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Catholic Judges and Cooperation in Sin

48 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2007  

Edward A. Hartnett

Seton Hall University School of Law

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Catholics, religion, cooperation, sin, evil, recusal, resignation, judges

Suggested Citation

Hartnett, Edward A., Catholic Judges and Cooperation in Sin. University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2006; Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 1015150. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1015150

Edward A. Hartnett (Contact Author)

Seton Hall University School of Law ( email )

One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102-5210
United States
973-642-8842 (Phone)

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