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
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
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
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
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.
Antonio Silvio da Costa Junior, O.Carm
Carmelite Peace and Justice Related Websites
Carmelite NGO Website
Information about the Situation in Palestine
P. Rainer Fielenbach
Information about Justice and Peace Issues in the Region
Nelson Belizario, O.
Global Network for
Information about the Issues of Justice and Peace
frei Gilvander Luis
Moreira, O. Carm.
Rua Grão Mogol 502
30310-010 Belo Horizonte
Tel (031) 3221 3055
Fax: (031) 3227 4688
AUSTRALIA / TIMOR LOROSAE
Information about the Issues of Justice and Peace
Carmelite Province of
Australia and Timor Lest
Ken Petersen, O. Carm.
Against the War
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