John Lilburne's journal about law from today's bible readings, newspaper and what Cardinal George has written this week.



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1056 L Wed 6 Mar 2002

Today, both readings for Mass promote laws. The first reading, from Deuteronomy 4:1.5-9, begins:

Moses said to the people: "And now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life and may enter and take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers is giving you. ..."

The Gospel reading is Matthew 5:17-19:

Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes this passage in its teaching about Jesus and the Law, in CCC 577. It explains "The perfect fulfillment of the Law could be the work of none but the divine legislator, born subject to the Law in the person of the Son." (CCC 580).

Often in society there is fairly widespread contempt for laws. Today in The Australian, on page 2, Duncan Macfarlane reports on a new tax method being proposed:

... Bureaucrats who have worked on Tax Value Method believed it could cut the volume of law, which has grown exponentially from 1400 pages in 1985 to 4300 pages today. ...

Using some web sites requires the entering a contract. Buy some software and "by opening this package you are agreeing to ..." a heap of fine print. I doubt this does much to promote esteem for civil laws.

Why is it so? I guess people have been writing about it for a long time, such as Aristotle in Politics. Ongoing power struggles, competition between states, the law of the jungle, etc.

I thought Cardinal George expressed things well in his column of 3 March 2002:

... It is neither liberal nor conservative to lie or to commit adultery. It is simply wrong. It is neither liberal nor conservative to obey the laws of the Church. It is simply right. Wrong and right are the difference between death and life. They are the guideposts along the paths to damnation or to eternal life. ...

There are enormous challenges in encouraging people to "obey the laws of the Church". But it should be done.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 6 March 2002.


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Cardinal George's Column