Forum Submissions






April 2019

 United States  Emily Reimer-Barry  

Does catechism class groom young people for sexual abuse?

   Austria  Martin Lintner   

Ethics of eating meat: a reflection (not only) for Lent

   Kenya  Peter Knox UNEA4
  Philippines   Ramon Echica  The Moral Theologian in the Time of Populism
   Mexico  Jutta Battenberg  

La protección de menores en la Iglesia

  Jamaica   Anna Perkins

“Not Everything Good to Eat, Good to Talk”: The Antilles Bishops and the Buggery Laws


March 2019

 Cameroon  Solange Ngah  The Case of Miracles in Africa Today
   United States  Jason King  Exclusion and Method in Moral Theology
   Ireland  Suzanne Mulligan  

The Occupied Territories Bill: A Superficial Gesture or a Moment of Solidarity?

  India Stanislaus Alla Legal Attempts to Rob Land from India's Indigenous
   Mexico Miguel Angel Sanchez La ética en la sociedad mexicana: de la indiferencia de "las aguas tranquilas" a la vorágine 
  Nigeria Anthonia Ojo Vote-Buying and Selling as Violation of Human Rights: The Nigerian Experience

February 2019

Colombia Maria Isabel Gil Espinosa 

Porque era forastero, refugiado, desplazado, migrante y me acogiste

   Puerto Rico  Jorge José Ferrer

The 10/90 Gap, Global Health Inequities, and Social Justice

   United States  Ramón Luzárraga  The Naivete behind the Federal Government Shutdown
   Kenya  Teresia Hinga  Kwanzaa’s Nguzo Saba. A Timely And Much Needed Retrieval Of Afro Ubuntu Ethics For Enhanced Flourishing In The African Diaspora And Beyond
   Indonesia  Dionius B. Mahamboro  Indonesia’s Winding Road to Democracy: Facing Fake News and Hoaxes
   Spain  Diego Alonso-Lasheras  New Challenges to Religious Freedom

January 2019

 South Africa  Anthony Egan A Conversation in Eternity: A Christmas Contemplation
   Australia  Caroline Ong  Update on the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Act, Australia
   United States  Ramón Luzárraga  La lucha de los Estados Unidos contra la xenofobia anti-inmigrante
   United States  Alexandre Martins End of the Year: Teaching Evaluations
   Germany  Katharina Klöcker  The "Geneticization" of Our Society
  United States Mary Jo Iozzio Amidst the Tragedies and Violence that Mark Human History, Peace to All

December 2018

 Argentina Pablo Blanco 50 Years of Medellin: A Crucial Event for the Whole church to be Updated
  Myanmar Peter Pojol The Disturbing Stance of Aung San Suu Kyi
  Kenya Peter Knox Child Protection- Still a Long Way to Go
  Hungary  Gusztáv Kovács  From the Sacristy to the School: The Challenge of Religious Education in Hungary
  United States   Mary M. Doyle Roche  Open Wide Our Hearts
  Philippines  Kristine Meneses Christmas: A Reminder to Include and be in Communion with the Other and Another-Other

Aníbal Torres

Características del liderazgo político necesario para enfrentar la crisis mundial

November 2018


Geevarghese Kaithavana

Resonance of Gender Equality in India

Gregor Buss

Jewish Responses to Laudato Sí

Michael Jaycox

A Climate of Fear, Incompetence, and Possibility

     Osamu Takeuchi

 The Judgment of Human Beings and the Forgiveness of God

Alexandre A. Martins
Democracy, Economic System, Hate and Fear: Elections in Brazil
Teresia Hinga
Standing in Healing Solidarity with Lumo Sinai (and Thousands Like Her): Acknowledging One Man Who Does

October 2018

  Ingeborg Gabriel Time to Renew the Church's Commitment to Women
    Grégoire Catta  Universal?
     Thomas Massaro  The "Wound of the Border"
     Peter Knox  New Debt Crisis

September 2018

Anthony Egan
Land - The Moral Dilemma
Hoa Trung Dinh
Protests against Special Economic Zones in Vietnam
    Ellen van Stichel Sarajevo: through the eyes of a 7-year old boy
    Claudia Leal Luna El dolor y la esperanza de la Iglesia chilena
    Shawnee M. Daniels-Sykes Building Bridges, not Walls, for the Future
Anne Celestine Achieng Oyier Ondigo,
Alexandre A. Martins
Good News: Junior Scholars Column on the CTEWC Forum

July 2018

Teresia Hinga
Remembering and Honoring Professor Sr. Anne Nasimiyu Wasike: A Concerned, Socially Engaged and (not so) Little Sr. of St Francis
    Marianne Heimbach-Steins Christian Social Ethics and its Theological Relevance through the Lens of Veritatis Gaudium
    Ramon Luzarraga and Mary Jo Iozzio Arguments Catholic Ethicists Must Refute on the US Immigration Crisis
    Mary Yuen China's New Global Initiative and Authentic Development
    Emilce Cuda GUERRA DE DIOSES: Posverdad o fin del Secularismo

June 2018

Agnes Brazal
Gaudete et Exsultate and the Unfinished Agenda of Vatican II
Mary Jo Iozzio
Raising Consciousness and Forming Consciences: Strategic Disruptive Nonviolence
Margaret Ssebunya 
Breaking the Nyaope addiction in South Africa: Is it possible?
    Anibal Torres Ante nuevos “vientos de doctrina, el lenguaje de los gestos

May 2018

  Stanislaus Alla  Life in India: Spaces Destroyed and Processes Disrupted
    Pablo A. Blanco Decriminalization of Abortion in Argentina: The Debate No One Expected;
    Thomas Massaro Opioid Addiction: A National Crisis in Slow Motion

April 2018

 Phillipines Agnes Brazal  Migrant Workers and Modern Slavery
   Brazil Alexandre A. Martins  Fraternity and The Challenge of Overcoming Violence 
   United Kingdom  Tina Beattie  Who Represents the Church?
   United States  Mary M. Doyle Roche  The Pace of the Children

March 2018

   Mary Jo Iozzio  Not Washed in the Blood of the Lamb: Another Bloodbath Against the Vulnerable
     Anthonia Bolanle Ojo  Care for the Earth: A Call to Responsible Stewardship
    Miguel Ángel Sánchez Carlos  Saber “Tomar el Pulso Social”
     Ingeborg Gabriel  The Challenge of Peace Today – Secular and Ecclesial Engagement in Dialogue
     Osamu Takeuchi  Life and Beauty in Oikonomia

February 2018


January 2018

Anthonia Bolanle Ojo
A Life of Dignity for All: The Foundation of Sustainable Development
     Hoa Trung Dinh Australia's Postal Survey on Same-Sex Marriage
     Petr Stica Dialogue with "People on the Borders" and "Beyond the Walls" and Theological Ethics
     Ramón Luzárraga El Peligro del Populismo
     Ramón Luzárraga The Peril of Populism
     Tobias Winright What Are the Implications of the "Very Possession" of Nuclear Weapons Being "Firmly Condemned"?

December 2017

Solange Ngah
What is at Stake in an Ecological Theology of Creation
     Mary Mee-Yin Yuen Who Should Decide Who I Am
     Marianne Heimbach-Steins Civil Status Law, Gender and Identity, and Catholic Ethics
     Claudia Leal Francisco en Chile: Recta Final de los Preparativos Para la Visita de 2018
     Shawnee M Daniels-Sykes More Loud Voices, More Loud Silences: Gun or Firearm Control and Active Euthanasia and Mercy Killing

November 2017

Peter Knox
Why is Africa Allergic to Elections?
     Agnes Brazal Complicity in the Summary Executions in Duterte's Drug War
     Aníbal Torres La Pregunta de Lutero y sus Implicancias Para la Ética Social
     Thomas Massaro At Stake: The Soul of the Nation

October 2017

  Tina Beattie No Fences Left to Sit On
     Stanislaus Alla Democracy at Crossroads in India!
     Emilce Cuda El Endeudamiento de la Ética Teológica Aplicada
   United States  Mary Doyle Roche An American Horror Story

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
  UnitedStates 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

   UnitedKingdom  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”
   UnitedStates   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
   CzechRepublic  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
   CzechRepublic  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
   UnitedStates  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
   UnitedStates  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)
   UnitedStates  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


Alexandre Martin

Ethics of eating meat: a reflection (not only) for Lent

2 Comment(s) | Posted | by Martin M. Lintner |

Keywords: Ethics of eating meat, ethics of consumption, animal ethics, vegetarianism, livestock farming, ecological sustainability

A few weeks ago I met a friend of mine who has chosen complete abstinence from meat and egg products of any kind. She told me that she was invited for dinner the day before. During the meal the table community started a conversation on love for animals. Almost everybody had a pet at home and they were talking about how cute their pets are and how much love they feel for them. My friend was silent because she doesn’t have any pets, but at the same time she was the only one at the table who because of her love for animals didn’t eat meat, and ordered a vegetarian dish.

Various motivations for vegetarianism

There are many different lifestyles and forms of nutrition which reflect concerns over the use of animal products. Worldwide a growing number of people become vegetarians or even vegans by ethical conviction and renounce all consumption of animal products.[1] Many people have religious motivations, especially followers of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Others focus on health issues,[2] or are motivated by an increasing sensitivity to ecological sustainability and to negative environmental effects of industrial livestock farming.[3] Many people on the one hand reject the conditions in which animals are kept and fattened in intensive agriculture and livestock farming, but on the other hand still keep consuming animal products that are obtained or produced from this kind of farming. For a growing number of people, however, the question arises whether and under which conditions the consumption of animal products is ethically justifiable. For example, they ask themselves if they are complicit in ethically unacceptable forms of livestock farming, i. e. farming with negative ecological effects or livestock rearing which is not animal-welfare oriented, when they consume animal products.

Consumption of animal products and the responsibility of the consumer

Sometimes in discussions you can hear something like: “The pig doesn’t care anymore whether I am eating a schnitzel or not, because my decision whether to eat meat or not has no more effects on the way it has been kept, fattened and killed.” But this argumentation is not valid, because the consumer, through his buying and consumption behaviour, does indeed have a strong influence on which animal products are produced and under which circumstances. Even if it is not a question of immediate cooperation in the keeping and killing of animals in a narrow sense, it is always a question of indirect cooperation and complicity in the broader sense, since the keeping, treating and killing of an animal on the one hand, as well as the marketing and consumption of animal products on the other hand, are integrated into the same process and cannot therefore be judged independently of one another.

It is important to sensitise consumers to the fact that they are co-responsible for the way animals are kept, treated and slaughtered, because, as has already been said, by buying animal products they implicitly approve and directly co-finance how these products have been produced. Analogous to the basic principles of fair trade, it is therefore a matter of sensitising both the producers – i. e. the farmers, butchers and retailers – and the consumers of animal products to the ethical concerns of dealing with animals and of motivating them to do justice to animals, i. e. to ensure that they are treated in accordance with their species-specific needs and capabilities and in a species-appropriate animal husbandry.

It is important for consumers to be ready and prepared to research into the questions of where animal products they consume come from and from which kind of animal husbandry: How have the animals been kept, cared for and slaughtered? With today’s possibilities of obtaining information, but also by exercising the right to obtain information from the producer and seller of these products, this is a reasonable and bearable effort.

Lent as “kairos” to think over one’s meat consumption

It was a century long tradition in the Catholic Church that during Lent and on Fridays the consumption of meat was not allowed. According to the CIC 1983 “abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday” (can. 1251). The historical motives for abstinence from meat were mainly two: Firstly, it was a kind of limitation of consumption of luxury food,[4] and an expression of penitence in memory of Jesus’ death on the Cross. Secondly, it was a social practice to save expenses in order to share the savings with the poor. To fast, therefore, had also a strong social meaning.

