Law

14 Law

In the law window, your eye might be caught first by the dramatic scene of King Solomon (bottom left) dispassionately deciding the fate of a baby who dangles from the hand of a guard. This is a portrayal of “natural law:” In this story, the law of nature on which Solomon based his wise decision was a mother’s natural desire to see her child survive, no matter the consequences for her.

The Civil Law panel (upper left) pictures Areopogites, who were the judges and lawyers of Athens. Their name comes from where they heard cases - a rock outcrop near the Acropolis called the Areopagus. Mytho-history says the Greek god of war, Ares, was tried for murder there, hence the name - Ares + pagus (rock). The Apostle Paul is also said to have given a sermon there (in Acts 17:24) that converted the first Greek, an Areopogite judge named Dionysius, to Christianity. In spite of this strong Christian link to Areopogites, what’s pictured seems to be the trial of Ares, based on its similarity to depictions of the god on Grecian urns.

Look at the weapon in the hands of Columbia (upper right). It’s a pen. Europa holds a sword. Which do you suppose is mightier in International Law? The panel commemorates the Monroe Doctrine, an attempt to prevent European meddling in the New World.

That Pope Pius X should represent Canon Law (lower right) is not surprising. At the time these windows were designed, it hadn’t yet been 10 years since the completion of the major overhaul of Canon Law he’d begun before he died in 1914.

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