Forum Submissions





September 2017

South Africa Anthony Egan Augustine our Interlocutor
   Phillipines Eric Genilo Anti-Discrimination Legislation for LGBT Persons
  Austria Ingeborg Gabriel "So Sorry!" - Reflections on the Moral Importance of an Everyday Word
   Puerto Rico Jorge José Ferrer La Vacunación Pediátrica Obligatoria: El Caso de la Vacuna del VPH
  United States Michael Jaycox Moving from Words to Action After Charlottesville

July 2017

Nigeria Anthonia Bolanle Ojo Religious Intolerance in Nigeria: An Abuse of Human Rights
   Japan Osamu Takeuchi A Path Towards the Building of Peace
   Brazil Alexandre Martins Are Brazilians Cordial People? - Intolerance and A Camillian Physician, a Sign of Hope
  United States Ramón Luzárraga Access to Public Transportation Should Be Made (More) Explicit in Catholic Social Teaching
   United States MT Dávila To Set the Captives Free: Justice for Black and Brown Communities in an Era of Mass Detention and Incarceration

June 2017

South Africa Anthony Egan Standing for the Truth - Again!
   Malaysia  Sharon Bong Asia's Diversity and Gender Diversity
   Hungary  Tamás Ragadics and Gusztáv Kovács Are you In, or Out? - Public Service in Hungary
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez Carlos Hoy en México el Periodismo es Profetismo
  United States   Shawnee Daniels-Sykes Dream Maker Reviving our Peace: Our Current Reality and the Story of Joseph

May 2017

Kenya Peter Knox Airbrushing Reality Airbrushing Reality 
   Australia  Hoa Trung Dinh  Assisted Dying Bill in Victoria Must Be Rejected
   Argentina  Pablo Blanco  Laudato Sí­ - Care of Creation as the New Social Issue
   United States  Mary M. Doyle Roche  Solvitur Ambulando - It Is Solved by Walking

April 2017

 Kenya Teresia Hinga Left to Tell, Left to Heal (each other) through Story and Testimony: Her-Stories of African Women's Quest for Justice and Healing in Contexts of Transition
   Hong Kong  Mary Mee-Yin Yuen  Small-Circle Election in Hong Kong
   Argentina  Augusto Zampini  Laudato Si' and Catholic Dialogue on Integral Ecology
   Chile  Claudia Leal Luna  Quien No Conoce el Bosque Chileno, No Conoce Este Planeta
   Brazil  Alexandre Martins  Public Dialogue and the Role of Media: Examples from Brazil and the USA
  United States Mary Jo Iozzio Reconciliation in Ordinary and Extraordinary Times
  United States Thomas Shannon The Lasting Legacy of Amoris Laetitia

March 2017

South Africa Anthony Egan The Moral Implication of Protest 
  Phillippines Agnes Brazal Fake News, Facebook, and "Ethics in Internet"
  United Kingdom Tina Beattie It Stops With Me!
  Argentina Anibal Torres El Papa Francisco y la "ética de la solidaridad" en las relaciones internacionales
  United States Thomas Massaro Ethicists and President Trump: Providing Moral Leadership for Vigilance and Resistance

February 2017

 Cameroon  Solange Ngah  The Practice of Healing Ministry in Africa: What is the Christian Contribution Today?
   India Stanislaus Alla Reconciling Peoples
  Austria Ingeborg Gabriel It's the Morals, Stupid! On the Importance of Ethics in the Post-Truth Age
   Puerto Rico  Jorge Jose Ferrer
  United States  Michael Jaycox  What is Truth?

January 2017

 Nigeria Anthonia Bolanle Ojo The Challenges of Economic Recession on the Dignity of Nigeria Citizens
   Phillipines  Eric Genilo The Marcos Burial
   United States  Ramón Luzárraga ¿Están Las Américas verdaderamente convirtiéndose en un Hemisferio de Paz?
   United States  Nichole Flores and Mary Jo Iozzio Mercy and the Failure to Form Moral Imagination

December 2016

Kenya Peter Knox HIV-vaccine launch hype
  Japan Osamu Takeuchi A Carpenter in the Reign of God
  Germany PetrStica ,Crisis of democracy' - Challenges for theological ethics / Impulses of theological ethics
  Mexico Jutta Battenberg Galindo Reflexiones en torno a la carta apostólica "Misericordia et Misera"
  USA Mary Doyle Roche "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

November 2016

 Malaysia  Sharon Bong  'What's gender got to do with climate justice?'
   Germany  Marianne Heimbach-Steins  The Jubilee of Mercy - Social ethical reflections
   Argentina  EmilceCuda  Francisco y el Trabajo
   Mexico  Miguel Angel Sanchez Carlos  Choque moral en México
   United States  Michael Jaycox  VSED: Is the Practice both Respectful and Compassionate?

October 2016

 Uganda  Margaret Ssebunya  Of violent protests in South African universities: Where is the Church in South Africa?
   United Kingdom  Julie Clague  Structural injustice revisited
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  The US Affordable Care Act: Modest Success

September 2016 


 Margaret Ssebunya  Examining the 2016 municipal elections in South Africa in light of the social teaching of the church on political  authority and the common good: An outsider’s observation

 Hong Kong

 Mary Mee-Yin Yuen  Wisdom, Courage and Conscience in Resistance

 United  Kingdom

 Tina Beattie  Who speaks for the Catholic Church? Women, abortion and theological ethics
   Brazil  Alexandre A. Martins  Political Power, Intolerance and Lack of Dialogue
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  A case for a globally-engaged perspective: A US Latina Perspective on Bogotá

July 2016

 Uganda Margaret Ssebunya Strengthening a pastoral response to the ecological crisis through existing spaces within the Church
   Philippines  Agnes M. Brazal Theological Ethics in Asia after Padova
   Puerto Rico  Jorge José Ferrer A diez años del encuentro de Padua:  Tareas pendientes para la teología moral
   United States

 Thomas Massaro and Mary Jo Iozzio

Padova: Ten Years Later and …

June 2016

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Business and Environment
   India  Stanilaus Alla Movements, Momentum and Metanoia
   Belgium  Ellen van Stichel  125 years after Rerum novarum
   Argentina  Emilce Cuda  Los eticistas de América Latina y el Caribe tiene algo para testimoniar.
   Puerto Rico  MT Davila  ¡Una ética atrevida!
   United States  Mary Doyle Roche  "Dear Colleague"

May 2016

 Kenya  Elias Omondi Opongo  At the brink of extinction! Poaching of Elephants and Rhinos in Africa
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  Restoring the Death Penalty
   Germany  Petr Štica  How can Christians contribute to the integration of refugees?
   Italy/Austria  Martin Lintner  The notion of conscience in Amoris Laetitia and its significance for the divorced and remarried
   Argentina  Pablo Blanco González  “Bogotá 2016 Conference: A Date with History”
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  Poppies and Memorializing the Dead

April 2016

 Cameroon  Solange Ngah  The burning topic of education and responsibility in the heart of the African family
   Cameroon  Solange Ngah  La question actuelle de l’éducation et de la responsabilité au sein de la famille africaine
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  Spirituality Informed by Faith
   Germany  Marianne Heimbach-Steins  New nationalisms in Europe and the ambivalent role of religion
   Mexico  Jutta Battenberg Galindo  La Cruz:  Misterio de Revelación.
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  Human Trafficking: A Lacuna in Catholic Ethics

March 2016

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Teaching Environmental Ethics in Africa
   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘Caring for our common home’
   United Kingdom  Julie Clague  Number crunching: Catholics and same-sex unions
   United States  Michael Jaycox  Dangerous Memories, Dangerous Movements: Christian Freedom in the Empire

February 2016

   United Kingdom  Tina Beattie  Reflections
   Brazil  Alexandre Martins  Zika Virus and Other Mosquito-Borne Virus: The Failure of Modern Healthcare
   Puerto Rico  Jorge José Ferrer  Neurociencia, libre albedrío y teología moral
   United States  Thomas Massaro  On Economic Inequality

January 2016

 Hong Kong  Mary Mee-Yin Yuen  Internet for Communication or Persecution?
   Czech Republic  Jaroslav Lorman  Saying yes to the sin?
   United States  Mary Doyle Roche  “Hold fast to dreams” Langston Hughes

December 2015

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Pope Francis and the land issue in Africa
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara   A Ray of Hope from the World of Art and Literature
   Belgium  Yves De Maeseneer  Towards a European Theological Ethics of Migration and its Implications for Catholic Social Thought
   Argentina  Pablo Blanco Gonzalez  Argentina’s Presidential elections of 2015: The challenge of governance and unity
   Brazil  Alexandre Martins  Mariana: Tragedy of Market Fundamentalism Against the Earth and the Poor
   United States   Angela Senander  Faithful Citizenship: Papal Visit and Episcopal Statement