As Christians we ask ourselves about the deeper meaning of those acts that we undertake voluntarily in preparation for Easter. Abstinence from meat during the whole season or at least on some days is still a widespread practice. In our contemporary context, at least in the western world, abstinence from meat has a significant importance due to the aforementioned reasons of environmental and animal ethics. To reflect on one’s consumption attitude and to change it, if one consumes regularly meat without checking its provenance, may be an ethical challenge and a commandment of the hour. Besides the philosophical and ethical discussions of whether or not keeping and killing animals is principally allowed from an ethical point of view, a significant reduction of meat consumption is requested. Acknowledging the complex ecological and social nexuses of industrial husbandry this is not only a question of voluntary renunciation, but of social and ecological responsibility. To verify one’s meat consumption under these ethical aspects of organic farming which respects the environment and animal welfare is more than a supererogatory action; a responsible meat consumption is an ethical demand. The complete abstinence of meat may be a supererogatory action, but for Christians especially in the Western World it could be a clear and strong sign not only of responsibility towards animals, but of ecological sustainability and social justice.

In conclusion: A recent court decision in Germany

In March 2019 for the very first time in Germany a farmer was sentenced to three years in prison due to cruelty to animals in mass animal husbandry.[5] According to the reasons for the judgement, hundreds of pigs had died as a result of the desolate conditions in the barn or had to be killed because of their massive injuries. The judge spoke of a “mass animal hell”. The infringements were uncovered by animalists in 2013. In the past the animalists usually were accused and found guilty of intrusion, but in this case (and hopefully also in the future) the judge considered the intrusion as justified and very clearly argued that animal protection represents a legal property superior to the right of sanctity of the home.

The judgement was welcomed not only by animalists, but also by the Federal Minister of Agriculture. At least in Germany this judgement can be seen as a sign that with regard to animal welfare there is a growing social sensitivity for animal ethics.  This gives reason to hope that things will change for the better.

[1] In many countries the number of vegetarians and vegans has grown steadily over the years. The Worldatlas statistics report the following countries with the highest rate of reported vegetarianism around the world (report published on May 1, 2017): 1. India (38%), 2. Israel (13%), 3. Taiwan (12%), 4. Italy (10%), 5. Austria (9%), 6. Germany (9%), 7. United Kingdom (9%), 8. Brazil (8%), 9. Ireland (6%), 10. Australia (5%). In India and Taiwan most of the vegetarians have religious motivations, in Israel vegetarianism has roots in religious restrictions of the consumption of animals, but gradually is becoming also a lifestyle choice even for those who identify as non-religious. Cf.

[2] See e. g. Richi E. Battaglia et al.: “Health Risks Associated with Meat Consumption: A Review of Epidemiological Studies”, International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 85 (2015), pp. 70–78. Available online:

[3] See e. g. Anthony J. McMichael et al.: “Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health”, The Lancet, vol. 370, issue 9594 (Oct. 6, 2017), pp. 1253–1263. Available online:

[4] Up to the last generation and in many regions of the world still today meat is a luxury food. It is only in the western world that due to industrial livestock meat has become a mass-produced good and is available at a low price and therefore affordable for all people.

[5] See (unfortunately there is no English media report available on this case).

Does catechism class groom young people for sexual abuse?

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Emily Reimer-Barry |

Keywords: catechesis, children, “Deliver Us,” grooming, obedience, priesthood, sexual abuse


In an art installation at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, artist Trina McKillen displayed twenty communion dresses and twenty altar-boy vestments in a display named “The Children.” Museum curator Karen Rapp explained that “The Children” expresses devotion, ritual, innocence, and vulnerability. The person walking through the exhibit is invited to imagine the unique stories of child survivors of clerical sexual abuse. McKillen elaborated, “The children were silenced. I was compelled to create something that would not keep the children hidden any longer.” As I walked through the exhibit, renewed feelings of anger and sadness overwhelmed me. I kept thinking that we must do more to protect children. 

In light of the still unfolding scandals of clerical sexual misconduct all over the world, I think we need to seriously reconsider the oversimplified catechesis we offer our children. I wonder, does our curriculum groom young people for sexual assault?

Victims of sexual assault are groomed by their perpetrators; there is nothing random about a perpetrator’s choice of this child or that adult. The National Center for Victims of Crime explains the "Grooming Dynamic" behavior as a process by which a perpetrator gains the trust of potential victims and their adult caregivers to break down their defenses. Grooming steps include:

ª Identifying and targeting the victim

ª Gaining trust and access

ª Playing a role in the child’s life

ª Isolating the child

ª Creating secrecy around the relationship

ª Initiating sexual contact

ª Controlling the relationship

As I review the catechism curricula for young people in the US context, I find it flawed in a number of ways. The second grade textbook Alive in Christ is used for sacramental preparation in my diocese for 8-year old children preparing for Reconciliation and First Communion. Published by Our Sunday Visitor, the text is “in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” according to the copyright page. But I am troubled by how Alive in Christ reinforces key ideas that should be problematized in our contemporary context. Those ideas include:

1. Children should trust priests and church leaders (they play a role in their lives).

2. Children should always obey their parents and people in authority (secrecy and the seal of confession).

3. It is more appropriate to describe God in male pronouns and metaphors than female ones (control).

Trusting clerics

The idea that children should always trust clerics is reinforced in subtle ways throughout the text. Pictures of priests at Mass and in conversations with children can be found throughout the book, and the accompanying text clearly tells children that “the church is led by the pope and bishops, who continue the apostles’ work to spread the Good News of Jesus and God’s kingdom throughout the world” (366). The sacrament of Holy Orders is “the call of a man to be a deacon, priest, or bishop” and “strengthens men to be leaders and to serve God and the Church” (196). Among other causes of abuse, clericalism is at the heart of the Church’s sexual abuse scandals, and in Alive in Christ we see how the laity has been formed from the tender age of 8 years old to respect priests by virtue of their calling and position of authority and not on the basis of their particular lived virtues.

