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Religion and Procedure

11 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2006  

Robert E. Rodes Jr.

Notre Dame Law School


God has no use for procedural rules since He knows the full truth and is able to exercise absolute justice simultaneously alongside complete mercy. This paper discusses the religious significance of legal rules of procedure in light of this truth. It finds that since we, unlike God, are inherently fallible, we are forced to implement procedures in the legal pursuit of our goals of truth, justice, and mercy. These procedures remain imperfect in implementing these goals, as compromises must often be made between competing values such as mercy on one hand and justice on the other. Nevertheless, though legal procedure is imperfect, it is meant to achieve these goals as best we can. It is important for us to avoid treating procedure in such a way as to turn it into an end rather than a means. God calls us to emulate Him by using or resisting procedure in a way that comports with human dignity.

Suggested Citation

Rodes, Robert E., Religion and Procedure. Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 4, 1986; Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 06-25. Available at SSRN:

Robert E. Rodes Jr. (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

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