Natural Law Meetings
In dulcedine societatis quaerere veritatem (Latin: Seeking the truth in pleasant company)
This is a series of meetings addressed to academics, doctoral and undergraduate law students and legal practitioners, as well as to non-lawyers – to anyone interested in what law really is. Our goal is to go beyond the reductionist understanding of law as merely the provisions of positive law.
The meetings consist of a lecture by an invited guest, followed by a question and answer session.
Our speakers are Polish and foreign professors.
Past foreign speakers include prof. Rafael Domingo from Emory University in Atlanta, prof. Angel Rodríguez Luño from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, prof. Mark Regnerus from University of Texas in Austin, prof. Judith A. Reisman from Liberty University in Lynchburg (Virginia, USA) and dr Pablo Requena from Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
Thursday, March 4, 2021, 8 PM Polish time (online meeting) – prof. Ferenc Hörcher (1964) is a political philosopher, historian of political thought and philosopher of art. He studied in Budapest (Hungary), Oxford (UK) and Brussels/Leuven (Belgium). He is director of the Research Institute of Politics and Government and senior researcher at the Institute of Philosophy of the Hungarian Academy of Science. He was visitng professor at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków (Poland) and the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár, Romania). He researched in Vienna, Göttingen, Wassenaar (Holland), Cambridge (UK), Edinburgh and at Notre Dame University (USA). His reseach interests include: conservatism and liberalism, the history of early modern political thought, classical Hungarian political thought, early modern and contemporary philosophy of art. Biography: https://ripg.uni-nke.hu/horcherf
Topic of the meeting: „Political Prudence and Natural Law”. Prof. Hörcher has published a book „Prudentia iuris. Towards a Pragmatic Theory of Natural Law” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/296692097_Prudentia_Iuris_Towards_a_Pragmatic_Theory_of_Natural_Law . Recently he has written „Political philosophy of conservatism” (Bloomsbury, 2020) https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/a-political-philosophical-philosophical -conservatism-9781350067189
The meeting will be held in English. A few days before the meeting, we will post a link to the broadcast.
Thursday, March 25, 2021, 8 PM Polish time (online meeting) – mgr Marcin Beściak, b. 1990, graduate of the MISH faculty of the Jagiellonian University and the Institute of Classical Philology at the University of Warsaw, currently a PhD student (he is preparing a dissertation on the Renaissance exegesis of the Old Testament). Professionally translator from Latin, German, French and Italian. He deals in particular with translations of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. Currently involved in the publication of the Opera Omnia of St. Tomasz in Polish – a project implemented by the Thomistic Institute and the Dominican School of Theology Foundation.
Topic of the meeting: The Treatise on Natural Law by Luigi Tapparelli d’Azeglio SJ – selected issues. The „Theoretical Essay on Natural Law” is a treatise on moral philosophy, focused in particular on the theory of society, state and law in the Catholic sense. The pioneering nature of this study lies in the fact that, although it was written in the first half of the nineteenth century, the author uses the classical Thomistic method, which at that time (especially in the field of philosophy or moral theology) was neither obvious nor common. The main text is a theoretical exposition of individual issues from the most basic (what is action, what is the purpose of action, what is a good, etc.) to more complex problems of the epoch (e.g. is the international community a natural community, the limits of the rights of civil authorities, on the form of governance, criticism of democracy as a utopian system, etc.). The attractiveness of this work for today’s reader may lie, for example, in the fact that the author rejects the idea of a social contract as the source of law and state, while demonstrating that civil authority is, in a way, an extension of the father’s power over his own family, so the state and law are part of the (objective) order of nature intended by the Creator, and not a product of the subjective will of the citizens themselves. On the other hand, Taparelli, as a precursor of the social doctrine of the Church and the creator of the concept of social justice, can be a valuable source of arguments for Catholics in discussions with both liberals and social Darwinists, as well as socialists. The lasting value of the „Essay on Natural Law” is best evidenced by the fact that it was inspired by both Leo XIII in the encyclical „Rerum Novarum” and John XXIII in „Pacem in terris”.
The meeting will be held in Polish. A few days before the meeting we will post a link to the broadcast.
Thursday, April 15, 2021, 8 PM Polish time (online meeting) – dr Paweł Błażewicz, graduated in history at the University of Wrocław (Poland), theology at the Pontifical University of St. Cross in Rome, defended his doctorate at the University of Navarre (Spain), scholarship holder of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, teacher in high schools with French-speaking classes in Wrocław and Warsaw. Educator, organizer and participant of youth volunteering in Poland and abroad. Theme: „What can Basil the Great tell today’s man?” Our guest will tell about this great figure of early Christianity who did not reject what was true in the heritage of classical antiquity. The meeting will be held in Polish. A few days before the meeting we will post a link to the broadcast.
