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476

Part Three

1960

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.”

12

The natural law provides revealed law and grace

with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the

work of the Spirit.

II.

T

he

O

ld

L

aw

1961

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.

1962

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

against evil:

God wrote on the tables of the Law what men did not read

in their hearts.

13

1963

According to Christian tradition, the Law is holy, spiritual,

and good,

14

yet still imperfect. Like a tutor

15

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

denounce and

disclose sin,

which constitutes a “law of concupis­

cence” in the human heart.

16

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,

Humani generis:

DS 3876; cf.

Dei Filius

2: DS 3005.

13 St. Augustine,

En. in Ps.

57, 1: PL 36, 673.

14 Cf.

Rom

7:12, 14, 16.

15 Cf.

Gal

3:24.

16 Cf.

Rom

7.

2071

37

62

2058

1610

2542

2515