Obedience to authority as good and disobedience as sin

  • “I am faithful to God’s mission when I obey.” (20)
  • “Faith leads us to obey God.” (232)
  • “Did I always obey my mother and father?” (375)

I wonder why is the text so focused on training kids to obey people in authority instead of inviting children to discern the moral good and right choice of action in a given situation? A simple focus on obedience may serve the needs of overstressed adults who simply want to keep kids in line within religious education classes, but if we are building the foundation for a life of contribution to the church, then training kids to obey people in positions of authority simply because they are in positions of authority empowers the people in authority more than instructs the children on what authority rests. It also sets up a situation in which “disobedience” is framed as “sin.” Children are told that God “has given you laws” in the Ten Commandments and that knowing God’s laws helps us make good decisions (377, 381). This creeping legalism in the moral imagination does not focus on discernment and forming good judgment for children, but rather on forming kids to be rule followers and to do what they are told by people in authority.

God-talk is exclusively masculine

Throughout the text, God is named as Father and even imaged as white and male (115). Masculine pronouns are used throughout the text to refer to God. Faith is defined as “believing in God and all that he helps us understand about himself” (232). God is described as a loving father who is always listening and children are encouraged to call him God, Lord, or Father (113-115). While consistent with other catechetical materials, this approach to God-talk limits the spiritual imagination of children unnecessarily. Even our Scriptures adopt a wider range of gendered and non-gendered names and metaphors for God. When children are preparing for the sacrament of Reconciliation at the age of 8 and their only image of God is one of a Father to whom they must confess their sins, and they are told that a male priest will be God’s representative during the sacrament, the symbolism of God-talk and sacramental theology collapse into the person of the male priest. Children are given the impression that men are more like God than women, and that the real authority figures in their lives will be male. For survivors of abuse by male adults, exclusively male language for God can retraumatize.

Tools for Catholic Parents

Perpetrators of child sexual abuse can manipulate a child’s vulnerability. Perpetrators may try to have close relationships with children with or without the parents present. Perpetrators may begin “secret” relationships with children and tell the children not to tell parents or teachers, or tell the children that what they have done makes God unhappy or is sinful. Perpetrators manipulate, twist, and distort faith claims in order to shame and silence victims. Children often do not know how to talk to adults about this behavior. This is especially true if the perpetrator is a family member or friend of the family. Victims may think that they will not be believed if they tell their stories. America magazine has recently launched a multi-series podcast, Deliver Us, in which survivors tell their own stories. In the latest podcast, Irish survivor Marie Collins describes her experience of abuse at the age of 13 by a priest who then went on to abuse other children. Like many, she was not believed when she first told another priest about her experience of abuse. 

What can we do, as parents and as a church? First, we need to teach our children that trust must be earned. They should not be told to simply trust any adult who is in a position of authority. A man with a Roman collar is a man with a Roman collar. He may be worthy of their trust, or he may not be. We cannot know until we get to know him. I realize this may be painful for my brothers in the priesthood to read. But children need to be taught how and deserve time to discern whether and how to trust priests, coaches, babysitters, teachers, and other adults. Second, we need to rethink our reliance on disobedience as the dominant paradigm for explaining sin-talk to children. We need to retell stories in such a way that the heroes and heroines of the Christian life are remembered for their right actions rather than a narrow focus on their obedience. Third, parents can encourage their children to ask questions and encourage their creative expression in prayer. Naming God in feminine pronouns during family prayer is one way that children can begin to explore a wider range of prayer images for the God in whom we trust. Faith formation that fosters theological inquiry instead of overly simplistic answers may invite the family to read and discuss Scripture together, investigate doctrinal development within the Church’s history, or openly discuss with children the scandals within the church in age-appropriate ways. As Church, we all should care about the moral and spiritual development of our children. Children should be told that when an adult harms a child, it is not a sin for the victim. Children should be told why it is not good for an adult to ask a child to keep secrets. And children can be invited to pray to God as Mother, Healer, Friend, Comforter, and in other language that speaks to their heart. The best way to help kids navigate a complex world is to give them the tools to think critically and act justly and confidently within that complex world.


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

Keywords: United Nations, Environment, climate change, geoengineering

Last month the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly was held. The UN Environment Programme welcomed to its home in Nairobi, heads of state, ministers of environment, diplomats and their entourages, and members of civil society – some 5,000 people all told. The theme of the assembly was: “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production.” This is quite a mouthful, and can easily lend ammunition to cynics who regard the UN as nothing more than an over-bureaucratic talkshop in need of a radical clearance sale. 

An alternative view is that it is the only organisation in the world where every state has an equal voice, even though they may not be able to send multi-member delegations whose sole purpose is to stymie meaningful debate on our destructive, consumptive lifestyle, in the many meetings, high-level conferences, and side events. Once all the Member States have made their interventions, the floor is opened to the observer states and the major groups to express their views on the topic under consideration. Naturally the statement of the Holy See draws heavily on relevant sections of Laudato Si’.

The Holy See has permanent observer status at several United Nations Programmes (like WHO, UNHCR, FAO, UNICEF, etc.), and with Pope Francis’ particular concern for our common home, and “all things Laudato Si’,” it is not surprising that the Ecology and Creation Desk of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development sent a representative in the person of Fr Joshtrom Kureethadam SDB. The Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan also heads the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN Environment Programme, and UN Habitat, both headquartered in Nairobi. For the third time I have been privileged to be a credentialled “local expert” of the delegation of the Holy See to the UNEA, and have been permitted to observe and participate in many of the events.

Much more interesting for me than the high-level diplomatic negotiations towards a final ministerial outcome document, are the many side events featuring the latest environmental concerns, promising innovations, and spirited debate. As always, I was struck by the synergy and level of concern for the common good, whether it be for the small-island nations suffering already from rising sea levels, or the aerosol pollution of the world’s cities, or the need for the transfer of clean technology for developing nations to ‘catch up,’ or the millions of tons of plastic, microplastics and nanomaterials produced every year that end up in the oceans, and invariably in the digestive tracts of ocean dwellers. The shared dismay at the destructive lifestyle of the few, and the imbalance in patterns of production and consumption across the world, drives many ‘eco-warriors’ to even firmer resolve. This year was particularly poignant with the death of at least 19 people heading for the assembly in the flight ET302, which crashed shortly after take off in Addis Ababa. Tribute was paid to them, and their commitment to their respective environmental causes - pollution of polar ice, desertification or microfabrics, etc. This year was also marked by a tent dedicated to the faith communities, which ran a week-long programme demonstrating a remarkable convergence of efforts to preserve our common home. I was pleased to meet Catholic religious sisters, and members of every imaginable faith, including a small delegation of African Jesuit priests, a Franciscan, a Salesian, a Dominican, a Carmelite and a diocesan, all engaged in various ecologically-related ministries.

