Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIa/Q96

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Q95 Q97



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Iª-IIae q. 96 pr. Deinde considerandum est de potestate legis humanae. Et circa hoc quaeruntur sex. Primo, utrum lex humana debeat poni in communi. Secundo, utrum lex humana debeat omnia vitia cohibere. Tertio, utrum omnium virtutum actus habeat ordinare. Quarto, utrum imponat homini necessitatem quantum ad forum conscientiae. Quinto, utrum omnes homines legi humanae subdantur. Sexto, utrum his qui sunt sub lege, liceat agere praeter verba legis. Question 96. The power of human law Should human law be framed for the community? Should human law repress all vices? Is human law competent to direct all acts of virtue? Does it bind man in conscience? Are all men subject to human law? May those who are under the law act beside the letter of the law?
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod lex humana non debeat poni in communi, sed magis in particulari. Dicit enim philosophus, in V Ethic., quod legalia sunt quaecumque in singularibus lege ponunt; et etiam sententialia, quae sunt etiam singularia, quia de singularibus actibus sententiae feruntur. Ergo lex non solum ponitur in communi, sed etiam in singulari. Objection 1. It would seem that human law should be framed not for the community, but rather for the individual. For the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 7) that "the legal just . . . includes all particular acts of legislation . . . and all those matters which are the subject of decrees," which are also individual matters, since decrees are framed about individual actions. Therefore law is framed not only for the community, but also for the individual.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, lex est directiva humanorum actuum, ut supra dictum est. Sed humani actus in singularibus consistunt. Ergo leges humanae non debent in universali ferri, sed magis in singulari. Objection 2. Further, law is the director of human acts, as stated above (90, A1,2). But human acts are about individual matters. Therefore human laws should be framed, not for the community, but rather for the individual.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, lex est regula et mensura humanorum actuum, ut supra dictum est. Sed mensura debet esse certissima, ut dicitur in X Metaphys. Cum ergo in actibus humanis non possit esse aliquod universale certum, quin in particularibus deficiat; videtur quod necesse sit leges non in universali, sed in singulari poni. Objection 3. Further, law is a rule and measure of human acts, as stated above (90, A1,2). But a measure should be most certain, as stated in Metaph. x. Since therefore in human acts no general proposition can be so certain as not to fail in some individual cases, it seems that laws should be framed not in general but for individual cases.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod iurisperitus dicit, quod iura constitui oportet in his quae saepius accidunt, ex his autem quae forte uno casu accidere possunt, iura non constituuntur. On the contrary, The jurist says (Pandect. Justin. lib. i, tit. iii, art. ii; De legibus, etc.) that "laws should be made to suit the majority of instances; and they are not framed according to what may possibly happen in an individual case."
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod unumquodque quod est propter finem, necesse est quod sit fini proportionatum. Finis autem legis est bonum commune, quia, ut Isidorus dicit, in libro Etymol., nullo privato commodo, sed pro communi utilitate civium lex debet esse conscripta. Unde oportet leges humanas esse proportionatas ad bonum commune. Bonum autem commune constat ex multis. Et ideo oportet quod lex ad multa respiciat, et secundum personas, et secundum negotia, et secundum tempora. Constituitur enim communitas civitatis ex multis personis; et eius bonum per multiplices actiones procuratur; nec ad hoc solum instituitur quod aliquo modico tempore duret, sed quod omni tempore perseveret per civium successionem, ut Augustinus dicit, in XXII de Civ. Dei. I answer that, Whatever is for an end should be proportionate to that end. Now the end of law is the common good; because, as Isidore says (Etym. v, 21) that "law should be framed, not for any private benefit, but for the common good of all the citizens." Hence human laws should be proportionate to the common good. Now the common good comprises many things. Wherefore law should take account of many things, as to persons, as to matters, and as to times. Because the community of the state is composed of many persons; and its good is procured by many actions; nor is it established to endure for only a short time, but to last for all time by the citizens succeeding one another, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ii, 21; xxii, 6).
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod philosophus in V Ethic. ponit tres partes iusti legalis, quod est ius positivum. Sunt enim quaedam quae simpliciter in communi ponuntur. Et haec sunt leges communes. Et quantum ad huiusmodi, dicit quod legale est quod ex principio quidem nihil differt sic vel aliter, quando autem ponitur, differt, puta quod captivi statuto pretio redimantur. Quaedam vero sunt quae sunt communia quantum ad aliquid, et singularia quantum ad aliquid. Et huiusmodi dicuntur privilegia, quasi leges privatae, quia respiciunt singulares personas, et tamen potestas eorum extenditur ad multa negotia. Et quantum ad hoc, subdit, adhuc quaecumque in singularibus lege ponunt. Dicuntur etiam quaedam legalia, non quia sint leges, sed propter applicationem legum communium ad aliqua particularia facta; sicut sunt sententiae, quae pro iure habentur. Et quantum ad hoc, subdit, et sententialia. Reply to Objection 1. The Philosopher (Ethic. v, 7) divides the legal just, i.e. positive law, into three parts. For some things are laid down simply in a general way: and these are the general laws. Of these he says that "the legal is that which originally was a matter of indifference, but which, when enacted, is so no longer": as the fixing of the ransom of a captive. Some things affect the community in one respect, and individuals in another. These are called "privileges," i.e. "private laws," as it were, because they regard private persons, although their power extends to many matters; and in regard to these, he adds, "and further, all particular acts of legislation." Other matters are legal, not through being laws, but through being applications of general laws to particular cases: such are decrees which have the force of law; and in regard to these, he adds "all matters subject to decrees."
