The Titus Brandsma Bulletin is published bi-annually in CITOC by the International Commission for Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation. It is edited by Antonio Silvio da Costa Junior, O. Carm., Secretary to the Commission.


no. 2   april - june 2003

Ten Approaches to the Mission of Justice and Peace in the Carmelite Order - A Statement of Ideals

Justice and God

Carmelites have a keen sense of justice, both ad intra and ad extra. They understand that justice has a number of meanings: it is a virtue of God; it is the urgent and necessary expression of love for the needs of today: it is the existence of right relationship.

Justice and the Poor

Carmelites love the poor, the materially poor, the ones that are hard to love: immigrants, those whose behavior is seen to be anti-social, those whose existence disturbs. They recognize also the new faces of poverty and strive towards solidarity with all the poor.

Justice and Our Charism

Carmelites take pride in their charism and they are enthusiastic about their spiritual tradition. By reason of this charism and tradition Carmelites have learned to see with the eyes of God and to love with the heart of God. They are people of deep and constant prayer. They are generous and open in building good relationships with others both within their community and outside it. They set themselves to defend the image of God by standing against all manipulation of God and religion by people with vested interests and by upholding the dignity of every human being, because each one is created in the image and likeness of God.

Justice in the Midst of the People

Carmelites are noted for their hospitality which is extended to everyone but especially to people in need. Carmelites are inclusive in their attitudes and language and cherish the culture and giftedness of those whom they see to be different.

Justice, Leadership and Authority

The leaders of the Order have deep convictions about our commitment to justice and to the poor and they communicate that by their decisions and by their discourse. Leadership in the Order is exercised also in ensuring that every member of the Order is given proper access to the knowledge of our Charism and tradition that some parts of the Order enjoy almost exclusively at the moment.

Mícéal O’Neill, O. Carm.

The second part, the remaining "Approaches to Peace and Justice in the Carmelite Order" will follow in the next issue of Titus Brandsma Bulletin, in the October-December 2003 issue of CITOC.

"I was thirsty and you gave me to drink" (Mt 25:25)

From the words of Jesus we can see that already in the biblical times, water was a privatized. Jesus identifies the offer of a drink as a work of salvation, an action of justice. We can understand, from the details of the story that the need for water was recognized and the difficulties regarding its use and being shared were known. One never ending story currently coming to light is that in some studies 40% of the population of the world does not have access to sufficient quantities of water needed to live. The percentage goes up if water is restricted to what is fit to drink.

In this year dedicated to water (by the United Nations), the question of ownership of water is present as a human scandal. Keeping water as a limited natural resource, it is possible to keep it as a business resource; the fundamental value of water becomes important on the international market. The ethical challenge facing us is to recognize water as a common good of the whole of humanity and therefore is a human rights for every human being without any discrimination. Water is a fundamental part of the ecological system of the planet, as well as being a human necessity. Our responsibility, as agents of the Justice, Peace and Integration of Creation Commission, becomes enlarged and more complex.

In recent international summits this issue was much discussed because access to water has become an ever more dramatic problem, not only because of natural causes but also because of increasing privatization. In many countries this natural resource has been diverted to large private corporations for industrial use, agriculture for export, turism, etc. This is to the detriment of the necessitites of the local population.

This gives rise to an ethical indignation because of the low value put on human life in contrast to lives of the poor! Nature has been damaged by human interference for selfish ends. We are talking about human life, about the lives of the poor! Nature has been damaged by human interference for selfish ends.

Ethics have a transforming role in society. Firsdt of all one must identify what is causing indignation and then seek a solution. Indignation must give way to discussion and a reorganization of the values that are in play until an ehtical consensus is reached that favors the safeguarding or acquiring of an ethical good. In this case, indignation in face of the exclusion of many people from access to water and the need to preserve it, requires a solution that defends life, both human and that of the planet. Christians and all people of good will have a very important role in this critical moment for the whole of humanity.

1) The true problem is the scarcity of water or the reduction of reserves?

2) Decisions regarding water, as an essential common good, require the participation of all the people.

3) Sanitary problems of purification and distribution are a political challenge rather than a scientific problem because they should be regulated by justice and public law.

4) Dialogue is absolutely essential, a dialogue that involves all sectors of the local community in order to guarantee transparency and true information becoming available so that human and cultural values are preserved in the area.

5) An ethical attitude regarding the theme of water is a guarantee for life continuing on our magnificent planet.

Related Website:

Antonio Silvio da Costa Junior, O.Carm

Important Carmelite Peace and Justice Related Websites

Carmelite NGO Website



Information about the Situation in Palestine

          P. Rainer Fielenbach OCarm.
          Karmelitenkloster Springiersbach
          Karmelitenstr. 2
          54538 Bengel-Springiersbach

          Tel. 06532-93950
          Fax 06532-939580



Information about Justice and Peace Issues in the Region

          Nelson Belizario, O. Carm.

          Global Network for Justice


Information about the Issues of Justice and Peace

          frei Gilvander Luis Moreira, O. Carm.
          Rua Grão Mogol 502
          30310-010 Belo Horizonte MG Brasil

          Tel (031) 3221 3055
          Fax: (031) 3227 4688


Information about the Issues of Justice and Peace

          JUSTICE DESK
          Carmelite Province of Australia and Timor Lest
          Ken Petersen, O. Carm.

Against the War in Iraq
A Message from the Center of Biblical Studies (CEBI)

We, gathered in the National Counsel in our 57th meeting, from March 26 to 28 of 2003, in São Leopoldo/RS, declare:

"Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children!" (Matthew 5.9).Those who make war, destroy peace and cannot act in the name of God. To make the "preventive" war to construct peace is the same of using the sun to wet and the rain to dry. To use the name of God to legitimate violence and death is idolatry of the worst kind, for the God that Jesus revealed to us is Father and Mother that constructs new brotherly relationships. His final aim is the shalom peace that is the fruit of justice (Isaiah 32.17).

When we restore our commitment to life, we reject and bring to light this absurd, satanic war and call all people together to reconstruct new relationships that will lead us to peace. Peace not like the one the world gives us, but Christ’s peace (John 14.27). Christ is our peace. He destroyed the walls of division (Ephesians 2.14).

São Leopoldo/RS, March 28, 2003