Today we hear the well-known enumeration of the Ten Commandments. Most people assume these are religious laws which have little relevance nowadays. All of us are aware of the numerous attempts to remove representations of the Ten Commandments from public places such as courthouses. But this is, once again, a misguided and ignorant attempt on the part of our amoral culture.
The Ten Commandments are not considered supernatural revelation in the same way that the mysteries of the Christian Faith are (e.g. the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc). Rather, they are the moral laws which are inherent to human nature, knowable by all, regardless of religion. God revealed them only to reassert what the human heart has always known. In other words, the Ten Commandments are an articulation of what we call “Natural Law” – the moral law that every human being has access to.
Making our way back to this understanding of universal human morality is of the utmost importance now. As a society, we need to be able to explain and defend our moral beliefs not only from Scripture, but also from the universally-accessible foundation of Natural Law. We need to overcome the idea that opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. is always because of a particular religious belief. We cannot cohere as a society if we do not understand and agree upon the most fundamental human goods – life, virtue, mutual charity, and acknowledgment of God.