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod illud quod est directivum, oportet esse plurium directivum, unde in X Metaphys., philosophus dicit quod omnia quae sunt unius generis, mensurantur aliquo uno, quod est primum in genere illo. Si enim essent tot regulae vel mensurae quot sunt mensurata vel regulata, cessaret utilitas regulae vel mensurae, quae est ut ex uno multa possint cognosci. Et ita nulla esset utilitas legis, si non se extenderet nisi ad unum singularem actum. Ad singulares enim actus dirigendos dantur singularia praecepta prudentium, sed lex est praeceptum commune, ut supra dictum est. Reply to Objection 2. A principle of direction should be applicable to many; wherefore (Metaph. x, text. 4) the Philosopher says that all things belonging to one genus, are measured by one, which is the principle in that genus. For if there were as many rules or measures as there are things measured or ruled, they would cease to be of use, since their use consists in being applicable to many things. Hence law would be of no use, if it did not extend further than to one single act. Because the decrees than to one single act. Because the decrees of prudent men are made for the purpose of directing individual actions; whereas law is a general precept, as stated above (92, 2, Objection 2).
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod non est eadem certitudo quaerenda in omnibus, ut in I Ethic. dicitur. Unde in rebus contingentibus, sicut sunt naturalia et res humanae, sufficit talis certitudo ut aliquid sit verum ut in pluribus, licet interdum deficiat in paucioribus. Reply to Objection 3. "We must not seek the same degree of certainty in all things" (Ethic. i, 3). Consequently in contingent matters, such as natural and human things, it is enough for a thing to be certain, as being true in the greater number of instances, though at times and less frequently it fail.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ad legem humanam pertineat omnia vitia cohibere. Dicit enim Isidorus, in libro Etymol., quod leges sunt factae ut earum metu coerceatur audacia. Non autem sufficienter coerceretur, nisi quaelibet mala cohiberentur per legem. Ergo lex humana debet quaelibet mala cohibere. Objection 1. It would seem that it belongs to human law to repress all vices. For Isidore says (Etym. v, 20) that "laws were made in order that, in fear thereof, man's audacity might be held in check." But it would not be held in check sufficiently, unless all evils were repressed by law. Therefore human laws should repress all evils.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, intentio legislatoris est cives facere virtuosos. Sed non potest esse aliquis virtuosus, nisi ab omnibus vitiis compescatur. Ergo ad legem humanam pertinet omnia vitia compescere. Objection 2. Further, the intention of the lawgiver is to make the citizens virtuous. But a man cannot be virtuous unless he forbear from all kinds of vice. Therefore it belongs to human law to repress all vices.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, lex humana a lege naturali derivatur, ut supra dictum est. Sed omnia vitia repugnant legi naturae. Ergo lex humana omnia vitia debet cohibere. Objection 3. Further, human law is derived from the natural law, as stated above (Question 95, Article 2). But all vices are contrary to the law of nature. Therefore human law should repress all vices.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur in I de Lib. Arb., videtur mihi legem istam quae populo regendo scribitur, recte ista permittere, et divinam providentiam vindicare. Sed divina providentia non vindicat nisi vitia. Ergo recte lex humana permittit aliqua vitia, non cohibendo ipsa. On the contrary, We read in De Lib. Arb. i, 5: "It seems to me that the law which is written for the governing of the people rightly permits these things, and that Divine providence punishes them." But Divine providence punishes nothing but vices. Therefore human law rightly allows some vices, by not repressing them.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut iam dictum est, lex ponitur ut quaedam regula vel mensura humanorum actuum. Mensura autem debet esse homogenea mensurato, ut dicitur in X Metaphys., diversa enim diversis mensuris mensurantur. Unde oportet quod etiam leges imponantur hominibus secundum eorum conditionem, quia, ut Isidorus dicit. Lex debet esse possibilis et secundum naturam, et secundum consuetudinem patriae. Potestas autem sive facultas operandi ex interiori habitu seu dispositione procedit, non enim idem est possibile ei qui non habet habitum virtutis, et virtuoso; sicut etiam non est idem possibile puero et viro perfecto. Et propter hoc non ponitur eadem lex pueris quae ponitur adultis, multa enim pueris permittuntur quae in adultis lege puniuntur, vel etiam vituperantur. Et similiter multa sunt permittenda hominibus non perfectis virtute, quae non essent toleranda in hominibus virtuosis. Lex autem humana ponitur multitudini hominum, in qua maior pars est hominum non perfectorum virtute. Et ideo lege humana non prohibentur omnia vitia, a quibus virtuosi abstinent; sed solum graviora, a quibus possibile est maiorem partem multitudinis abstinere; et praecipue quae sunt in nocumentum aliorum, sine quorum prohibitione societas humana conservari non posset, sicut prohibentur lege humana homicidia et furta et huiusmodi. I answer that, As stated above (90, A1,2), law is framed as a rule or measure of human acts. Now a measure should be homogeneous with that which it measures, as stated in Metaph. x, text. 3,4, since different things are measured by different measures. Wherefore laws imposed on men should also be in keeping with their condition, for, as Isidore says (Etym. v, 21), law should be "possible both according to nature, and according to the customs of the country." Now possibility or faculty of action is due to an interior habit or disposition: since the same thing is not possible to one who has not a virtuous habit, as is possible to one who has. Thus the same is not possible to a child as to a full-grown man: for which reason the law for children is not the same as for adults, since many things are permitted to children, which in an adult are punished by law or at any rate are open to blame. In like manner many things are permissible to men not perfect in virtue, which would be intolerable in a virtuous man. Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained: thus human law prohibits murder, theft and such like.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod audacia pertinere videtur ad invasionem aliorum. Unde praecipue pertinet ad illa peccata quibus iniuria proximis irrogatur; quae lege humana prohibentur, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 1. Audacity seems to refer to the assailing of others. Consequently it belongs to those sins chiefly whereby one's neighbor is injured: and these sins are forbidden by human law, as stated.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod lex humana intendit homines inducere ad virtutem, non subito, sed gradatim. Et ideo non statim multitudini imperfectorum imponit ea quae sunt iam virtuosorum, ut scilicet ab omnibus malis abstineant. Alioquin imperfecti, huiusmodi praecepta ferre non valentes, in deteriora mala prorumperent, sicut dicitur Prov. XXX, qui nimis emungit, elicit sanguinem; et Matth. IX dicitur quod, si vinum novum, idest praecepta perfectae vitae, mittatur in utres veteres, idest in homines imperfectos, utres rumpuntur, et vinum effunditur, idest, praecepta contemnuntur, et homines ex contemptu ad peiora mala prorumpunt. Reply to Objection 2. The purpose of human law is to lead men to virtue, not suddenly, but gradually. Wherefore it does not lay upon the multitude of imperfect men the burdens of those who are already virtuous, viz. that they should abstain from all evil. Otherwise these imperfect ones, being unable to bear such precepts, would break out into yet greater evils: thus it is written (Psalm 30:33): "He that violently bloweth his nose, bringeth out blood"; and (Matthew 9:17) that if "new wine," i.e. precepts of a perfect life, "is put into old bottles," i.e. into imperfect men, "the bottles break, and the wine runneth out," i.e. the precepts are despised, and those men, from contempt, break into evils worse still.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod lex naturalis est quaedam participatio legis aeternae in nobis, lex autem humana deficit a lege aeterna. Dicit enim Augustinus, in I de Lib. Arb., lex ista quae regendis civitatibus fertur, multa concedit atque impunita relinquit, quae per divinam providentiam vindicantur. Neque enim quia non omnia facit, ideo quae facit, improbanda sunt. Unde etiam lex humana non omnia potest prohibere quae prohibet lex naturae. Reply to Objection 3. The natural law is a participation in us of the eternal law: while human law falls short of the eternal law. Now Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5): "The law which is framed for the government of states, allows and leaves unpunished many things that are punished by Divine providence. Nor, if this law does not attempt to do everything, is this a reason why it should be blamed for what it does." Wherefore, too, human law does not prohibit everything that is forbidden by the natural law.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod lex humana non praecipiat actus omnium virtutum. Actibus enim virtutum opponuntur actus vitiosi. Sed lex humana non prohibet omnia vitia, ut dictum est. Ergo etiam non praecipit actus omnium virtutum. Objection 1. It would seem that human law does not prescribe acts of all the virtues. For vicious acts are contrary to acts of virtue. But human law does not prohibit all vices, as stated above (Article 2). Therefore neither does it prescribe all acts of virtue.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, actus virtutis a virtute procedit. Sed virtus est finis legis, et ita quod est ex virtute, sub praecepto legis cadere non potest. Ergo lex humana non praecipit actus omnium virtutum. Objection 2. Further, a virtuous act proceeds from a virtue. But virtue is the end of law; so that whatever is from a virtue, cannot come under a precept of law. Therefore human law does not prescribe all acts of virtue.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, lex ordinatur ad bonum commune, ut dictum est. Sed quidam actus virtutum non ordinantur ad bonum commune, sed ad bonum privatum. Ergo lex non praecipit actus omnium virtutum. Objection 3. Further, law is ordained to the common good, as stated above (Question 90, Article 2). But some acts of virtue are ordained, not to the common good, but to private good. Therefore the law does not prescribe all acts of virtue.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in V Ethic., quod praecipit lex fortis opera facere, et quae temperati, et quae mansueti; similiter autem secundum alias virtutes et malitias, haec quidem iubens, haec autem prohibens. On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 1) that the law "prescribes the performance of the acts of a brave man . . . and the acts of the temperate man . . . and the acts of the meek man: and in like manner as regards the other virtues and vices, prescribing the former, forbidding the latter."
