The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 13, Issue 1, Spring 2013

Critiques of the New Natural Law Theory

Steven A. Long
Pages 105-131

Fundamental Errors of the New Natural Law Theory

This essay argues that the new natural law theory (NNLT) propounds five errors that place it on a collision course with the traditional Thomistic understanding central to the moral magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. These root errors are argued to be (1) the denial of the primacy of speculative over practical truth, (2) the negation of unified normative natural teleology expressed in the NNLT doctrine of the putative “incommensurability” of basic goods prior to choice, (3) failure to affirm the transcendence of the common good, (4) negation of the essentially theonomic character of the natural law, and (5) the intentionalist construction of human action. The teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas is held to be a superior light for understanding Catholic moral life. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 13.1 (Spring 2013): 105–131.