In his address on the 1972 Day for Peace, Pope Paul VI gave the simple but profound declaration that “If you want peace, work for justice.” It is a summation of the rich social teaching of our Catholic Church based upon the application of the teachings of Jesus Christ to our world of today.
We, the members of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province of the Order of Carmelites, want to add our voices to the thousands who are speaking out against injustices in our world. Although the current situation was stoked by the horrible death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we know that similar situations have occurred for many years in many places. These events, based on differences in color, creed, sexual orientation, financial status, etc., are the sad result of a system that has lost sight that each person is a creation of God as we believe from our reading of Sacred Scripture.
As men and women committed to “walking the footsteps of Jesus” as our Rule, the fundamental document of Carmelite Order, challenges us and under the inspiration of the Holy Prophet Elijah and Mary, we will work to promote the similarities we share as fellow pilgrims at this moment in time on Earth.
Our reading of Elijah in the Hebrew Scriptures calls us to work against unjust structures, to enter into dialogue with others to build a world which assures all of basic human rights, to speak to promote our commonness, and to denounce injustices wherever we find them.
The other inspiration for our lives as committed religious men and women is Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, who is seen in Scripture most often as silently contemplating events in her life in order to find the face of God. May we make the effort to adopt Mary’s stance so that we might continue to transform our own prejudices.
Our past experience demonstrates that the upheaval we are experiencing today in our cities and towns will diminish. But we will continue to carry the injustice with us. It will not go away but will continue to diminish us. We need to work to rid ourselves and our cultures of any prejudices and hatreds now and forever. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says “We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.” Christians are compelled by the teachings of Jesus Christ to do nothing less than work for justice.
We offer this prayer1 for all who believe in God and ask that you pray the words with us:
God of Heaven and Earth,
you created the one human family
and endowed each person with great dignity.
Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism.
Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight
from our hearts, our communities,
our social and civil institutions.
Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbor
so that we may work with you
in healing our land from racial injustice.
We offer to walk with those who have no faith in a God so that the establishment of justice will become a project in all the world and no one will be left behind or emarginated. For when someone is excluded, true peace, a genuine harmony of life, will never come.
The Provincial Council and Members
of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province of the Order of Carmelites
1. Adapted from the USCCB website.
The following have added their names in support of this letter:
Nancy Allen T. O. Carm.
Sepideh Baker, T. O. Carm.
Thomas Batsis, O. Carm.
Eric Bell, O. Carm.
Eugene Joseph Bettinger, O. Carm.
Dorothy C. Boroden, T.O.C.
Sister Joan Broussard, O. Carm.
Donald Buggert, O. Carm.
Lane Campau T. O. Carm.
Robert Carroll, O. Carm
Emma Chuidian, T. O. Carm.
Sam Citero, O. Carm.
Jean Cunnane, T. O. Carm.
Rev. Kevin R. DeCantillon, MPS
Libby Dahsltrom, O. Carm.
Fr. Dave Dillon, O. Carm.
Donna Marie & Kevin Eads
David John Folk
Don & Judy Gale, T. O. Carm.
John T. Gallo OCDS
Rev. Michael A. Greenwell, O. Carm.
Fr. Matthew J. Gummess, O. Carm.
Sister Lawrence Habetz, O. Carm.
Thomas Hakala, O. Carm.
Sean Harlow, O. Carm
William J. Harry, O. Carm
Brian Henden, O. Carm.
S. Kelley Henderson, T. O. Carm.
James D. Hess, O. Carm.
Gregory P. Houck, O. Carm.
Dee Janicke, T. O. Carm.
Thomas R. Jordan O.Carm.
Maria Lindell Joseph
Tess Judge-Ellis, T. O. Carm.
Joanne Kalos, T. O. Carm.
Maria H. Kremp, T. O. Carm.
Alan Krol, T. O. Carm.
Michael Kwiecien, O. Carm.
Joseph & Maureen Lavin
Sister Barbara Nell Laperouse, O. Carm.
Gregory P. Lopez, T. O. Carm.
Jim Lutz, T. O. Carm.
Carol B. Marmo
Ellen McAvay, T. O. Carm.
Joseph McCarthy, O. Carm
John A. Mundell
Ron Oakham, O. Carm.
Daniel O’Neill, O. Carm.
Cindy A. Perazzo, T. O. Carm.
Gavin Quinn, O. Carm.
Br. Stephan Rochefort, O.Carm.
Susan A. Rotondi
Gareth Rowe, T. O. Carm.
Dave Semmens, O. Carm.
Andreas H. Scholten, O. Carm.
David Simpson, O. Carm.
John Sprissler, O. Carm.
Fr. Luis Maza Subero, O. Carm.
Sister M. Bernadette Therese, O. Carm.
The Sisters of the Carmel of the Incarnation
Fr. Frederick J. Tillotson, O. Carm
Michael Troy, O. Carm.
Erin Velazquez, OCDS
Rolf Nepomuk Willemsen, O. Carm.
Deborah Elaine Williams
Jerry Williams, O. Carm.
Lee Ann S. Williams
Mary Wolfe, T. O. Carm.
Maris Yaple, OCDS