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod species virtutum distinguuntur secundum obiecta, ut ex supradictis patet. Omnia autem obiecta virtutum referri possunt vel ad bonum privatum alicuius personae, vel ad bonum commune multitudinis, sicut ea quae sunt fortitudinis potest aliquis exequi vel propter conservationem civitatis, vel ad conservandum ius amici sui; et simile est in aliis. Lex autem, ut dictum est, ordinatur ad bonum commune. Et ideo nulla virtus est de cuius actibus lex praecipere non possit. Non tamen de omnibus actibus omnium virtutum lex humana praecipit, sed solum de illis qui sunt ordinabiles ad bonum commune, vel immediate, sicut cum aliqua directe propter bonum commune fiunt; vel mediate, sicut cum aliqua ordinantur a legislatore pertinentia ad bonam disciplinam, per quam cives informantur ut commune bonum iustitiae et pacis conservent. I answer that, The species of virtues are distinguished by their objects, as explained above (54, 2; 60, 1; 62, 2). Now all the objects of virtues can be referred either to the private good of an individual, or to the common good of the multitude: thus matters of fortitude may be achieved either for the safety of the state, or for upholding the rights of a friend, and in like manner with the other virtues. But law, as stated above (Question 90, Article 2) is ordained to the common good. Wherefore there is no virtue whose acts cannot be prescribed by the law. Nevertheless human law does not prescribe concerning all the acts of every virtue: but only in regard to those that are ordainable to the common good--either immediately, as when certain things are done directly for the common good--or mediately, as when a lawgiver prescribes certain things pertaining to good order, whereby the citizens are directed in the upholding of the common good of justice and peace.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod lex humana non prohibet omnes actus vitiosos, secundum obligationem praecepti, sicut nec praecipit omnes actus virtuosos. Prohibet tamen aliquos actus singulorum vitiorum, sicut etiam praecipit quosdam actus singularum virtutum. Reply to Objection 1. Human law does not forbid all vicious acts, by the obligation of a precept, as neither does it prescribe all acts of virtue. But it forbids certain acts of each vice, just as it prescribes some acts of each virtue.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod aliquis actus dicitur esse virtutis dupliciter. Uno modo, ex eo quod homo operatur virtuosa, sicut actus iustitiae est facere recta, et actus fortitudinis facere fortia. Et sic lex praecipit aliquos actus virtutum. Alio modo dicitur actus virtutis, quia aliquis operatur virtuosa eo modo quo virtuosus operatur. Et talis actus semper procedit a virtute, nec cadit sub praecepto legis, sed est finis ad quem legislator ducere intendit. Reply to Objection 2. An act is said to be an act of virtue in two ways. First, from the fact that a man does something virtuous; thus the act of justice is to do what is right, and an act of fortitude is to do brave things: and in this way law prescribes certain acts of virtue. Secondly an act of virtue is when a man does a virtuous thing in a way in which a virtuous man does it. Such an act always proceeds from virtue: and it does not come under a precept of law, but is the end at which every lawgiver aims.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod non est aliqua virtus cuius actus non sint ordinabiles ad bonum commune, ut dictum est, vel mediate vel immediate. Reply to Objection 3. There is no virtue whose act is not ordainable to the common good, as stated above, either mediately or immediately.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod lex humana non imponat homini necessitatem in foro conscientiae. Inferior enim potestas non potest imponere legem in iudicio superioris potestatis. Sed potestas hominis, quae fert legem humanam, est infra potestatem divinam. Ergo lex humana non potest imponere legem quantum ad iudicium divinum, quod est iudicium conscientiae. Objection 1. It would seem that human law does not bind man in conscience. For an inferior power has no jurisdiction in a court of higher power. But the power of man, which frames human law, is beneath the Divine power. Therefore human law cannot impose its precept in a Divine court, such as is the court of conscience.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, iudicium conscientiae maxime dependet ex divinis mandatis. Sed quandoque divina mandata evacuantur per leges humanas; secundum illud Matth. XV, irritum fecistis mandatum Dei propter traditiones vestras. Ergo lex humana non imponit necessitatem homini quantum ad conscientiam. Objection 2. Further, the judgment of conscience depends chiefly on the commandments of God. But sometimes God's commandments are made void by human laws, according to Matthew 15:6: "You have made void the commandment of God for your tradition." Therefore human law does not bind a man in conscience.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, leges humanae frequenter ingerunt calumniam et iniuriam hominibus; secundum illud Isaiae X, vae qui condunt leges iniquas, et scribentes iniustitias scripserunt, ut opprimerent in iudicio pauperes, et vim facerent causae humilium populi mei. Sed licitum est unicuique oppressionem et violentiam evitare. Ergo leges humanae non imponunt necessitatem homini quantum ad conscientiam. Objection 3. Further, human laws often bring loss of character and injury on man, according to Isaiah 10:1 et seqq.: "Woe to them that make wicked laws, and when they write, write injustice; to oppress the poor in judgment, and do violence to the cause of the humble of My people." But it is lawful for anyone to avoid oppression and violence. Therefore human laws do not bind man in conscience.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur I Petr. II, haec est gratia, si propter conscientiam sustineat quis tristitias, patiens iniuste. On the contrary, It is written (1 Peter 2:19): "This is thankworthy, if for conscience . . . a man endure sorrows, suffering wrongfully."
