Thursday, October 2, 2014
Prior to stepping down from the Murray Chair at Loyola University Chicago, I had a plan to develop the nexus between virtues and the law particularly in working on future installments of the lecture series that accompanied the Chair. I think our friend and colleague Kevin Walsh picked up on this some time back. Another dimension of my plan was the desire to continue examining this theme in the Murray Lectures for another twenty years or so—after all, longevity runs in my family’s genes. The latter part of the plan was defeated when I had to prematurely step down from the Murray Chair last December. This does not affect the first part of the plan and the hope that others may recognize some merit in the objective that I had identified. I think this objective is has an important role to exercise in the development of Catholic legal theory.
Reinforcing my view about the objective just mentioned was something I recently came across in my bedtime reading. One of my reading projects of late is C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, first published in 1942 mid-way through the Second World War. In one of his letters to Nephew Wormwood, Screwtape counsels his young relative about this mission of evil in the world (something that was on Lewis’s mind and probably on many other people’s minds during the War). Screwtape emphasizes that their “real business” for the father of the underworld is twofold: to undermine faith and to prevent the formation of virtues.
The community of judges, lawyers, law students, law professors, and others who read the Mirror of Justice and who acknowledge merit in this website’s vocation might see how Screwtape’s own objective is one of the very things for which the Mirror of Justice offers a critical antidote especially when the link of Christian faith and the cultivation of virtues are things which the present age often ignore.