Catechism of the Catholic Church

476 Part Three 1960 The precepts of natural law are not perceived by everyone clearly and immediately. In the present situation sinful man needs grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known “by everyone with facility, with firm certainty and with no admix­ ture of error.” 12 The natural law provides revealed law and grace with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the work of the Spirit. II. T he O ld L aw 1961 God, our Creator and Redeemer, chose Israel for himself to be his people and revealed his Law to them, thus preparing for the coming of Christ. The Law of Moses expresses many truths naturally accessible to reason. These are stated and authenticated within the covenant of salvation. 1962 The Old Law is the first stage of revealed Law. Its moral prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments. The precepts of the Decalogue lay the foundations for the vocation of man fashioned in the image of God; they prohibit what is contrary to the love of God and neighbor and prescribe what is essential to it. The Decalogue is a light offered to the conscience of every man to make God’s call and ways known to him and to protect him against evil: God wrote on the tables of the Law what men did not read in their hearts. 13 1963 According to Christian tradition, the Law is holy, spiritual, and good, 14 yet still imperfect. Like a tutor 15 it shows what must be done, but does not of itself give the strength, the grace of the Spirit, to fulfill it. Because of sin, which it cannot remove, it remains a law of bondage. According to St. Paul, its special function is to denounce and disclose sin, which constitutes a “law of concupis­ cence” in the human heart. 16 However, the Law remains the first stage on the way to the kingdom. It prepares and disposes the chosen people and each Christian for conversion and faith in the 12 Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3876; cf. Dei Filius 2: DS 3005. 13 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 57, 1: PL 36, 673. 14 Cf. Rom 7:12, 14, 16. 15 Cf. Gal 3:24. 16 Cf. Rom 7. 2071 37 62 2058 1610 2542 2515