Monday, September 22, 2008
I'm delighted to announce that John Breen is (re)joining our merry band here at MOJ. To celebrate, here's a little blast-from-the-past, John's article "Justice and the Jesuit Legal Education: A Critique":
Jesuits need to engage in an honest assessment of the law schools that operate in their name. The heart of this assessment must include an honest conversation about how justice is and is not being taught. If such a conversation were to take place, it would result in something other than the self-laudatory statements of Jesuit law schools now generated for the consumption of alumni and prospective students; statements that celebrate a distinctiveness which does not exist.
There is, however, a distinctiveness that could be realized and worth celebrating. This distinctiveness consists of a law school culture and curriculum informed by serious engagement with the Catholic intellectual tradition, especially pertaining to law and justice. The Jesuit law school could introduce students to varieties of justice, all of which are grounded in human dignity and the common good of society. Without demanding adherence, whether intellectual, religious or otherwise, and without precluding other points of view, the Jesuit law school can offer a rich patrimony of thought in a non-coercive fashion.
If Jesuit law schools continue to fail to engage the tradition which inspired their creation, then they should cease to go by the name "Jesuit" or "Catholic." If, however, Jesuit law schools take up this tradition in earnest, then what are now mere slogans might accurately describe the kind of education they convey and the kind of graduates they hope to produce. If Jesuit law schools see an obligation to introduce students to the Catholic intellectual tradition, then they will offer law students something which secular schools do not. Then they can realistically hope to form "men and women for others." Then the life of these institutions, including Loyola, can again be Ad Majorum Dei Gloriam.