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Posted November 4, 2004

Book: Justice: A Global Adventure
Author: Walter J. Burghardt
Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY pp. 275

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

“As he approaches his 90th birthday, Walter J. Burghardt focuses on major contemporary issues of justice through the prism of a life of theological wisdom and research, combined with a youthful sensitivity to cultural currents and social movements. After an insightful survey of the meanings of justice with a focus on biblical justice, Fr. Burghardt prepares a rich feast of justice applied to a wide range of practical issues. No contemporary work provides such profound correlation of theological expertise with prophetic concern for the future of the human family. Written in an elegant and ever engaging style, this global adventure would also be ideally suited as a college text, or parish study guide, which will challenge both student and teacher. John R. Donahue, S.J.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Cable costs have been steadily increasing, and the country’s seven largest cable companies control more than 75 percent of the market. If a community ends up with only one company owning the newspaper, the television station, the radio station, and the cable system, a plurality of voices seems unlikely. Given the amount of time people in this country spend in front of a TV or computer monitor and the amount of time they or others spend listening to the radio, it is hard to believe that media consolidation is going to be an asset in achieving justice in the United States or globally. A concern about controlling the media brings to mind a prayerful petition sent to me by the Reverend Peter Craven Fribley, who penned these words in the early days of the 2003 war in Iraq:

That in a time of war, we give thanks for the blessing of the Internet: empowering ordinary people to connect, to share what they trust and to challenge what they do not; to encourage one another; to pray; to take heart; to take to the streets if so moved; in the unkept and uncontrollable democracy of cyberspace, overthrowing fallen angels and rulers and powers of a kept media. For in the Gospel according to St. John, it is recorded,” You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31). And the truth cannot be controlled, kept, or spun. Not by ratings. Not by fear. Truth, like sun and rain, like youth and age, like seedtime and harvest, has a life all its own.

The vast array of communication available to us, especially the Internet with its amazing speed, brings the world to our fingertips. That proximity brings with it responsibility. It is increasingly difficult to say we are not aware of injustice on our block, in our state, in our country, around the globe. Greater access to information automatically brings greater responsibility to work for justice.

Table of Contents:

1. Justice Analyzed
Legal justice
Ethical justice
Biblical justice
Social focus of scripture
Justice and God’s earth
Justice and Jesus
The common good
Catholic social tradition

II. Justice Applied
The elderly
Immigration and terrorism
Punitive or restorative justice?
Life in prison
restorative justice
Capital punishment
Capital punishment and mentally retarded
Healing the wounds of murder
Homeless veterans
A just war?
The Persian Gulf War 1990-91
The Persian Gulf War 2003-

III. Justice Sacramentalized
Liturgy and justice
Integrative movements
Liturgy as transformation
Liturgy of the world
Liturgy inculturated

IV. Justice Globalized
Second Vatican Council
Postconciliar Catholic developments
Globalization and justice
Requirements of principle
Approach/analysis 1: Globalism almost irreversible
Approach/analysis: 2: Globalism reformed
Approach/analysis 3: Globalism rejected
Approach/analysis 4: Globalization in a Catholic perspective
Failures in capitalism: from America to England
Financing for development: U.N. International Conference, Monterrey
World summit on sustainable development, Johannesburg
Development assistance: United States
Postscript: A Teihardian Vision

V. Justice Communicated
World wide web
Instant messaging
Accessories and other tools
The Internet and Justice
Peace fellowship
Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Episcopal, Jewish, Lutheran, Muslim, Orthodox Peace Fellowships
Other church-related initiatives
Pontifical council for justice and peace
International Jesuit network for development
World Council of Churches
Church World Service
Catholic Worker
Political Sites
United Nations
Amnesty International
International Center for Justice and Reconciliation
Families against Mandatory Minimums
Electronic Iraq
Environmental Justice and Public Health
Center for Health, Environment and Justice
Panos Institute
World Health Organization
United Nations Children’s Fund
Environmental Justice Initiative, University of Michigan