Why Should a Catholic Law School be Catholic?
Thomas M. Mengler
St. Mary’s University
Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Vol. 6, 2010
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-03
Typically, Catholic law schools have described their Catholic nature by picking out a handful or more characteristics – e.g., dedication to social justice, pro bono service, diversity, and community – that are frequently associated with Catholic higher education. As Morey and Piderot, however, point out in their recent book, Catholic Higher Education: A Culture in Crisis, this approach does not distinguish Catholic law schools from their secular counterparts.
This article takes a more fundamental approach, by asking a different question: Why should a Catholic law school be Catholic? Two reasons, which are truly distinctive to Catholic higher education, emerge: first, the integration of faith perspectives, especially Catholic intellectual and social thought, in faculty scholarship and throughout the law school curriculum; and, second, a pervasive commitment to the moral and spiritual formation of the young adults who make up the law school student population. The Catholic law school, grounded in a rich intellectual, ethical, and spiritual formation, seeks to prepare its students for purposeful lives as lawyers and to assist them in their life journeys from what Pope Benedict XVI calls the “I” to “We.”
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: legal education, law schools, Catholic legal education, Catholic law schools, higher education, Catholic social thought
Date posted: January 29, 2010