Catholic Dictionary

Term

CONFLICT OF OBLIGATIONS

Definition

A situation in which two laws apparently oblige at the same time and yet only one can be observed. Actually only the more important law obliges. Thus the natural law takes precedence over a positive law. Among natural laws, the one that prohibits precedes a law that commands. Divine positive law takes precedence over human legislation; the law of a superior must be preferred to the law of a society that is subordinate to it in purpose and function.