Catholic Judges and Cooperation in Sin
Edward A. Hartnett
Seton Hall University School of Law
University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2006
Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 1015150
For the first time in its history, the Supreme Court of the United States has a majority of Catholics. Yet there are a host of areas where Catholic teaching and American law are at variance. Some worry that Catholic judges will not be faithful to the law, while others worry that Catholic judges will not be faithful to the Church's teaching. Catholic Judges should be concerned with their faithfulness both to the law and to their informed consciences.
This paper explores the basic tool that Catholic moral theology offers to handle situations where a judge's moral views and legal interpretation conflict - the doctrine of cooperation - and applies that tool in several particular circumstances. It also discusses what a judge should do if confronted with a case in which the law require morally impermissible cooperation in sin. It makes suggestions aimed at (1) those who worry that Catholic judges will not be faithful to the law; (2) those who worry that Catholic judges will not be faithful to the Church; and (3) Catholic judges themselves.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: Catholics, religion, cooperation, sin, evil, recusal, resignation, judges
Date posted: September 21, 2007