Throughout his papacy, Paul John Paul II stressed the necessity for Catholics to learn from their “elder brothers,” the Jews, both so Catholics would better understand their world and also so they could better understand their own Catholic faith. Throughout his own life, Pope John Paul II learned five lessons about law from his Jewish brothers and sisters. First, he learned that law should be made not as men are inclined to make it, “carried away on the tumultuous wave of self-interest and instinct,” but that law must be made as God makes it. Second, in the spirit of God, law must be motivated and activated by love. Third, consistent with this spirit of love, law must see those it impacts with loving eyes. It must recognize in each person it impacts “the dignity of the human being, made in the image of God,” a dignity that entitles each person to “universal, inviolable, inalienable rights,” and out of that recognition, law must seek to “acknowledge, respect, and promote” that dignity. Fourth, Pope John Paul II learned that law must seek to be centered in truth. Fifth and finally, John Paul II learned that this law of love necessarily hungers for community and seeks “to work for the common good.”
This paper discusses how these lessons are, in fact, taught by the Jewish experience with law and then mirrored in law as communicated by Christ and embraced by the Church. Having sought to capture the meaning of law in the hands of God, the paper considers the implications these lessons offer for law in the hands of men generally and more specifically in the American political experience.
- law and religion,
- john paul ii
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/randy_lee/10/