Law describes rights and duties with an eye to Truth. Man’s law should be consonant with Natural Law and respect Divine Law.
Any old law enacted by man is not consonant, does not respect truth simply because it is enacted as law by man, as if all men were infallible. Legal positivists shriek:
- “Because legislation was passed by a legislature or decreed by a tyrant it is to be praised by God Himself! It is law, and therefore it is good!”
That’s called legal positivism. We meet up a lot with that these days, also among priests and bishops who refuse to use their brains, who think that they embrace the faith in rejecting reason, who are so entirely aware that what they do is going against Natural Law and Divine Law that they become nervous: “Don’t make me think! It’s the law! Just follow it!”
One priest scolded me when he said that unless I comply with whatever, there may come a time when I will be forced to go against my conscience, and I should just get over whatever objection and comply, you know, because it’s the law, and they can hurt you.
No, no one can hurt me. It is all of eternity which makes up the background of my decisions for integrity. A few years (presumed!) on this earth with a lack of integrity, haunted at every moment of every day by that darkness of a decision to make lack of integrity the center of my life, is not somehow better than all of eternity in heaven. And this is the point of legal positivism: fear of doing what is right because of consequences in this world. What a bunch of freakin’ cowards.
Law should reflect Truth’s splendor. The splendor of Truth is a good moral life. Law is all about morality: Do not murder! Do not bear false witness! Do not steal! Do not commit adultery! That’s Natural Law and is also revealed to our dark and fallen human nature by God.
But what if human legislation passes law against Natural Law and Divine Law? Then that law is not law at all says Saint Thomas Aquinas. Evil law, not being law, is not to be obeyed or disobeyed, but is to be simply ignored as it is nothing. But when I say this self-evident fact, it is met instantly with the statement that only I think like that in the whole world and everyone else goes along to get along so why don’t I just go along to get along?
How about this: Because I love Jesus, who said, “If you love me, keep MY commandments.” He didn’t say that if we love Him, we are therefore to keep whatever law that was legislated by human beings over against God.
- “You mean we actually have to think and use our free will and say: “I am the king’s good servant, but God’s first” and then face the consequences?
Yes, that’s exactly what what I’m saying. I’m saying that the cowardly legal positivists should love Jesus. Even the kids are fed up with the blah-blah-blah of the legal positivists:
Here’s what you get with legal positivism, which is not so very positive:
“It’s the law!” they shriek, yes, also those “conservative” positive legalist priests shriek this, again and again, no matter what the stupid and evil law happens to be: “It’s the law! It’s the law! It’s the law!”
One of those legal positivists was the archbishop present at the beheading of Thomas More. But it’s not a thing of the past. It never is. It is with us today. All around. Do God’s law out of love of Jesus and you’ll find out right quick where people stand. It’s surprising who stands with legal positivism over against God.