Seeking Franciscan Perfection
A Reflection on the Franciscan Life by Fred Schaeffer, SFO
Part 10 - Justice
"Justice is the first requirement of Charity." It is impossible to provide Justice without love. Many people think that Justice miraculously appears when the throw money at it. Sure, money helps, but that's not what it's all about! Love is absolute! It is not replaceable. Social Justice is an enormous field, in the sense that there is so much deep-rooted apathy toward people by governments, and other political and social bodies, that there are literally millions of people who do not have the basic necessities of life. St. Francis of Assisi was a social reformer, a fact that no one thinks of, and the SFO - Third Order, is itself a great instrument of reform. In seeking Franciscan Perfection, we urge all to welcome all people, not just in your fraternity, but in all aspects of society. If we are to be Christ-like, we are color-blind, that is, we love people regardless of color, social upbringing, marital status, religion, etc. "Justice is a matter of taking charity seriously. If we are with the Church as Francis was, then we will be challenged by the clear call to action given by Pope Paul and the Bishops at the 1971 Synod "Action on Behalf of Justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel." In other words, action for Justice is one of the elements that constitutes the proclamation of the Good News. If it is missing, the Gospel is crippled."
General reference: "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" 2006, Pope John Paul II (The Compendium lists many references that can be useful to us - also see other references (2) below.
Many people would like to do good to other people but do not know where to begin. The Popes in their encyclicals tell us that we must try to produce a morally better society and, also, we must try to produce a society whose institutions are better. (cf.) The efforts of Franciscans International "Franciscans International is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with General Consultative status at the UN, uniting the voices of Franciscan brothers and sisters from around the world. They operate under the sponsorship of the Conference of the Franciscan Family (CFF) and serve all Franciscans and the global community by bringing spiritual, ethical, and Franciscan values to the United Nations and international organizations."
There is a newer effort, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN).
Part 11 continues Part 10 on various additional aspects of Justice, particularly Social Justice.
Fred Schaeffer, SFO
Article #10, 11/01/2008, 2014
1. "The Third Order Vocation" Leonard Foley, OFM and Jovian Weigel, OFM.1976 Published by St. John the Baptist Province of the OFM (my writing follows the subjects in this books, to guide me along a certain path in this writing).
2. Social Justice Teaching References (partial)
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Officers as of 1/10/2016
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS