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The Development of the Fraternal Economy in the Capuchin-Franciscan Order: The Thought of John Corriveau, OFM. Cap.


* As we stated in our last class, ... Enron, and the Shuttle ... The quality of life goes up for Europeans and North Americans and Capuchins follow suit. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Development of the Fraternal Economy in the Capuchin-Franciscan Order: The Thought of John Corriveau, OFM. Cap.

The Development of the Fraternal Economy in the
Capuchin-Franciscan OrderThe Thought of John
Corriveau, OFM. Cap.
  • David B. Couturier, OFM. Cap.,
  • Ph.D, DMin., Lic. Psych.

Structural Conversion
Social Sin
  • 118. Certain sins, constitute by their very
    object a direct assault on one's neighbour. Such
    sins in particular are known as social sins.
    Social sin is every sin committed against the
    justice due in relations between individuals,
    between the individual and the community, and
    also between the community and the individual.
    Social too is every sin against the rights of the
    human person, starting with the right to life,
    including that of life in the womb, and every sin
    against the physical integrity of the individual
    every sin against the freedom of others,
    especially against the supreme freedom to believe
    in God and worship him and every sin against the
    dignity and honour of one's neighbour.
  • Every sin against the common good and its
    demands, in the whole broad area of rights and
    duties of citizens, is also social sin. In the
    end, social sin is that sin that refers to the
    relationships between the various human
    communities. These relationships are not always
    in accordance with the plan of God, who intends
    that there be justice in the world and freedom
    and peace between individuals, groups and
  • 119. The actions and attitudes opposed to the
    will of God and the good of neighbour, as well as
    the structures arising from such behaviour,
    appear to fall into two categories today on the
    one hand, the all-consuming desire for profit,
    and on the other, the thirst for power, with the
    intention of imposing one's will upon others. In
    order to characterize better each of these
    attitudes, one can add the expression at any

The Insights and Work of John Corriveau, OFM
  • Minister General of the Capuchin
  • Order- 1994-2006
  • Bishop of Nelson, BC, Canada
  • 2008-

The Fraternal Economy A Pastoral Psychology of
Franciscan Economics
The Fraternal Economy
  • What do we mean by a fraternal economy in
    Capuchin-Franciscan literature?
  • What are the psychodynamics of Gospel
  • Is the belief in a fraternal world a fundamental
  • Corriveaus conceptualization of the fraternal
    economy is decidedly deliberative, willful and
    intentional. He conceives of it. as a conscious
    choice and a conscious break from ones inherited
    structures (but research shows that) Victims are
    more vulnerable not less when the belief in a
    just world is strongest.

The Fraternal economy (cont)
  • The Fraternal Economy and the Development of a
    Corporate Imagination A Socio-Analytic
  • The Development of Communities of International
  • Towards a Pastoral Psychology of Franciscan

The Influence of JPII and a Theology of Communion
  • Away from a theology of asceticism and
    negation/ sacrifice
  • From personal perfection to communion

A radical shift in Capuchin experience.
  • Our entire spirituality and tradition have
    highlighted poverty, viewing it especially under
    the ascetical, individual aspect. ...
    Nevertheless, the renewed sense of brotherhood,
    the worldwide spread of the Order, and new
    problems in our society invite us to reconsider
    and deepen the meaning of our gospel poverty in
    fraternity, specifically from the communal,
    institutional, and structural point of view.2
  • 2Capuchin Order of Friars Minor, Sixth Plenary
    Council, 4

The Changing Context
  • The Working Poor of Western Europe as Model
    of Franciscan Poverty
  • Prior to 1950, the Capuchin Order was
    overwhelmingly centered in Europe - particularly
    in Western Europe - and in North America.
  • Only about 5 of the brothers were members of
    autonomous circumscriptions in the poorer
    southern hemisphere of our world, none of them in

