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, January 31, 2014

The Foundation of the Christian Moral Order

AN INTERESTING DOCUMENT, from both a historical and doctrinal standpoint, is the schema "On the Christian Moral Order" drafted by the Preparatory Commission to the Second Vatican Council headed by Cardinal Ottaviani, the then-head of the Holy Office (which later became the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith). Some of these schemas have been translated from Latin into English by Fr. Joseph A. Komonchak of Marquette University. They were posted on the Unam Sanctam web page, accessible here.

The schema "On the Christian Moral Order" gives a remarkable synopsis of the Church's teaching on the natural moral law, on its objective nature, on its reality, on its reliance upon God, on its role in informing the conscience, on the Church's magisterium's competence over the natural moral law, on its role in salvation, and on its universal nature, among other things.  It is a tightly-reasoned and balanced presentation of the natural law.

Much of the confusion in Catholic moral theology--which eventually led to Blessed John Paul II's promulgation of his encyclical on Christian morals and the natural moral law and moral theology, Veritatis splendor--could have been avoided had this sort of schema been adopted by the council fathers.  Alas, hindsight is 20/20.

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