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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Lamentation About the Day

Several years ago now, I became aware that it was more than possible that my alma mater was being destroyed by the very people who sold her to me. I wondered then, why I went. Why did God make that opportunity for me? What was my role in it?

For whatever else it was worth, I decided that it was at least part of my role to tell people what it was. Thinking of how I wanted my role to be remembered when that Last Accounting of the Theater of Redemption is laid bare for all to see, I put together a plan. I had some small hope that it might change things. I also had some small hope that what I thought was going to happen might not happen to AMSoL. After all, even Dean Dobranski was distanced from AMC and AMU in those days, and made it clear that the law school was its own thing and not to be confused with the mess of AMC/U. I was still slightly cynical, but played my hand according to the role and how I wanted all of you to see me on that day when there are no secrets.

Perhaps in all of it, the drama of his change is most lamentable. At least in those days, he spoke in defense of AMSoL from the tragedy of AMC/U, and he spoke as a leader who was bringing the school places. Today, he justifies all of it and lets all of it happen to his people. A tragedy of the pressures of leadership today, I suppose.

I decided then that I was not to be remembered for what happened because of what I did, but rather that I made it clear that what was to be and what was happening were divergent. My hope was that those whose hands have been operating in the dark might be tempted to come out in the open and play above the table. So far, that is merely a hope. Things have happened in the open, but for the most part, the motives and actualities are kept in the dark -- that place which will be illumined some day, but for the most part we are left to fill in by inference and circumstance.

It's obvious to me that the trail of destruction begun in 2003 is now irreversible to some extent, but unrecoverable. I hope that, when that day does arrive you'll see me as the guy who had the flashlight and kept trying to light up the corners of this mess, and that on that day you'll remember that I wrote this blog entry.

It's not the success of the effort after all, that pleases God, but rather that you stood on the right side of any question. Not just for my own sake, but for those of others, I've tried to stand on the promises that induced me and others to build a great school. I may have made the mistake of relying on the words of others -- but those other people told me that they were Catholic and that to a Catholic lawyer words mean something.

Since then I've found out that to them it doesn't mean a thing. A word is merely something used to induce another to act. What's sad is that it looks as if they've won the success, as much as my cynical mind told me they would when all of this started in 2003. What I find sadder, however, is that there are a lot of people who now think they stood on God's side and that words don't mean anything.

That's sad. I hoped in my selection of a role some 4 years ago now, that there would still be some mitigation of the damage caused by those who justified lying and manipulation in the name of a greater Church, a more-Catholic-than-anyone-else school. It looks, however, at least from what is happening currently, and from the language of their supporters, that evil (and I mean that word sincerely) performed in the name of God, Church, and all that is good will get you somewhere in the world. At least, it'll get you a temporary billion and a playground east of Naples.

All I want, and wanted, is what I was promised -- an institution where the words are true, and the people who utter them stand by truth. Truth hasn't destroyed the school -- the evil of lies and manipulation has. Sadly, it seems to be destroying the people who justify it in order to preserve some lesser good as well. I hope they wake up from the slumber imposed by that justification.

I went to a school that was supposed to fight for promises. It was school that was supposed to stand up for truth, justice, and the Catholic way! Morevoer, it was a school that was supopsed to stand up for the idea that some things are not ruled by the economic calculus. It said things like, "babies aren't expendable to the economic situation" and "Catholic moral values are to be upheld against utility."

Today it is a school that is slave to the economic and to utility. It's not what it was. It's sad -- today it is teaching people by its own example that abortion is OK if you are doing it for economic stability, and that lying can be OK if you have a good goal in mind, and worse, it is teaching lawyers that zealous advocacy has no limits when your client has pockets deep enough for any retainer.

It's not the school I was promised.