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Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks: Archbishop DiNardo's Homily at the Red Mass

You can read the whole thing here. Teaching first-year law students, I was particularly struck by this paragraph:The proclamation of the Word of God today then invites us to invite the Holy Spirit for an action of revivifying and cleansing memories, opening us up anew to a deeper impulse of the Lords work among us. Though the invitation is received actively, it is an activity of receiving, dare I say, an act of contemplation. The legal profession is one of the first of human activities and bodies of human knowledge to receive the word and accolade: Profession. Its systematic knowledge has always been technical and nowadays the increasing specialization within the law is dizzying. Such wondrous formal knowledge frequently becomes semi-mechanical and distancing. A person can forget that the basis of that knowledge is something much more natural in the human condition, that the law and lawyers are around because justice among human beings is always an issue. There are always smoldering wicks and bruised reeds needing our human attention, an attention that cries out and says that even sophisticated knowledgeable human lawyers need reminding, need a purifying divine fire from the Lord, both in their personal lives and in their profession itself. It is that reality that brings us to praise, reflection, and prayer this day.

About the Author

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.



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When I was writing a piece about fears of an All-Star Catholic Court yesterday I was struck by the DiNardo homily and its tone (and simplicity and relative brevity) and how his approach to the law was one of, dare I say, empathy as much as the originalism or formalism of Scalia inter alia. So maybe Sotomayor is the Catholic everyone should worry about! (If that's the kind of thing we need worry about at all.)

Our local paper, the Times-Picayune picked up the AP account of the Red Mass at which Cardinal DiNardo gave this homily. The AP quoted some of it. It also noted that though the Cardinal made a plea for the unborn, he didn't pound the table about it. Six of the justices were present, including Justice Breyer, who is Jewish. God bless them all. What a job.

Yes David, me too.

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