|Bonasera kissing the hand of Don Vito Corleone|
As a Roman Catholic priest, I often hear the confessions of people seeking God's absolution; yet, I have a confession to make. In 1972, when I was halfway through law school, several of my classmates and I took a study break to see Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather.' In the opening scene of the film, Bonaserra, an undertaker,seeks a favor from Don Corleone. Bonaserra's daughter, a recent victim of violence and attempted sexual assault who nonetheless retained her honor and virtue, convalesces in the hospital. The undertaker wants the Don to kill the two young men who tried to rape his daughter. He implores Don Corleone for justice-that is, revenge. The Don reminds Bonaserra that his daughter is still alive and that murdering the perpetrators would not bejustice. The Godfather and the undertaker compromise: the two boys responsible for the assault will suffer as Bonaserra's daughter has. Don Corleone and Bonaserra agreed that making the attempted rapists suffer as their victim had was justice. Was that justice? More importantly, what is justice, and what is the role of the Christian academy regarding it?