Catholicism and the Natural Law: A Response to Four Misunderstandings
Religions 2021, 12(6), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060379
10 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2021 Last revised: 30 Jul 2021
Date Written: April 27, 2021
This article responds to four criticisms of the Catholic view of natural law: (1) it commits the naturalistic fallacy, (2) it makes divine revelation unnecessary, (3) it implausibly claims to establish a shared universal set of moral beliefs, and (4) it disregards the noetic effects of sin. Relying largely on the Church’s most important theologian on the natural law, St. Thomas Aquinas, the author argues that each criticism rests on a misunderstanding of the Catholic view. To accomplish this end, the author first introduces the reader to the natural law by way of an illustration he calls the “the ten (bogus) rules.” He then presents Aquinas’ primary precepts of the natural law and shows how our rejection of the ten bogus rules ultimately relies on these precepts (and inferences from them). In the second half of the article, he responds directly to each of the four criticisms.
Keywords: Catholicism; Natural Law Theory; Aquinas; Naturalistic Fallacy
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