Dear Alumni and Friends
of The Catholic University School
These words are easy enough to say, but in the days we live, elusive of our immediate grasp.
The events of the last months have been difficult, and difficult to discern. Over and over, there was a subtext to our national conversation: How could God let so many innocents die? And for what purpose? And what does this barbaric attack portend? Can the edifice of the rule of law and American civil liberty withstand the constant, insidious assault of world-wide terrorism? And does our faith really ask that we turn the other cheek to someone who has so outrageously blasphemed God and his own faith tradition in vowing to "bring America down?"
All demanding, and perhaps, intractable questions. Yet, we are not discouraged by these imponderables. Here, at the law school of the national university of the Catholic Church, there is instead a "new birth of intellectual freedom and a new sense of faith." Why? Because our resolve, though new, is necessarily sustained by traditions that are ancient and strong. From its beginning in the late 1800s, CUA Law has been supported in the belief that one cannot meaningfully separate the pursuit of professional calling from religious and moral inquiry. In the 19th century, our first dean, William Callayhan Robinson, left a secure and highly esteemed post as dean and professor of the Yale law school to build the CUA Law program upon the scholastic thought of Thomas Aquinas. A century removed, I am privileged to sit as his successor with much the same idea.
and other-regarding students attracted to The Catholic University School of Law. Some of my fellow deans at other schools now suggest that directing a high profile law school in the center of things may prove a handicap. I know better. The refutation of this expressed concern lies in the intrepid determination and work ethic of the students who seek out CUA Law to pursue law study, and with the analytical and practice skills acquired here, bear the needs of a nation they love.
In this issue, you will be introduced to the new team of administrative leaders at the law school. Like the faculty and student body they serve, they are resolute in their desire for academic excellence. To a member, all believe CUA Law's potential to be first tier and its many present qualities insufficiently acknowledged. Many of these new faces share personally in the richness of the Catholic faith. All venerate and honor its truths, including especially the Church's profound understanding of the intrinsic dignity of the human condition.
You will read a sample of the thinking of the faculty on how - justly - to respond to the terrorist assault on mankind. More can be found on our website (firstname.lastname@example.org). In this issue, too, are profiles of some of our thousands of graduates in government and public service. Of course, no alumni magazine would be complete without an update on faculty and alumni activity, and there is much to report. So much, in fact, that this hard-copy edition of CUA Lawyer is now supplemented by an electronic edition that strives to reach you twice each month with news and activities at the law school, but also with important information about newly energized CUA Law Alumni chapters forming around the country. Don't miss out. If you are not on our electronic mailing list, please email Linda Conway at Conway@law.edu and she will make sure you are included.
So, then, are there answers to the hard questions posed at the beginning of this letter? I am confident that there are, though I am equally confident that they transcend the usual cost-benefit and pragmatic calculations that underlie legal
At CUA Law, we strive for academic excellence within the context of authentic faith. Here, the study of law is not content with simplistic, partisan, ideological or even well-considered economic answers. While our first year students are mastering the nuances of contracts, torts, property and criminal and constitutional law, they are also being probed to think more deeply by the dean's newly required course in Catholic Social Teaching and Jurisprudence. As our second year students are interviewing for their first professional employments and meriting CUA's consistently high number of distinguished judicial clerkships, they are also being encouraged to be of service to the poor and the elderly in abundant legal clinics. In their final year, our students unite the high theory of advanced course work with the practical insight gained through untold numbers of intern and extern assignments associated with, among other disciplines, communications, law and religion, and international trade.
Can such law studies and activities, in themselves, lead a beloved nation confronted with unspeakable terror to peace? No, not alone. Reason without revelation is always imperfect and incomplete. To find peace, we must understand the fullness of that which we seek. As St. Augustine records in The City of God, it is not just the cessation or absence of conflict, but "the well-ordered obedience of faith to eternal law." Is there another law program in the United States with the honesty and courage and capability to say so?
May the New Year restore for our nation, and the civilized world, this red-blooded understanding of peace, one which, as Augustine further instructs, necessarily must include an "arrangement that sets equal and unequal in their rightful places, [and] the tranquility of [true] order."Douglas W. Kmiec
Dean & St. Thomas More Professor