There is a nice reflection on how Catholicism and the Church influenced the development of law here and abroad. A sad but true realization toward the end:
Catholicism, of course, no longer influences Western law as it used to. Modern legal theory tends to see law as the practice of keeping evildoers at bay or protecting individual rights rather than as an external goad to the Good; hence, it has lost a higher purpose that gave it something in common with Christian belief. With this loss of focus on the moral caliber of citizens has come a distorted view of personal freedom as the highest of all ends.
With all the recent attacks on Catholics trying to live their faith in the public square, it would be nice if society recalled a bit of its history and gave the Church its due role in society.