"One part of the politically just is natural, and the other part legal. The natural has the same VALIDITY EVERYWHERE ALIKE, INDEPENDENT OF IT'S SEEMING SO OR NOT."
A few lines later he makes a very important distinction.
"Now some people think everything just is MERELY LEGAL. For the NATURAL IS UNCHANGABLE AND EQUALLY VALID EVERYWHERE-fire, for instance burns both here and in Persia."
Aristotle was not Catholic. He was a pagan philosopher, a damn good pagan philosopher. His reason was rightly ordered. He understood that he was not the center of the universe, rather, a part of it. He was a part of a universe that had order and purpose. Aristotle saw that all things acted for an end particularly human beings. In this particular set of quotes he points out something that would do us some good to attend to today. The government cannot legislate happiness, nor can the supreme court. If they legislate in a manner that is not in accord with the universal laws of nature, they have publicly rejected their understanding of the human person and have reduced the human person to a being able only to pursue pleasure, virtue is now off the table. Because as Aristotle says, "the natural law has the same validity everywhere." Ignoring it, or failing to be aware of it (which seems absurd to me) does not invalidate it. It makes not one bit of difference whether anyone "feels" like it is invalid or "thinks" that it is invalid or "wants" it to be invalid. It is "unchangeable."
An example if you do not mind. I have an Iphone, my first smart phone. It is capable of a great many things. But, it was not designed for use while submerged in dad's pool. There is a law written into the creation of my Iphone, whether I like it or not, that prohibits me from checking facebook at the bottom of the pool. I make you this promise if one should try to open facebook on one's Iphone, at the bottom of a pool, because you "feel" like you should be able to, or you "think" that you should be able to, or you "want" to. The end of that deliberation, will not be happiness. You will find yourself at Verizon or whichever cellular provider is robbing you monthly, hoping that you paid the 8$ a month for the insurance. Because your choice to use your Iphone apart from it's design will have caused great damage to it. The good people at your local cell phone factory will assure you that there is a universal law governing the use of your Iphone at the bottom of pools. Until Apple updates it's technology (and maybe they already have, I tend to ignore those things) if you wish to happily use your phone, you will not submerge it in water to check facebook.
What does it Matter?
You are bound to the law, like it or not. It matters because nature is not mindless nor the product of random chaos, rather, it is full of purpose. It is the greatest piece of artwork ever created and their is an artist responsible. Nature and nature's laws, logically lead one to the understanding that no one individual is the center of the universe as so many hope, or tend to think. There is rather, a plane that rises above the natural plane. An authority greater than you or I, in the hierarchy of being. In a world that increasingly rejects the notion that the Human person has a spiritual capacity, given it by God, ordered to the good, which is ultimately God, is it any surprise that the human person tends to be viewed in an ever more utilitarian manner? If there is no God, if man is not made in his image, someone has to order the universe. But who?
In our rush to become industrialized, we left behind the hard work of country life, but, more than that, we left behind the majestic beauty of a universe that is ordered and knowable, for high rise's and computer screens. Other than each other, we no longer look nature squarely in the eye day in and day out. And while the glory of the human person ought to be enough, we have accepted the enlightened philosophy that if man is to be worthy, he must be as useful as the tools we create. This utilitarianism is evident in our mourning over the killing of a Lion in Africa, and our unwillingness, to face the atrocities of eugenics committed daily at any planned parenthood in America. We want what we want and we do not wish to be troubled with responsibility. So, rather, than stare into man's eyes and ask how can I love this person that God has brought into my life today. I stare at what man has accomplished. All the while believing that human value is achieved exteriorly, rather, than accepting that it is inherent in the person. We would rather idolize our automobile's, computers, and modern medical advancements, and ourselves, than sacrifice for the good of another person. Because, we no longer know what a person is. And besides all that sacrificing is so difficult. All of these things are good and can be used for good, but, only because you have a mind and a will, the spiritual capacity to think and to create, which makes you Imago Dei.
Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Sapientiae Christianae, n. 10
10. But, if the laws of the State are manifestly at variance with the divine law, containing enactments hurtful to the Church, or conveying injunctions adverse to the duties imposed by religion, or if they violate in the person of the supreme Pontiff the authority of Jesus Christ, then, truly, to resist becomes a positive duty, to obey, a crime; a crime, moreover, combined with misdemeanor against the State itself, inasmuch as every offense leveled against religion is also a sin against the State. Here anew it becomes evident how unjust is the reproach of sedition; for the obedience due to rulers and legislators is not refused, but there is a deviation from their will in those precepts only which they have no power to enjoin. Commands that are issued adversely to the honor due to God, and hence are beyond the scope of justice, must be looked upon as anything rather than laws.
Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Diuturnum Illud, n. 15
"The one only reason which men have for not obeying is when anything is demanded of them which is openly repugnant to the natural or the divine law, for it is equally unlawful to command to do anything in which the law of nature or the will of God is violated. If, therefore, it should happen to anyone to be compelled to prefer one or the other, viz., to disregard either the commands of God or those of rulers, he must obey Jesus Christ, who commands us to “give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” and must reply courageously after the example of the Apostles: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” And yet there is no reason why those who so behave themselves should be accused of refusing obedience; for, if the will of rulers is opposed to the will and the laws of God, they themselves exceed the bounds of their own power and pervert justice; nor can their authority then be valid, which, when there is no justice, is null."
I offer these two quotes from Pope Leo XIII because we have encountered a period in history in which the rejection of God and the crisis of faith have reached epidemic levels. Faithful, orthodox Catholics are now not only minorities, but worse, "radicals"! We must continue to develop a deep interior life routed in our fidelity to and belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a result of our faith in the visible signs and sacraments of the Holy Church. The days ahead will undoubtedly be dark as justice demands it. To survey the land is to recognize the invalidity of the authorities around us and accept that the fate of those who have chosen the rational and faithful path, will not be tolerated in the public square. Reject what is contrary to God's law and His revelation! Pray the rosary daily! And Be Holy!
Sacred Heart of Jesus Have Mercy on Us!