September 30, 2009
Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church
I appreciate Michael's post with "a" translation of N. 113 of Veritatis Splendor. However, it seems that the text that I provided is in accord with Lumen Gentium wherein the people of God is discussed at considerable length. I think my friends and colleagues in the women's religious orders share my point.
Dear Robert, in your post below, ...
... you quote this passage:
"Dissent, in the form of carefully orchestrated protests and polemics carried on in the media, is opposed to ... a correct understanding of the hierarchical constitution of the People of God."
Here's a translation of the passage for the context at hand:
"Dissent, in the form of carefully orchestrated protests and polemics carried on in the media, is opposed to ... a correct understanding of the patriarchal constitution of the People of God."
A house divided...
Thanks to Michael P. for bringing to our attention the National Catholic Reporter story about Sr. Theresa Kane, RSM. I had seen the story earlier today, and I have been following the accounts of the investigations of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Unlike Michael, I do not have any relatives who are women religious, but I do have friends who are members in various women’s religious institutes. I know that some of them welcome the investigation to which Sr. Theresa Kane refers and objects. I have been praying over the matter for some time; moreover, I have been studying what is going on. In my study, I continue to reflect on and ponder the words of John Paul II in his encyclical letter Veritatis Splendor:
While exchanges and conflicts of opinion may constitute normal expressions of public life in a representative democracy, moral teaching certainly cannot depend simply upon respect for a process: indeed, it is in no way established by following the rules and deliberative procedures typical of a democracy. Dissent, in the form of carefully orchestrated protests and polemics carried on in the media, is opposed to ecclesial communion and to a correct understanding of the hierarchical constitution of the People of God. Opposition to the teaching of the Church’s Pastors cannot be seen as a legitimate expression either of Christian freedom or of the diversity of the Spirit’s gifts. When this happens, the Church’s Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission, insisting that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected. “Never forgetting that he too is a member of the People of God, the theologian must be respectful of them, and be committed to offering them a teaching which in no way does harm to the doctrine of the faith”. N.113
I hold the view that these words of John Paul II apply to all the people of God, be one a bishop, a cleric, a religious, or a lay member of the faithful. Susan, Michael, and I have addressed issues surrounding these investigations before, and I suspect we will address them again as the investigations proceed. In the meantime, I think prayers are in order for the Church, the people of God, the Body of Christ.
Mercy Sister Thersa Kane Critizes Church Hierarchy
This appeared this morning at NCRonline:
Speaking at the 40th anniversary conference of the National Coalition of American Nuns in St. Louis, Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane offered a stinging rebuke to the Vatican for its treatment of women in general and of women religious in particular.
Referring to the Vatican investigation of U.S. women religious initiated last December by Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rodé, who heads the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Kane called it “a sign of impotence in the church hierarchy.”
“Regarding the present interrogation, I think the male hierarchy is truly impotent, incapable of equality, co-responsibility in adult behavior,” she said, not mincing any words. “In the church today, we are experiencing a dictatorial mindset and spiritual violence.”
But she described herself as a hopeful person. “Why do we hope and why do we endure?” she asked. “I have one chance, one life, and therefore I have a responsibility to criticize. Our hope comes from solidarity between women religious and laywomen.”
[You can read the entire piece here.]
Congratulations to Teresa Stanton Collett
Congratulations are in order to Teresa Stanton Collett, colleague of our members from St. Thomas and a friend to many of us here at the Mirror of Justice. Teresa was nominated this morning to be a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Family. The announcement of her nomination is here in the Italian version. Do well, Teresa, do well!
It´s a Small World on the Camino
As I opened the door yesterday morning, I could here other pilgrims as their walking sticks and trekking poles clicked against the cobblestones of the medieval city of St. Jean Pied de Port. On the way out of town in the predawn light and fog, I saw that the church was open, and I went and lit a candle for my daughter Michelle on her 21st birthday, my dad on his birthday, and one for all the pilgrims leaving St. Jean that day. As I headed into the mountains alone, I could see pilgrims ahead of me and behind me.
After an hour or so, I fell into a group with four others - Roberto from Italy, Romana from Austria, and a Spanish couple Mariano and Lily. At about 11 am when came across a small restruant in the mountains. Our dilemma, coffee or a beer. I won´t tell you what we chose, but I will tell you we were advised that beer has electrolytes. Roberto expressed well the reason for doing the Camino - the Camino is a microcosm of life - a way to step outside of the normal routine to consciously embrace life on its own terms.
