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This issue concentrates on presenting three papers from the ‘Living Humanely’ Conference held at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin, on 13 April last. These are by Lisa Sowle Cahill, Neville Cox, and Patrick Riordan.
Dignity, Dilemmas, Discernment and Mercy
Lisa Sowle Cahill, of Boston College, presents the questions arising in the debates on the referendum concerning Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution within six theologically-informed aspects of the Catholic approach to society. These are:
1. the interdependence of natural law and the gospel;
2. the importance of civil discourse;
3. full human equality as a principle of Catholic social teaching;
4. community and the common good as also principles of Catholic social teaching;
5. the positive moral function of civil law;
6. from Pope Francis, a model of mercy and discernment in difficult cases.
Simple Solutions to Complex Problems
Applying Rights Language to the Abortion Issue
Neville Cox, of the Law School at Trinity College, argues that human rights are the ultimate trump on government activity because they symbolise a deep and agreed moral judgement. It is unsurprising that those with political agendas will seek to characterise their claims in rights language. But, in regard to the legal regulation of abortion, he suggests that there is insufficient moral consensus for rights language to work.
Law’s Purpose: A Liberal Philosophical View
Patrick Riordan, S.J., of Campion Hall, Oxford, addresses the argument of Ronald Dworkin that a decision on whether or not to have an abortion is a matter exclusively of what one owes to oneself and that the State has no place in the decision. He finds no support for such a stance in the thinking of John Locke, renowned for his assertion of personal rights as the foundation of political philosophy.
Seeking the Truth in the Referendum Debate
John Mangan analyses the social policy implications of the legislation which may follow if the Eighth Amendment referendum is carried.
Remembering Father James Good
John Cooney recalls the many ministries – at University College Cork, in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, and in Turkana, in East Africa – of the Cork-born priest who died on his 94th birthday last March.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: Saint or Sinner?
Ian Linden reflects on the death of Winnie Mandela, examining the tendency to move from canonising to demonising.
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