Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
That's the title of a paper that Charles Reid, Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, has just posted to SSRN. Given the subject matter of the paper, some information about Professor Reid's academic background is relevant. Professor Reid attended the Catholic University of America, where he earned J.D. and J.C.L. (license in canon law) degrees. Reid later attended Cornell University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the history of medieval law under the supervision of Brian Tierney. His thesis at Cornell was on the Christian, medieval origins of the western concept of individual rights. Over the last ten years, he has published a number of articles on the history of western rights thought, and is currently completing work on a book manuscript addressing this question. In 1991, Reid was appointed research associate in law and history at the Emory University School of Law, where he has worked closely with Harold Berman on the history of western law.
Reid's article on same-sex unions and the Catholic Church is downloadable for free here. This is the abstract:
This Article makes the case for reforming the Catholic Church’s law and teaching on the topic of same-sex unions. It is divided into two large parts. Part I surveys the present state of the Church’s rules governing same-sex relations. It is further subdivided into three subsections: the first examining the formation and reinforcement of the anti-sodomy norm in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the second reviewing the jurisprudence of the Roman Rota (one of the Vatican’s two supreme appellate tribunals) on homosexuality; the third glancing briefly at more affirming recent statements of Pope Francis and leading Cardinals and bishops. The second part then states the case for reform. It begins by recapitulating the natural-law case against same-sex unions, especially as articulated by Pope John Paul II; it then focuses on personalist philosophy to build a case grounded in human dignity and human rights; it looks to see how arguments grounded on dignity, respect, and human rights were used in legislative and constitutional reform in the United States and in three Catholic countries; and it returns again to natural law. Building on the premise that natural law requires an understanding of nature, the Article reviews the state of the science on same-sex attraction. It closes with a reflection on the many ways the Church has dynamically reinterpreted its normative structure and proposes that reform of the law on same-sex unions would be in keeping with other large historical shifts in the Church’s law and doctrine.
Friday, October 28, 2016
That's the title of a little essay by Professor/Judge John Noonan that was published almost thirty years ago (1987) in the Journal of Law and Religion. A little essay, but nonetheless an important one. I happened to reread it today--and thought that many MOJ readers would (and/or should) be interested in it. Here it is, all nine and a half pages: Download John Noonan (1987).
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Rick Garnett has noted (here) that I am one of the MOJers who signed the "Brief of Amici Curiae Legal Scholars in Support of Equality and Religious and Expressive Freedom". Unless I am mistaken, I am the only MOJer who signed the brief who also believes that Obergefell v. Hodges was rightly decided--although I do not believe that Obergefell was rightly reasoned. For my alter ego Justice Nemo's concurring opinion in the case, see Obergefell v. Hodges: An Imagined Opinion, Concurring in the Judgment. Another MOJer, Tom Berg, and acclaimed religious liberty scholar/advocate Doug Laycock are also supporters both of SCOTUS's decision in Obergefell and of the understanding of religious freedom that animates our friend Steve Smith's argument in "Brief of Amici Curiae Legal Scholars".
Friday, August 19, 2016
That's the title of a piece today in the New York Times (online edition) by Deborah Fikes, who previously served as a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals and as the Executive Advisor to the World Evangelical Alliance. She holds a graduate degree in international law from Oxford University. I think many MOJ readers will be interested in what Ms. Fikes has to say (here).
Thursday, July 7, 2016
That's the title of a discerning essay, on our present political situation, over at Commonweal (here). An excerpt:
Neither party, then, offers a compelling vision of human well-being. The Republicans stand up for the unborn and families, but they refuse to address the economic and social roots of abortion and the precariousness material conditions that threaten so many families. The Democrats support basic economic fairness and stand against racism, but they are most animated by the right of each individual to choose their own conception of the good. They are more interested in tolerance and diversity than in true solidarity. Neither party espouses a conception of freedom oriented toward the common good. Libertarians dismiss the very idea of a common good, seeing only a collection of individual people with individual interests. Latter-day progressives start from a slightly different point of view but reach a very similar conclusion; they argue that a commitment to pluralism precludes any notion of a common good. Missing from both views is the deep sense that “we are all really responsible for all.”
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Commonweal has just published a terrific article titled False Choices & Religious Liberty: Is There a Better Way Forward? Terrific in part because balanced. It begins with this:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops launches its annual Fortnight for Freedom campaign this week. A recent video from the conference illustrates how unhinged the debates over religious liberty have become. Pairing images of Islamic State militants ready to behead Christian prisoners with ominous warnings of the Obama administration’s harassment of religious ministries epitomizes how the hierarchy risks making itself its own worst enemy on the issue. (For more, see the recent Commonweal editorial, “Lights, Camera, Contraception?”) Even many faithful Catholics who should be most sympathetic to the church’s arguments have grown weary of the divisiveness and worry that the all-consuming quality of the religious-liberty battle now seems to define American Catholicism. At the same time, the perversion of religious liberty into a bludgeon against women’s health, workers’ rights, and LGBT equality has caused some progressives to forget that religious freedom is a fundamentally liberal value. Finding a better approach that rescues religious liberty from the culture wars is challenging, essential work.
Read the rest, here.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Laudato Si' was published on June 18, 2015. For a wonderfully informative account of what has followed, in the past year, read this account. An excerpt:
For those long engaged in environmental issues, the encyclical proved a valuable rallying tool, one that opened doors, spurred mobilization and generated not-seen-before excitement within Catholic circles.
"I cannot wish for anything better," said Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, which oversaw the first draft of the encyclical. Since its publication last June 18, Turkson has served as its chief promoter, traveling across the globe to deliver countless talks on Laudato Si'.
"I think it has proven to be really transformative," said Tomás Insua, co-founder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. "But there's definitely a long way to go to really get this encyclical to really sync in our Catholic identity and really drive transformational change." ...
As far as the long-term impact, Turkson placed Laudato Si' into the larger compendium of social encyclicals, describing them together "like a big river," with new tributaries forming as it flows forward. Like past encyclicals, such as Rerum Novarum, it too will stimulate future teachings and ideas, he said.
"But it is forever going to inspire the church's teaching on ecology and integral ecology."