little more complicated as a theological discussion, but it still holds that the propositions in policy debates can be understood by natural reason.

    You could get a pretty good debate going over the various explanations of Natural Law, comparing Cicero, Grotius, Richard Hooker, and William Blackstone with Catholic theorists.
    Check out Sir William Blackstone’s explanation, since some may have forgotten the Anglican version still familiar in 18th-century England and known in the American colonies, which should be revived in contemporary debates:

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