Friday, July 3, 2015

Natural Law Needs to be Understood

One of the questionnaires that was sent out in preparation for the synod on the family was the question on how accepted is the teaching of natural law when it comes to  matters about family. A Catholic Times' article brings this issue to the attention of the  readers. The answer from the bishops of Korea: Confucianism is the  basic understanding of society which  accepts marriage as a bond between one man and one woman, a natural law understanding of marriage similar to the Church.

However, moral questions in society: abortion, marriage, family, sex and related issues are not as clear cut-- relativism, hedonism, individualism and feminism, prevents many from accepting the teaching on natural law. Although the direction of society is not to accept homosexual marriages, the future is far from certain.The international attitude towards homosexuality is changing and  the recent decision of the  United States Supreme Court to legalize  homosexual marriages will bring about discussion in Korea. A movement is already active and  wants to see homosexual marriages legalized.

Natural law in Catholic teaching is fundamental in its teaching on morality but it is, according to the article, not easily accepted by society, and there are many who say we need a new way of explaining what is meant by natural law. One of our bishops returning  from the synod wrote an article for the Times in  which he said: The church needs to use new words to explain the  teaching on natural law: making it understandable when speaking about contraception, and related moral issues.

At the synod it was shown that many felt that a new tone, attitude and way of teaching was necessary if the teaching of the church was going to resonate with the people who are listening.

Natural law and Scripture are the two sources of Catholic teaching on morality. A German legal philosopher, Erick Wolf was quoted as saying the concept of natural law is diverse, and one of its functions is for the natural law to critique positive law and its imperfections.

Reason gives validity to the natural law, consequently, whether you have a  belief system or not, there should be universal validity to our natural law thinking easily grasped by all. There are all kinds of thinking in the areas of marriage, sex and life issues. We are faced with relativistic thinking and ideologies: absolutes are not looked upon favorably,  so efforts have to be made to use words that will speak to the people in today's world.

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