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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.


Huguccio

Canon Lawyer in Italy (died 1210)

 

Fr Columba Ryan OPThe natural law is said to be reason, that is to say, a natural power of the soul by which the human person distinguishes between good and evil, choosing good and rejecting evil. And reason is said to be a law [jus]because it commands [jubet]; [also, it is said to be] law [lex] because it binds [ligat] or because it compels [one] to act rightly [legitime]; [it is said to be] natural, because reason is one of the natural goods, or because it agrees with the highest nature, and does not dissent from it... Now in the second place, the natural law is said to be a judgment of reason, that is to say, a motion proceeding from reason, directly or indirectly; that is, any work or operation to which one is obliged by reason, as to discern, to choose, and to do good, to give alms, to love God, and other things of this kind ... But understood in this way, it is said to be natural law improperly; because any of the things which we have said to be contained in this understanding [of the natural law] should rather be [said to be] an effect of the natural law, or should be [said to] derive from it, or to be something that one is bound to do by [the natural law], rather than [taking it as] the natural law itself.

From Summa Decretorum, in Odon Lottin, Psychologie et Morale aux XII et XIII siècles, Abbaye de Mont César, Louvain 1960.