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NORMS OF HUMAN

ACTS

Human

acts are directed to their true


end by LAW and law is applied by
CONSCIENCE.

Hence,

law and conscience are the


directives or norms of human acts.

DEFINITION OF LAW

St.
An

Thomas defines law:

ordinance of reason, promulgated


for the common good by one who
has charge of society.

LAW IS AN ORDINANCE
A

law is an ordinance.

An

active and authoritative ordering


or directing of human acts in
reference to an end to be attained by
them.

LAW IS AN ORDINANCE OF
REASON
A law is an ordinance of REASON and
not an arbitrary or whimsical decree
of the legislators will.
A law does, of course, come from
the will of the lawgiver, but from his
reasonable will, that is from his will
illumined by understanding of an end
necessary or useful to be attained,
toward which the law serves as a
proper direction.

LAW MUST BE
REASONABLE
Hence,

law must be reasonable and


this means that:
It must be just, honest, possible of
fulfilment (not exacting undue or
extraordinary effort on the part of
those bound by it), useful and in
some degree permanent.

A LAW IS PROMULGATED
A

law is promulgated, i.e. made


known to those bound by it and
these are called its subjects. This is
a requirement of law as reasonable.
By promulgation a law is put in
application as an authoritative
ordinance.

A LAW IS FOR THE COMMON


GOOD
A

law is promulgated for the


common good. This is the purpose
of law. In this point, a law is
distinguished from a precept, which
is an ordinance issued by public or
private authority for the particular or
private good of one or several
persons.

Law is not meant to impose hardships or


needless restriction upon its subjects, but to
promote their good and hence to protect
and promote true liberty among them.
When a law is truly a law, that is to say,
when it has all the requisite qualities of law
and is just, honest, possible, useful,
relatively permanent and duly promulgatedthen it inevitably acts as a liberating agency
and not as an enslaving one.

True

law tends to make men good,


and tends to liberate them from the
perverse and mistaken judgments
that would lead them astray in the
quest of their ultimate end.

A law is promulgated in a society.


This is evident from the fact that law
is for the common good and hence
suppose a commonality or
community of subjects and a
community is a society.

Law

in the fullest sense can exist


only in a perfect society for such a
society alone has the full and the
perfect right to legislate for all
subjects.

The

supreme and perfect society in


the natural order is the State; the
supreme and perfect society in the
supernatural order is the true
church. In the fullest sense,
therefore, human laws can come
only from the Church and the State.

A law is promulgated by one who has charge


of a society. By one is meant a person,
whether this be a single human being or a
body of men united to form the governing
power (moral power).
Here, we have indicated the author of the
law, that is the lawgiver or legislator. A
legislator is one who has the just authority of
saying what is right in the community and
is empowered to enact and promulgate true
laws.

Here,

we have indicated the author


of the law, that is the lawgiver or
legislator. A legislator is one who
has the just authority of saying
what is rightin the community and
is empowered to enact and
promulgate true laws.

Almighty

God is the Supreme

lawgiver

And properly constituted human


legislation has its power and
authority, directly or indirectly from
God.

To

insure observance the author of


the law establishes sanctions for
laws i.e. inducements (rewards and
punishment) sufficiently strong to
lead reasonable men to follow the
prescriptions of the law.

CLASSIFICATION OF LAWS

According to their immediate author,


laws are distinguished as divine laws,
which come directly from God and
Human laws which are the
enactments of Church or State.
Human laws enacted by the Church
are called ecclesiastical laws, while
human laws enacted by the State are
called civil laws.

According

to their duration, laws are


temporal or eternal. The Eternal law
is Gods plan and providence for this
universe.

All

human laws are in themselves


temporal, although some of them
give expression to requirements of
the Eternal law.

According to the manner of their


promulgation, laws are distinguished
as the natural law and positive laws.

The natural law in the widest sense
is that which directs creatures to
their end in accordance with their
nature and so understood, it
coincides with the Eternal law.

Usually,

however, the laws that


govern irrational creatures in their
being and activities are called
physical laws,
While the moral law which is
apprehended by sound and matured
human reason is called the natural
law.

Positive

laws are laws enacted by a


positive act of a legislator, and
these fall under the classification
already made as divine and human.

According

as they prescribe an act or


forbid it, laws are affirmative or
negative. Negative laws are also
called prohibitory laws.

According

to the effect of their


violation, laws are distinguished as
moral (violation of which is fault or
sin).
Penal (violation of which is renders
the violator liable to an established
penalty, but does not infect him with
sin.
Mixed, (violation of which involves
both fault and penalty)

IMPORTANT CLASSES OF LAWS


ETERNAL
The

LAW

Eternal Law is Gods eternal plan


and providence for the universe.
God decreeing from eternity to
create the world for an end, eternally
plans and directs all things toward
that end.