A major day-long side event was the launch of the latest Global Environmental Outlook (GEO6), with presentations from many of the scientists of every hue and specialisation, who had worked on the 750-odd page publication, downloadable from the website. It was striking how frequently I heard that the time to act is NOW, if we want to avert a complete global environmental catastrophe. It was edifying how many of them remain optimistic in the face of such overwhelming challenges. The virtue of hope is not limited to Christians alone.

One final consideration of a more theoretical ethical nature (since this is the CTEWC Forum) is the growing science of ‘geoengineering.’ This is a branch of technology frequently trying to mitigate the effects of global climate change, such as harvesting rain in ‘environmentally friendly’ ways, making clouds more reflective to bounce off solar heat, fertilising oceans to stimulate phytoplankton to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide, capturing carbon in myriad ways, thinning cirrus clouds, etc. The first, and major problem with most of these innovative ideas is that they attempt use the same technological paradigms and logic to solve a problem as those that created in the first place: namely mastery over nature. They deflect attention from the root causes of global climate change (for example), which include the continued and escalating release of global greenhouse gases, mostly by burning of fossil fuels, but more recently by the release of methane trapped in ice and lakes. As long as these distractions continue to offer promise of life-as-usual, the major industrial nations are going to seriously commit to reducing their greenhouse gases emissions. The second problem with many of these admittedly innovative, geoengineered supposed solutions, is that they would require military-industrial-scale delivery mechanisms, and so effectively exclude most poor nations. Once again, decisions regarding the welfare of the ‘have-nots’ would be taken by those who have. Weather could become weaponised, as rain might be induced to fall over Israel, but not Palestine, for example.

The Moral Theologian in the Time of Populism

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Ramon Echica |

Keywords: moral theologian, populism, elitism

An ongoing phenomenon that is international in its spread is the rise of populist leadership. Donald Trump of the United States, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Erdogan of Turkey, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Jaroslaw Kacynsko of Poland, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Jair Balsonaro of Brazil are generally perceived as walking illustrations of populism.

 The word populist, or its related word popular, can be understood pejoratively or positively. It comes from populus which means people. To be a populist can mean that one has the ability to relate to the majority of the population. That is certainly better than someone who is too aloof to relate to the hoi polloi.

 But populism is pejorative when it is equated with demagogy. A populist politician presents overly simplistic answers to complex questions, and appeals to raw emotions. This populist often takes advantage of certain real grievances or fears of some people. Thus, Trump plays around the immigration phobia, Putin the anti-Western sentiments, while Duterte the drug scare. Because of the populist appeal, what is obviously morally wrong has become acceptable to a great number of their followers.

 In his latest book Identity, Francis Fukuyama describes a populist leader: “Populist leaders seek to use the legitimacy conferred by democratic elections to consolidate power. They claim direct charismatic connection to ‘the people,’ who are often defined on narrow ethic terms that exclude big parts of the population. They don’t like institutions and seek to undermine checks and balances that limit a leader’s personal power in a modern liberal democracy: courts, the legislature, an independent media, and a nonpartisan bureaucracy.”

 The anti-thesis of populism is elitism, and it too can be taken positively or pejoratively. It is negative when it implies exclusivism. For instance, a club is considered elitist when a condition for membership is high financial standing.

 But elitism too has a positive connotation in the sense that only the best are allowed to enter. For instance, the marines are supposedly the elite in the military since not all soldiers can survive the rigorous training. In the same manner, not everyone can be a medical surgeon. It is in this positive sense that Plato asserted that the ideal republic is where kings are philosophers and philosophers are kings. It is in this same positive sense that Jose Ortega Y Gasset, in his book, La Rebelion de las Masas, was referring to when he wrote, “I have never said that human society ought to be aristocratic. What I have said, and still believe… is that human society is always (whether it wills or not) aristocratic by its very essence… “ For him, the division of society into masses and the heroic minority is not based on social classes and cannot coincide with a hierarchical separation of the upper from the lower classes. Rather, society is divided into those who make great demands on themselves and those who demand nothing special on themselves.

The tension between populism and elitism has always been felt in philosophy and theology. For instance, existentialism reacts against herd mentality and espouses individual authenticity. Karl Marx was more on the populist side when he theorized that the proletariat would bring about revolutionary change resulting into the emergence of the communist state. Vladimir Lenin, on the other hand, was more elitist when, reflecting upon the progress of the Russian revolution, he said that the proletariat, if left to themselves, could only reach up to trade union consciousness. For him, vanguards who are willing to make sacrifices are necessary.

The tension between the elite few and the majority is also seen in the message of Jesus. Not all people are called to respond to then radical demands of Christianity. The challenge of Jesus for the rich young man to sell everything and give money to the poor was not addressed to everyone. He did not make the same demand on Lazarus, Martha and Mary.

Jesus chose an inner circle but he worked for the benefit of the marginalized sectors of society. Jesus compared the growth of the kingdom to the small amount of leaven that can make all the yeast grow. I take this to mean that a small number of committed people can help realize the vision of the reign of God.

Contemporary sensitivities towards greater democratization may turn off suggestions of elitism. One may recall the Gnostic doctrine that some people have received a special kind of salvific knowledge that is not received by the general population. But elitism is not necessarily wrong. It becomes wrong if the elite do not serve the greatest possible number and remains engrossed in self-glorification. 

This brings us to the role of a moral theologian in an age of populism. A moral theologian is elitist who, to be effective, also must speak the language of the people.

It is a given that the moral theologian belongs to the elite since not everyone is professionally trained to appropriate the values of one’s religious traditions in order to make judgments on a given contemporary situation. A moral theologian, by training, can go beyond simplistic sloganeering. 