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod leges positae humanitus vel sunt iustae, vel iniustae. Si quidem iustae sint, habent vim obligandi in foro conscientiae a lege aeterna, a qua derivantur; secundum illud Prov. VIII, per me reges regnant, et legum conditores iusta decernunt. Dicuntur autem leges iustae et ex fine, quando scilicet ordinantur ad bonum commune; et ex auctore, quando scilicet lex lata non excedit potestatem ferentis; et ex forma, quando scilicet secundum aequalitatem proportionis imponuntur subditis onera in ordine ad bonum commune. Cum enim unus homo sit pars multitudinis, quilibet homo hoc ipsum quod est et quod habet, est multitudinis, sicut et quaelibet pars id quod est, est totius. Unde et natura aliquod detrimentum infert parti, ut salvet totum. Et secundum hoc, leges huiusmodi, onera proportionabiliter inferentes, iustae sunt, et obligant in foro conscientiae, et sunt leges legales. Iniustae autem sunt leges dupliciter. Uno modo, per contrarietatem ad bonum humanum, e contrario praedictis, vel ex fine, sicut cum aliquis praesidens leges imponit onerosas subditis non pertinentes ad utilitatem communem, sed magis ad propriam cupiditatem vel gloriam; vel etiam ex auctore, sicut cum aliquis legem fert ultra sibi commissam potestatem; vel etiam ex forma, puta cum inaequaliter onera multitudini dispensantur, etiam si ordinentur ad bonum commune. Et huiusmodi magis sunt violentiae quam leges, quia, sicut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Lib. Arb., lex esse non videtur, quae iusta non fuerit. Unde tales leges non obligant in foro conscientiae, nisi forte propter vitandum scandalum vel turbationem, propter quod etiam homo iuri suo debet cedere, secundum illud Matth. V, qui angariaverit te mille passus, vade cum eo alia duo; et qui abstulerit tibi tunicam, da ei et pallium. Alio modo leges possunt esse iniustae per contrarietatem ad bonum divinum, sicut leges tyrannorum inducentes ad idololatriam, vel ad quodcumque aliud quod sit contra legem divinam. Et tales leges nullo modo licet observare, quia sicut dicitur Act. V, obedire oportet Deo magis quam hominibus. I answer that, Laws framed by man are either just or unjust. If they be just, they have the power of binding in conscience, from the eternal law whence they are derived, according to Proverbs 8:15: "By Me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things." Now laws are said to be just, both from the end, when, to wit, they are ordained to the common good--and from their author, that is to say, when the law that is made does not exceed the power of the lawgiver--and from their form, when, to wit, burdens are laid on the subjects, according to an equality of proportion and with a view to the common good. For, since one man is a part of the community, each man in all that he is and has, belongs to the community; just as a part, in all that it is, belongs to the whole; wherefore nature inflicts a loss on the part, in order to save the whole: so that on this account, such laws as these, which impose proportionate burdens, are just and binding in conscience, and are legal laws. On the other hand laws may be unjust in two ways: first, by being contrary to human good, through being opposed to the things mentioned above--either in respect of the end, as when an authority imposes on his subjects burdensome laws, conducive, not to the common good, but rather to his own cupidity or vainglory--or in respect of the author, as when a man makes a law that goes beyond the power committed to him--or in respect of the form, as when burdens are imposed unequally on the community, although with a view to the common good. The like are acts of violence rather than laws; because, as Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5), "a law that is not just, seems to be no law at all." Wherefore such laws do not bind in conscience, except perhaps in order to avoid scandal or disturbance, for which cause a man should even yield his right, according to Matthew 5:40-41: "If a man . . . take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him; and whosoever will force thee one mile, go with him other two." Secondly, laws may be unjust through being opposed to the Divine good: such are the laws of tyrants inducing to idolatry, or to anything else contrary to the Divine law: and laws of this kind must nowise be observed, because, as stated in Acts 5:29, "we ought to obey God rather than man."
