May 18, 2013
"Church law follows the theological reality of things."
A blog dedicated to "Catholic legal theory" should be interested in the fact of -- and the theory behind -- the ongoing revision of the law of the Catholic Church. Several times I've heard a U.S. Cardinal complain tht the current Code (1983) "doesn't allow bishops to govern the Church effectively. It makes it too difficult to apply appropriate penalties." The following quote from the linked story hits the nail on the head:
The current code was drafted in the 1970s, Bishop Arrieta said, "a period that was a bit naive" in regard to the need for a detailed description of offenses, procedures for investigating them and penalties to impose on the guilty. It reflected a feeling that "we are all good," he said, and that "penalties should be applied rarely."
It will be more than a little interesting to see how this revision, begun under Pope Benedict, concludes under the governance of Pope Francis. Like his immediate predecessor, Pope Francis is profoundly aware that "we are [NOT] all good," as so many of his daily homilies make abundantly clear. The 1970s weren't a propitious time for revising the Code of Canon Law, nor for much else in the life of the Church.
May 13, 2013
"Go home now," Cardinal Roger.
The Los Angeles Times expresses confusion, as we all should, about what the heck is going on in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Three months ago, Archbishop Gomez relieved his predecessor, Roger Cardinal Mahony, of "public duties" in the Archdiocese, including, according to a spokesman for the Archdiocese at the time of Archbishop Gomez's announcement, celebrating the sacrament of confirmation. At the moment, however, the Cardinal is traveling around the Archdiocese celebrating that sacrament "every week" (his own words) and telling those who question him about it to "go home now" (his words). Meanwhile, Archbishop Gomez refuses to comment.
Cardinal Mahony's mishandling of his clergy's abuse of children boggles the mind and saddens the heart. A decade after Cardinal Law was pressured into resigning for his own mishandling of such abuse, Mahony continued the mishandling right up until he submitted his resignation as required at the age of 75, and his successor, who surely knew much or all of what Mahony had done to hide the abuse, distanced himself and the Archdiocese from Mahony only when files Mahony had endlessly litigated to keep secret became public. Two years Archbishop Gomez waited, and when at last he relieved Mahony of his "public duties," he did so only for purposes of a phony publicity stunt, it would now seem.
Only the Pope can discipline a Cardinal, but Archbishop Gomez has jurisdiciton over the confirmation schedule in his own Archdiocese. We can hope that Pope Francis will ground Cardinal Mahony and turn off his self-serving blog. We can also hope that Archbishop Gomez will do right by the faithful of his Archdiocese and *in fact* relieve Cardinal Mahony of his public duties in the Archdiocese. Members of the hierarchy need to stop scandalizing the faithful. Enough already. It is Cardinal Mahony who should "go home now." If Pope Francis seeks to "rebuild" the Church, Cardinal Mahony's public presence is only impeding that all-important work. Public penance for the Cardinal would be a help to that work on which turns, after all, the salvation of souls. Archbishop Gomez's integrity is on the line here as well, and the jury -- including in the form of the LA Times -- is observing the evidence as it pours in.
May 10, 2013
Phenomenology of lawLegal Affinities: Explorations in the Legal Form of Thought is now available for purchase, and it's selling like hotcakes. Don't miss out! As previously mentioned, the book's eight chapters are studies of law's phenomenology inspired by the pathbreaking work of University of Michigan law professor Joseph Vining. The chapters are by Joseph Vining, Jefferson Powell, Rev. John McCausland, James Boyd White, Jack Sammons, Judge Noonan, Steve Smith, and Patrick Brennan. If you've never read Vining, let me suggest that you do yourself the favor of picking up a copy of his masterpiece From Newton's Sleep, about which Mary Ann Glendon said this: "This original book by distinguished Michigan legal scholar Joseph Vining finds surprising treasures hidden in lawyers' ways of knowing.... He challenges with equal vigor the widely held notions that law can be reduced to processes and rules, or to power relations, or to meaningless signs and marks."
