The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Natural Law and the CIA

Today, U.S District Judge Michael Mosman removed the injunction that he had placed on a new law in the State of Oregon that allows gay couples to register as domestic partners. The new law gives gay couples similar rights as married people. Such laws are common in many liberal states and the only real surprise is that Oregon was not the first to enact such legislation, Vermont beat it to the punch. Washington and California already have like provisions in their code of law so the addition of The Beaver State (no, that has nothing to do with, well, oh never mind) means that every state on the left coast now considers the natural law not good enough but rather in need of amending.

Natural law does not necessarily equate to the dictates of the passions. For the gay community, same sex attraction feels like it is a part of nature. Many a gay person will tell you his experience is one where he has an inexplicable attraction to members of his sex. Thus, it seems normal though it is in conflict with the rest of society. The rational conclusion then is if feels natural it must be as nature intended, and the whole of society just does not understand. Choice cannot be involved here as that would negate the argument for a distinct need for a protected class of society. And if nature intended it, God must be alright with it, too. So natural law is based on little more than how something feels, with pleasure and happiness as its ultimate end.

This becomes a bit problematic for the laws of nature are explained and interpreted by the subjective nature and limited knowledge of man. Such laws once held that the sun orbited the Earth which was flat. There can be no absolutes in this system of belief for all of its laws are subjected to being debunked by newer science or even simple public opinion. The whole man-made global warming panic presents a supreme example of this phenomena. Western society expends vast amounts of resources and energy on a theory and its appeal to the human psyche which wants to control the environment and indeed be its master.

Catholics look at natural law as immutable. St. Thomas Aquinas described the natural law as "nothing else than the rational creature's participation in the eternal law." That word participation is an important one for it implies that one does have a choice in the matter. One can choose communion with God's design, His eternal law, or one can follow a different path. Often times it is far easier to allow one's feelings to dictate a particular act rather than allow Our Lord to lead one to respond to circumstances using moral absolutes.

The Ten Commandments are perhaps the best road map to God's eternal law. If one is struggling with a particular moral issue, one should examine which of the Ten Commandments that issue could be linked to. Hardly a modern moral issue is found that does not have a corresponding reference in this ancient, divine Decalogue.

The culture of the day struggles largely in part because it has a distorted understanding of the CIA, that being circumstance, intent, and act. Common rationalization in a society grounded in relativism is that given the right circumstance and good intent, an act which would be otherwise evil can be made good. Case in point, abortion. While the natural law holds that murder is wrong, the relativist will argue given a circumstance such as rape, and an intent such as avoiding the scandal faced by the victim, murdering the child in the womb is perfectly acceptable.

Another more common evil practiced by far too many Catholics is contraception. The circumstance being the desire to have sex, the intent to have that sex whenever one wants, justifies the act of purposefully changing God's intent for the marital act by interrupting it or simply rendering oneself temporarily or even permanently sterile. True, there certainly exists more seemingly noble intents such as not wanting to transmit a genetic disease; however, the good intent does not trump the evil act. This is not to say that people who practice contraception or have had themselves sterilized are evil and destined to the lake of fire. God's mercy remains more than bountiful enough to forgive and accept one into His kingdom. But if one is Catholic, and understands the teaching of the faith, and willfully disregards it to follow his own path, unrepentant, one must give pause to consider the potentially grave consequences for one's soul.

Catholics hold to the absolutes of God's natural law. An evil act can never be made good by circumstance or intent. The book of Revelation identifies the characters who commit these evil acts that challenged humanity 2,000 years ago and still do today:

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death." (Revelation (RSV) 21:8)

As Lent begins let Catholics offer their prayers and even engage in redemptive suffering for the souls who have been led by the culture into the abyss of relativism where solid ground proves illusive and the practices that appear to appease the passions, in the end, result in sorrow, distress, and calamity.


Blogger Christina Martin said...

This is one of the best analyses of the subject that I've seen. Thanks.

4:48 PM  
Blogger David Jackson said...

Thanks for your kind words. God bless.

10:27 PM  

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