Identification with the working poor of Europe
  • Given the statistics, it is not surprising that
    the Constitutions of 1925 describe a brotherhood
    living in close solidarity with the working class
    people of Western Europe. Like the working poor
    of the time, brothers lived from the fruits of
    each days labor
  • Only a few days provision of the necessities of
    life that can be obtained from day to day by
    begging, shall be made in our friaries.3
  • 3Constitutions OFMCap., 1925, 118

Direct dependence upon the working poor
  • Like the occasional day laborers of their age,
    the brothers held no offices to which fixed
    salaries were attached. They lived from the
    offerings given for their occasional services as
    preachers and confessors, spontaneous offerings
    given by the faithful in their chapels and
    churches, manual labor in gardens and orchards,
    and from the quest. The fact that the livelihood
    of the brothers depended upon spontaneous
    offerings in their chapels and, in particular,
    on the quest, meant that they were directly
    dependent upon the working poor themselves. This
    forged a strong bond of solidarity between the
    Capuchins and the working poor.

Economic Solidarity
  • Economic solidarity within the brotherhood was
    described in this way
  • Perfect common life shall be religiously and
    constantly observed. ... All goods, emoluments,
    gifts - in a word, everything the religious
    acquires by any title whatever - must be
    consigned to the superior ... so that all shall
    have in common, food, clothing and everything
    that is necessary.4
  • 4Constitutions OFMCap., 1925, 111.

  • The fact that 91 of the autonomous
    circumscriptions of the Order were centered in
    Europe and North America ensured economic
    equality among them. The prescriptions of the
    Constitutions whereby missions were totally
    integrated into the province ensured that the
    vast majority of the brothers in Asia-Oceania,
    Africa and Latin America, by reason of the rules
    of common life, enjoyed equal access to the goods
    of the province with their brothers in Europe and
    North America. Thus, there was reasonable
    economic equality between Provinces as well as
    among the brothers of the northern and southern

The Disappearing Model 1950-1970
  • The economic wealth of the world multiplied. Yet,
    this wealth was not equally distributed. North
    America and Western Europe enjoyed unprecedented
    prosperity which had the effect of increasing
    the economic gulf separating the northern and
    southern hemispheres. Public and private welfare
    programs multiplied, particularly in Western
    Europe and in North America. Those programs
    ensured the basic needs of children, education,
    health care and old age. For the first time in
    human history entire peoples were given security
    for the future. This increased exponentially the
    disparity between the northern and southern
    hemispheres. Generally, southern nations lacked
    the capability of guaranteeing such rights for
    their citizens.

Capuchin poverty is different
  • The working poor of 1950 were among the
    beneficiaries of the social and economic changes
    in Western Europe and North America.
  • With the disappearance of the working poor of
    1950, the model for Capuchin communal poverty
    was also broken.
  • Like the working poor of 1950, the brothers
    accepted the social improvements of their age
  • Superiors may make use of insurance policies or
    forms of social security where this is prescribed
    by ecclesiastical or civil authority for
    everybody or for certain professions, or where
    such things are commonly used by the poor of the
  • 5Constitutions OFMCap., 1968, 52.

  • For the first time, the concept of investment
    enters the Capuchin vocabulary.6
  • There is a real change in the ordinary means
    whereby the brothers sustain themselves. For the
    first time the Constitutions speak of entitled
    income, especially salaries and pensions
  • All goods, including salaries and pensions ...
    shall be handed over for the use of the
  • 6Cf. Constitutions OFMCap., 1968, 56.
  • 7Constitutions OFMCap., 1968, 51.

No longer dependent on the poor
  • As a consequence, the quest rapidly disappeared
    and with it an important bond of solidarity with
    the people. The brothers were no longer
    evidently and directly dependent upon the people
    - particularly the poor - for their support.

Development of ministries
  • There was a very rapid development of ministries
    among those excluded from the prosperity of the
    age. Works for the social progress of people were
    seen as an integral part of evangelization. The
    Order expressed its solidarity with the new poor
    by works of justice and compassion

Our task is to relieve the needs of the poor
  • We ought to live in conscious solidarity with
    the countless poor of the world, and by our
    apostolic labor lead the Christian people to
    works of justice and charity which further the
    development of peoples. 8
  • Freed from the empty cares of this world and
    cooperating with Divine Providence, we should
    regard it as our duty to relieve the needs of the
  • 8Constitutions OFMCap., 1968, 47.
  • 9Constitutions OFMCap., 1968, 87.