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut apostolus dicit, ad Rom. XIII, omnis potestas humana a Deo est, et ideo qui potestati resistit, in his quae ad ordinem potestatis pertinent, Dei ordinationi resistit. Et secundum hoc efficitur reus quantum ad conscientiam. Reply to Objection 1. As the Apostle says (Romans 13:1-2), all human power is from God . . . "therefore he that resisteth the power," in matters that are within its scope, "resisteth the ordinance of God"; so that he becomes guilty according to his conscience.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de legibus humanis quae ordinantur contra Dei mandatum. Et ad hoc ordo potestatis non se extendit. Unde in talibus legi humanae non est parendum. Reply to Objection 2. This argument is true of laws that are contrary to the commandments of God, which is beyond the scope of (human) power. Wherefore in such matters human law should not be obeyed.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de lege quae infert gravamen iniustum subditis, ad quod etiam ordo potestatis divinitus concessus non se extendit. Unde nec in talibus homo obligatur ut obediat legi, si sine scandalo vel maiori detrimento resistere possit. Reply to Objection 3. This argument is true of a law that inflicts unjust hurt on its subjects. The power that man holds from God does not extend to this: wherefore neither in such matters is man bound to obey the law, provided he avoid giving scandal or inflicting a more grievous hurt.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 5 arg. 1 Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non omnes legi subiiciantur. Illi enim soli subiiciuntur legi, quibus lex ponitur. Sed apostolus dicit, I ad Tim. I, quod iusto non est lex posita. Ergo iusti non subiiciuntur legi humanae. Objection 1. It would seem that not all are subject to the law. For those alone are subject to a law for whom a law is made. But the Apostle says (1 Timothy 1:9): "The law is not made for the just man." Therefore the just are not subject to the law.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 5 arg. 2 Praeterea, Urbanus Papa dicit, et habetur in decretis, XIX qu. II, qui lege privata ducitur, nulla ratio exigit ut publica constringatur. Lege autem privata spiritus sancti ducuntur omnes viri spirituales, qui sunt filii Dei; secundum illud Rom. VIII, qui spiritu Dei aguntur, hi filii Dei sunt. Ergo non omnes homines legi humanae subiiciuntur. Objection 2. Further, Pope Urban says [Decretals. caus. xix, qu. 2]: "He that is guided by a private law need not for any reason be bound by the public law." Now all spiritual men are led by the private law of the Holy Ghost, for they are the sons of God, of whom it is said (Romans 8:14): "Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Therefore not all men are subject to human law.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 5 arg. 3 Praeterea, iurisperitus dicit quod princeps legibus solutus est. Qui autem est solutus a lege, non subditur legi. Ergo non omnes subiecti sunt legi. Objection 3. Further, the jurist says [Pandect. Justin. i, ff., tit. 3, De Leg. et Senat.] that "the sovereign is exempt from the laws." But he that is exempt from the law is not bound thereby. Therefore not all are subject to the law.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 5 s. c. Sed contra est quod apostolus dicit, Rom. XIII, omnis anima potestatibus sublimioribus subdita sit. Sed non videtur esse subditus potestati, qui non subiicitur legi quam fert potestas. Ergo omnes homines debent esse legi humanae subiecti. On the contrary, The Apostle says (Romans 13:1): "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers." But subjection to a power seems to imply subjection to the laws framed by that power. Therefore all men should be subject to human law.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 5 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut ex supradictis patet, lex de sui ratione duo habet, primo quidem, quod est regula humanorum actuum; secundo, quod habet vim coactivam. Dupliciter ergo aliquis homo potest esse legi subiectus. Uno modo, sicut regulatum regulae. Et hoc modo omnes illi qui subduntur potestati, subduntur legi quam fert potestas. Quod autem aliquis potestati non subdatur, potest contingere dupliciter. Uno modo, quia est simpliciter absolutus ab eius subiectione. Unde illi qui sunt de una civitate vel regno, non subduntur legibus principis alterius civitatis vel regni, sicut nec eius dominio. Alio modo, secundum quod regitur superiori lege. Puta si aliquis subiectus sit proconsuli, regulari debet eius mandato, non tamen in his quae dispensantur ei ab imperatore, quantum enim ad illa, non adstringitur mandato inferioris, cum superiori mandato dirigatur. Et secundum hoc contingit quod aliquis simpliciter subiectus legi, secundum aliqua legi non adstringitur, secundum quae regitur superiori lege. Alio vero modo dicitur aliquis subdi legi sicut coactum cogenti. Et hoc modo homines virtuosi et iusti non subduntur legi, sed soli mali. Quod enim est coactum et violentum, est contrarium voluntati. Voluntas autem bonorum consonat legi, a qua malorum voluntas discordat. Et ideo secundum hoc boni non sunt sub lege, sed solum mali. I answer that, As stated above (90, A1,2; 3, ad 2), the notion of law contains two things: first, that it is a rule of human acts; secondly, that it has coercive power. Wherefore a man may be subject to law in two ways. First, as the regulated is subject to the regulator: and, in this way, whoever is subject to a power, is subject to the law framed by that power. But it may happen in two ways that one is not subject to a power. In one way, by being altogether free from its authority: hence the subjects of one city or kingdom are not bound by the laws of the sovereign of another city or kingdom, since they are not subject to his authority. In another way, by being under a yet higher law; thus the subject of a proconsul should be ruled by his command, but not in those matters in which the subject receives his orders from the emperor: for in these matters, he is not bound by the mandate of the lower authority, since he is directed by that of a higher. In this way, one who is simply subject to a law, may not be a subject thereto in certain matters, in respect of which he is ruled by a higher law. Secondly, a man is said to be subject to a law as the coerced is subject to the coercer. In this way the virtuous and righteous are not subject to the law, but only the wicked. Because coercion and violence are contrary to the will: but the will of the good is in harmony with the law, whereas the will of the wicked is discordant from it. Wherefore in this sense the good are not subject to the law, but only the wicked.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 5 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de subiectione quae est per modum coactionis. Sic enim iusto non est lex posita, quia ipsi sibi sunt lex, dum ostendunt opus legis scriptum in cordibus suis, sicut apostolus, ad Rom. II, dicit. Unde in eos non habet lex vim coactivam, sicut habet in iniustos. Reply to Objection 1. This argument is true of subjection by way of coercion: for, in this way, "the law is not made for the just men": because "they are a law to themselves," since they "show the work of the law written in their hearts," as the Apostle says (Romans 2:14-15). Consequently the law does not enforce itself upon them as it does on the wicked.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 5 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod lex spiritus sancti est superior omni lege humanitus posita. Et ideo viri spirituales, secundum hoc quod lege spiritus sancti ducuntur, non subduntur legi, quantum ad ea quae repugnant ductioni spiritus sancti. Sed tamen hoc ipsum est de ductu spiritus sancti, quod homines spirituales legibus humanis subdantur; secundum illud I Petr. II, subiecti estote omni humanae creaturae, propter Deum. Reply to Objection 2. The law of the Holy Ghost is above all law framed by man: and therefore spiritual men, in so far as they are led by the law of the Holy Ghost, are not subject to the law in those matters that are inconsistent with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Nevertheless the very fact that spiritual men are subject to law, is due to the leading of the Holy Ghost, according to 1 Peter 2:13: "Be ye subject . . . to every human creature for God's sake."
