When Dictatorial Decisions are not laws but perversions of law

The two narrow decisions (5-4) of the Supreme Court yesterday ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional and dismissing Proposition 8 are as unjust and unwise as the Supreme Court decision of 1992 in the case of Planned Parenthood vs. Governor Casey.  That decision did not make abortion moral and the two decisions today will not make homosexual marriage moral.

A proper response to such dictatorial decisions has been provided by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae I-II, 95, 2: 

“As Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5) ‘that which is not just seems to be no law at all’: wherefore the force of a law depends on the extent of its justice. Now in human affairs a thing is said to be just, from being right, according to the rule of reason. But the first rule of reason is the law of nature, as is clear from what has been stated above (91, 2, ad 2). Consequently every human law has just so much of the nature of law, as it is derived from the law of nature. But if in any point it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law.”

Fundamental to these issues is the need for twenty-first century scholars to recover the understanding of legislation as primarily an act of intelligence and reason.  As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI pointed out, a dictatorship of relativism has resulted from the nominalist voluntarism that devalued legislation into acts of will severed from intelligence and reason.  It is indeed unreasonable to be shouting out the fiction that homosexuals can be properly married, thereby severing the nature of marriage from the procreation and education of children, at the very time that the so-called advanced societies are dying out.  I recommend a reading of Jonathan Last’s recent book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: The Coming American Demographic Disaster.

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About Fr. Matthew Lamb 0 Articles
Fr. Matthew Lamb, STL, Dr. Theol, is professor of theology and the chair of the Theology Department at Ave Maria University. He previously taught for many years at Boston College and, before that, Marquette University. His research interests include foundational, doctrinal, and systematic theologies. He has authored and edited several books, and has also published more than 140 articles in quarterlies, journals, and books.