Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Tenth Anniversary Reflection on our Project

I started blogging at MOJ a month of so before the 2004 election, and so many of my early posts had to do with voting and conscience, a subject that will always continue to be part of our discussions.  Although I have been an infrequent MOJ blogger of late, I remain convinced of the importance of the enterprise in which we have been engaged for the last ten years.

 In his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis, speaking about the inclusion of the poor in society, said that Jesus’ command to his disciples “You yourselves give them something to eat” (citing Mark) “means working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the real needs which we encounter.  The word ‘solidarity’ is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity.  It presumes the creation of a new mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.” 

The thrust of the Pope’s point is not limited solely to the problem of poverty.  He expresses clearly in the document that because Christian conversion “demands reviewing especially those areas and aspects of life related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good,…no one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without a right to offer an opinion on events affecting society.”

 Those of us involved in the MOJ project will doubtless continue to disagree about all sorts of issues -  whether particular laws and policy positions are consistent with principles of Catholic Social Thought, whether a good Catholic can vote for a particular candidate, and so on.  But we all proceed from the premise that we have a duty to help to create “a new mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of life of all” and that  we cannot make decisions about law and public policy divorced from the teachings of our faith.   


Stabile, Susan | Permalink