The precepts of natural law are not perceived by everyone
clearly and immediately. In the present situation sinful man needs
grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known
“by everyone with facility, with firm certainty and with no admix
ture of error.”
The natural law provides revealed law and grace
with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the
work of the Spirit.
God, our Creator and Redeemer, chose Israel for himself
to be his people and revealed his Law to them, thus preparing for
the coming of Christ. The Law of Moses expresses many truths
naturally accessible to reason. These are stated and authenticated
within the covenant of salvation.
The Old Law is the first stage of revealed Law. Its moral
prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments. The
precepts of the Decalogue lay the foundations for the vocation of
man fashioned in the image of God; they prohibit what is contrary
to the love of God and neighbor and prescribe what is essential to
it. The Decalogue is a light offered to the conscience of every man
to make God’s call and ways known to him and to protect him
God wrote on the tables of the Law what men did not read
in their hearts.
According to Christian tradition, the Law is holy, spiritual,
yet still imperfect. Like a tutor
it shows what must
be done, but does not of itself give the strength, the grace of the
Spirit, to fulfill it. Because of sin, which it cannot remove, it remains
a law of bondage. According to St. Paul, its special function is to
which constitutes a “law of concupis
cence” in the human heart.
However, the Law remains the first
stage on the way to the kingdom. It prepares and disposes the
chosen people and each Christian for conversion and faith in the
12 Pius XII,
DS 3876; cf.
2: DS 3005.
13 St. Augustine,
En. in Ps.
57, 1: PL 36, 673.
7:12, 14, 16.