Moreover, the same moral theologian is elite not simply because of one’s academic expertise but the willingness to be part of a heroic few who can boldly proclaim their judgments.

 Yet, here we go to why a moral theologian also needs to speak to the people. To be effective in shaping current discourse on societal issues, a moral theologian cannot just use esoteric jargon while speaking before one’s peers. Otherwise, the books which are products of ivory tower reflections may find their way into the shelves of fellow academes but may fall on the deaf ears of the general public. And more than just shaping discourse, a moral theologian needs to articulate, in a substantive yet understandable manner, the cries of the victims of populist policies.

La proteccion de menores en la Iglesia

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Jutta Battenberg Galindo |

Keywords: pederastia, delitos en la iglesia, silencio eclesial, escandalo, proteccion a menore

A finales de febrero pasado se realizó un encuentro en el Vaticano relacionado con uno de los mayores escándalos de la Iglesia Católica en la actualidad: el abuso sexual en contra de niños y niñas menores de edad.

Si bien es cierto que el abuso sexual en contra de menores ha sido un problema añejo que ha acompañado la historia de la humanidad y ha acontecido en todos los ambientes, incluso el familiar, su presencia en el ámbito clerical ha sido especialmente doloroso e indignante por provenir de aquellos llamados a mostrar el rostro amoroso de Dios.

El silencio guardado alrededor de este atropello en todos los espacios y manifestaciones lo ha hecho por siglos invisible e inexistente; ha solapado la conducta en los victimarios y ha sido una pesada carga con la cual han vivido las víctimas. Las denuncias específicas en el ámbito de la religiosidad católica en la actualidad, si bien han causado un gran alboroto que ha afectado a la estructura eclesial también han sido un importante escaparate para visibilizar un problema que de suyo ha sido y es mucho más presente en la esfera secular.

Desde hace siglos, el abuso del confesor al emplear el sacramento de la penitencia como medio para obtener intercambio sexual fue denunciado por múltiples papas. Los principales antecedentes se encuentran en la Bula de Gregorio XV “Universi Gregis” del 30 de agosto de 1622[1] confirmada posteriormente el 1 de junio de 1721 por el papa Benedicto XIV en la “Constitución Sacramentum Poenitentiae”[2] seguidas de otras Constituciones y Decretos establecidos por el Santo Oficio[3]. Sin embargo, fue hasta el siglo XX que este flagelo tomó un lugar prioritario en la opinión pública y obligó a las autoridades eclesiales a enfrentarlo con mayor determinación. 

De acuerdo con Monseñor Charles J. Scicluna en una entrevista de Gianni Cardinale en 2010, cuando era el “promotor de justicia” de la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe subrayó que la condena al abuso contra menores “ha sido siempre firme e inequívoca”; sin embargo, aceptó que posiblemente el silencio eclesial y la indulgencia con los agresores por parte de los obispos en la praxis se debió a “un mal entendido sentido de defensa del buen nombre de la institución”[4].

De manera particular a los tres últimos papas les ha correspondido enfrentar el escándalo causado por estos delitos en la Iglesia y sus acciones con relación al problema han ido desde declaraciones, acercamiento a las personas[5] y comunidades afectadas, revisión del sistema penal canónico[6], guías para comprender los procedimientos[7], atender los casos[8] y la formación de la Comisión Pontificia para la Protección de Menores por parte del papa Francisco[9]

La Comisión Pontificia para la Protección de Menores, cuya "tarea específica […] será proponer las iniciativas más adecuadas para la protección de los menores y adultos vulnerables, así como realizar todo lo posible para asegurar que delitos como los sucedidos ya no se repitan en la Iglesia. […] promoverá, conjuntamente con la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, la responsabilidad de las Iglesias locales para la protección de todos los menores y adultos vulnerables"[10], no solo pretende hacer de la Iglesia un lugar seguro para menores y población vulnerable, sino también concientizar y educar a la gente sobre la necesidad de proteger a los menores en hogares, parroquias, escuelas, hospitales y otras instituciones[11], con lo cual asume la responsabilidad eclesial de responder a las situaciones humanas concretas. 

Ciertamente, aún hay mucho por hacer, de aquí el impostergable e ineludible compromiso de todos y todas, laicos y consagrados, pues solo una corresponsabilidad mutua que promueva la prevención, la denuncia, la sanción, tanto eclesial como civil, y evite diluir o minimizar el problema al compararlo con otras circunstancias o estadísticas podrá dar una respuesta significativa frente a nuestros menores.

[1] (consultado el 18 de marzo de 2019).

[2] (consultada el 18 de marzo de 2019).

[3] (consultado el 18 de marzo de 2019).


 (consultado 15 de marzo de 2019).


 (Consultado el 16 de marzo de 2017).


 (consultada el 16 de marzo de 2019)


 (consultada el 16 de marzo de 2019)


 (consultada el 15 de marzo de 2019).


 (consultada el 15 de marzo de 2019).

[10] (Consultada el 18 de marzo de 2019)


 (consultada el 16 de marzo del 2019)

“Not Everything Good to Eat, Good to Talk”: The Antilles Bishops and the Buggery Laws

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Anna Perkins |

Keywords: Antilles Episcopal Conference, buggery laws, Caribbean, homosexuality, catholic teaching.

“Stop using religion to justify hate: One LUV” – placard of LGBTI activist celebrating with Jason Jones.[1]

Most countries in the Commonwealth Caribbean, which were former colonies of Britain, maintain laws on their books that criminalise “the abominable crime of buggery [anal intercourse]”, even when done in private between consenting adults.  These laws are vestiges of the colonial era which continue to be maintained and voraciously defended. In Jamaica, for example, the Offences against the Persons Act, Article 76, entitled, the “Unnatural Crime,” reads, “Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery committed either with mankind or with any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a term not exceeding ten years”.[2] This wording is pretty much the same as the original 1861 law, which is no longer in force in Britain. Not only is buggery a criminal offence in the Caribbean, but it is specifically associated with gay men who are scorned, discriminated against and may even be subject to violence.  With the growth of the Human Rights Movement and, latterly, the movement for LGBTQI rights in the region, there has been a sustained challenge to those laws: In 2016, Caleb Orozco in Belize won his case against the government despite widespread opposition and even violence against his person.[3] In Trinidad and Tobago, in April 2018, Jason Jones, who lived outside of the country for fear of his life, was victorious in the High Court in having the buggery laws struck from the books.[4] In Jamaica, the case brought by Canadian-based lawyer, Maurice Tomlinson, is working its way slowly through the Courts.[5] Tomlinson’s client, Javed Jaghai, withdrew his case in fear for his life and that of his family and Tomlinson stepped into the breach. Similar agitations are afoot in Barbados against Section 9 of the Constitution, which deals with buggery and Section 12, which relates to serious indecency.[6]