Thus there is from eternity a a plan


of Divine wisdom as director of all
acts and movements- and this is
Eternal law.
St. Augustine defines Eternal law as
the Divine reason and will
commanding that the natural order
of things be preserved and
forbidding that it be disturbed.

The Eternal law extends to all acts


and movements in the universe.
Thus, bodies obey the tendencies of
their nature and follow the laws of
cohesion, gravity, inertia, etc.: plants
grow; animals follow the guidance of
instinct; the earth turns upon its
axis; the heavenly spheres swing
through their mighty orbits.

Of all bodily creation, man alone may


refuse the direction of the Eternal law in
matters of free choice.

For the eternal law applies to all


creatures and directs them in a manner
consonant with their nature; and mans
nature, in its rational part, is free.

But in matters that lie under mans free


control- in a word, in human acts- it may be
perverse and disobedient, refusing the
direction of the Eternal Law as known to him
by his reason.

Thus, the Eternal law governs all things


except human acts by necessity, that is
allowing the things governed no choice in
the matter.

CHARACTERISTICS OF
ETERNAL LAW
Eternal

law is unchangeable as the


author himself. As part of the Divine
plan, eternal law existed from all
eternity in the mind of God even
before the creation of the universe.
Eternal law is absolutely universal for
it rules all things and actions. There
is no limit to the breadth of its
application to corporeal and spiritual,
to rational and irrational.

NATURAL LAW

The Natural law is the Eternal law as


known to man by his reason. It is in
some sense , mans participation in the
Eternal law.

Man knows naturally, by the light of his


understanding, that there are some
things evil in themselves and some
things which are necessarily good.
Thus, man knows that lies and murder
are evil and he knows that truthfulness

NATURAL LAW
Our

universe is composed of an
infinite variety of beautifully
arranged things. Indeed, nature
shows a constant order which is the
result of a universal plan and
immutable laws.
To these natural laws are subject all
the movements and energies of the
world, the behavior of atoms and
molecules, the majestic course of

Man

is included in this universal


plan. As a living organism he follows
the natural laws. As a rational and
intelligent being he alone recognizes
the laws governing nature and laws
especially designed for him, which
we called the natural moral law.

Natural

law is the Eternal law known


to man by his reason. It is in some
sense, mans participation in the
Eternal law.

Man

knows naturally by reason that


there are some things evil in
themselves and some things which
are necessarily good.

The

practical judgments by which


man is aware of his moral obligations
are the actual instruments by which
God promulgates his eternal law in
men.

The natural law has its proper


sanction. To deny this fact would be
to deny the wisdom of the lawgiver;
for surely the legislator who frames a
law wants the law fulfilled, else it is
an absurdity and a sanction fitted to
the nature of the law and of its
subjects is the one means of giving
the law force.

HUMAN POSITIVE LAW


We

may define a human positive law


as an ordinance of reason, derived
from the natural law or making a
concrete and determinate
application of the natural law,
promulgated for the common good
by a human agency in charge of
society.

HUMAN

POSITIVE LAW
Human positive law is enacted by
Church or State.
When such a law is truly law-that is
to say, when it is just, honest,
possible, useful and duly
promulgated it derives its binding force from the
natural law and so ultimately from
Eternal law from God.

PROPERTIES OF THE
NATURAL LAW
It

is universal. The natural law is the


reflection or promulgation of the
eternal law of God in human nature
which is common to all persons of all
times and places.
It is obligatory, for it imposes upon
men the moral obligation to follow it
as a necessary condition to attain
the last end or happiness.
It declares to man his duty; it is a

It

is recognizable, for it cannot fail to


be known and it cannot be forgotten
by man; it is impressed in his reason.

It

is immutable and unchangeable,


for it shares in the immutability of
the eternal law

PROPERTIES OF HUMAN
LAWS
Human

law should be in accord with


the divine law.
Human law should be in accord with
natural law
Human law must promote the
common good.
Human law must have a universal
character.

Human

laws require promulgation in


an official publications.
Human laws should inculcate not
only justice but also self-discipline
and upright living under the
providence of God who is the source
and the end of law.
Human law can be fallible and prone
to error.

Definition of Conscience

Conscience

is the practical
judgment of reason upon an
individual act as good to be
performed or as evil to be
avoided.

It

is a judgment of reason, that is, it


is a reasoned conclusion.
Although the term conscience is also
used to designate the act of
reasoning out the right and wrong of
a situation before choosing what to
do, it is more properly employed as
in our definition to signify the
judgment which is the conclusion of
that act of reasoning.

Now,

an act of reasoning requires a


principle or set of principles from
which the process of reasoning
proceeds. By principles we mean
things known with certainty with
which we may compare new facts or
proposed actions and so discover
new truths-new applications of the
principles.

We

acquire these principles-many of


them in early life and when we
have a workable grasp of them, we
become responsible for our conduct,
we cease to be infants and we are
said to have come to the use of
reason
Now this acquired equipment of
moral principles is called synteresis.
Synteresis is the starting point of the

Before

action, conscience judges an


act as good to be performed (i.e. as
something obligatory, advisable or
permissible) or as evil and to be
omitted. After action, conscience is
a judgment of approval or
disapproval.

