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The classical point of view is that in order to have a virtuous/good city one needs to have virtuous/good citizens. What new thoughts or ways of thinking did the readings this week inspire in you concerning the relation between law and the moral life?

St. Thomas’ presentation of the natural law clearly follows a very philosophical perspective. JP II is very clearly giving a more theological presentation (seen in the light of the human person as a body/soul composite). Thomas is not ignoring the theological, nor is JP II ignoring the philosophical. But it seems there is an upside to this: while JP II is giving us a biblically and theologically inspired account as to how our actions reflect our being made in the image of God, Aquinas seems to give us a presentation which can be used in a largely secular society which might not accept the Scriptures as a starting point. What are your thoughts on the differing presentations of the natural law by Aquinas and JP II?

How does St. Thomas derive the precepts of natural law?

We should note that what we have the Natural Law is not the same as the “Laws of Nature” from Enlightenment thought (again, see JP II’s reading for this week about the theological meaning of natural law; whereas Enlightenment laws of nature are often more impersonal and reductionistic to just the material component in human beings); have you given much consideration to the natural law before? In what ways might you imagine the natural law can impact moral/political discussions?

While this is a little beyond the scope of our readings, has the material this week led you in any way to reconsider any previous thoughts you may have had about Church/State relations? Given that we have an end beyond just political life, does or should this have any practical ramifications? Is it possible for Christians to act in the public sphere without acting in light of Christian faith?

What other questions or comments do you have after this week’s readings?

The classical point of view is that in order to have a virtuous/good city one needs to have virtuous/good citizens. What new thoughts or ways of thinking did the readings this week inspire in you concerning the relation between law and the moral life?

St. Thomas’ presentation of the natural law clearly follows a very philosophical perspective. JP II is very clearly giving a more theological presentation (seen in the light of the human person as a body/soul composite). Thomas is not ignoring the theological, nor is JP II ignoring the philosophical. But it seems there is an upside to this: while JP II is giving us a biblically and theologically inspired account as to how our actions reflect our being made in the image of God, Aquinas seems to give us a presentation which can be used in a largely secular society which might not accept the Scriptures as a starting point. What are your thoughts on the differing presentations of the natural law by Aquinas and JP II?

How does St. Thomas derive the precepts of natural law?

We should note that what we have the Natural Law is not the same as the “Laws of Nature” from Enlightenment thought (again, see JP II’s reading for this week about the theological meaning of natural law; whereas Enlightenment laws of nature are often more impersonal and reductionistic to just the material component in human beings); have you given much consideration to the natural law before? In what ways might you imagine the natural law can impact moral/political discussions?

While this is a little beyond the scope of our readings, has the material this week led you in any way to reconsider any previous thoughts you may have had about Church/State relations? Given that we have an end beyond just political life, does or should this have any practical ramifications? Is it possible for Christians to act in the public sphere without acting in light of Christian faith?

What other questions or comments do you have after this week’s readings?

https://aquinas.cc/la/en/~ST.I-II

https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor.html


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