November 2015

 Philippines  Eric Genilo  Protecting the Lumads of the Philippines
   Germany  Marianne Heimbach-Steins  A short comment on the Synod from Germany (November)
   Puerto Rico  MT Davila  “Francisco en CUBA y EE.UU.: Teología de los gestos y culture wars”
   United States   Meghan Clark  Some Thoughts on Baby Elephants
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  An Opportunity [Lost] to Hear Catholic Women and Men Speak

October 2015

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Thoughts From Africa
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  Passing Japan's Security-related Bills—the Breakdown of the Constitutional Law, of Democracy, and of Pacifism
   Germany  Petr Štica  Stranger within your gates – Some notes on the current "European refugee crisis"
   Mexico  Jutta Battenberg Galindo  ¡La muerte del justo… la muerte del inocente… la vida de todos!
   Canada  Carolyn Chau  Syrian Refugee Crisis –A Local Canadian Response

September 2015

   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘Citizens’ call out’
   Belgium/United States  Joe Selling  If not ‘gender’ … then certainly ‘women’s rights’
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  Diplomacia y utopía
   United States  Mary Doyle Roche  “Go, set a watchman, let him announce what he sees.”  Isaiah 21:6

August 2015

      Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla  African Catholic Scholars Discuss Challenges and Opportunities of the African Church Ahead of Synod on Family
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  One Road Accident Death Every Four Minutes!
   United Kingdom  Gillian Paterson  LOST IN TRANSLATION:  Is SDG 5 a problem for religion?
   Argentina  EmilceCuda  Fin de la luna de miel entre Francisco y la prensa hegemónica
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  The GOP’s Latina/o Strategy: A Mirror for Catholic Social Ethics

July 2015

 Kenya  Carine Umutoniwase  The Unforgettable Black Day
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  A Safe Haven
   Austria  Ingeborg Gabriel  Ukraine at the Crossroads: Political and ethical reflections
   Puerto Rico  Jorge José Ferrer  Justicia cordial para la bioética del siglo XX
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  Proud, Relieved, and Heartened by the Rule of Justice

June 2015

 Hong Kong  Charles Chan  A Gift from our Holy Father
   Brazil  Alexandre Martins  Education, Dialogue and Paulo Freire
   United States  James Keenan  Grieving at Pentecost
   United States  James Keenan  Lúcás (Yiu Sing Luke) Chan, S.J.: Bridge-Builder

May 2015

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Xenophobic attacks in South Africa
   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  A poor woman's Dignity
   Czech Republic  Jaroslav Lorman  The Slovak Church unfortunately involved in the issue of same-sex partnerships?
   Argentina  Pablo Blanco Gonzalez  COMMON GOOD, ECONOMY AND POLITICS
   Canada  Carolyn Chau  Current Canadian 'Culture Debates'

April 2015

 Belgium/United States   Joseph Selling  Visiting professor at Hekima College, Nairobi, Kenya
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  Section 66 A of IT Act
   Belgium  Ellen van Stichel  Strawberries in springtime…
   Mexico  Jutta Battenberg Galindo  Violencia, redes sociales, conciencia y responsabilidad
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  When Discourse Breaks Down: Engaging Racial Conflict on Campus

March 2015

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Illicit Financial Flows
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  Lessons from a Papal Visit
   Germany  Petr Štica  Transnationalität und global governance als Herausforderung für die christliche Sozialethik – Bericht vom Berliner Werkstattgespräch der deutschen Sozialethiker und Sozialethikerinnen (23. bis 25. Februar) (English)
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  Fundamentalismos allá y aquí
   Brazil  Alexandre Martins  The Priority of Personal Goods and the Lack of Ethical Virtues: A Looking at Current Brazilian Politics
   United States  Mary Doyle Roche  To be Seen and Heard: Children, the Synod, and the World Meeting of Families

February 2015

    Ken Ogot  Fighting Terrorism or Introducing Dictatorship?
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  Peace and Life
   Germany  Marianne Heimbach-Steins  Europe after the Terror Attacks in Paris – A Socio-Ethical Reflection
   Canada  Carolyn Chau  Shootings and Social Responsibility

January 2015

 Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘Religion or rights: The higher moral ground’
   United Kingdom  Julie Clague  British Catholics and Family Morality: The times they are a-changin’
   Argentina  EmilceCuda  Francisco: ¿Etica, Política o Teología Pastoral?
   Argentina  Gustavo Irrazábal  Un sínodo en verdad “extraordinario”
   Peru  Edwin Vásquez Ghersi  El sínodo sobre la familia: Aires nuevos en la Iglesia
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  The Challenge of Women’s Consent

December 2014

   United Kingdom  Tina Beattie  Synod on the Family
   Mexico  JuttaBatterbergGalindo  Violencia de Género:  Un asunto pendiente en la teología moral

November 2014

 South Africa  Frances Correia  Crime and Family Life in South Africa
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  Clean Hands
   Czech Republic  Jaroslav Lorman  Visit of Prof. Gerhard Kruip to the Czech Republic
   Puerto Rico  Jorge José Ferrer  Ética de los ministerios y de las organizaciones eclesiales:   ¿Una asignatura pendiente para la teología moral?
   United States  Angela Senander  Listening to Elizabeth Johnson: The Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

October 2014

 Zimbabwe  Nontando Hadebe  ‘The blood of your (sister) cries out to heaven’ A prophetic Trinitarian response to gender-based violence.
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  A Crisis of Peace in Japan
   Belgium  EllenvanStichel  Developing a Theological Anthropology for the 21st Century: An Introduction to the Anthropos Research Project (Catholic University Leuven)
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  Condición de migrantes
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  Waiting in Hope for Our Families:  The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 5-19, 2014)

September 2014

 Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘A home to call one’s own’
   Poland  Konrad Glombik  Challenges in Research in the field of moral theology in Poland
   Argentina  Pablo Blanco Gonzalez  “PEACE UNDER FIRE IN GAZA”
   Puerto Rico  Jorge José Ferrer  Ética de los ministerios y de las organizaciones eclesiales:  ¿Una asignatura pendiente para la teología moral?
   Canada  Carolyn Chau  Euthanasia in Canada – Recent Developments

June 2014

 Tanzania  Laurenti Magesa  The Synod on the Family and Africa
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  Legislating Compassion
   Germany  Marianne Heimbach-Steins  Reflections on the election of the European Parliament
   Brazil  Alexandre Martins  Fraternity and Human Trafficking
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  Political Emotion, Religion, and the Pursuit of Racial Justice

May 2014

   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘Not containing trauma and memory in the name of Allah’
   Europe  Gillian Paterson and Joseph Selling  Catholic Discourses on Population and Development
   Brazil  Alexandre Martins  Fraternity and Human Trafficking
   Puerto Rico  Jorge José Ferrer  Liberalización de las drogas: una “questio disputata”

April 2014

 Kenya  Marie-Rose Ndimbo  "Ethical Examination of overcrowding in the city of Kinshasa and its related problems."
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  "Development without Compassion for the Aged?"
   Czech Republic  Jaroslav Lorman   "Challenges of moral theology in the Czech Republic."
   United States  William Mattison  "An Air of Change: Reception of the Eucharist for the Divorced and Civilly Remarried?