June 2021 (online meeting) – prof. J. Budziszewski from the University of Texas in Austin (Texas, USA), where he conducts classes, among others, from the theory of natural law. He has written a number of books in this field, such as „Natural Law for Lawyers”: https://undergroundthomist.org/book/natural-law-for-lawyers Biography: https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/government/faculty/jb397 #home
Topic of the meeting: „Architecture of law”. Prof. J. Budziszewski will present a general scheme of the legal system, explain its components and the relations between them.
Prof. J. Budziszewski sent a material to be read before the meeting, containing the above-mentioned diagram and excerpts from his two books. The material is intended to be used for our meeting and is not subject to further dissemination. Persons wishing to receive this material, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A few days before the meeting we will post a link to the broadcast.
February 11, 2021 (online meeting) – dr Pablo Requena – priest of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. He graduated in medicine and obtained a PhD in moral theology. He lectures on bioethics at the Department of Moral Theology at the Theological Faculty of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. Member of the Pontifical Academy Pro Vita, delegate of the Holy See to the World Medical Association – the largest medical organization in the world, associating national medical organizations from over 100 countries of the world. Topic of the meeting: „Physician in the face of demanding eugenic abortion”. The meeting was translated from Spanish into Polish.
We will post a recording of the meeting soon.
Today, the problem of abortion is primarily a problem of contemporary culture. She argues that abortion is the solution to the problem. Meanwhile, since the Hippocratic oath, already in 450 BC, it stated that I would not give a lethal poison to anyone, even on demand, nor would I advise anyone about it, nor would I ever give a woman a remedy for miscarriage. In many countries, doctors often immediately suggest an abortion as soon as a small problem arises in the course of the pregnancy. Today in the US 30% of women over 45 have had an abortion, sometimes several. You can vote something in parliament, but if the dominant culture is not conducive to the protection of life, sooner or later this protection will be limited. Therefore, the role of culture is irreplaceable.
In the discussion about abortion, extreme, exceptional situations are emphasized above all, constituting 1% of all cases. Thus, 99% of abortions, performed – in many countries – most often on request, are beyond our interest.
In order to improve the level of protection of unborn children and to change the vector of the dominant culture by showing that abortion is not a good solution, it is worth getting involved at various levels, including in a private setting, talking to your relatives and friends, and offering help in difficult situations.
The speaker also drew attention to point 99 of John Paul II’s encyclical „Evangelium vitae”, in which the Holy Father addresses women who have had an abortion.
In the context of the protection of life, the problem of euthanasia was also raised. It is accepted less frequently in parliaments than abortion. When a society introduces euthanasia into the legal system, it shows that it has little solidarity with sick people, because it puts them – and in a difficult life situation, in illness and sometimes loneliness – in the face of the necessity to choose life or death. In this way, many people choose to euthanize which they would not have chosen if it were not possible.
Even Herbert Hendin, a professor of psychiatry at the New York Medical College, an agnostic advocating some euthanasia cases, believes that more involuntary euthanasia is taking place in the Netherlands today than voluntary. His article „The Dutch Experience” is well-known, where he shows that in certain diseases, euthanasia, from something initially unique, has become rather a „norm”, a common way to end the lives of patients. Currently in the Netherlands it accounts for 5% of the causes of death (7,000 annually).
January 18, 2021 (online meeting) – prof. Judith A. Reisman from Liberty University (Virginia, USA). Prof. Reisman has focused most of her work on fighting pornography as a pandemic and exposing abuse in Alfred C. Kinsey’s research. Her book „Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences” was recently translated into Chinese. She is the founder and director of the Reisman Institute, which aims to inform the public about the difficulties faced by children as a result of aggression of overt sexuality. Subject of the meeting: „The history of the sexual revolution in the USA in 1945-2020”. The meeting was held in English without translation.
Prof. Reisman drew attention to Alfred Kinsey’s use of innocent children for his experiments. She pointed to the abuses committed by him. She called him the father of the sexual revolution in the United States. Using examples of newspapers and publishing houses, she presented the change that had taken place in America in the last few decades, especially since the 1970s. The main goal was to sexualize young children. According to the leaders of the sexual revolution, a 7-year-old child can and should engage in sexual activity. Over time, what used to be punished is now taught in schools (e.g. abortion or homosexuality). There has been an extraordinary invasion of pornography. In order to make a positive breakthrough, it is necessary to objectively and comprehensively inform the society about the dire consequences of the sexual revolution both for the general public (breakdown of bonds and destruction of the family) and for the individual (mental disorders and decreased creative potential), striving to engage in a debate that apparently does not want its spokesmen for fear of showing its real consequences.
