The course aims to complete building up the framework for moral decision-making in the Roman Catholic tradition, exploring more the basis of Christian moral reasoning. Content
The main themes in the course will include: Natural law tradition and its contemporary understanding, Moral norms and moral values, a synthetic view of the moral decision, Freedom and responsibility, Culture and morality, the modern concept of sin, its dimensions and the call to conversion. Teaching of magisterial
Natural Law and Moral Life
1.0. Natural law
Vatican Council II, teaches that the "highest norm of human life is God's divine law - eternal, objective, universal – whereby God orders, directs, and governs the entire universe and all the ways of the human community according to a plan conceived in wisdom and in love." In addition, it hold that "man has been made by God to participate in this law, with the result that, under the gentle disposition of divine providence, he can come to perceive ever increasingly the unchanging truth" (Dignitatis humanae,no. 3). What is then Natural Law?
Catholic theologians understand natural law as Man's participation in God's divine and eternal law. Vatican II applies the notion of conscience in describing how natural law in intrinsic in human nature Thus it asserts that natural law is: the law that he [man] discovers "deep within his conscience" (Gaudium et spes, no. 16). Although they did not use the expression "natural law" to designate man's participation in God's divine and eternal law in these passages from Dignitatis humanae and Gaudium et spes, the Council Fathers clearly had the natural law in mind, for right after saying that "man has been made by God to participate in this law," they explicitly referred to three texts of St. Thomas; and of these one was obviously uppermost in their mind, for in it Aquinas affirms that all human beings know the immutable truth of the eternal law at least to this extent, that they know the universal principles of the natural law. But what is the natural law? I propose we start by considering the two concepts that make expression natural law. 2.1. The Law
In his Sermon on the Mount our Lord said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have come, not to abolish them, but to fulfill them." Indeed, he continued, "Of this much I assure you: until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of a letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true. That is why whoever breaks the least significant of these commands and teaches others to do so shall be called least in the kingdom of God. Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands shall be called great in the kingdom of God" (Matt 5.17-19). The law to which Jesus here refers is the law given to Moses, whose moral precepts were engraved on tablets of stone. The Catholic theological tradition holds that the moral precepts of the Mosaic law are precepts of the natural moral law, which is engraved, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh, i.e., in the human heart. Pope Paul’s encyclical Humanae Vitae explicitly employs a natural law methodology to arrive at its particular moral conclusions on the licit means of regulating births. The encyclical admits that the teaching on marriage is a “teaching founded on natural law, illuminated and enriched by divine revelation” (H. V. n. 4) 2.2. THE MORAL LAW
Supposing human beings have been given an objective final end by God, the creator, he will be under the obligation to make this objective end his subjective. This implies that he has to make every possible effort to achieve this end. When he looks at the end, he is able to see the visible order to be followed in order to achieve his goal. This visible way to be followed is the moral order. We know the moral order through the moral law. 2.3. Concept of Moral Law...