We become benefactors of the poor
  • Sustained and supported by the working poor of
    1950, the Order became the benefactor of the new
    poor of the 1970s. This changed our
    relationship to the peoples around us.

Structural Economic Inequality Between Brothers
  • Between 1950 and 2006, the demographics of the
    Order changed dramatically. In 1950, 91 of the
    autonomous circumscriptions and probably 95 of
    the brothers of the Order were centered in
    Western Europe or North America. In 2006, 40
    percent of the autonomous circumscriptions of the
    Order and 48 of the brothers of the Order were
    in Asia-Oceania, Africa and Latin America. The
    statistics do not indicate the equally dramatic
    increase in numbers in Central and Eastern
    Europe. If these are included, 56 of the
    brothers of the Order are now juridic members of
    circumscriptions outside Western Europe and North
    America. With some exceptions, these
    circumscriptions all have dramatically less
    capability to respond to the needs of the
    brothers and the ministries of their region than
    do those in Western Europe and North America.

Structural disparities revealed..
  • Until 1970, the vast majority of brothers in
    Asia, Africa and Latin America were juridic
    members of Western European or North American
    Provinces. Therefore, the normal rules of common
    life ensured an equitable distribution of goods
    ensuring the well-being of all the brothers and
    their ministries. With the dramatic shift of
    membership toward the economically disadvantaged
    regions of our world this is no longer the case.
    There now exist structural economic disparities
    between Provinces of our Order.

What happens to brotherhood
  • If structural economic disparities are allowed to
    persist between Provinces of the Order,
    brotherhood will be severely undermined and the
    mission of our Order in the Church and society
    will be compromised.

Two Models of Poverty
  • Despite the momentous social changes of the
    previous fifty years, the Order continued to
    cling to the concept of the working poor to
    define its poverty. As the working poor of
    Western Europe and North American became the new
    middle class, the friars followed their patrons.
    However, the working poor of Asia, Africa and
    most of Latin America did not experience the same
    transformation. Therefore, two models persisted
    within the same religious family a model in
    Western Europe and North America centered on the
    lower middle class a model in Asia, Latin
    America and, particularly Africa, where poverty
    was identified with misery.

Poverty and the embrace of security
  • The Franciscan scholar, David Flood, OFM has
    argued convincingly that the poverty of the early
    Franciscan fraternity grew out of a conscious
    effort on the part of Francis and his early
    companions to separate themselves from the social
    and economic life of Assisi as represented in the
    civil charters of 1203 and 1210.14 Flood
    maintains that the Earlier Rule was progressively
    crafted as a response to a society and an economy
    which excluded the poor and legislated privilege.
    Therefore, the poverty of the early
    Franciscan fraternity was not the embrace of
  • 14See Franciscan Digest, Vol. IX, No. 2, June

Economic choices
  • Rather, Francis sought to establish and give
    witness to a new security based on human
    solidarity rooted in the gospel rather than a
    security founded on wealth and privilege.
    Furthermore, Flood points out that this new
    fraternity founded on the gospel became a source
    of peace for the world. Non-use of money,
    non-appropriation of goods, manual work for
    support, begging in case of necessity these are
    economic choices more than ascetical choices!
  • These are the economic choices which Francis
    made to build relationships among his brothers
    and between his brothers and all peoples and
    creatures of the earth .

