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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Speech by the Most Honourable Antonio Lamer, PC, CC, CD, LLD, DU Visual representation of nature's laws


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Even though the sanctions envisaged by the Charter do not apply to all, but only to the state and its agents, all who violate provisions of the Charter will merit divine sanction.

This then brings me to the question of what are these moral and spiritual values within the parameters of a religious culture acceptable to the majority of the people of Canada.

We [Catholic] Christians see these as divine natural laws, for example, the encyclicals, and the divine positive laws, the commandments. It must be understood, however, that as with all other religions in Canada, to explain, these are the laws that embody what is acceptable to the majority.

Among the commandments, Matthew relates that if the first commandment is to love God; the second, which he considers as important as the first is, and I quote "You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all of the law and the prophets."

As for the encyclicals, to me, the one which seems the most impressive of all, especially for those who exercise some sort of authority, came to us in 1963 from that great man of Bergamo, John XXIII, entitled Pacem in Terris, On Establishing Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity and Liberty.

If you haven't read it (and as for myself, I admit I only read it last year) I suggest you do so.

Much of it seems to have been inspired, and of course, I say this in jest, from Diefenbaker and his law of 1960.

One day in 1990, during at cocktail party held in Montreal on the occasion of my nomination as Chief Justice of Canada by Mr. Mulroney, I said to Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who was talking to me of John Diefenbaker, "At the very least you have accomplished something together in harmony: by his law Diefenbaker has inspired John XXIII, and you by your Charter you have entrenched God!" The encyclical reads:

Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.

Further, John XXIII tells us:

In the economic sphere, it is evident that a man has the inherent right not only to be given the opportunity to work, but also to be allowed the exercise of personal initiative in the work he does.

The conditions in which a man works form a necessary corollary to these rights. They must not be such as to weaken his physical or moral fibre, or militate against the proper development of adolescents to manhood. Women must be accorded such conditions of work as are consistent with their needs and responsibilities as wives and mothers.

In consequence:

the worker is likewise entitled to a wage that is determined in accordance with the precepts of justice. This needs stressing. The amount a worker receives must be sufficient, in proportion to available funds, to allow him and his family a standard of living consistent with human dignity.

Translated by Juliette Champagne, PhD

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