Law, Person, and Community

John Coughlin asks the fundamental question “What is law?” through a discussion of canon law and secular legal theory. Canon law is analogous to the concept of law described by secular theorists such as Austin, Kelsen, Holmes, and H. L. A. Hart. Consistent with the secular concept, canon law aims to set a societal order that harmonizes the interests of individuals and communities, secures peace, guarantees freedom, and establishes justice. At the same time, canon law reflects a claim about the spiritual end of the human person and religious nature of community.

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