Saturday, February 25, 2012
Patrick Brennan responds to Prof. Hunter's paper:
Law is not just about power. It's also about authority, which is legitimate power, and it's up to human action to make it legitimate by deriving it from sources beyond law itself that are relatively independent and objective. Hunter takes a minimalist view of the natural law, relegating it to one footnote, and noting that people have found it very difficult through the centuries to know the natural law. Indeed. Historically the Church has taught that the divine law is available to assist us in our understanding of the natural law, which can be difficult to ascertain due to our fallen state. So we need institutionalized sources of understanding the natural law and the good. The Church, through the Magisterium, provides such a source, making it possible for humans to access the natural common good and the supernatural common good. Expanding the realm of the possible requires us to take seriously the possibility of reinfusing our law with the insights of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It may seem like a long shot, but one of the heresies under which we live is that the notion that "the supernatural is finished." If we have hope, that hope should lead us to recover the sources of authority in our living, and allow those sources of authority to unfold in human law.