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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Universal Ethic-Conclusion


113. The Catholic Church, aware of the necessity for men to search in common the rules of a life together in justice and in the peace, desires to share with the religions, wisdoms and philosophies of our time the resources of the concept of natural law. We call natural law the foundation of a universal ethics that we try to extract from the observation of and reflection upon our common human nature. It is the moral law written in the heart of men and of which humanity always takes greater and greater conscience the more history advances. This natural law has not nothing static in its expression; it does not consist in a list of definitive and unchanging precepts. It is a source of inspiration that gushes forth always in the search for an objective foundation for a universal ethic.

114. Our conviction of faith is that Christ reveals the fullness of man, realizing it in His person. But such revelation, however specific, reaches and confirms elements that are already resident in the rational thought of the wisdom of humanity. Therefore, the concept of natural law is first of all philosophical and, as such, it allows for a dialogue which, in respect of the religious convictions of each, is able to appeal to that which is universally human in all human beings. An exchange on the level of reason is possible when one tries to test and to state what is common to guide all men who have been given reason and to establish the requirements of life in society.

115. The discovery of the natural law answers the search for a humanity that always strives to give itself rules for the moral life and for life in society. This life in society concerns an arc of connections that range from the family cell to international relations, passing through the economic life, civil society, and the political community. To be able to to be recognized by all men and in all the cultures, the rules of behavior in society should have their source in the same human person, in his needs, in his inclinations. Such norms, elaborated with the reflection and supported by right, are to be thus internalized by all. After World War II, the nations of all the world knew enough to give themselves a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man, which suggests implicitly that the source of inalienable human rights is found in the dignity of every human person. The present contribution has no other end than to help to ponder on this source of personal and collective morality.

116. Offering our contribution to the search for a universal ethic, and proposing a rationally justifiable foundation, we want to invite experts and spokespersons of the great religious, wisdom, and philosophical traditions of humanity to proceed to an analogous work derived from their own sources to arrive to a common recognition of universal moral norms that are based on a rational approach on reality. This work is necessary and urgent. We should be able to tell each other, beyond our religious convictions and the variety of our cultural premises, what are the fundamental values of our common human nature, so as to work together to promote understanding, reciprocal recognition, and peaceful cooperation between all the members of the human family.

(The subject "Toward the Search for a Universal Ethic: A New Look at the Natural Law" was submitted to the study of the International Theological Commission. In preparation for this study, a subcomssion was formed composed of the Most Excellent Monsignor Roland Minnerath, of the Most Reverend Professors: p. Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P. (President of the Subcomission), Geraldo Louis Borges Hackmann, Pierre Gaudette, Tony Kelly CssR, Jean Liesen, John Michael McDermott, SJ, of professors, Dr. Johannes Reiter and Dr. Barbara Hallensleben, with the collaboration of s.e. mons. Luis Ladaria, SJ, secretary general, with the contributions of the other members as well. The general discussion was itself carried out on the occasion of the full sessions of the same CTI, had in Rome, in October 2006 and 2007 and in December 2008. The document was unanimously approved by the Commission in the session of December 1-6, 2008, and was then submitted to its president, William J. Cardinal Levada, who has given his approval for the publication.)

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