Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Friday, June 5, 2009

St. Thomas Aquinas: Definition of Law, Promulgation

THE LAST REQUISITE for there to be a law--in addition to it being a rule of reason, issued by proper authority, and for the common good of a perfect society--is that it be promulgated. Thomas insists that promulgation is essential to law. Roman law insisted on promulgation as essential. And St. Thomas agrees with the Gratian Decretals (Distinctio IV, C. III.) which stated that "laws are established when they are promulgated" (leges instituuntur, cum promulgantur)

St. Thomas argues that since law involves a rule or measure, it must be imposed upon those who are to be ruled and measured by it. This requires knowledge, and so for the rule to be binding, the men and women that will be subjected to it have to be notified by promulgation. In a human context, not everyone will be present at the law's promulgation; some persons will be absent, and some may not even be born. Nevertheless, they would be bound to the law despite not being present during its promulgation. Though the law requires promulgation, they are bound by notice of it, either of the promulgation itself or notice of the law having been promulgated. The promulgation that takes place at one point in time extends to the future as a result of it being written. The fact that law is written means that it is "continually promulgated" (semper eam promulgat). It is for this reason, St. Thomas says, that Isidore of Seville stated in his Etymologies (v, 3; ii, 10) that "law (lex) is derived from "to read" (legere) because it is written" (lex a legendo vocata est, quia scripta est) See ST IaIIae, Q. 90, art.4.

Even the Natural Law is promulgated. The Natural Law is promulgated by God in the very fact that God instilled it into the mind or "heart" of man so as to be known by him naturally. ST IaIIae, Q. 90, art. 4, ad.1.

1 comment:

  1. This is very beautiful, and very well written.
    Kathleen Moore
    The Official Legal Challenge
    To North American Union