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 5 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod princeps dicitur esse solutus a lege, quantum ad vim coactivam legis, nullus enim proprie cogitur a seipso; lex autem non habet vim coactivam nisi ex principis potestate. Sic igitur princeps dicitur esse solutus a lege, quia nullus in ipsum potest iudicium condemnationis ferre, si contra legem agat. Unde super illud Psalmi l, tibi soli peccavi etc., dicit Glossa quod lex non habet hominem qui sua facta diiudicet. Sed quantum ad vim directivam legis, princeps subditur legi propria voluntate; secundum quod dicitur extra, de constitutionibus, cap. cum omnes, quod quisque iuris in alterum statuit, ipse eodem iure uti debet. Et sapientis dicit auctoritas, patere legem quam ipse tuleris. Improperatur etiam his a domino qui dicunt et non faciunt; et qui aliis onera gravia imponunt, et ipsi nec digito volunt ea movere; ut habetur Matth. XXIII. Unde quantum ad Dei iudicium, princeps non est solutus a lege, quantum ad vim directivam eius; sed debet voluntarius, non coactus, legem implere. Est etiam princeps supra legem, inquantum, si expediens fuerit, potest legem mutare, et in ea dispensare, pro loco et tempore. Reply to Objection 3. The sovereign is said to be "exempt from the law," as to its coercive power; since, properly speaking, no man is coerced by himself, and law has no coercive power save from the authority of the sovereign. Thus then is the sovereign said to be exempt from the law, because none is competent to pass sentence on him, if he acts against the law. Wherefore on Psalm 50:6: "To Thee only have I sinned," a gloss says that "there is no man who can judge the deeds of a king." But as to the directive force of law, the sovereign is subject to the law by his own will, according to the statement (Extra, De Constit. cap. Cum omnes) that "whatever law a man makes for another, he should keep himself. And a wise authority [Dionysius Cato, Dist. de Moribus] says: 'Obey the law that thou makest thyself.'" Moreover the Lord reproaches those who "say and do not"; and who "bind heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but with a finger of their own they will not move them" (Matthew 23:3-4). Hence, in the judgment of God, the sovereign is not exempt from the law, as to its directive force; but he should fulfil it to his own free-will and not of constraint. Again the sovereign is above the law, in so far as, when it is expedient, he can change the law, and dispense in it according to time and place.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 6 arg. 1 Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non liceat ei qui subditur legi, praeter verba legis agere. Dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de vera Relig., in temporalibus legibus, quamvis homines iudicent de his cum eas instituunt, tamen quando fuerint institutae et firmatae, non licebit de ipsis iudicare, sed secundum ipsas. Sed si aliquis praetermittat verba legis, dicens se intentionem legislatoris servare, videtur iudicare de lege. Ergo non licet ei qui subditur legi, ut praetermittat verba legis, ut intentionem legislatoris servet. Objection 1. It seems that he who is subject to a law may not act beside the letter of the law. For Augustine says (De Vera Relig. 31): "Although men judge about temporal laws when they make them, yet when once they are made they must pass judgment not on them, but according to them." But if anyone disregard the letter of the law, saying that he observes the intention of the lawgiver, he seems to pass judgment on the law. Therefore it is not right for one who is under the law to disregard the letter of the law, in order to observe the intention of the lawgiver.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 6 arg. 2 Praeterea, ad eum solum pertinet leges interpretari, cuius est condere leges. Sed hominum subditorum legi non est leges condere. Ergo eorum non est interpretari legislatoris intentionem, sed semper secundum verba legis agere debent. Objection 2. Further, he alone is competent to interpret the law who can make the law. But those who are subject to the law cannot make the law. Therefore they have no right to interpret the intention of the lawgiver, but should always act according to the letter of the law.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 6 arg. 3 Praeterea, omnis sapiens intentionem suam verbis novit explicare. Sed illi qui leges condiderunt, reputari debent sapientes, dicit enim sapientia, Prov. VIII, per me reges regnant, et legum conditores iusta decernunt. Ergo de intentione legislatoris non est iudicandum nisi per verba legis. Objection 3. Further, every wise man knows how to explain his intention by words. But those who framed the laws should be reckoned wise: for Wisdom says (Proverbs 8:15): "By Me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things." Therefore we should not judge of the intention of the lawgiver otherwise than by the words of the law.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 6 s. c. Sed contra est quod Hilarius dicit, in IV de Trin., intelligentia dictorum ex causis est assumenda dicendi, quia non sermoni res, sed rei debet esse sermo subiectus. Ergo magis est attendendum ad causam quae movit legislatorem, quam ad ipsa verba legis. On the contrary, Hilary says (De Trin. iv): "The meaning of what is said is according to the motive for saying it: because things are not subject to speech, but speech to things." Therefore we should take account of the motive of the lawgiver, rather than of his very words.