Conscience

is a practical judgment.
This means that it has reference to
something to be done, i.e either the
performance or the omission of an
act. It is obvious that conscience is a
practical judgment. It is a judgment
that commands, forbids, allows or
advises according as it declares an
individual act obligatory, prohibited,
permissible or prudent.

KINDS OF CONSCIENCE
Correct

or True Conscience: judges


what is good as good and what is
evil as evil.
Erroneous or False Conscience:
judges that what is evil is good and
good is evil.
Causes:
Mistake in inferential thinking
Ignorance of the Law
Ignorance of the fact and

Certain

conscience: is a subjective
assurance
of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of
a certain
act.
Doubtful conscience is a vacillating
conscience, unable to make a
definite judgment on a certain
action.
Scrupulous conscience: is a rigorous

Lax

conscience: is one which refuses


to be bothered about the distinction
of good and evil.

CONSCIENCE AND
SUPER-EGO
In

certain cases, we are mixed up


because of the confusion between
conscience and the built-in
policeman in us called the super-ego.
Why do I feel confused, restless and
ashamed about doing this act?
This is so precisely because the inner
voice of the super-ego can be
mistaken for Gods voice. What adds
much to our confusion is the fact

Functions

which are strikingly similar.


Both command and prohibit certain
actions in a given situation and
accuse the offender when he or she
fails to obey.
Super-ego is made up of mental
attitudes and rules of parents and
those in authority that have been
internalized in us along with
prohibitions of society and which

As

time goes on these external


restrictions are consciously
processed in our mental mechanism
and become part of us.
The psychological process is known
as introjection.
Later on, these mentally processed
external restrictions become an
inner authority which functions in
terms of prohibitions and commands.

These

guilt feelings can be traced to


childhood fears enforced by parents
and authority figures. This is the
fear of losing their love and approval
The superego is not concerned with
the inner goodness and badness of
any moral act. There is no sense of
moral obligation whatsoever. The
law comes from the pressure of
authority and society.

On

the other hand, conscience is the


call to love God precisely in others.
Hence, its main concern is the love
in moral acts which we feel impelled
to do from the moral
impulse/obligation: to do what is
right/good and avoid what is evil.
Thus conscience and moral law are
not pressures from without, but
something from within.

CONSCIENCE
Other-oriented

SUPER-EGO
Selfish

CONSCIENCE
Dynamic;ables to deal with
new situations

SUPER-EGO
Static; does not grow and
develop

CONSCIENCE
Looks forward in order to
improve the present

SUPER-EGO
Always looks backward with
guilt feelings

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
CONSCIENCE AND SUPEREGO

CONSCIENCE
Value-oriented,

SUPER-EGO
Authority-oriented

CONSCIENCE
Acts with prudence based
on reason and light of faith

SUPER-EGO
Tends to act independently

STEPS IN MAKING MORAL


DECISIONS
Making

a moral decision in
complicated matters is both a
challenge and anguish. In such
cases, the problem requires
information, reflection, and prayer.

INFORMATION
Since

the rightness and the


wrongness of the moral choice
depends in large measure on acts, it
is important to properly informed
about them. It is necessary,
therefore that we consult others.
This gives me the chance, to see the
problem from different angles.

REFLECTION
Every decision-making requires a
reflection on the act itself. First of all, I
must analyze the nature of the act. What
is it that I am about to do?
Second, I must ask myself, what is my
intention in doing the action.

Thirdly, what are the circumstances that


surround the action.
After, gathering information about the act,
the what follows is to make a judgment.

PRAYER
For

any Christian who is trying to do


the right thing from a specifically
Christian perspective, we need to
ask: What does Jesus want me to do?
Prayer is the powerful way to get
Gods help in searching out his will
for us.

ASSESS THE DECISION


If

there is no interior peace and


when I think I will later regret my
decision, I should review the process,
including more prayer, for further
discernment and change of decision
if necessary.

CONSCIENCE IN THE
PROCESS OF TIME

Conscience

is at work in us three
ways, that is before we act, while we
are doing the action and after we
have performed it.

1.

Before the action:

Antecedent conscience helps us to sort

out the data and examine the morality of


an act before we perform it. This
operation of conscience refers to the
whole process of making moral
judgement before the moral act.

2.

During the action

Concomitant

conscience refers to my
actual awareness of being morally
responsible for the goodness and the
badness of the particular act while I
am doing it.

3.

After the action

Consequent conscience is the process of

looking back at our past moral acts. It


serves to review and evaluate the
morality of what we have done.
This reflection deepens our sense of
responsibility which is manifested in our
feelings of guilt when we have violated
something or satisfaction when it judges
us, when we have obeyed a moral
imperative.