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

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: January 29, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Mengler, Thomas M., Why Should a Catholic Law School be Catholic? (2010). Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Vol. 6, 2010; U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1544093

Contact Information

Thomas M. Mengler (Contact Author)
St. Mary’s University
One Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78228
United States
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 957
Downloads: 107
Download Rank: 202,279