March 2014

 South Africa  Anthony Egan  Denis Hurley - Bishop And Public Ethicist
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  Specific Secret Protection Law: What is secret?-that is secret
   Italy  Vicenzo Viva  The Ecclesial Dimension of Moral Theology between Magisterium and Sensus fidelium.
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  Indignación ética ante la ausencia del Estado de Derecho
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  International Women's Day (March 8) and (US) Women's History Month

February 2014

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Water and oil in Turkana: How will they play out?
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan
   Belgium  Ellen Van Stichel  Happy Birth Day?
   Argentina  EmilceCuda  La teología en Argentina después de Francisco
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  Synod of Bishops on the Family: Critical Questions from the US

December 2013

 Cameroon  Solange Ngah  Changes in Family Life and the Challenges of Contemporary Culture
   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘The Gospel of Families’
   Italy, Europe  Martin Lintner, The Presidium of the European Society for Catholic Theology  Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in the European Context
   Argentina  Pablo Blanco Gonzalez  Who Cares?
   Canada  Carolyn Chau  Secularism and Religious Freedom in Canada: The Quebec Charter of Values
   United States  Jillian Maxey  From the Trenches: A Reflection on the Preparatory Document on the Synod on Marriage and Family

November 2013

 Cameroon  Solange Ngah  On Communication and the Media: Reflections of a Theological Ethicist
   India  A. Vimal Kumar, MMI, Bala Kiran Vannekuty and Joseph Thambi Gone  The Impact of the Dowry System in Christian Communities
   Germany  Petr Štica  Human rights in the Catholic Church: Report of the international expert meeting “Benchmark Human Rights. Ambition and Implementation in the Catholic Church” in Münster
   Brazil  Alexandre Martins  Moral Theology and Youth
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  Thanksgiving at 150

October 2013

 Democratic Republic of the Congo  Marie-Rose Ndimbo  Kinshasa: A Social Drama for the Poor
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  Olympics or Getting out of the Nuclear Accident
   Germany  Marianne Heimbach-Steins  A Report from Graz
   United States  Bill Mattison  Veritatis splendor at 20

September 2013

 Philippines  Eric Genilo  Saying No to Blood Ivory
   Argentina  Emilce Cuda  Francisco: entre la Teología de la Liberación y la Teología del Pueblo
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  March on Washington Anniversary: Fannie Lou Hamer and the New Evangelization

August 2013

 United Kingdom  Julie Clague  Your mission, if you choose to accept it: A European Project for Catholic Theological Ethics

July 2013

 South Africa  Raymond Perrier  Whistleblowing
   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  Casinos, connections, contestations
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  Una oportunidad para la ética teológica desde los sujetos emergentes femeninos.
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  U.S. Minimum Wage at 75

June 2013

 Kenya  Peter Knox  50 years of the Organisation of African Unity
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  The "Tyranny of Money"
   United States  William Mattison  Hope and Pope Francis:  A Reflection from the US

May 2013

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Wage negotiation season returns to South Africa’s Mines
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  Peace or Amendment of the Constitution of Japan?
   Canada  Mark Miller  Rewarding the Deserving?

April 2013

 Democratic Republic of the Congo  Marie-Rose Ndimbo  Wages in the DRC
   Kenya  Veronica Rop  Role of Social Media in Kenya: A Threat or Opportunity
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  Wading into Political Waters
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  Pope Francisco and some resonances for ecclesiology and Latin American theological ethics: cautious optimism
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  Institutional Religious Freedom: Broadening the Scope

March 2013

 Kenya  Veronica Rop  African Women and Political Participation: A Worrying Trend
   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘What’s in a name?’
   Argentina  EmilceCuda  Implications of the Resignation of the Pope in the Media (available in English and Spanish)
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  The US Fails to Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

January 2013

 Democratic Republic of the Congo  Marie-Rose Ndimbo  As the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO)  Face the Elections in the DRC in 2011. Were There Some Recommendations?
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  That Delhi Girl!
   United States  William Mattison  Boundaries and Protections of Religious Freedom

December 2012

 Kenya  Veronica Rop  Escalation of Killings in Kenya: A Call for Respect for Human Life
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  The Changing Face of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines
   Canada  Mark Miller  The Media & Physician-Assisted Suicide in Canada

November 2012

 Kenya  Veronica Rop  Ushering African Women into the Year of Faith: Reflection on Motu Proprio Data
   Nigeria  Anne Arabome  Telling Our Own Stories: Seven Women, Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  Another Virtue Ethics
   United States  Nichole M. Flores  Race and Polarization in the U.S. Church and Public Life

October 2012

 Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘To Cut Or Not To Cut: That Is Not The Question’
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  La juventud estudiantil refresca el compromiso ético social
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  Threats to Responsible Citizenship in the 2012 US Presidential Election

September 2012

 Democratic Republic of the Congo  Marie-Rose Ndimbo  CTEWC in Africa after Trento: Engaging the African Synod: The First Day
   Kenya  Veronica Rop  CTEWC in Africa after Trento: Engaging the African Synod: The Second Day
   Kenya  Peter Knox  CTEWC in Africa after Trento: Engaging the African Synod: The Third Day

August 2012

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Human rights!  What about Rhino rights?
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  Freedom of Religion in Government Offices
   Puerto Rico  MT Davila  ¿A dónde vas Occupy?

July 2012

 India  Shaji George Kochuthara  Millions of Missing Girls! Female Foeticide and Ethical Concerns

June 2012

 Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  Should we restart nuclear power plants?
   Cote d'Ivoire  Nathanaël Yaovi Soede  La Syrie après la Libye: les maîtres du monde
   Argentina  Pablo Blanco Gonzalez  La Crisis Financiera a la Luz De la Doctrina Social de la Iglesia

May 2012

 Kenya  Veronica Rop  The African Synod: The Participation of Women in Reconciliation Justice and Peace
   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  A Second Life

March 2012

 South Africa  Anthony Egan  Criminalising Homosexuals in Uganda?
   Argentina  Emilce Cuda  Relación Iglesia-Estado: Un Debate Ético O Político?
   Brazil  Marcio Fabri dos Anjos  Nuevas Generaciones y Educación para valores éticos. Apuntes metodológicos

February 2012

 Kenya  Peter Knox  "People Power: Take Control of Your Energy"
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  "Over an Ageing Dam"
   United States  Thomas Massaro  "Labor Justice in Catholic Social Thought and the Occupy Movement"

December 2011

 Kenya  Peter Knox  World AIDS Day 2011
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  "In God's Image"
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  Response to "In God's Image"
   Argentina  Emilce Cuda  Mistica y Politica en los Nuevos Estilos Democraticos Latinoamericanos

November 2011

 Cote d'Ivoire  Nathanaël Yaovi Soede  "The International Community and Democracy in the South"
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  Response to "The International Community and Democracy in the South"
   Japan  Osamu Takeuchi  "What Can We Learn from the Great East Japan Earthquake?"
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  Response to "What We Can Learn from the Great East Japan Earthquake"
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  "Ethics in the Areopagus"
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  Response to "Ethics in the Areopagus"

October 2011

 Kenya  Veronica Rop  The Challenge Posed by Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem to the African Perspective on the Dignity of Women
   Malaysia  Sharon Bong  ‘Obedient wives, first-class prostitutes and terrorism’
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  Response to "The Challenge Posed by Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem to the African Perspective on the Dignity of Women"
   Brazil  Marcio Fabri dos Anjos  Un desafiante Escenario para la Teología Moral Católica en Latinoamérica y el Caribe (English)

August 2011

 South Africa  Anthony Egan  Good Governance, Good Grief!
   Philippines  Eric Genilo  The Challenge of Democratic Dialogue in the Philippines
   Argentina  EmilceCuda  North-South Dialogue/Dialogo Norte-Sur

July 2011

 Kenya  Peter Knox  Mining in South Africa
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  Response to "Mining in South Africa"
   India  Shaji George Kochuthara  The Transparency Revolution in India
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  Ethical living: Hope despite everything in an "underground city" of Mexico City

What is at Stake in an Ecological Theology of Creation

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Solange Ngah |

This contribution aims to offer some points of departure for a theology of creation.

In the present context, developing an ecological theolgy of creation should take into account the complexity of the situation in order to provide humanity with a new paradigm. Such a theology has to face the challenges of putting the relation between God and the whole of creation, and not only anthropocentrism, right at the heart of modern ecological debates.

In the light of the ecological stakes and the urgency to make changes in our lifestyles, the Church and its various social agents are called to show signs of their own engagement for authentic and sustainable development. They should propose to Christian communities steps they can take to demonstrate their consciousness of the environmental question and their desire to act. That is why an ecological theology of creation should also highlight the universal communion of all creatures showing that all creatures belong to God (cf. Wdm 11:26). From this point of view, Pope Francis affirms that an ecological theology of creation should consider all creation as a work of the Trinity, showing that “The world was created by the three Persons acting as a single divine principle, but each one of them performed this common work in accordance with his own personal property.”[1] From this comes the conviction that people and other creatures form a universal family and are imbued with a sacred character.

Because of the profound solidarity between humans and the created world, theology and catechesis of creation are from now on essential to every proposition of the Christian faith. According to François Euvé, based on biblical anthropology, a catechesis of creation should explain the specific responsibility of people towards the rest of creation and show how this vision of the profound role of people is conformed to God’s plan.[2] Finally, an ecological theology should necessarily integrate the notion of human ecology linked with that of integral development, and show the incoherence of expecting only future generations to respect the natural environment.


Presented by Solange Ngah, doctoral student in moral theology

at the Catholic University of Central Africa, Yaoundé, Cameroon.

[1] Francis, Laudato Si’, 238.

[2] cf. François Euvé, “Principes d’une écologie chrétienne,” Études, no. 416, 2012, p. 497.

