Raoul G. Cantero, III, former Florida Supreme Court Justice, was honored on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, with the Thomas A. Horkan, Jr. Distinguished Catholic Leader Award. The award was presented at the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol luncheon attended by the Catholic bishops of Florida, current Florida Supreme Court Justices, state lawmakers, and nearly 400 Catholic faithful from across the state.
The Distinguished Catholic Leader Award is given to a Catholic Floridian whose life and work has deepened respect for life and increased appreciation for the human dignity of the people of Florida. The award is named for and was first presented in 1995 to Thomas A. Horkan, Jr., founding executive director of the Florida Catholic Conference. Cantero is the eighth recipient since the award’s inception.
Michael Sheedy, executive director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, presented the award drawing several parallels between Cantero and the award’s namesake. “Both are notable for their faith and love for the Lord, mediated through the Church, and a love of their wives and children and the people around them,” said Sheedy. Both also hail from Miami; both trained as attorneys, left successful legal practices and moved to Tallahassee for service.
Cantero is consistently recognized in legal directories among the top or best lawyers in his area of practice in Florida and indeed the nation. He was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 2002 and served in that capacity until 2008. He is currently a partner at White & Case and leads their Miami Disputes Practice.
In Cantero’s acceptance speech he discussed his vocation as a Catholic lawyer, “Therefore, my vocation as a Catholic lawyer must begin with the vocation of every Catholic. That is, the Catholic must first be faithful to Catholic principles.” He also shared, “Many of us complain about how hard it is for a Catholic to be a lawyer, legislator, physician, business leader or whatever. Sure, it’s hard to be a Catholic lawyer, but mostly because it is hard to be a Catholic…As Catholics, we are called, no matter what our vocation, to be holy, to aspire to sainthood.”
Catholic Days at the Capitol is held annually during the Florida Legislative Session. Catholics from around the state gather in Tallahassee for a legislative briefing before attending scheduled meetings with their elected officials. During a luncheon for participants, selected civic leaders are honored for their contributions to the State of Florida.