Throughout it all, religious groups have been among the most vociferous in countering attempts at removing these laws. Many of these have formed cross-denominational coalitions, led and supported by conservative Christian groups out of the USA, to fight the removal of these laws.[7] Indeed, the Christian Bible is claimed to offer moral grounds for rejecting homosexuality, particularly as it is seen in the abomination of male-male intercourse. One Christian group that has presented a public perspective on the criminalisation of buggery that is not consonant with the usual religious stance is the Antilles Episcopal Conference.

The Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) “is an assembly of Bishops located within the Caribbean that faithfully serves the peoples of their Arch/Diocese in a manner which proclaims the truth of the gospel” ( The bishops, who serve the Anglophone, Francophone (except Haiti), and Nederlanderphone nations of the Caribbean, have issued several pastoral letters and various statements on matters such as evangelization, justice and peace, crime and violence, education and climate change. In 2001, they issued a Statement on Homosexuality and Homosexual Behaviour and, in 2018, another entitled, Marriage: A Covenant between a Man and a Woman.  In addition, over the years, a few AEC Bishops have come out in favour of decriminalising buggery at different points, in the face of opprobrium. 

Their perspective can be summarised using the Jamaican proverb: “not everything good to eat, good to talk”.  Strictly speaking the proverb means that not everything that is known about a situation needs to be revealed; there may be wisdom in holding back some information. In this case, however, the discussion takes licence with the meaning of the proverb to argue that the bishops engage an ethico-pastoral stance, particularly in their public individual utterances, that “not everything that is immoral should be criminal or illegal”. There is wisdom in this position, which, while it maintains the unchanging nature of the teaching on homosexuality and homosexual behaviour, opens the door to recognising the dignity of those who are too often the victims of cultural and other forms of violence.  It also presents a check on the falsehood that the moral issues that are of concern to the Church must needs be legally defined and punished without regard for the ambiguities and struggles in the lives of the vulnerable persons involved. Theirs is not the perfect position but it is a move in the right direction.

In 2001, before the Government of Trinidad and Tobago repealed the 1861 Buggery Law and outlawed same-sex intimacy in much clearer terms (Sexual Offences Act 2000), the AEC released their Statement on Homosexuality and Homosexual Behaviour. In that Statement, the Bishops acknowledged the moves a foot to “decriminalize consensual homosexual activity . . . now present in the Caribbean” (1). They do not proffer a position concerning the move toward decriminalisation nor do they explicitly mention the Buggery Laws. However, they noted that it was important to make clear the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. They expressed a particular concern for this given that “sincere but uniformed people tend to operate on the assumption that what is legal is moral” (1).  They maintained that a person engaging in homosexual behaviour acts immorally while committing the Church to “continu[ing] to manifest the reconciling love of the Lord” in their pastoral care of such a person (3).

Over the years, the controversy around on the issue continued, with the media becoming more focussed on the evangelical groups, who loudly proclaimed their opposition to the removal of the buggery laws.[8] The AEC Bishops continued to speak out, as when, in 2012, within two months of taking up office, Bishop of Antigua and Barbuda, Kenneth Richards (now Archbishop of Kingston since 2016), said he was not against the decriminalisation of buggery on the basis that adultery, which had once been illegal, is no longer considered a crime against the state, implying the not everything that is immoral should be illegal perspective. Bishop Richards also claimed to support decriminalisation as a means of reducing the discrimination experienced by gays. Around the same time, Bishop of Dominica, Gabriel Malzaire, called for the removal of criminal penalties for homosexuality and the end of all forms of violence against homosexuals. Malzaire noted his position is in keeping with the Holy See’s 2008 Statement to the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the Declaration on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

Following the 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 2014 and before the Synod of Bishops in Rome, 2015, the AEC issued their Statement on Marriage, on April 25, 2015. While not their first document treating with marriage and family life, this one addressed the issues connected to same-sex marriage which were on the agenda in the region.  They re-present the Catechism’s teaching and call for respectful treatment of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual persons. They reject unjust discrimination. They reiterated that, if and when the State does decriminalise the anti-buggery law, “legality does not make a thing moral” (5). 

Later in 2018, following the Jones case, Archbishop Gordon is reported to have said, “[he] does not believe buggery should be criminalised at this time”.[9] Robert Shine reported that Archbishop Gordon claimed that it was the Church’s position that buggery not be criminalised and, where any country has buggery as a criminal offence, “the church should find ways to remove it from the statute books”.[10] Gordon was again referring to the Vatican’s Statement to the 63rd Session of the United Nations in 2008. The reason the Church holds this position, according to Gordon, is that it views homosexuality as a moral issue not a criminal one.  He reiterated, on a television interview, “There is no question in the church’s mind or teaching that this is an act that is immoral, disordered, one would even say a sin against nature”.[11] In this latter comment, Archbishop Gordon echoes the language of the various framings of the buggery laws, which paint acts of buggery as “unnatural” or “against the order of nature”. Indeed, historically, the Common Law “recognised the crime of sodomy as an offence against God”.[12] The natural law arguments used by the Church in deeming homosexual actions “intrinsically disordered”, not in keeping with the divine plan for human sexuality, also echo this idea of “against nature”.