Who Should Decide Who I Am

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Mary Mee-Yin Yuen |

Patriotism, to a large extent, depends on one’s sense of belonging to his/her country. The sense of patriotism heightens when people feel proud of their country or want to protect their country at a time of crisis. In Hong Kong, loving one’s country may mean loving its history, culture, tradition and/or people. However, in mainland China, loving the nation may require one to love the Communist Party and the  Chinese government at the same time. 

Since the changeover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from Britain to China in 1997, the Chinese government has tried to promote the sense of patriotism among Hong Kong people. In recent years, the sense of belonging to China goes downward consistently, due to the tension between the Chinese government/ mainland Chinese and Hongkongers. Such tension comes from different values on human rights, democracy, civility as well as daily life practices and shopping behaviors. In order to enhance the sense of belonging and patriotism, a number of measures have been introduced in Hong Kong, such as making Chinese history a compulsory subject in secondary schools and the legislation of (respecting) national anthem law.

The most recent measure is the broadcasting of a speech on the role and mission of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the national constitution and the Basic Law, the mini-constitution of Hong Kong, by a senior mainland official in secondary schools, apart from addressing the Hong Kong top-ranking officials. In his speech, Li Fei, deputy secretary-general of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and the HKSAR Basic Law Committee Chairman, urged Hong Kong to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, security and development interests. He pointed out that there are three main questions that Hong Kong has to face: Where are you from? Who are you? Where are you heading to?

These three questions were raised under the assumption that China’s Central Government is the origin of the Hong Kong government and the national constitution is the root of the Hong Kong Basic Law. No matter how special Hong Kong is, Li emphasized, it is under the rule and supervision of the central leaders and the national constitution. The central administration enjoys the comprehensive ruling power.   

Li highlighted that Hong Kong should not tolerate any attempts that promote separatism or jeopardize the country’s security, honor and interests. This was referring to the advocacy of Hong Kong’s independence among young people in university campus and the booing of Chinese national anthem in international football matches by some Hong Kong fans. Moreover, Li discussed Hong Kong’s responsibility to guard national development interests.  

It is interesting to see that the three questions mentioned  by Li are also often asked by moral theologians and virtue ethicists, though the intention and underlying assumption are very different.

Virtue ethicists view moral agents as people freely pursuing their desire for happiness in life. The moral agent, rather than moral action or its consequences, is at the center of moral reflection. They understand human agency as a means of shaping character, which is an important component of decision and action. It emphasizes a person in relationship with others through one’s character and choices. The answer to each question of the three interrelated questions—Who are we? Who ought we to become? And how do we get there?—refers to the virtues.  Linking virtue ethics to social ethics would also urge us to think what constitutes a good human life that promotes common good? What virtues do we need to be just and caring? What would a person with relational and social virtues look like? How does one cultivate these relational virtues in our context?

When someone asks who are we that live in Hong Kong, we would say, we just want to be Hongkongers that can decide our own destiny, involving in the decision-making process of those policies that affect our own lives, in order to build a society with just and care. 

However, for Li Fei and other leaders of the central government, their main concern is not so much about the moral agency or freedom of Hongkongers. The ruling authority is not inviting Hong Kong people to seek for our identity and explore where to go and how to get there. Rather, the ruling authority has decided the goals of Hong Kong as well as its people. The Beijing Government does not want to see any action or even thought that is not in line with them. This has been exercised explicitly through the Hong Kong government. Thus, when Hongkongers asked for democracy and political participation, they were rejected. Those who employed more radical ways were punished through harsh terms. This can be seen through the harsh punishment of some young pro-democracy activists who joined protests.

It seems that the Hong Kong/Central Government officials neglect the fact that a sense of belonging cannot be taught or imposed on, or be dictated by officials in Beijing or here in Hong Kong.  Enough space should be given to Hongkongers as we search for our identity. It is impossible to allow only one way of expressing belonging or patriotism. The only way to foster understanding and respect is authentic dialogue among various parties on an equal base. Meanwhile, to nurture democratic character, practicing democracy in daily life and persistent reflection are indispensable. The words of Alex Chow, one of the student leaders being jailed may inspire us. He said after his release on bail, “Democracy will be my practice in my whole life, as a scholar or an activist, even if there will be suppression.” 

This is also true among Hong Kong people who support democracy. Since the Umbrella Movement, there is a split in the pro-democratic camp on the strategy of striving for democracy and social change. On the one hand, the older generation opts for a realistic and pragmatic way of accepting the political reality. On the other hand, the younger generation chooses a more radical way of resistance in order to take charge of their destiny, opting for self-determination or even independence, though they may not achieve much at present. Some of them even have to pay a high price of being jailed.

Such difference is based on the different experiences and realities of generations, as a commentator said. There is no one absolute answer to the right way of striving for democracy and justice. More important is to maintain our ability of reflection and reasoning, willing to listen to the other side and to analyze the pros and cons of various strategies. We should bear in mind that our political stance or strategy is not the only truth and the other side may not be all wrong. Willingness to dialogue and listen is always an imperative to reconciliation in a split society.  



More Loud Voices, More Loud Silences: Gun or Firearm Control and Active Euthanasia and Mercy Killing

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Shawnee M. Daniels-Sykes |

Recently, while preparing my thoughts for an upcoming presentation on euthanasia for those in the Permanent Diaconate Program for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, I could not help but to think about Catholic Church teachings in light of many deaths resulting from the misuse of guns or firearms in the United States.  A culture of death seems an apt way to describe these tragedies, where large numbers of mass shootings and subsequent police or vigilante killings of perpetrators and others have persisted for decades. Whether active euthanasia or mercy killing or the mass shootings and murders of innocents, the primary intention of death is my operative framework for these reflections. I maintain that in the Catholic Church and US society, there seems to be a good deal of loud voices monitoring end-of-life desires to prevent active euthanasia or mercy killing while, even though the bishops have spoken out on the need for gun control, there seems to be more loud silences from them in light of the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights that protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” rather than to offer reasonable limits with gun control. 

More Loud Voices on Active Euthanasia and Mercy Killings

I understand active euthanasia and mercy killing to be undergirded by a physician or other moral agent intent on inducing death. Through the injection of lethal substances, their purported aim is to relieve someone in extreme pain, suffering from an incurable disease, or in an irreversible coma. However, the primary medical purposes of relief for active euthanasia or mercy killing, the proximate intention of those means, is death.

Over the last four or five decades, a growing number of loud voices have expressed deep concerns over the moral wrongness of active euthanasia and mercy killing. These voices not only espouse the sixth commandment, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13), but numerous theological, philosophical, and medical ethical research, symposia, seminars, courses, and publications have been dedicated to debating these intentional death-producing processes. As a result, strict controls and guidelines have been instituted to prevent a slippery slope that, nevertheless, gradually accepts active euthanasia and mercy killings. There is a moral responsibility for them not to become the norms in Church and society. For Example, Pope John Paul II writes against euthanasia in “The Gospel of Life” No. 15, and The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the topic in no. 2277. For the general population, there are common and legal documents widely available, such as the living will, Advance Directives, and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, to express one’s end of life desires but that in general someone might look askance at requests for euthanasia or mercy killing.


More Loud Silences

Given that significant time and effort in both the Church and society were spent seeking strategic ways to place controls on active euthanasia and mercy killing so that, even by default, these means of death would not become normative, significant time and effort needs to be put into place for serious discourse, theological symposia, research etc. that promotes common sense gun control. It is important to note a January 14, 2011 Catholic News Services article, “Gun Control: Church Firmly, Quietly Opposes Firearms for Civilians,” that observed the Church’s position on gun control is not easy to find. Apparently, loud silences prevailed then. However, after the December 14, 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut where twenty-six school children and staff were killed, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, submitted “Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence: Protecting our Communities while Respecting the Second Amendment” to the US Congress on February 12, 2013. In “Proposals,” the bishops proposed controls that would 1) require universal background checks for all gun purchases, 2) limit civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines, 3) make gun trafficking a federal crime, and 4) improve access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence. Still the debates driving gun and firearm control versus the right to bear arms persist, perpetuated and trumped by a presumed liberal democracy and the National Rifle Association, and by fears and suspicions of the other, by an ethos or culture of violence, and by popular slogans such as “Guns do not kill, I do,” “When reason fails, force prevails,” “Keep guns out of the hands of criminals, by them for yourself,” among others.

Furthermore, even despite the proposals by the bishops after the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders, their written actions were not enough to stop mass shootings and murders. For example, consider the June 17, 2015 killing of nine church members inside Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina; the June 12, 2016 mass murder of fifty people inside Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida; the November 5, 2017, mass murder of twenty-six church members inside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. This list is not exhaustive; there are many other mass shootings and murders. Nevertheless, all of these mass murders involved single handed shooters intent on killing innocent human beings for a variety of psychosocial reasons—anger, hatred, insecurity, white supremacy/racism, homophobia, etc.  

