08 October 2015

TSSF Principles, Day 8

(8) Members of The Third Order fight against all injustice in the name of Christ, in whom there can be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; for in him all are one. Our chief object is to reflect that openness to all which was characteristic of Jesus. This can only be achieved in a spirit of chastity, which sees others as belonging to God and not as a means of self-fulfilment.
Members of the TSSF are called to fight against injustice. But how are we to fight? Franciscans must pursue the fight against injustice in a non-violent manner. Our warfare must be shaped by our vocation: we fight by prayer and by actively seeking reconciliation.

We are clearly called to resist all injustice – simply refusing to accept it, speaking out against the injustice we see around us, behaving justly towards those who are treated unjustly, taking their side against their oppressors, aiding/protecting them from the oppressor.

Beyond mere protest and resistance, Christian moral theory has traditionally permitted law-breaking in the interests of justice. The classic example of this would be the poor person who steals to feed their starving family. For the Church fathers, the real thief in this situation was the wealthy person who withheld food from the hungry. An contemporary parallel might be offering sanctuary to asylum seekers. There is a place for law-breaking in order to treat the widow, orphan, stranger, or alien justly and compassionately.

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