Lectures by our Faculty Fellows and Recommended Reading.

Justice, National Borders, and Migration: Some Basic Principles

Aquinas argued that private property was a reasonable and appropriate way to settle on the distribution to particular persons of the goods given by God to mankind in general. These remarks follow up on a suggestion that the authority of states to determine who can and who cannot enter their territories is best understood on analogy to Aquinas’s understanding of private property. After an exposition of Aquinas’s views about property I suggest that national borders and their control by governments can be understood analogously to the case of property and that, accordingly, states are entitled to control their borders. This means that they have a right to regulate and even limit immigration. However, just as the teaching on property holds that in cases of necessity persons have a right in justice to what they need to survive, so refugees, persons in a condition of necessity because of, for example, natural disasters or state failure, have a right in justice to cross-border havens.

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Lecture Given By

V. Bradley Lewis

Unlikely Twins – On Similarities Between Communism and Liberal Democracy

In this lecture, Ryszard Legutko’s discusses the main thesis of his recent book, which says that despite enormous differences, which in no way should be minimized, there is a considerable resemblance between communism and liberal democracy. This thesis meets immediately with two contradictory counterarguments. The first states that the thesis is simply a nonsense: those differences are so great that no sane person can seriously think that a totalitarian regime responsible for the deaths of millions of people is even remotely similar to modern liberal democracy with its multi-party system and a thriving civil society. On the other hand – and this is the second counter-argument – calling political arrangements totalitarian, or fascist, or Stalinist, or authoritarian, or Orwellian, has become a cliché in today’s discourse.

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Lecture Given By

Ryszard Legutko

Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity: The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom

Pope Paul VI characterized the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom — Dignitatis Humanae — as one of the greatest documents of Vatican II. It is also perhaps the most intensely debated document of the Council. Both the drafting of the Declaration on Religious Freedom and its reception have been marked by deep disagreements about what this teaching means for the Church.

In their book, Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity: The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom (Humanum Imprint, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015), David Schindler and Nicholas Healy promote a deeper understanding of this important document. Recalling the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae on its 50th anniversary, this book provides a new translation, redaction history, and interpretation of the document, while clarifying the Church’s distinct contribution to the understanding of political order in modern democracies.

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Lecture Given By

David L. Schindler & Nicholas Healy