Thursday, February 6, 2014
Tenth Anniversary reflection by Fr. Robert Araujo
Here is Fr. Araujo's reflection on MOJ's 10-year anniversary:
Nonus Adveniens (On the Coming Ninth)
I have just about reached my ninth anniversary of participation in this web log dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory. Our maestro coordinator, Professor Rick Garnett, has asked the contributors to the Mirror of Justice to supply a brief anniversary submission during this month of February. Who am I to say “no”?
As one of the law teachers who struggles with the mantle of the joint enterprise of developing Catholic legal theory, I have seen that some of my past posts have veered from doing precisely this. But by the same token, I realize that in most of what I have said, I have attempted to capture something about the self-evident truths that are a part of our national legal fabric and beyond. As a public law lawyer, I have spent considerable time wrestling with questions that span national interests by looking at the universal common good as it might be served by the rule of law—a law that is made by human beings, but by human beings who think objectively and realize that there are universal principles and truths about the human person, human nature, and human society.
All of this seems to coincide with the natural law thinking that has been crucial to legal thinking for some time. Romans like Cicero and the Stoics along with some of the ancient Greeks seemed to have agreed. So did Aquinas, de Vitoria, and Suàrez. Perhaps even a few of our Founders did, too, although they were also influenced by the strong individualistic notions of the Enlightenment. Then came the world of realism and positivism.
Our project at the Mirror of Justice, I think, has been in large part an antidote to these latter developments that risk rather than promote the common good of which we often speak here as we might also take account of the notion of the general welfare and our posterity of which the Preamble to the Constitution speak.
It is clear that our American, western, and now global cultures are strongly influenced by an individualism and subjectivity that are fortified by what some seem to find attractive, i.e., legal positivism. Given the nature of our joint enterprise, the contributors to the Mirror of Justice have a broad responsibility to meet this challenge. I hope to address more of this subject in the future myself, and I pray that God will give me the strength to do this.