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.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Barry Sullivan on Access to Information and Catholic Social Thought.

This paper looks interesting:

Access to Information: Citizenship, Representative Democracy, and Catholic Social Thought

Barry Sullivan

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

November 4, 2015

From Democracy, Culture, Catholicism: Voices from Four Continents (Fordham University Press 2015)


This essay discusses the relationship among government transparency, human dignity, democratic theory, and Catholic social teaching. The essay argues that citizens in democratic societies such as the United States have a right to the information necessary to make informed decisions about public policy and those they elect to enact such policy. The citizen’s claim to such information is based on the belief that each citizen is respected and dignified as a human person when able to participate in this democratic form of governance and decision-making. This right, and the dignity it is based on, finds support in and through the insights offered by Catholic social teaching and in the work of the French philosopher Jacques Maritain. The difficulty arises, the essay maintains, when the Church supports human dignity and transparency as applied to others, but not to itself. That stance compromises its effectiveness in promoting the democratic right to information and the rights to respect and dignity.



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