May 08, 2013
"Absurd dichotomy"Among the instructions Pope Francis just offered to the International Union of Superiors General is the following, which seems to speak directly to some of the issues frequently aired here at MOJ about what the Church asks of the faithful in Jesus' name: "It is an absurd dichotomy to think of living with Jesus but without the Church, of following Jesus outside of the Church, of loving Jesus without loving the Church. Feel the responsibility that you have of caring for the formation of your Institutes in sound Church doctrine, in love of the Church, and in an ecclesial spirit.” Sound doctrine, love of the Church, and ecclesial spirit -- these, the Pope teaches, are the way to live with Jesus.
May 03, 2013
Admiral saysRear Admiral William Lee of the U.S. Coast Guard believes that religious liberty is under threat in the U.S. military. You can read more about what he said here. Now I am just counting down until someone will tell me that the poor Rear Admiral is hysterical (e.g., given to fits of crying), paranoid, and perhaps even delusional.
May 01, 2013
Men and women serving in the United States' military will be court-martialed for sharing the Gospel with one another. Details about the new policy remain to be disclosed, to be sure, but the intent and direction appear now to be undeniable. The Pentagon has spoken.
Who would have predicted such a thing?
A just economy, anybody?
Michael Scaprelanda recently noted (here) the publication of The Church and the Usurers: Unprofitable Lending for the Modern Economy, a book by his OU colleague Brian McCall.
I highly recommend Prof. McCall's book, here below in language I prepared for the book's jacket. Those who claim to care about economic justice cannot *afford* to ignore McCall's recovery and application of basic principles discerned by a wise but now-lost generation. What McCall offers is radical (because completely traditional). The book is available from Amazon and the other usual sources.
"Only a fool would deny that we are on the brink of a financial meltdown of global scope and epic proportions, yet even smart and generally sensible people hardly know what to do about our future. With deep learning and blazing insight, Brian McCall offers in this book both a diagnosis and a cure. Our ongoing free-fall into economic chaos is caused by the ubiquitous but unnoticed practice of usury, the charing of a profit on a loan of money (as distinguished from the investment of capital). The cure is to re-appropriate and abide by the Catholic Church's doctrinal prohibition of usury. We literally cannot afford to ignore McCall's rigorous argument, animated by the Church's long tradition of reflection, that the economy must be conformed to principles of justice, including commutative justice and not just distributive justice. As McCall shows, it defies reason and justice for the basic human need of shelter to be an opportunity for wealth redistribution upward. Western banks have seen the wisdom in providing shari'a compliant banking. Why not banking that avoids usury and meets the demands of commutative justice? McCall gives readers compelling reason to implore state and Church alike to denounce usury from the housetops and to prohibit it through law. It is, after all, no more than justice demands. I applaud McCall's radical and wise call for a return to ancient principles in order to redeem our future."
Pacem in Terris
There've been many events this year -- including this recent one sponsored by the Lumen Christi Institute -- to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Pope John XXIII's great encyclical Pacem in Terris. Evelyn Waugh, who confessed to having a "crush" on Pope John (Waugh detested Pius XII's liturgical innovations), had the following to say about the encyclical fifty years ago:
"Before the recess Pope John hinted that he might not be present when the council reassembled in the autumn. Early in 1963 it was noticed that he was paler, thinner, and more easily fatigued, but he continued with his duties. At Eastertide he issued the encyclical Pacem in Terris, which epitomized his aims. This document is unique in that it is addressed to all mankind, not, as usual, only to the faithful. The pope, in effect, was calling for the ending of the Cold War. Under Pius XII the Church had inspired resistance to the Communist world with the result that many naive Catholics had assumed that any government that Communists had a holy cause. . . . [Pius] came to believe that concordats with hostile governments do more good than intransigent opposition. He made it known that he wished to recall [the] resolute men [who were suffering under various degrees of restraint under Communist rule]. It was a hard decision, the fruits of which cannot yet be seen. But Pacem in Terris is not a document of appeasement. It is a restatement in general terms of the traditional Christian principle of the individual and his family over the state, which is the antithesis of Communism. There are some who quoted in the pope's last months, 'Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you.' No pope for centuries enjoyed such acclaim among non-Catholics. But John will be remembered as a man of hope. His successors will determine how many of his hopes were chimerical and how many a result of his perception." Saturday Evening Post, 27 July 1963