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 6 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, omnis lex ordinatur ad communem hominum salutem, et intantum obtinet vim et rationem legis; secundum vero quod ab hoc deficit, virtutem obligandi non habet. Unde iurisperitus dicit quod nulla iuris ratio aut aequitatis benignitas patitur ut quae salubriter pro utilitate hominum introducuntur, ea nos duriori interpretatione, contra ipsorum commodum, perducamus ad severitatem. Contingit autem multoties quod aliquid observari communi saluti est utile ut in pluribus, quod tamen in aliquibus casibus est maxime nocivum. Quia igitur legislator non potest omnes singulares casus intueri, proponit legem secundum ea quae in pluribus accidunt, ferens intentionem suam ad communem utilitatem. Unde si emergat casus in quo observatio talis legis sit damnosa communi saluti, non est observanda. Sicut si in civitate obsessa statuatur lex quod portae civitatis maneant clausae, hoc est utile communi saluti ut in pluribus, si tamen contingat casus quod hostes insequantur aliquos cives, per quos civitas conservatur, damnosissimum esset civitati nisi eis portae aperirentur, et ideo in tali casu essent portae aperiendae, contra verba legis, ut servaretur utilitas communis, quam legislator intendit. Sed tamen hoc est considerandum, quod si observatio legis secundum verba non habeat subitum periculum, cui oportet statim occurri, non pertinet ad quemlibet ut interpretetur quid sit utile civitati et quid inutile, sed hoc solum pertinet ad principes, qui propter huiusmodi casus habent auctoritatem in legibus dispensandi. Si vero sit subitum periculum, non patiens tantam moram ut ad superiorem recurri possit, ipsa necessitas dispensationem habet annexam, quia necessitas non subditur legi. I answer that, As stated above (Article 4), every law is directed to the common weal of men, and derives the force and nature of law accordingly. Hence the jurist says [Pandect. Justin. lib. i, ff., tit. 3, De Leg. et Senat.]: "By no reason of law, or favor of equity, is it allowable for us to interpret harshly, and render burdensome, those useful measures which have been enacted for the welfare of man." Now it happens often that the observance of some point of law conduces to the common weal in the majority of instances, and yet, in some cases, is very hurtful. Since then the lawgiver cannot have in view every single case, he shapes the law according to what happens most frequently, by directing his attention to the common good. Wherefore if a case arise wherein the observance of that law would be hurtful to the general welfare, it should not be observed. For instance, suppose that in a besieged city it be an established law that the gates of the city are to be kept closed, this is good for public welfare as a general rule: but, it were to happen that the enemy are in pursuit of certain citizens, who are defenders of the city, it would be a great loss to the city, if the gates were not opened to them: and so in that case the gates ought to be opened, contrary to the letter of the law, in order to maintain the common weal, which the lawgiver had in view. Nevertheless it must be noted, that if the observance of the law according to the letter does not involve any sudden risk needing instant remedy, it is not competent for everyone to expound what is useful and what is not useful to the state: those alone can do this who are in authority, and who, on account of such like cases, have the power to dispense from the laws. If, however, the peril be so sudden as not to allow of the delay involved by referring the matter to authority, the mere necessity brings with it a dispensation, since necessity knows no law.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 6 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ille qui in casu necessitatis agit praeter verba legis, non iudicat de ipsa lege, sed iudicat de casu singulari, in quo videt verba legis observanda non esse. Reply to Objection 1. He who in a case of necessity acts beside the letter of the law, does not judge the law; but of a particular case in which he sees that the letter of the law is not to be observed.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 6 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui sequitur intentionem legislatoris, non interpretatur legem simpliciter; sed in casu in quo manifestum est per evidentiam nocumenti, legislatorem aliud intendisse. Si enim dubium sit, debet vel secundum verba legis agere, vel superiores consulere. Reply to Objection 2. He who follows the intention of the lawgiver, does not interpret the law simply; but in a case in which it is evident, by reason of the manifest harm, that the lawgiver intended otherwise. For if it be a matter of doubt, he must either act according to the letter of the law, or consult those in power.
Iª-IIae q. 96 a. 6 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod nullius hominis sapientia tanta est ut possit omnes singulares casus excogitare, et ideo non potest sufficienter per verba sua exprimere ea quae conveniunt ad finem intentum. Et si posset legislator omnes casus considerare, non oporteret ut omnes exprimeret, propter confusionem vitandam, sed legem ferre deberet secundum ea quae in pluribus accidunt. Reply to Objection 3. No man is so wise as to be able to take account of every single case; wherefore he is not able sufficiently to express in words all those things that are suitable for the end he has in view. And even if a lawgiver were able to take all the cases into consideration, he ought not to mention them all, in order to avoid confusion: but should frame the law according to that which is of most common occurrence.

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