The bishops’ loud silences on gun control need to be exchanged for loud voices similar to their volume on euthanasia –both urgent moral issues. Just as the Church stepped up to do what was needed strategically to promote a culture of life as it relates to active euthanasia and mercy killing, likewise, the Church needs to step up and raise its loud voice to find ways to institute strategies for gun control. The bishops can start with breaking the silence around this moral problem by drawing on their “Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence.” Further, we, theological ethicists can examine mass shootings and murders under the rubric of active euthanasia and mercy killings, exposing them for their intentions of death. Where the Church intends life silence no longer satisfies.

Civil Status Law, Gender Identity, and Catholic Ethics: On a Recent Judgement of the German Constitutional Court

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Marianne Heimbach-Steins |

In Germany as in virtually all other countries persons have to identify themselves as “male” or “female” in official contexts, and parents are expected to have their newborn babies identified as boys or girls. While this does not cause any difficulties in most cases, some persons cannot identify themselves in either of these gender categories because they are intersexual. In Germany, at a rough guess, around one hundred thousand persons are affected by this situation (it has to be noted that the statistical numbers about intersex persons are a highly political issue). As long as they do not have a third option this causes severe problems for their social life, participation and recognition. At least this has been the case until the recent judgement (1 BvR 2019/16) by the German Constitutional Court.

In this judgement, published in October 2017, the constitutional court decided on the case of an intersexual person ( This person, Vanja, had been registered as “female” in the register of births and requested to have the registration changed into “inter” or “diverse”. This request was denied both by the registrar’s office and by the courts, which referred to the exclusive binary male/female in the German legislation and administrative practice. So the person brought the case before the constitutional court as a matter of their basic civil rights.

The court’s judgement has now changed the situation: the legislation has to revise the civil status law in order to allow persons with no clearly male or female sexual or gender identity to identify themselves as “inter” or “diverse” or with another term that positively represents their gender identity. The lawgiver has to find a solution in terms of language for official registration purposes (apart from the necessity to develop official language the new legal situation may provoke a new public discussion on gender-sensitive language).

The core claim answered by the court’s decision refers to the ethical insight that nobody must be forced to be registered in a way that is against this person’s “nature” or to exist “sexless”. In Germany the only way to avoid the binary of male and female was to give no information on one’s sexual identity at all and thus to be in fact registered “sexless” (and even that was only possible on birth certificates, and only since the first milestone decision of 2013). Without a third option, intersex persons have long been forced to hide who and how they are in terms of sexual or gender identity - or, to put it the other way round, they could not but pretend to be other than they are in order to find a place in society and to avoid social stigmatization. Considering this situation the new judgment has to be seen as an important step towards the full realization of the personality right of all citizens without exception. It helps to overcome a situation of legal and social discrimination of persons whose gender identity does not fit into the categories of male and female.

The court’s decision does not precisely define a “third gender” (though this was erroneously assumed to be the case in much public debate). Rather, it offers a new identity category for persons with bodies that are not easily classed as “male” or “female” without forcing anybody into this new category. It is a matter of respect and of recognition of each individual person insofar as their individuality is not least an expression of their sexual and gender identity.

In the public debate some voices argued that because relatively few persons are affected it is not proportional to make a new legislation for such a small sexual minority. From an ethical as well as from a human rights point of view this is, of course, not a valid argument. The personal dignity and the basic human rights of each and every person need to be respected, protected and fulfilled, no matter how few or how many persons are affected by a certain violation on the level of norms or practices. Thus legislation that prevents some persons from having their personality rights fulfilled must be changed.

This normative claim is in full accordance with a Christian understanding of the person and of human dignity as rooted in the conviction that every human being is God’s creature and a child of the heavenly father. A Christian perspective will also rely on the religious conviction that every human person is addressed by the salvific activity of the incarnation, passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Within this horizon of understanding, contemporary Christian ethics will explicitly acknowledge the deep bodily dimension of personhood and personal dignity. This of course includes the sexual and gendered dimension of human life and identity. From an ethical point of view the existing plurality of natural dispositions of human life has to be taken into account. One has to recognize that there are natural varieties of human sexuality. A variation that does not fit to the binary of male and female must not lead to discrimination and exclusion from full participation in society.

Official voices of both the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran Church, as well as prominent theologians and especially theological ethicists commented positively on the decision of the German Constitutional Court and affirmed the right of intersex persons to official representation. The spokesman of the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference, Matthias Kopp, made the following statement: “If a human being cannot clearly be assigned to the binary order of man and woman, this person must not be forced by legal order or social custom to assign oneself against the individual perception to one of these sexes that do not fit.” (translation mine). Representatives of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) had similar comments on the court’s decision.

In my opinion it is a hopeful sign that the official reaction of the Catholic Church has recognized this claim to realize the personality right of intersex persons. This has to be emphasized especially considering that such a reaction could not be expected in the context of the controversies about gender-issues in recent times, such as the dogmatic use of rigid, scientifically inaccurate, binary classifications of the sexes in Vatican texts, which have resulted in rather harsh and uncompromising statements of the magisterium. 

For further ethical reflection and development of the Catholic teaching on the issues of sex, gender and gender identities it will be helpful to take into account theological arguments and judgements from other fields of social ethics: For example, the normative aims of inclusion (especially of handicapped persons) have been clearly confirmed by the German Bishops (as well as by the Central Committee of the Catholic Lay people). The commitment not to exclude persons because of specific bodily or mental dispositions has been clearly stated as a matter of human dignity as well as of Christian love. And it has been emphasized that this claim also challenges Catholic institutions, for example schools (

We can also refer to the strong and constant commitment of Pope Francis to an inclusive pastoral engagement - his pastoral of mercy, as unfolded in the encyclical letter Amoris Laetitia and in other texts. He vividly argues against exclusion and disregard of persons - be they migrants or refugees, poor people or prisoners or other persons at the margins of the society or community. Time and again he performs symbolic actions in order to urge inclusion of the marginalized. This practical engagement and its theological foundation should strongly encourage the necessary debate within the Church on how to deal with sexual diversity. Unfortunately, the magisterial statements on these issues still sound quite different, as do various speeches by Pope Francis on the question of gender. They seem not to fit well to the pastoral style Pope Francis promotes otherwise. To promote change in these areas, the use of “nature” as a pattern of argumentation needs to be thoroughly revised (which is, of course, not a new claim in theological ethics).

The cautious but encouraging statements of the Christian Churches with regard to the judgement of the German constitutional court may be read as a hopeful impulse for a necessary (and from many sides long-awaited) discussion on the issues of sexual diversity and an ethics of intimate relationships.

To promote these ethical issues in the context of Catholic Social Teaching and of Christian theological ethics is of high importance with regard to social responsibility. The Churches are religiously and ethically ambitious social actors with a message that puts the human person at the center. Thus they have to take on the responsibility to promote the recognition of each and every person regardless of their individual conditions. Obviously, it is a highly challenging social task to create a positive sense of diversity both within the society and the church as social community. Our modern societies are manifold and heterogeneous. Heterogeneity often provokes uneasiness and sometimes resistance, because it challenges traditional rules and certain borders, and it requires tolerance for strange and unfamiliar situations or habits. To live together under the rule of recognition and respect is never an easygoing project. Recognition is not only required with regard to sexual diversity, but also with regard to ethnic and religious plurality and heterogeneity. Therefore the President of the German Ethics Council, Lutheran Ethicist Peter Dabrock, was perfectly right when he connected the specific question of a third category of legal sex with the general challenges of social cohesion in the recent public debate in Germany. Basically it is one aspect of the ongoing process to define and redefine our self-understanding as a society: How do we want to live? Who are we? Who belongs to ‘us’? The German Constitutional Court not only set up a legal task for the lawgiver (as soon as Germany has a new government) to solve by the end of next year. It also defined a huge educational task for the society as a whole - which will challenge us (and many others) for much longer time.




Francisco en Chile: Recta Final de los Preparativos Para la Visita de 2018

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Claudia Leal |

Francisco en Chile: recta final de los preparativos para la visita de 2018

por Claudia Leal Luna


Mientras Francisco realiza por estos días el primer viaje de un pontífice a Myanmar y Bangladesh, en Chile los preparativos para su visita en Enero próximo entran en su recta final. Ha habido polémicas luego de que se hicieran públicas las cifras que costará la visita y se cuestionara la petición abierta a hacer donaciones para cubrir la suma.

