20 October 2008

St. Thomas More

Starting a blog is something I've been thinking about doing for awhile now, and tonight I decided that I might as well do it. I intend to use this blog to highlight Catholicism and the law; two very important aspects of my life. As I have been learning lately, it can be hard/seem to be hard to reconcile the two aspects, and I intend for this to be a forum where I can post about both, and try to work through the difficulties.

I'm in my last year of law school right now, and I'll be starting articling and a career next year, and I know that these are conflicts I will have to deal with my whole life, so I better figure out how to deal with them now. Reconciling the Catholic faith and secular law is something lawyers have had to deal with for a very long time, but that doesn't make it any easier.

For example, St. Thomas More was a lawyer, and also a strong Catholic. He worked his way up through the secular ranks in the court of Henry VIII of England. For awhile, St. Thomas served as Henry's Chancellor. However, Henry and Thomas had different ideas over marriage and obedience to the church (Henry VIII was the monarch who had 6 wives, and created the Anglican church when the Pope refused to annul his marriage) and St. Thomas was eventually charged and executed for treason, because he refused to put Henry's law above God's law. On the scaffold, St. Thomas famously said "I die the King's good servant, but God's first."

While that obviously is an extreme example, as a Catholic, I am called to live God's law in every aspect of my daily life. I can't simply put aside church teaching whenever I feel like it or when it inconveniences my life. Not if I truly call myself Catholic. Will I be Prime Minister of Canada (or something equally high up like St. Thomas) not likely, but there are still Church teachings that conflict with the law that I am to work toward, and I have to learn how to deal with those conflicts.

So, I'd like to end this post with a prayer St. Thomas wrote, and suggest that it sums up perfectly what I have been trying to explain in this post:

Lord, grant that I may be able in argument,
Accurate in analysis,
Strict in study,

Candid with clients,

And honest with adversaries.

Sit with me at my desk

And listen with me

To my clients plaints,
Read with me in my library,

And stand beside me in court,

So that today I shall not,
In order to win a point,

Lose my soul.

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