NOTE: This article was originally published in September 2023, before the Synod on Synodality, but we are sharing it now due to its continued relevance.
What is the “true Thomism” of Amoris Laetitia and Pope Francis? It is a new natural law theology that rejects Divine Revelation as the foundation for understanding human nature and moral truth. What is the new foundation? Almighty “Science,” courtesy of Charles Curran.
Although Charles Curran is no longer allowed to teach Catholic theology, we are all about to become his students, thanks to the upcoming global synod. The condemned theology textbook Human Sexuality “credited” Curran for an innovative interpretation of natural law. And, as you will see in this article, voting members of the synod are in love with Curran’s innovations. For those of you unfamiliar with natural law, let me get you up to speed.
Natural law says that our moral beliefs come from, among other things, the facts of human nature. Here’s a concrete example that illustrates the point. Christians hold certain beliefs about human nature. One of those beliefs is that we possess an immortal soul with an eternal destiny—Heaven or Hell, to be more precise. To get to Heaven, we must do God’s will. This makes Bible passages like the following very important, as Pope John Paul II reminded us in Veritatis Splendor:
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. RSV
Other translations more specifically condemn homosexuality. And other Bible passages are more direct, as well, like Romans 1 for example. This admittedly simplistic and rather crude example nevertheless illustrates what is meant by natural law: Moral beliefs can come from beliefs about human nature. (For a fuller, more edifying illustration of natural law, I highly recommend Dr. Jennifer Frey’s account of the cardinal virtues given in a lecture for the Thomistic Institute.)
So far, we’ve established at least one reason for believing that you should avoid sexual sin. It concerns the belief about human nature that you will go to Hell if you do such things. (I’m not claiming that this is the most persuasive natural law argument against sexual sin. I’m using this example for its simplicity and illustrative power.) Thus, we should be able to see that moral beliefs can come from beliefs about human nature.
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