Does "Love God and Your Neighbor"replace all moral laws?

I am in a Catholic bible study group, where we look at the upcoming Sunday readings. Every week someone will comment on, for example, Paul (Gal. 5:14) or Jesus (Matt. 7:12) saying that the greatest commandment is love, and from there conclude that all the old testament laws, the ten commandments, the church’s precepts, cannon law – that these are all unnecessary. I try to bring in counterexamples from scripture (e.g., Matt 5:17-19, Matt. 19:17-19, etc.) but the following week the same comments that “love is all you need” come up again and again. Or I look in the Catechism, (which devotes an entire part to the commandments) hoping to shed light on this. But then someone will complain “Why do they make things so complicated? why is that Catechism so thick! Jesus didn’t make it complicated, he just said love your neighbor as yourself.” Or they will grab onto Paul’s teaching on the law, saying “he did away with the law because now we have the Spirit and don’t need laws anymore, if we have love.” Or “why do we dispute over this stuff? If we have the spirit He will just lead us into all truth.”

The people are all older, 60’s,70’s, 80’s and even 90’s, and were all in the Charismatic Renewal in the 1970’s and 80’s. They seem to be prayerful, spiritual Catholics, and say they love Jesus, and keep coming to bible study every week and have been for years. I want to not get into a debate and have tempers flare. I want to approach them as people whom I should love. Some are old, old friends, but this is pretty frustrating. I suppose I should talk to the pastor (not sure he would be a help) or the bible study leader (a former catechist).

Before I do that, is there a book or booklet or video you can recommend that I can use that would help them understand and believe the church’s teachings on the role of the law and on the church as its authoritative teacher in the Christian life?


It doesn’t replace them; it is the basis for them.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit