One year ago this week CESJ published the Just Third Way Edition of Fulton J. Sheen’s Freedom Under God. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, be sure to do so. Quantities are not limited — we encourage you to purchase as many as meet your needs — but Sheen’s message has an increasing importance and immediacy for today, and the sooner word gets out, the better.
CESJ is not affiliated with the Catholic Church or any other religious body, so the temporary suspension of Sheen’s “cause” (below) has nothing to do with us, and we are not affected in any way. We continue to support and promote champions of justice wherever we find them. In the meantime:
• Two days ago we received notice that the “cause” for canonization for Fulton J. Sheen, author of the Just Third Way Edition of Freedom Under God, has been suspended. While CESJ is not a Catholic or even a religious organization, this is a matter of some concern to us. Sheen’s writings are, understood from an Aristotelian-Thomist natural law perspective, very strong in their support of Just Third Way principles. After careful consideration, we — speaking as non-Catholics with no other interest in the matter than Sheen’s economic and political thought and expressing merely an opinion — tend to think that the suspension, startling as it seems, appears to be a prudential move that will be reconsidered once certain administrative and other issues inside the Catholic Church are addressed and straightened out. We will look into this a little more deeply in a week or two.
• Down in Houston, Reverend Virgil Wood is spreading Father Ferree’s pamphlet, Introduction to Social Justice (1948) around in key quarters. Using the Biblical imagery of not pouring new wine into old wineskins, Rev. Wood is helping to explain why new ideas and movements can only be sustained by acts of social justice directed at renewing our institutional environment, the common good, within which people as moral beings acquire and develop virtue, becoming more fully human in the process. Social justice is not a substitute for individual justice or charity, but enables individual justice and charity once again to function within a just social order.
• Reverend Wood, who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., is also working on introducing key concepts of the Just Third Way to some Black church leaders who are scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in November of this year.
• Reverend Wood is also working on putting together an event at St. Thomas University, a Catholic institution in Houston. This is still in the discussion stage, however, and more details will follow as the concept gels.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 45 different countries and 46 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Ecuador. The most popular postings this past week were “The State is God, God is the State, Part VI,” “Happy Capital Day!, II: The Capital Question,” “A Legal Amateur’s Look at Roe v. Wade,” “Midsummer Tutorial on Social Justice, I: Introduction,” and “Happy Capital Day!, I: The Theories of Labor.”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.” If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated, so we’ll see it before it goes up.