Friday, August 29, 2008
The year before last (time flies!), I taught a one-"quarter" class on "Law and the Catholic Social Tradition" at the University of Chicago. (More here.) I really enjoyed it, and learned a lot, so I'm delighted to have the chance to teach the class again, as a seminar, at Notre Dame. The course is, for me, still a work in progress. (My Notre Dame colleague and MOJ-friend Vince Rougeau has, of course, taught the course many times, so I have a good model to follow.)
Our first meeting was on Wednesday, and the idea was to introduce some big-picture themes and questions. We read (a) selections from the Compendium (¶¶ 1-6, 60-104, 160-208), (b) excerpts from Deus caritas est (¶¶ 1, 20-22, 25-29), (c) Fr. John Coleman's essay, Neither Liberal Nor Socialist: The Originality of Catholic Social Teaching, (d) Kevin Lee's chapter, The Foundations of Catholic Legal Theory: A Primer, in Scaperlanda & Collett, eds., Recovering Self-Evident Truths (2007), and (e) Russ Hittinger's essay, Reasons for a Civil Society, in Hittinger, The First Grace (2003).
I had planned, originally, to turn in Week Two to an overview of the relevant (early) historical context (i.e., church-state relations and industrial changes between the French Revolution and Rerum novarum) but, instead, decided to move up material on "religion in the public square," because it seemed that our discussion about the relevance of CST to laws and the legal enterprise turned naturally to the problem of "imposing" religious beliefs in a pluralistic society. So, next time, we'll be reading John McGreevy's chapters on the legal debates about the regulation of contraception and abortion, Robby George and Geoff Stone on "public reason", Greg Kalscheur on "moral limits on morals legislation", and some other things. Should be fun! Thoughts and suggestions welcome!