The Call for Peace and Justice and Love for Truth.


            By John Keenan, JD, OPL

            The Lay Provincial Council gathered last July 20 to 22 at St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland California.  The 2008 annual congress of lay Dominicans from the Western Dominican Province elected and appointed a number of new officials.  

Among these officials is the new lay provincial promoter for peace and justice, John Keenan, JD, OPL, of Boise, Idaho, USA, the author of this column, whose appointment commences August 20th.  This position is quite humbling yet demanding.  John has a passion for justice issues in the world and he believes that the God-given individual freedom and responsibility, the community and trust of humankind, the dignity of each human, and the law above every other law are the keys to the success of a modern nation and society that truly cares for its poor and disenfranchised first.

            The new justice and peace lay promoter for the West is Catholic, enthused about the faith, his family, and his siblings in the Dominican Family.  John was perpetually professed under the auspices of the Immaculate Conception Chapter in Washington, D.C. on June 14th, twenty years ago.  He also has a special love for the Order’s motto “Veritas” and “contemplata aliis tradere” [respectively “truth” and “handing on to others the fruit of contemplation”]. 

Truth is needed today.  It is needed in society.  It is needed at home, at work, and at recreation.  From the town halls and courtrooms, to Congress, and to the U.N.  It is needed everywhere.  Even as sinners, it is our nature to respect the Truth.  It helps our “yes” be “yes,” and our “no” be “no.”  When exhibited with the virtue of charity, truth is pure and simple and needs no modification or adornment. 

Truth is closely connected to good ideas.  There are many ideas in our world.   Some ideas are good.  Some are not good.  Ideas can change the world.  The greatest truth combined with ideas ever manifested to the world is that God’s redemptive Love is for us, that His grace saves, and that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 

            Christ Incarnate came to repair the damage done by the Original Sin committed by Adam and Eve that transmitted to all of their progeny the fallen state.  Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 404.  The effect to all humankind includes death and deprivation of sanctifying grace as well as a weakened will and a darkened intelligence. 

            Its effect upon all humankind—and creation itself—was profound, as we “find in our world great confusion and the effects of sinfulness in the unequal distribution of the world’s resources, war, [and] the inability of nations to assist one another instead of bickering with one another.  On a personal level, we see the great difficulty we have as human beings in getting along with other people.”  Put Out into the Deep, Bishop DiMarzio, Diocese of Brooklyn, July 9, 2005. 

The call from the depth of our souls for peace, justice and the care, stewardship, and conservation of the resources and environment of creation, is based upon this fallen nature and sin in our world.  All of humanity, including creation itself, groans and eagerly awaits salvation.  Romans 8:19-23.   As Christians, that is why we cry out for justice and peace in this world, with the hope of salvation in the next. 

With the foregoing in mind, John prays for the humility, knowledge, and wisdom to fulfill the task of promoter, to keep in balance what is needed to bring true justice, peace, freedom and opportunity to all peoples, and to keep St. Dominic’s charism in mind and the Gospel and Church’s teachings on these issues in focus without prejudice or distraction.  Please pray for our new peace and justice promoter. 


Ten Covenants of Conservation

The key here is more about the relationship of humankind to creation, than we trying to set creation on par with humankind.  As the note states:


Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, offered 10 principles drawn from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Here is an abbreviated version:

1. The human being, created in God’s image, is placed above all other earthly creatures, which must be used and cared for in a responsible way.

2. Nature must not be reduced to a utilitarian object of manipulation, nor absolutized or placed above human dignity.

3. Ecological responsibility involves the entire planet in a common duty to respect a collective good, for present and future generations.

4. In dealing with environmental problems, ethics and human dignity should come before technology.

5. Nature is not a sacred or divine reality, removed from human intervention. Thus, human intervention that modifies some characteristics of living things is not wrong, as long as it respects their place in the ecosystem.

6. The politics of development must be coordinated with the politics of ecology, and every environmental cost in development projects must be weighed carefully.

7. Ending global poverty is related to the environmental question, remembering that the goods of the earth must be shared equitably.

8. The right to a safe and clean environment needs to be protected through international cooperation and accords.

9. Environmental protection requires a change in styles of life that reflect moderation and self-control, on a personal and social level. That means moving away from the logic of consumerism.

10. Environmental issues also require a spiritual response and a greater awareness that the created world is a gift of God.