Anything to distract me from the hateful task of marking exams.
I was contemplating a few things about theological ethics just now.
Assumption: my understanding of these three things as they stand in the Catholic tradition is accurate.
With Thomas the natural law seems to lose traction at the level of the particular and the unique. At this point, if we move from the deductive methodology of the moral law to the inductive method of watching holy people, we see that even here their actions cannot be as easily scrutinized. We enter more and more into the sphere of the mystical, governed by supernatural intuition and we begin to guess at the things we are beholding.
Thomas' moral doctrine is truly perplexing for the way in which it combines secular object-means-intention thinking with Augustine's grace doctrine. This is less an aberration in his methodology than its rule. I would say that Thomas' account of the moral life involves much more of the 'mystical' than is initially apparent. The big question is - why doesn't he plainly tell us this?
Maybe he does so, but subtly,taking it for granted that we all know this already?
Maybe he doesn't because it's not his position?
Maybe he doesn't because the Summa is not the proper place to discuss it?