Vail Daily letter: Natural law prevails
Vail, CO, Colorado
Jack Van Ens, your religious and philosophical commentary is always thought provoking. Your March 4 commentary was a classic of pop-philosophy – a mile wide and an inch deep – based on a couple of creative ideas.
The concept of “ideological purity,” as you describe it, is similar to an old concept called “truth” that is seldom spoken of today because it might offend someone.
“Truth” is based on the existence of God, and is the foundation of the “natural law” – both concepts that I think you accept.
Natural law is relied upon by many to suggest that people should strive to keep the environment pure to preserve its natural state for posterity. Natural law is also relied upon to suggest that breeding dogs (or even chickens) solely to fight one another should be illegal.
These are comforting and convenient uses of natural law that confirm popular contemporary feelings that nature should be treated as God meant it to be.
But what about sex? Humane Vitae, the classic and timeless writing of Pope Paul VI in 1968, describes very simply the natural law of human sexuality and predicts what is likely to occur if the natural law is ignored.
Guess what? Everything the courageous pope predicted is today’s news. But the natural law of human sexuality is considered “an inconvenient truth” by many, so they choose to ignore it.
The results are amazing: Mothers choose to kill their unborn children (inconvenient, you know) and political efforts are even being made to redefine marriage, the fundamental relationship for the survival of humanity.
Are we to infer from these contemporary moral calamities that Humane Vitae has become irrelevant, like the World War II ships you mention?
I say it is more logical to admit that Humane Vitae was both true and prophetic – ignoring the natural law leads to societal decay.
For me, I say find the truth in the natural law authored by God, and follow it for a life of happiness. That is essentially the opposite of what you suggest: that is, look for contemporary social preferences that are considered popular and convenient, and declare anything inconsistent with them as outmoded as a World War II Liberty ship.
Gregory J. Maier