Se han escrito columnas apostando por lo que podría o no cambiar a partir de su visita en una Iglesia local agobiada por su irrelevancia pública y por el descenso en los niveles de confianza en la institución… pero también es de notar que una importante encuesta ha mostrado que el 80% de los chilenos ve esta visita como algo positivo para nuestro país y que en la página web de la Comisión preparatoria hay ya 18.000 voluntarios inscritos, listos para ponerse a trabajar en lo que sea necesario.

Los periodistas están ansiosos por ver una salida del protocolo, los profesores de la universidad quieren regalarle sus libros, los niños le preparan dibujos, los hermanos peruanos y argentinos se organizan para venir a verlo a este lado del continente y las diabladas nortinas (esos grupos que le bailan a la Virgen hasta tres días seguidos) ensayan sus coreografías para hacérselas ver.

En este movido escenario, quisiera destacar los esfuerzos que la Comisión de la Conferencia Episcopal para la visita del Papa está llevando a cabo para recepcionar el mensaje de Laudato Si' y hacer de este encuentro una experiencia de ecología socio-ambiental.

Y no se trata solamente de recoger y reciclar toda la basura que necesariamente se generará en eventos multitudinarios, sino de dar contenido a esa visión que muestra que todo está en relación, y que cuando hablamos de ecología nos referimos también a la economía, a la situación de los trabajadores, al ritmo de la vida familiar, y a un largo etcétera donde debemos incluir todas las instancias de relación del ser humano con su ambiente y de los humanos entre sí. Esa afirmación, repetida de muchas maneras en la encíclica, ha sido fundamental para que ella traspase las fronteras de la tradición cristiana y se instale con comodidad en el ámbito académico y político, y por eso no es raro en Chile ver comentando Laudato Si' no sólo a teólogos, sino también a biólogos, ingenieros, sociólogos y profesores.

En este ámbito el mérito de Francisco es el de insertarse con naturalidad y decisión en una larga tradición que durante los siglos XIX y XX fue consolidando la convicción acerca de que: “La acción en favor de la justicia y la participación en la transformación del mundo se nos  presenta  claramente  como  una  dimensión  constitutiva  de  la  predicación  del  Evangelio,  es  decir,  la  misión  de  la  Iglesia  para  la  redención  del  género  humano  y  la  liberación de toda situación opresiva”[1].

Otro hito culminante de esa reflexión – antecedente ineludible de Laudato Si' – son las recordadas palabras de Pablo VI en Populorum Progressio: “El desarrollo no se reduce al simple crecimiento económico. Para ser auténtico, debe ser integral, es decir, promover a todos los hombres y a todo el hombre (15). Se trata, en el fondo, de una maduración moral de la afirmación de un Dios Creador; ese contenido de fe que tanto amamos, y que venimos repitiendo como comunidad en cada eucaristía – al menos – desde Nicea, no tendría sentido si no experimentásemos la urgencia de co-crear relaciones justas.

Una variante bastante lógica de este espíritu es definir líneas de acción para que la visita papal sea “sustentable”; que se disponga de información transparente sobre todo lo que concierne a gastos y que se rinda cuenta pública al término de la visita, que las personas lleven sus propias botellas a los eventos para recibir agua, que se tomen medidas para reducir la huella de carbono generada por el desplazamiento de miles de personas y que la convocatoria a las actividades – así como la conformación del voluntariado - sea inclusiva, entre otras.[2]


Una dimensión menos obvia de este carácter ecológico es la que se deja ver en algunos de los eventos contemplados en el programa de Francisco en Chile, por ejemplo, la visita que llevará a cabo el Papa a la cárcel de mujeres de la comuna de San Joaquín, Santiago; se tratará de un encuentro personal, casi íntimo, donde los protagonistas tendrán la oportunidad de mirarse a los ojos y dejarse interpelar en primera persona por las palabras y gestos que tengan lugar.

Fue Francisco quien eligió estar ahí con ellas, con esas mujeres que en la mayoría de los casos no sólo pierden su libertad, sino también sus vínculos de pertenencia afectiva, sus redes sociales y viven invisibilizadas para el resto. Este encuentro personal de Francisco con las mujeres encarceladas de Santiago de Chile es un acto de socio-ecología donde, por un determinado tiempo que escatológicamente tiene aspiración de eternidad, Francisco podrá ser para ellas el rostro de un Dios amor cuya justicia no juzga a ciegas, sino que restaura en la dignidad de ser hijas de un Padre amoroso que sondea el corazón como ningún otro lo puede hacer.

Dependerá de quienes seamos testigos de los pasos de Francisco, que la conversación acerca de los temas que emergerán durante esos días continúe y rinda fruto y, especialmente, que los más desamparados entre nosotros no solo sean visibilizados sino que se sienten a la mesa como un hermano más.


[1]  Sínodo de los Obispos, Documento conclusivo. La justicia en el mundo [1971], 7.

[2] Toda la información relativa al trabajo de la Comisión Preparatoria de la Conferencia Episcopal puede ser revisada en:

Why Is Africa Allergic to Elections?

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Peter Knox |

Why Is Africa Allergic to Elections?

 Over the past couple of months I have been irritated on a number of occasions to hear “Well maybe Africa just isn’t ready for democracy.” As though ‘being ready for democracy’ is some kind of cardinal virtue, and we have to excuse ourselves for this lack of virtue. Which Africa? Whose democracy? Rather than offer the lame old excuses, like ‘Africa is still young,’ I’ll ask a few more questions.

We see our continent struggling with democracy: So many countries go into convulsions when election-time approaches. Some even refuse to go there, putting off the inevitable with a whole raft of excuses. In others, violent suppression of any potential opposition seems to be the norm. Why do the masses surrender their lives for the political ambitions of their leaders? What kind of leaders allows the shedding of even one drop of blood?

 As I write, I am aware of two sins I would like to avoid:

The first is generalization – as though there were ONE Africa, rather than 54 countries housing 1.2 billion people. From the outset I admit that what is said about one corner of this vast continent need not be true of the billion-plus people living here.

The second is presumption: Who am I, as a fair-skinned African, to presume to answer some of the continents’ vexing questions? Well, in the context of the CTEWC reflection, I will presume only to raise questions, and not answer them.

 Is it because electoral democracy is a foreign imposition and alien to the African way of doing things? In the mists of our idealized pre-colonial past, decisions were made by councils of elders, the repository of wisdom of our societies. Is this perhaps why, at  93, Robert Mugabe feels more qualified than ever to rule Zimbabwe? Maybe we aren’t in the habit of changing rulers, because chiefs and kings serve for life. Is this why so many post-colonial leaders have difficulty stepping down? Or is it that they are so scared of being unseated, and potentially having to answer for their misdemeanors that they try to cling to power forever? Or has hubris led them to believe that the nation really couldn’t survive without them? 

Have we forgotten that in our mythical traditional gerontocracy the elders resolved issues by a process of consensus? Have our leaders lost the art of negotiating and upholding the interests of the other? Is this why they hammer any voices contrary to their own?

Or maybe our allergy to elections is about the technology of the election? Modern elections are computerized, mystified, reserved to a few experts, and therefore lack popular transparency. Do we really need to try to emulate the fancy high-tech developed world with instant results (and instant confusion) at the push of a button, as though elections are only about the numbers? Or might the whole process be more accessible to the tech-illiterate among us, if we used marbles, as they do in Gambia? In this system, by which President Yaya Jammeh was unseated after 22 years, the tallying is very visible, as the marbles of each candidate are spread out in an array. Do we really need to be rocket scientists to visualize the results of an election?

 Or do we resent elections, because we are not comfortable without compatriots? Or fear surrendering power to anyone who is not a member of our own ethnic group? Our national borders were carved out without any consultation, and we were thrown together with other races, tribes and language groups to which we have no affinity at all. Are we still shuddering from that experience, reluctant to cohabit and collaborate with people who do not belong to my ethnicity, who eat porridge in a different way to me? What is our sense of the common good? Does the noble ‘government of the people by the people for the people’ only apply when the said people recognize themselves as a people? Why do elections bring about talk of secession of one or other part of a country?

Or are we allergic to winner-takes-all results? Where the winner fills all the top positions with his or her appointees, or ethnic group, and awards contracts to his or her cronies. Are we so intuitively ill at ease with this inherently unjust outcome, that we would rather disrupt the entire process than face possible defeat?

Life is more important than who is sitting at the top table. Why can’t we address our reasons for choosing mayhem over “free and fair elections?” Why must we convulse through each electoral cycle? Why can’t we stop killing each other in the pursuit of democracy? 

