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"It is through conscience that human beings see and recognize the demands of the divine law. They are bound to follow their conscience faithfully in everything they do."
VATICAN II
Religious Liberty, no 2.


Philip the Chancellor

chancellor of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris

in Summa de Bono (1220 - 1230)

 

Fr Columba Ryan OPThe natural law derives its name from nature. That is: it is the law which natural reason directs and which is written in the natural reason, since according to this way of speaking, reason is itself nature. In the same way, it is possible to take nature as nature, or nature as reason.

Nature, insofar as it is nature, directs the rational creature, that is, the human person, to have sexual relations with another, that is, for the well-being of the species, namely for the preservation of the well-being of the species itself. For this purpose, there is the command: “do not commit adultery,” and so on. Just as for the preservation of the individual there is the command: “do not kill.”

Nature as reason directs that one have sexual relations with one and not many; but reason as reason directs that this be one who is united to oneself [= married]. For I say “united” as regards nature, insofar as it is reason.

Odon Lottin, Le droit naturel chez Thomas d'Aquin et ses pr├ęd├ęcesseurs, Beyart, Bruges 1931, pp. 112-113.