Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Amidst instant opinion analyses and surrounded by Supreme Court surveys, it might be helpful to step back even further and consider more enduring questions. To that end, I've collected below links to the John Courtney Murray Chair Lectures delivered by MOJ's Fr. Robert Araujo, S.J. at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
As an invitation to enter into Fr. Araujo's Murray-grounded explorations of some of the perennial problems of law, morality, and their grounding in reason, consider Fr. Araujo's answer to the question of how Murray addressed the challenging era in which he lived. The opening paragraphs of Fr. Araujo's inaugural lecture:
Charles Dickens began his Tale of Two Cities with the memorable line, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Dickens’ great saga takes us back and forth between two very different worlds, one in England and the other in France, during the bloody turmoil of the French Revolution. The juxtaposition of such diverse places existing in parallel fashion suggests something about the times in which Fr. John Courtney Murray lived—in a world of depression, of two global wars, and of a new kind of tension called the Cold War. And how did he address the challenging era in which he lived? It may have been Murray’s training as a theologian that made him understand the best and worst of his times; it may have been the fact that he was a lawyer’s son who understood the importance of the rule of law in governing a society of ordered liberty; it may have been his priesthood which helped him put all of the tumult of his life and times into context. But he was largely a man of hope who was fortified jointly by reason and faith. Perhaps he took to heart Saint Augustine and realized that he was a citizen of—a participant in—two cities: the City of God and the City of Man.
In essence, the dual citizenship concept suggests that Murray was both a contributing member to the public square and an ardent American citizen. But he was also a faithful Catholic and obedient son of the Church. For some individuals, it is hard to imagine that such a person could exist, yet this is how he served the common good and the public interest during his relatively brief life. But because of his formation as an American and a Catholic, Murray demonstrated that American Catholics can simultaneously be faithful members of the Church and contributing members of the American republican democracy. Indeed, their greatest contribution to our democracy may be in recalling America to the understanding of the human person and human institutions that animated the founding of the country—an understanding whose greatest expositors include Fr. Murray, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.