No society can live peacefully without the rule of law. In the attempt to restrain the abuses that have often prevailed in human history, we have developed forms of governance in which there is a division of powers. In such constitutional arrangements the separation of the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch have proven truly helpful. Yet the temptation for those who hold authority even in these systems to usurp additional powers is ever with us. Without the rule of law there is inevitably violence against the weak. But there can be no rule of law without a recognition that there is an objective and transcendent standard of justice. And there can be no such transcendent standard of justice apart from God as the transcendent creator and sustainer of morality.
As Pope Benedict XVI eloquently stated, “When morality and law do not originate in a God-ward perspective, they degrade the human person…. Where human affairs are so ordered that there is no recognition of God, there is a belittling of the creature made in God’s image.”
Fr. Joseph Koterski, SJ
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)