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What a Catholic Law School Should Be

At the Mirror of Justice blog, Ave Maria law prof Richard Myers gets it just right about how Catholic law schools should orient themselves -- toward the vision laid out in Ex Corde Ecclesiae. A Catholic law school should be born from the "heart of the Church," and by necessity requires both a high percentage of both faithful Catholic faculty and students.

His post can be read as an interpretive key for the comments I made about the University of St. Thomas Law School here and here. I was trying to get at all the major themes he discussed in such an eloquent manner. My particular point was that in order to reach the goal outlined by Richard, and build a certain "critical mass" of students and faculty committed to the vision outline in Ex Corde, the school should not run away from being associated with other "conservative" religious law schools like Ave Maria and Regent. Furthermore, while portraying itself as Catholic rather than conservative, (which I wholeheartedly agree with from an institutional perspective) it should not keep tagging disclaimers about how open and inclusive it is. Doesn't Catholic mean integrated and universal, that is, inclusive? Contrary to Tom Berg's comments, if the school wasn't worried about how people perceive labels or believe people perceive buzzwords in characteristic ways (as I suggested), then it wouldn't need those qualifying phrases in the first place.

Thanks to Prof. Myers for his helpful comments.

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Comments (1)

Niermann:

As a convert, I am constantly struck (and often embarrassed) by the eminently rational positions taken by the Church. You have your virgin birth and your transubstantiation to get your head around, but by and large a lot of doctrine is common sense. This is what makes Chesterton so irritating.

“It is the honour and responsibility of a Catholic University to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth.” I’ll suppress my laments about what it says that we need a freakin’ encyclical to point this out, but anyone who has spend any time within a mile of the crazed bacchanalia that is STU on a Saturday night knows how necessary it is.

The thing is, the point being made is obvious. Any enterprise whatsoever needs to consecrate itself to the truth, or to a truthful position. The NAACP needs to consecrate itself to the betterment of blacks. The SPCCO needs to consecrate itself to providing excellent music. The coffee shop needs to consecrate itself to satisfying its customers. The Mariners need to consecrate themselves to occasionally winning a game. Etc. Isn’t the entire point of any endeavor to succeed at it?

The problem with STU is that it is utterly secular in attitude, and the secular world no longer understands consecration or truth. STU is hardly alone in being a hermetically sealed liberal mausoleum. To be even steadfast (let alone consecrated) is to be a medieval ultra-conservative televangelist. To even speak the word “truth” is to reveal a shallow, intolerant and insufficiently multicultural mind. This is why so many liberal enterprises, including the entire public school system and the entire worker’s entitlement program. And all this failure despite untold landfills of money and a sympathetic media and academy. The people who run these sinkholes have no real goal, except, ultimately, to feel good. To be liked (or not hated).

I am reminded of Dante in the vestibule of Hell watching countless naked people frantically chase after various banners and flags, all the while stung by bees and wasps. Virgil explains that these people are too lame even for Hell. They didn’t follow God, but they also didn’t appose Him. They “lived without or praise or blame.” It’s a kind of profound insanity. These people run STU and a thousand other allegedly Catholic schools. Their lives are as empty as they are busy. There is nothing left for these people but to drink the kool-aid and wait for the mothership.

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