Video recording in English: https://youtu.be/8tTfUDNImAg
December 7, 2020 (online meeting) – prof. Mark Regnerus, professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin (Texas, USA). He recently published two books in Oxford University Press: The Future of Christian Marriage (2020) and Cheap Sex and Human Transformation, Marriage and Monogamy (2017). He collaborates with First Things, National Review and Public Discourse. The subject of the meeting: „Does it make sense? Same-sex relationships through the eyes of an American sociologist.” The meeting was held in English without translation.
Prof. Regnerus raised several important points. There is a change of language, a change in the meaning of words (e.g. marriage, freedom, equality), which always precedes legal changes. Legal changes last many years and are often the result of litigation conducted by activists. The abbreviation LGBT used contains conflicting tendencies, as the letters LGB denote tendencies that do not question the existence of sex, while in the case of the letter T it is different. Regarding the letter T, the speaker pointed out that this tendency does not appear from early childhood, during which someone accepts his sex, but only in the teenage years, when a young person encounters this type of possibility in the media space. Same-sex partnerships are an attempt to copy marriage, but due to the biological inability to have children and the lack of male-female complementarity, they are unnatural and, to the limit, forced by constant media, political and legal pressure. If this pressure were to cease, the problem would largely disappear by itself, because such relationships – unlike marriage – are not public but purely private, social. The state as such has no interest in institutionalizing them and giving them privileges similar to those enjoyed by marriage, since these unions do not give rise to children who are social capital for the future. In this type of relationship there is no total commitment like in marriage, it is very common to change partners and there is no expectation of children. The rule is that after the death of the partner, the family of the deceased does not maintain any contact with the living partner of their relative. It is quite different in families, where relatives of the deceased spouse often help a surviving widow or widower and still consider him a member of the family.
Voice recording in English:
October 29, 2020 (online meeting) – dr hab. Cezary Kościelniak from the Department of Economic Ethics at the Faculty of Anthropology and Cultural Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland). Theme: „University and its influence on culture”. In his last book, „Changes in the idea of the university” (PWN 2020), our guest asks questions about the mission and program of the university and the way of education. Elites are essential for proper social development. However, they should serve society for the common good, for the good of every human being. We miss university life in the form of spending more time with professors and students, being together, talking and eating together. In this way a real academic community is created. Small, elite universities can be a good idea. However, they must have a solid economic basis.
September 15, 2020 – prof. dr hab. Mateusz Stróżyński from the Institute of Classical Philology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland). Topic of the meeting: „The evolution of the concept of nature in antiquity, the Middle Ages and modern times”. Extremely interesting and accessible, our guest talked about the normative approach to nature as the essence of man and at the same time the obligation and ideal to be implemented, and about departing from it in modern times. He drew attention to the necessity of internal struggle in order to realize his nature. The fact that there are – even numerous – people who behave badly does not mean that bad conduct is human nature. Today, the phrase „be natural” is most often understood as „be spontaneous”, „do what you want”. This is because today nature is often identified with emotionality, feelings, but not with reason and seeking goodness. In order to be truly happy, every person should act in accordance with his nature, understood not only as feelings, which are very changeable, but also have to reflect, reflect on where the real good is and thus realize his nature. In this way, each of us opens up a passionate panorama of working on ourselves, our daily struggle to be truly ourselves by fighting our weaknesses, organizing and properly directing our feelings in order to realize who we really are.
June 23, 2020 (online meeting) – dr. hab. Paweł Skibiński, assistant professor at the Department of History of the 20th century at the Institute of History, University of Warsaw (Poland). He specializes in the history of Spain, Poland and the Catholic Church in the 20th century. Meeting subject: „Can the state do everything? Reflections on selected examples from the 20th century ”.
