Whom Should a Catholic Law School Honor?: If Confusion is the Concern, Context Matters

Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, 2010

U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-05

13 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2010  

Robert K. Vischer

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN - School of Law

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

If a Catholic can vote for a pro-choice candidate when proportionate reasons justify that decision, can a Catholic law school honor a pro-choice public figure if there are proportionate reasons to do so? In other words, should the law school’s inquiry focus simply on whether the honoree defies Church teaching on any matter of grave moral importance, or should the law school also consider the message communicated by the honor in light of the broader context in which it would be extended? This short essay suggests that a contextual approach is more consistent with the U.S. Bishops’ instruction on this matter and avoids some of the collateral harm arising from a bright-line prohibition on honoring anyone who defies even a single aspect of Church teaching.

Keywords: higher education, Catholic universities, legal education, law schools, Catholic law schools, Catholic social thought, right to life, abortion

Suggested Citation

Vischer, Robert K., Whom Should a Catholic Law School Honor?: If Confusion is the Concern, Context Matters (2010). Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, 2010; U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1544095

Robert K. Vischer (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN - School of Law ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
651-962-4838 (Phone)

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