Doing What comes Naturally

The man in the street still believes in human nature. He accepts certain things because, as he says, “Its kinda natural like” and condemns something else because “It just ain’t natural”. Only certain philosophers and theologians argue that there is no such thing as human nature, claiming that men and women are totally different in different ages and that we can make up the rules of right and wrong as we go along.

These philosophers and theologians are classical Calvinists who believe that our parents’ first sin destroyed our human nature and left us totally depraved. Catholics believe that sin has made us sick men and women but that we are still men and women for all that, still made in the image of God even though the divine likeness is seriously damaged For the Catholic God’s grace enhances and perfects human nature; for the Calvinistic Puritan it is an alternative to a totally depraved nature. The Puritan excuses himself for having a good time by saying “After all, I am only human”. The Catholic says “Good God, what more do you want to be!” and believes that the good times are godly times.

Because the Catholic believes in human nature he also believes in natural law; he believes that some kinds of behaviour will make him more human and therefore more God like, whereas other behaviour will go against nature and further damage the divine image. Because human beings, for example, are naturally social, all unsocial behaviour is naturally wrong.

There are several different kinds of law. First of all there is the divine law in the mind and will of God, and this law is implanted in our created nature, the natural law, and revealed in the church’s scriptures and tradition. Finally there is positive law, laws devised by human beings, and these must conform to natural law and revealed law.

By ignoring natural law and turning our backs on revealed law, we make human law supreme. Men and women are turned into gods, human relationships are determined by power politics and justice gives way to economic pressure groups.

Catholic Christians believe in humanity and in justice. We believe that all laws are under judgement and that unjust laws need not be obeyed