Are we OBLIGED to disobey unjust laws?

I dont mean by laws that are against the moral order but laws that are just plain unfair or benefits only one side of society.

Let’s say for example that you are not allowed to lend your car to anyone so companies can make more money. It wouldnt be sinful to abide by it but are we obliged to disobey??

Using the same law, what if i were to share my car with someone? I’d get arrested of course for breaking a law but say I DIDNT share the car? It wouldnt be sinful not to do so but are we still obliged to disobey it?

I would say that breaking an unjust law should be the final resort, not the first. Trying to change the law by established formal procedures should be the first resort.

And as such, breaking such a law would certainly not be an obligation.

Another question. I read from the CCC that we are obliged to disobey laws against fundamental rights. However, I researched that two of the fundamental rights of persons is the “Right to abort” and “Right to contraception”…

I AM UTTERLY CONFUSED… :confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:

I’m sure the Catechism doesn’t say that abortion and contraception are fundamental rights.

The Catechism isn’t saying that you should accept your society’s warped understanding of what fundamental rights are. It’s talking about real fundamental rights.

And what on earth does it mean to say “I researched that”?

That’s sloppy language.

Everything you find in research has a source. Your research is only as good as your sources. It’s meaningless to say “I researched that.” Say instead "source X which I found in this place says that. . . . " Then we can talk.


This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the subject of authority.

It probably depends on the law and circumstances.

I wikipedia’d it if that’s what you’re asking :smiley:

Another one, is it sinful to obey unjust laws that are not contrary to the moral order?

I am not clear that any such laws could exist. If they are unjust. They would be, in principle, against the moral order.

Can you set down an example?

The example in your opening post - you lending out a car belonging to the company you work for - WOULD be a case of infringing the moral order. The car belongs to the company, they have a right to set conditions under which you use the car, and you have no right to unilaterally decide otherwise.

A counter example would be someone off the street who walks into your kitchen and helps themselves to food from your fridge. If you firmly believe ownership does not morally prevent others from doing what they want with property not belonging to them, then you, morally, would be committed to strangers helping themselves in your kitchen being a legitimate moral act. I doubt you would, though, because of where that view leads.

If you think the company position is unjust, then you MUST think it infringes the natural moral order, otherwise the issue would be trivial and no injustice would exist.

Which article? And why did you trust it? Why were you confused even for a minute? What on earth made you think that Wikipedia was a relevant source for defining a matter of natural law and/or Catholic doctrine?

If you don’t know how to use online information critically and thoughtfully, you are going to get confused over and over again…

Another one, is it sinful to obey unjust laws that are not contrary to the moral order?

I think it depends. It might be, or it might not.

For instance, I believe (and the U.S. Catholic bishops on the whole appear to agree with me, although many Catholics dissent from this non-infallible, prudential stance) that current immigration laws are unjust. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with a person complying with said immigration laws (I do so myself, for instance–I’m a resident alien and I recently went through the process of renewing my green card, even though I think it’s unjust that I am able to live here and people with far more need cannot). But it might be wrong, again depending on circumstances, to report an illegal immigrant to the authorities. Under other circumstances, it might be morally mandatory. It all depends.


What you are saying is that atheists consider the abortion of children to be a fundamental right. Christians must, of course, reject such attitudes.

Wikipedia? About the time I graduating from higschool, Wikipedia was just becoming big and we were all warned any info gathered from there for schoolwork would result in a failing mark. The reasons for this haven’t changed. I literally could go there right now and write whatever falsehood I want in any of the articles and there’s an excellent chance no one would ever correct it. Then if I wanted to write something of truth and value, someone would come along and delete it. You can’t really trust anything on that site, especially something regarding popular current political issues. The Catholic Church is the source to listen to for all things morality; not some individualistic cretin writing garbage on Wikipedia.

Maybe my example was too bland. I meant that I bought a car from a company but I’m not allowed to share it.

I mean laws that benefit only one part of society. For example, heightened tax laws for personal gain. There is no sin in abiding by it but it’s counted as unjust cause these officials are the only ones benefiting from it.

And also, unjust laws don’t have to be against the moral order to be unjust.
Many people (including myself) see homosexuality being illegal unjust or unfair but because of what I learned from my faith, I must go against it.

If everything else fails then yes

Who in the world could tell anyone that they must disobey a law?

You are not obliged to disobey any law that, in your prudential judgement, you think is unfair. The only laws you are obliged to disobey are those that are fundamentally sinful to obey, like a law that requires you to murder your neighbor if you hear him speak out against the government. Or a law that requires you, as a doctor, to offer abortion services. Or a law that prohibited you from attending mass on Sunday.

But since you mention sharing, what about this rule? In most restaurants that have an all-you-can-eat option, there is a rule that you cannot share your food. This is just like the car-sharing example. Its reason is to protect the profits of the restaurant. But it is an entirely reasonable rule. Otherwise people could abuse the all-you-can-eat option. But if you did not stop to consider the fact that you might be wrong, you might conclude this was a fundamentally unjust law and think you had to disobey it. In short, I think the bar should be set very high when deciding if a law is unjust enough to require disobedience.

LOL, how often does that ever happen though?! IMO, if Govt/ Law enforcement want a law…they GET that law and enforce it strictly, almost to an obsession!

Just look at how law enforcement talks about drug laws, they almost seem to take it personal…? Law enforcement is ONLY there to enforce laws, not to give opinions on laws, or what they think should be illegal, or more illegal, but sad as it is, this takes place all over the country.

What I find strange though, with all the drunks cops deal with, Ive never heard one single law enforcement official saying they think it should be illegal…but at the same time, they go after street drugs like it is their lifes calling…this makes no sense to me.

I can think of several countries off the top of my head that, if I lived there, would require me by law to do any number of things that were morally objectionable. I couldn’t in good conscience obey the law.

I could disobey as discreetly as possible, of course, but what’s right is right, even if it’s declared wrong by a government authority.

So, only ourselves. :thumbsup:

I would imagine a person cannot go wrong in the eyes of God by being charitable, but if a car accident were to happen and you were found guilty in court of damages, then you may well be obliged in conscience to make such payment.

Good grief! Who would ever say that abortion is a “fundamental right?” Except, of course, radicals who believe that everything that they want is a fundamental right.

I guess that Adolph Hitler would have told you that exterminating entire ethnic groups is a “fundamental right.” Be careful about who you listen to in your research…

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