PUBLIC LAW AND PRIVATE MORALITY

These days some try to tell us that there is supposed to be a separation of church and state. What those who spout such tripe really want is a separation of public law from private morality. It is impossible to separate law from morality because public law is, and always has been, a reflection of the morality of those who make the laws.

Here in this country law is based on morality just as everywhere else. In fact many of the common practices of law here reflect a particularly Catholic view of morality.

The custom of law has always been, and will always be rooted in a moral code. Because our nationís historical foundation is western European, we have inherited a legal system that is based on the morality system used on the European continent. That code of morality, which is the basis for laws and the legal system which has been handed down to us, is the moral code of the Catholic Church.

Some people harp that tired slogan about "separation of church and state". Those folks ought to wake up and look around. The moral code of the Church has permeated our way of life. Those who try to say otherwise live in a fantasy world created by faulty logic and poor reasoning skills.

The law has always been, and will always be a reflection of the morality of the law giver. In our representative democracy the people are the ultimate source of our secular laws. We can use a good moral system or a bad moral system to make law, but we are going to use a moral system. It is impossible to even attempt to separate our value system from the secular government process. There can be no separation of private morality from public law. The connection is here with us now as it has always been. It is absolutely essential whenever an election comes around to remind ourselves, and any one who will listen, of this incontrovertible fact.

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Published by The Minnesota St. Thomas More Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith, August 2000.