Professor George La Piana, Morison Professor of Church History at Harvard Divinity School from 1926 to 1948, was born in Italy and ordained a Catholic priest in 1900. He came to the United States in 1913 and began teaching at Harvard in 1916. La Piana was a leading figure in the modernist controversy in the Roman Catholic Church in the early 20th century.
This correspondence to La Piana from Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter reveals the informal role of counseling between the friends and the intellectual connections between theology and jurisprudence. In the letter, Frankfurter asks La Piana for a summary of the historical progression of the social understanding of the word "sacrilege.