Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Baseball and Catholic Legal Theory

This is a blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory. As Rick noted recently, we are loathe to impose our personal views on issues of the day because this is "not a … 'current events' blog." While at times we have entertained discussion on events which some cynical folks could perhaps argue are not directly on point with Catholic legal theory (see here, here, and here), we have tried to stay the course. I for one, however, have both enjoyed and been challenged by these other entries. I believe they arise from deep passions about the state of being human and answer the Ignatian call of "cura personalis." Indeed, as one of the nation's leading Catholic and Jesuit universities notes, "St. Ignatius believed that God could be discovered in every human endeavor, facet of learning and experience, and field of study. Consequently, he promoted the development of the spiritual, intellectual, artistic, social, and physical aspects of each person."

Therefore, particularly while the Church is in the hands of the Jesuit Pope Francis, I feel authorized…no indeed compelled…to comment upon a major spiritual force in my own life – the Boston Red Sox.

This is, of course, a challenge. While surely I could talk about the team being an example of faith (8 decades of support without a title), redemption (compare last season to this season), or healing (see the tremendous work of the Red Sox Foundation with veterans and the team's support of Boston Strong), that would miss the mark to connect to legal theory. Fortunately, the Bishops have offered me a path.

The Boston Globe recently reported that Cardinal O'Malley of Boston and Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis have a wager between them on the World Series. This is no small amount, but $100, no less. Like Captain Renault, I was at first "shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here!" As a responsible member of this blog, I set out to discover if this sort of behavior was consistent with Catholic social doctrine. I was relieved to discover that Catechism 2413 addresses this issue, stating that "Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others." Fortunately, neither of these Church officials will be depriving themselves of what is necessary to provide for their needs, because the wager will be paid to the winning Archdiocese's Catholic Charities fund. This is an excellent model of integrating the development of the physical with the social obligation of service to others…much like the Red Sox have done with their aforementioned charity work. It further echoes the Pope's statements this summer about the power of sport and its athletes to build and transform communities. Therefore, this wager appears to be both legal and morally responsible.

Having succeeded in my mission of offering a blog post which touches on the Red Sox and Catholic legal theory, I am now free to say what I really wanted to say: Go Sox.


Leary, Mary G. | Permalink