Francis and interdependence
  • The sense of brotherhood among people (CPOVI,
    1), communion, was the driving force of his
    choices of poverty, austere simplicity was the
  • Francis and Clare, enthralled by the Divine
    Mystery revealed in the incarnation and the
    cross, abandoning themselves to the
    God-Who-Is-Love, joyfully embraced the
    contingency of human life. They embraced as the
    first logical corollary interdependence with all
    persons (images of God-Who-Is-Love) and
    creatures. Like trapeze artists, they made the
    high jump without a net trusting totally in

  • Solidarity is the center-piece of a fraternal
    economy. In his Encyclical, Sollicitudo rei
    socialis, Pope John Paul II defined solidarity as
    a moral and Christian virtue. As a moral virtue,
    solidarity is a firm and persevering
    determination to commit oneself to the common
    good.18 This moral virtue helps us to see the
    other - whether a person, people or nation -
    ... on a par with ourselves, in the banquet of
    life to which all are equally invited by God. 19
    As a Christian virtue, solidarity sees that
    ones neighbor is ... the living image of God
    ... who must be loved ... with the same love
    with which the Lord loves him or her. 20
  • 18SRS, 38.
  • 19SRS, 39.
  • 20SRS, 40.

Globalization and its discontents
  • Globalization has produced many blessings for our
    world. The transformation of the Capuchin Order
    from a brotherhood centered until 1970 on Western
    Europe and North America to a truly worldwide
    brotherhood in 2008 would not have been humanly
    possible without the globalizing effects of
    modern communications and travel. The global
    economy provides large segments of the worlds
    population with greater security and well-being
    than at any other period of human history. At the
    same time, solidarity and mutual dependence are
    goals which are contrary to basic tenets of the
    global economy which control much of the life and
    thinking in our world.

Goals of the modern economy
  • Increase wealth
  • Make a profit
  • Profit is increased as dependence is created. The
    more others depend upon ones goods and services,
    the higher the price that can be demanded!
    Dependence in the global economy is not something
    to be celebrated as the consequence of being
    human and redeemed, and ... a right (see ER IX,
    8). In the global economy dependence is feared
    because it leaves people weak and exposed! In
    the global economy the discovery of the
    dependence of the other is not an invitation to
    service (see ER IX, 10), but rather an
    opportunity to exploit others for greater
    personal profit and advantage.

The efficiency of the global economy
  • The efficiency of the global economy is built
    upon the concentration of power and the triumph
    of competition. This applies primarily to
    economic relationships. However, it produces a
    mentality and attitudes which go far beyond the
    world of economics one which affects all areas
    of human life and relationships. Consequently,
    the approach to life nourished by the global
    economy rarely produces unity and communion. We
    live in a world of ever increasing wealth joined
    to ever increasing insecurity. Global
    economic forces and the philosophies that direct
    them promote insecurity and violence. .
    Poverty was privatized in the rich northern
    world in the 1950's when the working poor
    disappeared and was replaced by a group of
    individuals who fell through the social nets.
    In the closing decades of the 2nd millennium
    violence has been privatized. The real threat
    to world peace is no longer the struggle between
    global economic and social systems. Rather,
    those individuals and isolated groups who feel
    alienated, excluded and left out of the global
    economy respond with acts of violence and
    terrorism leading to the destabilization of all
    of human society

An interdependent world..
  • In direct contrast to the basic principles of the
    global economy, solidarity and mutual dependence
    consciously seek to create an interdependent
    world since such a vision is more in keeping with
    a scriptural view of life (see Genesis 1-3).
    This view is also closer to that sublime height
    of most exalted poverty described by Francis in
    Chapter Six of the Rule. It is highly
    significant and suggestive that Francis describes
    the "sublime height of most exalted poverty" not
    in Chapter Four of the Rule where he describes
    our relationship to money (the Capuchin
    Constitutions characterize this chapter as the
    chapter on "Poverty"), but in Chapter Six where
    he describes the human relationships which will
    result from this new economy (the Capuchin
    Constitutions characterize this chapter as a
    chapter on "Brotherhood").