Voice recording in Polish: https://anchor.fm/prawo-naturalne/episodes/Czy-pastwo-moe-wszystko-eg2v62
June 16, 2020 (online meeting) – prof. Rafael Domingo, professor of law at the Center for Study of Law and Religion at Emory University in Atlanta (Georgia, USA) and at the University of Navarra in Spain. His latest books include „The New Global Law” (Cambridge University Press, 2010), „God and the Legal System” (Cambridge, 2016), „Great Christian Lawyers in Spanish History” (Cambridge, 2016), „Roman Law: An Introduction” (Routledge, 2018), „Great Christian Lawyers in French History” (Cambridge, 2019) and „Global Law and Christianity” (Routledge, 2020). More: https://law.emory.edu/faculty/affiliates-fellows/domingo-profile.html Topic of the meeting: „Toward the Spiritualization of Law and Politics”. Prof. Rafael Domingo gave a 30-minute lecture in English (without translation) and then answered questions.
Video recording in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGzj6jyvoCI&feature=youtu.be
May 28, 2020 (online meeting) – Fr. prof. Angel Rodríguez Luño, world-famous moralist from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, priest of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, professor of fundamental moral theology at the Theological Faculty of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1993, chaplain of His Holiness since 2003 r. and ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Life since 2004. Topic of the meeting: „What is natural law?” The meeting was translated from Spanish into Polish and questions from a large audience followed.
Video recording in Polish and Spanish: https://youtu.be/FGKemIzNCoI
April 2020 (online meeting) – Dr. Grzegorz Blicharz, PhD in law, MA in philosophy, assistant professor at the Department of Roman Law at the Jagiellonian University (Cracow, Poland). Theme: „Unwritten sources of law”.
February 28, 2020 – dr hab. Adam Szafrański, Department of Administrative Economic and Banking Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw (Poland). Theme: „The perfect businessman. Profit and common good. „
January 2020 – Robert Mazelanik, director of the Academic Center „Solek” in Poznan (Poland), graduate of Educational Research at the University of Oxford. Theme: „Nature and culture in the education of boys and girls”.
December 2019 – prof. Marek Piechowiak, head of the Department of Theory, Philosophy and History of Law, Institute of Law, University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS, Poland). Topic: „On the relationship of some concepts of natural law to positive law”.
November 2019 – prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk, Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Theme: „The genesis of Nazism”. Voice recording in Polish on the website of Radio Poznan: http://radiopoznan.fm/audycja/arsenal-kultury/arsenal-kultury-14-01-2020
October 2019 – Dr. Marcin Romanowski, Assistant Professor at the Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Card. Stefan Wyszynski in Warsaw (Poland). Theme: „Legal concept of a person”.
September 2019 – dr hab. Michał Michalski, Department of Economic Ethics, Institute of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland). Theme: „Gender or the battle for reason”.
July 2019 – Maciej Sławiński, PhD student at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw (Poland). Theme: „Nature”.
June 2019 – Dr. Wojciech Sych, judge of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal; former judge of the District Court in Poznan, since 2012 a permanent lecturer at the National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution; from December 2013 to January 2016, member of the Criminal Law Codification Commission. Theme: “Judicial justice. An outline of the problem in the light of the experience of a criminal judge. „
April 2019 – Tomasz Bednarek, PhD student at the Institute of Philosophy, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland). Theme: „The Concept of the Law of Nature in the Sophists”.
March 2019 – prof. Marek Piechowiak, head of the Department of Theory, Philosophy and History of Law, Institute of Law, University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS, Poland). Theme: „Plato on Justice”
February 2019 – prof. Witold Płowiec, head of the Department of Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland). Theme: „The role of the constitutional court in a modern democratic state.”
January 2019 – prof. Justyn Piskorski, judge of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal and head of the Department of Criminal Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland). Theme: „Power. Practical ways of making decisions. „
December 2018 – dr hab. Michał Michalski, Department of Economic Ethics, Institute of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland). Theme: „Family – an endangered species?”
November 2018 – dr Bartłomiej Wróblewski, Department of Public Law, Institute of Law, University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS, Poland). Theme: „Protection of Life”.
October 2018 – Fr. dr Jan ODogherty. Theme: „The conscience clause”.
September 2018 – prof. Marek Piechowiak, head of the Department of Theory, Philosophy and History of Law, Institute of Law, University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS, Poland). Theme: „The concept of natural law according to St. Thomas Aquinas „.
July 2018 – dr hab. Adam Szafrański, Department of Administrative Economic and Banking Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw (Poland). Theme: „Justice as perceived by prof. Javier Hervada „.
July 2018 – Maciej Sławiński, MA, PhD student at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw (Poland). Theme: „Cartesian Breakthrough in Philosophy.”
June 2018 – Fr. dr Adam Sikora, Department of Moral Theology, Catholic Spirituality and Catholic Social Science, Faculty of Theology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland). Theme: „Natural Moral Law”.