Friday, April 11, 2008

There is a universal moral law, as distinct from a moral code, which consists of certain statements of fact about the nature of man; and by behaving in conformity with which, man enjoys his true freedom. This is what the Christian Church calls "the natural law".  The more closely the moral code agrees with the natural law, the more it makes for freedom in human behaviour; the more widely it departs from the natural law, the more it tends to enslave mankind and to produce the catastrophes called "judgments of God".

The universal moral law (or natural law of humanity) is discoverable, like any other law of nature, by experience. It cannot be promulgated, it can only be ascertained, because it is a question not of opinion but of fact. When it has been ascertained, a moral code can be drawn up to direct human behaviour and prevent men, as far as possible, from doing violence to their own nature. No code is necessary to control the behaviour of matter, since matter is apparently not tempted to contradict its own nature, but obeys the law of its being in perfect freedom. Man, however, does continually suffer this temptation and frequently yields to it. This contradiction within his own nature is peculiar to man, and is called by the Church "sinfulness"; other psychologists have other names for it.
— Dorothy L. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker (1941)


  1. Mark,
    I recently stumbled across your blog while searching the history of Florissant, MO. Having grown up in Sacred Heart parish I especially enjoyed your photos of the church and its grounds - the place looks great.

    If I may ask, are you any relation to Roger Abeln? While in high school I worked for him for many years at the Cross Keys Cinema - in fact he stood up for me at my wedding. Unfortunately, after I moved to the Chicago area we eventually lost contact.

    Anyway, thanks for your time and the photographs.

    Dan Schless

  2. Dear Dan,

    There are a number of Abeln families in the Saint Louis area, and so I don't know if we are related. According to an Abeln genealogy website, the surname came from a small village in Germany near the present-day border with the Netherlands, and many Abelns came to Saint Louis from that region in the 19th century.


  3. Thank you for your post about law. I gathered knowledge from it.