Solidarity is all about choices.
  • In Sollicitudo rei socialis, Pope John Paul II
    reminds us that solidarity is not a vague
    compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes
    of so many people, both near and far (n. 38).
    Solidarity is not some vague, ineffective
    stirring of pity that one might feel in front of
    a television set at the sight of earthquake
    victims or scenes of victims of human rights
    abuses. We may feel slightly guilty or even angry
    but nothing happens! Solidarity makes something
    happen because it is about choices that flow from
    a firm and persevering determination to commit
    oneself to the common good in the words of
    Pope John Paul II. The mind-set that gives rise
    to such determination is the knowledge that we
    are all really responsible for all (ibid).
    Choices need to be arrived at after careful
    consideration and investigation of the facts. The
    work of arriving at choices can be difficult in
    the case of individuals. For a community, it
    involves hard work to arrive at serious,
    deliberate choices.

Our economic choices.
  • The meaning and role of money and the way in
    which private property is viewed in todays
    society are different than what they were when
    the early Franciscans made their radical economic
    choices. However, the fundamental choice of
    Francis has the same compelling necessity
    withdraw from the world of greed, ambition and
    competition which underlie the economic choices
    of our day in favor of unequivocal choices for an
    interdependent world.

The Order recrafts its economic choices
  • Beginning with the Sixth Plenary Council, the
    Order has attempted to re-craft its economy based
    on operational choices which will foster
    interdependence not only within our local,
    provincial and international fraternities, but in
    the wider context of our societies.

The Principles of the Fraternal Economy
Redeemed Relationships
  • St. Francis did not change the economic
    structures of his day. However, he established a
    mode of being for his brothers which posited
    their security, not upon the amassing of wealth,
    but upon the redeemed relationships which they
    established among themselves and with the people
    around them. This had drastic effect on their
    relationships with their neighbours as is
    attested by the same Letter from Porto Alegre
  • In the Legend of Three Companions, Francis
    explains to the bishop of Assisi that his
    renunciation of worldly goods was not primarily
    related to penance and asceticism. Rather,
    Francis rejected material possessions so as not
    to have to defend them with military arms and
    thus destroy his peaceful relationships with men
    and women (Legend, 35). The austerity of the
    Franciscan life, therefore, was the consequence
    of a radical option to live in relationship with
    everyone and to recreate the bonds of communion
    among all people and with God.34
  • 34Ibid.

A new way of serving the poor
  • Apply the principles of the fraternal economy in
    our ministries, and, in a special way, as we work
    with poor for their empowerment.35

Economic choices through the fraternity
  • The poor are the primary victims of a global
    economy built upon unfettered competition and the
    concentration of wealth. This economy keeps the
    poor in a condition of perpetual dependence which
    robs them of hope. Works of direct aid to poor
    people should aim to connect people in need with
    people of means in a fraternal economy (CPOVII,
    51). Mutual dependence builds the
    brotherhood/sisterhood of the Kingdom. The
    Capuchin fraternity must be a mutual point of
    reference creating trust and brother/sisterhood
    between the poor and persons of means. This is
    one reason why assistance should not go from
    individual Capuchin to individual poor
    person, but always through the fraternity (VII
    PCO, 51

The fraternal principles
  • We can build solidarity among the poor by
    involving them in a fraternal economy built upon
    the same principles as that of our brotherhood
    transparency, participation, equity and
    austerity. When social ministries are deprived of
    these fraternal principles, they can create
    destructive competition between the poor, each
    individual or family seeking its proper advantage
    without regard for others. This danger is
    particularly present in the poorest countries
    which suffer chronic lack of economic resources.
    Economic development springing from an economy of
    greed and competition divides the poor and has
    failed miserably to change their condition. We
    must use different values.

Its not a question of economics.
  • Those who think that this is just a question of
    economics or of money are absolutely wrong. It
    is a new way of relating with the people of the
    earth. It is a challenge to the most profound
    conversion within the Order. A fraternal
    economy prioritizing the building of
    brother/sisterhood in our world rather than the
    creation and protection of wealth. This is a key
    insight which has not been present in our Order
    since the time of Francis. Why? Because it
    flows from the new ecclesiology of the church.
    It is a new development in the Order. It pushes
    the Order beyond what it has been. It moves the
    Order in a new direction.
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