At Stake: The Soul of the Nation

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Thomas Massaro |

At Stake: The Soul of the Nation

Music fans lucky enough to score a ticket for the eagerly anticipated October 12 opening of “Springsteen on Broadway” heard the iconic artist opine from the stage of the Walter Kerr Theater: “I believe that what we are seeing now is a bad chapter in the ongoing battle for the soul of the nation.” While it is seldom wise to rely heavily on show-business professionals for political analysis, these words of “the Boss” summarize the current plight of the United States as well as any. These are anything but normal times in U.S. politics; indeed, one great danger would be the normalizing of the regrettable behaviors and needless divisions that are roiling the waters of our polity. But what distinctive roles can professional ethicists play in these trying times? I will mention three.

One obvious option for moralists is to strike the posture of the prophet, denouncing travesties of justice and launching jeremiads against abuses of power. Speaking truth to power and scolding the selfish and misguided has, throughout human history, been necessary but (alas!) it is far from sufficient. It may be wise to reach into our ethics toolbox and select another method in our repertoire of strategies.

A second, considerably more demanding course of action is to assume the role of a policy analyst—the constructive critic who not only diagnoses a problematic status quo but offers realistic, practical, and ethically superior alternatives. This critique requires an effort to marshal data sufficient to persuade citizens (including our legislators) of the folly and death-dealing courses of action currently on display in the US—from the abrogation of complex international treaties and environmental regulations to the jettisoning of support for crucial relief measures (as in Puerto Rico) and health care subsidies that benefit low-income people. Only an ethicist who “does the requisite homework” is well positioned to propose public policy measures that will preserve the crucial values and human well being at stake.

The third and perhaps most distinctive potential contribution by the community of professional ethicists is to engage in a bit of meta-ethics—to invite observers of public affairs to see the big picture into which momentary opinions inhere. The work of meta-ethics can identify the forces that lie behind the “culture wars” and the sharp divergence of opinions on “wedge issues” that divide the nation into rival camps. Those who manipulate public opinion for cynical gain instinctively recognize the power of buzzwords and slogans, and ethicists should as well. One need not master the complexities of linguistic theory in order to appreciate that Americans mean a variety of things when they employ loaded terms like “freedom,” “justice” and “desert.” More broadly, as our most neuralgic “wedge issues” come to be “framed” in sharply divergent ways, meta-ethics could expose the ensemble of values and priorities held by those doing the framing. Ethicists have all the right tools on hand to unravel the complex bundles of opinions on key public affairs. I will mention two issues to illustrate the point, though many more could be cited as examples of the potential for ethicists to make a distinctive contribution to the debate.

The urgency of gun control was driven home by the tragedy of the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a nation, we are once again pondering the meaning of the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms, the challenge of accommodating the intent of the Founders in this age of automatic weapons, and the horror of thousands of lives lost each year to gun violence. Sensible firearms legislation will depend on how activists on each side frame the issue of gun control. Meta-ethics would question: Does a supposedly constitutionally protected right trump all considerations of social responsibility and practical provisions for public safety? As meta-ethics acknowledges, the vocabulary terms used in the unavoidable discussions ahead will largely determine the likelihood of any reform. Progress toward decision-making will be stalled until we recognize, for example, how the gun lobby skillfully frames the issue, employing the attraction of easy access to gun ownership as a proxy for a range of resentments and suspicions of governmental authority. Can we ethicists succeed in framing, with equal deftness, this vital issue in terms of the Founders’ intents and the radically different context of the twenty-first century?

A less urgent but still divisive issue is the headline-grabbing difference of opinion on National Football League players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before games. Looking beyond specific recourse to this protest action (e.g., President Trump proposes that players participating be fired summarily), it is clear that the differences of opinion are, as above, largely generated by the words we use to describe the controversy. Is the brouhaha indeed about disrespecting the flag and the nation? Or is it about asserting freedom of speech? Too often lost in the scramble to frame the issue is the purpose cited by (suspiciously now unemployed) athlete Colin Kaepernick, who inaugurated the practice in 2016: to protest unjustified police violence against people of color. Sadly, debates over the First Amendment protected free-speech actions of these athletes have been a proxy for larger cleavages in the culture wars that have roiled our nation for decades.

Many other controversies could be cited, as precious little terrain is not hotly contested in this contentious and divided nation. Through it all, ethicists may find it hard to do much more than insist on civility and basic respect for one’s opponents. But I hope that we can provide some clarifying light regarding the framing of these and other issues of concern. In so doing, we will be fulfilling our common mission to serve church and society by fostering mutual understanding and keeping alive realistic hope for the soul of the nation: genuine reconciliation of good people who, knowingly or not, are divided by words and ideas that fail to heal our body politic, but rather tear it further asunder.



La pregunta de Lutero y sus implicancias para la ética social

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Anibal Torres |

 La pregunta de Lutero y sus implicancias para la ética social

Por Aníbal Torres

A 500 años del inicio de la Reforma Protestante, es interesante observar que al dar importantes pasos en el diálogo ecuménico, los Papas Benedicto XVI y Francisco han querido recuperar una pregunta central que se formulaba Martín Lutero: “¿Cómo puedo tener un Dios misericordioso?” Incluso, el trascendente documento Del conflicto a la comunión[1] comienza con esa pregunta, señalando al final del texto cinco “imperativos” para la conmemoración de dicho acontecimiento histórico. Es en el quinto y último “imperativo” donde se hace una alusión al rol de los cristianos ante la situación internacional: “católicos y luteranos deben dar testimonio común de la misericordia de Dios en la proclamación y el servicio al mundo[2].

En atención a tal señalamiento, aquí nos interesa reflexionar sobre las implicancias del profundo interrogante de Lutero para la ética social cristiana. Nos parece que esto es un tema importante hacia afuera de las comunidades eclesiales, porque en ciertos ambientes y contextos se aborda la Reforma como movimiento religioso, cultural y político pero en general se desconoce el camino que han recorrido luteranos y católicos a partir del ecumenismo; es decir, para muchos parecería que aún se estuviese en 1517. Pero también se trata de una cuestión importante hacia dentro de las confesiones cristianas, porque a veces se asume que en el camino hacia la unidad plena y visible entre católicos y luteranos se podría prescindir del “servicio al mundo”, como si el involucro activo en la transformación de las realidades políticas, culturales y económicas no fuese constitutivo de la fe cristiana.

Dicho esto, es pertinente recordar que Benedicto XVI hizo una histórica visita al que fuera el convento agustino de Erfurt (Alemania), el 23/09/2011, donde señaló sentirse con “profunda emoción” por estar en el lugar donde Lutero estudió teología y se formó para el sacerdocio, al igual que manifestó estar sorprendido “en el corazón” por aquella pregunta y agregó: “¿Quién se ocupa actualmente de esta cuestión, incluso entre los cristianos?” Es interesante que el Papa Ratzinger haya señalado tanto la vigencia de ese interrogante como su carácter de ser una interpelación que bajo ningún aspecto debería tomarse por abstracta: “¿Cómo se sitúa Dios respecto a mí, cómo me posiciono yo ante Dios? Esta pregunta candente de Lutero debe convertirse otra vez, y ciertamente de un modo nuevo, también en una pregunta nuestra, no académica, sino concreta”.

Este es un señalamiento que se conecta directamente con la ética social, ya que no pierde de vista los acuciantes problemas de nuestro mundo y el compromiso activo de los cristianos como respuesta a los mismos. Así, la ayuda a los más pobres y descartados se funda en una adecuada relación con el Dios de Jesucristo. En efecto, Benedicto XVI  señaló: “Si fuese más vivo en nosotros el amor de Dios, y a partir de Él, el amor por el prójimo, por las creaturas de Dios, por los hombres, ¿podrían el hambre y la pobreza devastar zonas enteras del mundo? (…) No, el mal no es una nimiedad. No podría ser tan poderoso, si nosotros pusiéramos a Dios realmente en el centro de nuestra vida”.

Por su parte, sabemos que para Francisco el “Dios misericordioso” es uno de los ejes de su pontificado. Recordemos que su lema hace expresa alusión a esta cuestión, al tomar el comentario de San Beda el Venerable sobre el llamado de Jesús al publicano Mateo: “miserando atque eligendo”. Esta escena incluso tiene una representación artística de Caravaggio, expresión pictórica que, podríamos afirmar, ilustra el papado de Bergoglio.

En su visita a Lund (Suecia), el 31/10/2016, Francisco volvió expresamente sobre la pregunta “¿Cómo puedo tener un Dios misericordioso?”, señalando: “La experiencia espiritual de Martín Lutero nos interpela y nos recuerda que no podemos hacer nada sin Dios (...) En efecto, la cuestión de la justa relación con Dios es la cuestión decisiva de la vida. Como se sabe, Lutero encontró a ese Dios misericordioso en la Buena Nueva de Jesucristo encarnado, muerto y resucitado”.

