What is the difference between the letter of the law vs the law written on our heart? thx

Humans are bound by natural law. When we sin, we naturally feel guilt. As a species, we must live according to our God given instincts.

I do not agree.

In order to feel guilt about an innocuous sin, such as masturbation, taking the Lords name in vain, worshiping idols, worshiping another God, fantasizing sexually, being envious of your neighbour…

You have to first of all believe in God and then you have to be told that the things I mentioned are sinful and offensive to God.

Otherwise, there is no natural inclination to believe you have done anything wrong, let alone feel badly about.

The letter of the law, say the law of the State of California, can be in conflict with divine law. This is a possibility, albeit undesirable. If by “law written on our heart” you mean “conscience”, then this too can arrive at an erroneous judgment and be in conflict with divine law. If instead you mean “natural law”, this will not be in conflict with divine law. Natural law does not change. Written law and a judgment of conscience might change.

Note that the written law may be strongly shaped by the specific conditions/possibilities it seeks to address.

This is the church’s teaching you are disagreeing with, not mine.

The Letter of the Law: Go to Mass on Sunday. We fullfil the letter of the law simply by showing up, no matter how inattentive we may be.

The Law written on our heart: We attend Mass on Sunday and make our best effort to worship God because we know we belong to Him.

We are in touch with the Letter of the Law through education.

We are in touch with the written on our hearts through education that develops a well formed conscience.

Sadly, many are not as well educated as they should be, and sadder still are those who do not have a well formed conscience, or through personal choice, override what their conscience tells them is correct.

To one degree or another, we have all been there. Thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


This is a church teaching your arguing with, not my opinion on the matter. The reason these are sinful is that we are naturally inclined against these things. They are also not “innocuous”; they have real consequences aside from offending God.

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