We stopped for lunch near a statue of the Virgen at one of the highest points on the mountain with pastures with a sweeping panaroma. And, what an amazing lunch - The only shop that I had found open that morning sold meat so I only had ham. Three others only had bread and the fourth chocolate. I had feared that I would eat only meat for lunch, instead we shared a feast.
Tired in the afternoon, we descended on the Spanish side through a forest with its autumn leaves. At mass last night, the priest mentioned the countries represented that day in this small village - there were pilgrims from all over Europe, US, Australia, Argentina, Venz., Brasil, Korea, and Eriteria. I slept well in the alberque, which was a big room with 100 bunk beds stretching from one end to the other.
One last comment, giving rise to the small world title. The very first pilgrim I met - we literally ran into each other - in St. Jean is a very good friend of our friend Doug Kmeic. Martin, his son Emilio, and a film crew are doing the Camino, with plans to arrive in Santiago a few days after me. (John, when I return, I´ll send Martin a copy of our boat article).
September 29, 2009
Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Welcome to Bob Hockett!
And the MOJ party rolls on! Robby George joined us a few weeks ago and today I am delighted to announce that Bob Hockett (Cornell) has also signed on. For more about Bob's wide-ranging, excellent work, go here.
Strange (but interesting) times, I suppose, when "A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic Legal Theory" has more participants from Cornell than from Notre Dame, Boston College, or -- well, almost anywhere (Go, St. Tommy, go!).
The Constitution in 2020: Religion, Division, and PluralismI am participating this weekend in a conference at Yale Law School on "The Constitution in 2020" (more info here). There is also a blog up-and-running, where the various participants have posted summaries of their contributions to the conference. My contributions on "The Infrastructure of Religious Freedom" and "Religion and Division" are available here and here. Here is a bit from the former:
What The Constitution in 2020 calls a “progressive vision of constitutional law in the years ahead” should, I believe, re-discover, incorporate, and emphasize what might seem a not-very-progressive – because very old – idea. Here it is: Constitutionalism generally, and religious freedom more specifically, are well served by the protection and flourishing of an array of self-governing non-state authorities. The Jacobins were wrong. In a nutshell, religious liberty is both nurtured in and protected by – it needs, I think – religious communities, associations, and institutions.
Toleration or Respect?
Take a look at Brian Leiter's new paper, posted on SSRN, "Foundations of Religious Liberty: Toleration or Respect?" Here is the abstract:
Should we think of what I will refer to generically as “the law of religious liberty” as grounded in the moral attitude of respect for religion or in the moral attitude of tolerance of religion? I begin by explicating the relevant moral attitudes of “respect” and “toleration.” With regard to the former, I start with a well-known treatment of the idea of “respect” in the Anglophone literature by the moral philosopher Stephen Darwall. With respect to the latter concept, toleration, I shall draw on my own earlier discussion, though now emphasizing the features of toleration that set it apart from one kind of respect. In deciding whether “respect” or “toleration” can plausibly serve as the moral foundation for the law of religious liberty we will need to say something about the nature of religion. I shall propose a fairly precise analysis of what makes a belief and a concomitant set of practices “religious” (again drawing on earlier work). That will then bring us to the central question: should our laws reflect “respect” for religion” or only “toleration”? Martha Nussbaum has recently argued for “respect” as the moral foundation of religious liberty, though, as I will suggest, her account is ambiguous between the two senses of respect that emerge from Darwall’s work. In particular, I shall claim that in one “thin” sense of respect, it is compatible with nothing more than toleration of religion; and that in a “thicker” sense (which Nussbaum appears to want to invoke), it could not form the moral basis of a legal regime since religion is not the kind of belief system that could warrant that attitude. To make the latter case, I examine critically a recent attack on the idea of "respect" for religious belief by Simon Blackburn.
Although I think that Prof. Leiter's conclusion that "religion is not the kind of belief system that could warrant [thick respect]" is misguided (in part because his understanding of "religion" is not mine), I find this paper -- like his earlier piece, "Why Tolerate Religion?" -- kind of refreshing, bracing even. Like Prof. Leiter, I come away from works like Prof. Nussbaum's new book on religious liberty not sure that any case has (or, given the working premises, could) been made for religious liberty. Perhaps, as Prof. Steve Smith has been saying for a while, the only solid arguments for religious freedom (that is, for something more than a cost-benefit-based "toleration" of religion) are themselves "religious" or, at least, depend on anthropological and other foundations that we -- even if we are willing to invoke them from time to time -- no longer really accept?
Just a little something to think about over lunch . . .