Es interesante ver cómo, por un lado, el Papa da al interrogante mencionado un lugar destacado, en continuidad con la centralidad que le atribuyeron tanto el documento referido como Benedicto XVI. Por el otro lado, Francisco deriva de allí algunas orientaciones de ética social para que los cristianos respondan al mencionado imperativo sobre el “servicio al mundo”, pues en ello está la credibilidad de su vida de fe, más aún, le es co-constitutiva: “Juntos podemos anunciar y manifestar de manera concreta y con alegría la misericordia de Dios, defendiendo y sirviendo la dignidad de cada persona. Sin este servicio al mundo y en el mundo, la fe cristiana es incompleta”.

Esto recibió importantes ampliaciones en la declaración Luterano - Católica que se firmó en el encuentro de Lund, donde las iglesias se comprometieron a trabajar en una amplia agenda de derechos a escala global. Así, se manifiesta la defensa de los derechos humanos y la dignidad “especialmente (…) de los pobres”; y también el trabajo por la “justicia”. En esa declaración se expresó además el reclamo por el cese de “la violencia y el radicalismo”, la acogida generosa y la defensa de “los derechos de los refugiados y de los que buscan asilo”. También, se sostuvo que el “servicio conjunto en este mundo” “debe extenderse a la creación de Dios, que sufre explotación y los efectos de la codicia insaciable”, pidiendo por la justicia intergeneracional para garantizar el “derecho de las generaciones futuras a gozar de lo creado por Dios con todo su potencial y belleza”. Por último se pidió por “un cambio de corazón y mente que conduzca a una actitud amorosa y responsable en el cuidado de la creación”.

Estos señalamientos nos ayudan a redescubrir la relevancia de la pregunta de Lutero y su importancia fundamental para la ética social cristiana. Es decir, nos indican que el encuentro con el “Dios misericordioso” que buscaba el reformador, es fuente de la misericordia en tanto virtud no dulzona sino de transformación social, como recuerda el Papa Francisco[3]. Que en Del conflicto a la comunión se aluda al “servicio al mundo” no como algo optativo, que las iglesias pueden hacer o no, sino como uno de los “imperativos” para la conmemoración de la Reforma, demanda a los cristianos tomar muy en serio esas interpelaciones. Que inspirados en la “experiencia espiritual” de Lutero sobre  el “evangelio de la justicia de Dios, que es a la vez su misericordia”[4], podamos nosotros llegar a decir como él escribiera en 1545 al abrírsele una nueva comprensión del obrar divino: “Ahora me sentí totalmente renacido. Las puertas se habían abierto, y yo había entrado en el paraíso”[5].

[1] Del conflicto a la comunión. Conmemoración Conjunta Luterano-Católico Romana de la Reforma en el 2017. Informe de la Comisión Luterano-Católico Romana sobre la Unidad, Sal Tarrae, Santander, 2013.

[2] Ídem, p. 111.

[3] Cfr. Misericordia et misera, 18.

[4] Del conflicto a la comunión, p. 111.

[5]Idem, p. 111. 

Complicity in the Summary Executions in Duterte’s Drug War

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Agnes M. Brazal |

Since President Duterte assumed office in 2016, there has been a spike in the number of drug-related killings. While the Philippine National Police has reported 6,225 killings of drug suspects in legitimate operations since July 2016, the Commission on Human Rights and other human rights groups in the country claim the number is much higher, estimated at around 14,000 as of October 2017. The latter figure includes those who died in police operations and in vigilante-style killings that the investigation of Amnesty International had further established as linked with law enforcers.

In the latest nationwide survey of Pulse Asia conducted in September 2017, 73% believe that extrajudicial killings (EJK) are indeed occurring in the drug war. The survey defines EJK as killings perpetrated by state authorities (e.g. police or soldiers), that are not in accordance with the law. The drug war and the President who once likened himself to Hitler in his plan to kill millions of drug addicts and peddlers, nevertheless, continue to enjoy the support of the majority of Filipinos who are predominantly Christian.

This essay explores the various reasons for the explicit support or silence of Filipinos in the face of the summary executions related to the anti-drug campaign. It will employ as framework the paradigms of evil developed by the theologian Didier Pollefeyt in  his reflections on people’s complicity in the Holocaust, this time applying it to the Philippine context.   

The 1st paradigm diabolicizes the evildoer as a satanic figure or as non-human rendering it impossible to look at the person from a different perspective other than in the light of the evil he has committed (George Steiner). Near the body of 21 yr old Jerico Camitan who was executed together with 17 yr old Erica Fernandez by gunmen in a motorcycle last October 2016, was a cardboard that states: “Tulak ka, hayop ka  “You’re a pusher, you are an animal.” Duterte himself referred to drug addicts as non-human:   "Crime against humanity? In the first place, I’d like to be frank with you: Are they humans? What is your definition of a human being?" As totally evil, the drug addict/pusher does not deserve a second chance to be healed or rehabilitated in the perspective of this paradigm.

While the 1st paradigm focuses on the free choice of the person to engage in evil, the 2nd paradigm highlights the banalization of the evildoer who has been reduced to a “thoughtless robot” or “victim” that has lost his/her autonomy within the system (Hannah Arendt).  A police interviewed by Amnesty International reveals that law enforcers – who normally receive a measly salary – are “secretly” paid 8,000 to 15,000 pesos “per head” by the “headquarters.” In contrast, they get no incentive for simply arresting the suspect.

Some church leaders admitted that they are afraid to speak because of Duterte’s popular support, and lest they themselves become targets of this vigilante-style killing. Others fear that Duterte who is not scared to offend the Church would expose their dirty linens in public.

Village (Barangay) leaders are likewise afraid to share CCTV footages of killings. Witnesses of victims who were shot even if they already surrendered are scared to testify, for fear of retaliation on the part of law enforcers.

The 2nd paradigm considers psycho-sociological factors that breed evil which thus lead to deculpabilisation or excusing the evildoer. But it does not account for how people can be creative in their complicity with evil. The 3rd paradigm explains this by ethicizing the evildoer; the malefactor is motivated by good intentions and is acting in accordance with the ruling “ethics” (Peter Haas). He or she is not just a victim of the system but creative in his/her participation since this allegedly contributes to the perceived greater good. Encouraged by Duterte himself who gave rewards for killing top drug lords, some local chief executives give a bounty reward for police and even citizens for killing suspects and/or criminals.

The EJKs are seen as acceptable, a necessary evil, in the light of the campaign against illegal drugs to promote public safety. Its toleration is an ethical conclusion brought about by a number of factors such as the costliness and slowness of justice in the Philippines, including for victims of drug-related crimes. It may be linked to the view that death penalty (whose implementation in the country has been on moratorium) is a deterrent for heinous crimes that are believed to be committed by people under the influence of drugs. This is also supported by the notion that Asians need a strongman, an iron hand, to bring about peace. Together with the conflicting statistics about the real score of the drug problem in the country, the people may misjudge EJK as “ethically” tolerable. Some who campaigned for Duterte assure others that, as in Davao where the President served as Mayor, if one is not engaged in any wrongdoing, then there is nothing to fear.

A 4th paradigm developed by Pollefeyt himself sees the evildoer as self-deceiver who is aware of the evil that is happening at the same time evades it through various ways to shield the self from getting tainted with the knowledge of one’s complicity with evil. He critiques the 3rd paradigm in the Nazi context, as a form of self-justification and self-deception. Pollefeyt elaborates on the role of fragmentation that creates compartmentalization in the self and facilitates self-deception: an example is a murderous police officer to poor drug addicts when on the job, and a loving husband and father to his wife and children when at home, keeping the ethics of labor and of family separate. There are as well, as Reuters reported, emergency room doctors who “aren’t asking any questions” regarding patients who arrive in the hospitals dead on arrival. “They only record it: DOA.” For as international and local condemnation of the drug war increased, law enforcers started dumping EJK corpses to hospitals to prevent crime scene investigations and the attention of the media, thereby resulting in an increase of dead on arrival patients from 1% in July 2016 to 85% in January 2017.

Within a totalitarian ethic, the emphasis is indeed on sameness, and everyone who opposes is eliminated. In contrast, the biblical ethic challenges us to respond to the vulnerable face of the other. Jesus’ inclusive praxis that invites to his table fellowship the last, the least, the lost, of 1st century Palestine is a counter-narrative that can and should wake up conscientious Christians from complicity to resistance.









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