In closing, the AEC attempt to maintain the balance between unchanging church teaching and pastoral care of all persons, especially persons who “struggle with the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (CCC #2358 in Statement on Marriage, 5). Their stance in support of the decriminalisation of the buggery laws offers an important perspective that recognises the dignity homosexuals, who are too often the victims of violence and unjust discrimination. It also calls into question the idea that the moral issues that are of especial concern to the Church should be made illegal, for “legality does not make a thing moral”. Their ethico-pastoral approach attempts to be welcoming of and present with gays as they struggle to fulfil God’s will in their lives. Theirs is not the perfect position but it is a move in the right direction.

[2] Joseph Gaskins (2013), ‘Buggery’ and the Commonwealth Caribbean: a comparative examination of the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.  Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change.  Corinne Lennox and Matthew Waites (eds). London: School of Advanced Study, University of London:, pp. 429-54., 432

[3] Kenneth A. Benjamin (2016), Full judgment on Caleb Orozco v The Attorney General of Belize. Supreme Court of Belize, August 10.  The Government of Belize has since appealed the ruling and the court has reserved judgment until a later date.

[4] Monique Roffery (2018), A Win against Homophobia in the Caribbean,” New York Review of Books, June 6.  Of course, the ruling has since been challenged

[5] Public Defender Blocked from Joining Court Challenge to Anti-buggery Laws, The Gleaner, Friday November 9, 2018

[6] Sherrylyn Toppin (2008), “LGBT taking aim at buggery laws”, Nationnews, 5 June.

[7] Anna Kasafi Perkins (2016).  “Evangelical Christianity and Social Change in the Caribbean: A Battle for/in the Public Sphere?”  Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies (Special Issue on Religion in the Caribbean) Vol.41 No. 1 (April): 13-46.

[8] See Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, Presentation to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament Reviewing Laws on Sexual Offences in Jamaica, Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

[9] Robert Shine, Archbishop’s Criticism of Anti-LGBT Criminalization Law Reveals a Need for More Education., April 18, 2018.

[10] Shine, Archbishop’s Criticism of Anti-LGBT Criminalization Law Reveals a Need for More Education.

[11] “Buggery shouldn’t be against the Law,” The Vincentian, Fri, Apr 20, 2018.

[12] Sherry-Ann McGregor, Jamaica's buggery laws, The Gleaner, August 29, 2016.

Vote-Buying and Selling as Violation of Human Rights: The Nigerian Experience

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Ojo Anthonia Bolanle |

Generally, elections are central features of democracy which enable the electorate to exercise their civic rights in a free and fair manner. Democracy proponents believe that if an election is “free,” it means that all those entitled to vote and be voted for are rightly registered and are totally free to make their choice of candidate without imposition or inducement. Unfortunately, this cannot be totally true of elections in Nigeria, where the inducement of voters by political parties and politicians has become the order of the day. In every election cycle in Nigeria, since independence in 1960, the problem has always been how to deal with issues relating to election management, such as ineffective resource management and poor preparations. Recently, there have been cases of snatching of ballot boxes and other forms of violence by politicians wanting to win elections by any means. However, in the recent times, with the advancement and inclusion of technology in the electoral process, it is becoming increasingly difficult for politicians to manipulate the process and, therefore, seeking alternative means of influencing the outcome, they resort to vote buying and selling.

According to Frederic Schaffer, vote-buying, in its literal sense, is a simple economic exchange in which voters sell their votes to political candidates, sometimes to the highest bidder, in an election.[i] In contemporary Nigerian society, vote-buying and selling have almost taken the center stage in the political activities of the nation. On the one hand, political parties and politicians are always on standby to offer money to induce the electorate to vote for a particular candidate. On the other hand, the electorate are out to turn their votes into commodities by their readiness to sell their votes to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, this spiteful practice threatens the democratic process of electing officers and violates human rights.

Vote buying and selling have been in practice in Nigerian politics for a while now, but according to Wale Ogunade, it had always been done secretly – like stuffing naira notes inside loaves of bread or giving out food items and clothes – all with the intention of wooing voters against their conscience to vote for them. This practice took place during the November 2016 gubernatorial election in Ondo State where it was alleged that some voters were bribed with between N3,000 ($8) and N5,000 ($13) in some polling units to vote for the candidate of the vote buyer. It was the same scenario in the November 2017 Anambra State gubernatorial election when politicians were alleged to have bought votes for an average of N5,000 each, depending on the location. It was reported that in the rural communities, votes were sold for N5,000 each while in the urban areas, they were sold for between N7,000 ($20) and N10,000 ($27) each. Similarly, when the Edo State gubernatorial election was conducted in September 2016, the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, described the exercise as marred by incidents of inducement and vote-buying. In the same vein, the Ekiti State election in July 2018 took vote-buying to new heights. In some areas of the state, it was alleged that agents of political parties paid those who had no Permanent Voting Card (PVC) as little as N2,000 ($5) to vote with the connivance of some INEC officials, and many others were offered up to N5,000.[ii]

While vote-buying and selling may not be a new phenomenon in Nigeria, the current dimension is a sign of the desperation of politicians to continuously find ways of manipulating the system. It is a high level form of corruption, which dehumanizes, as it robw the people of their civic rights. This menace is no less an abuse of the fundamental human rights as it cages the conscience of the electorate, with undue pressure to be submissive.  Based on this, Tomori Uriel believes that vote-buying is electoral slavery, a tool by the powerful to sustain and get more powers, to inflict unquestionable sufferings on the poor and to create safe spaces for their cabals.[iii] Thus, vote-buying is an ugly monster that violates human rights and  threatens democracy.

It is interesting and even shocking to note that in spite of the sanctions placed on the violators of electoral processes in any form by the Electoral Act of 2010 (as amended), vote-buying and selling in Nigeria, is gradually becoming a regular phenomenon. The stance of the Commission as spelt out in Article 130 states that: “A person who – (a) corruptly by himself or by any other person at any time after the date of an election has been announced, directly or indirectly gives or provides or pays money to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election; or (b) being a voter, corruptly accepts or takes money or any other inducement during any of the period stated in paragraph (a) of this section, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.”

It is unfortunate that this cankerous worm also manifested itself in the 2019 general elections. Money has become a dominant and determining factor in Nigerian politics, with the poor being the target. The desire of voters to sell their votes can be attributed to the unbearable poverty in the land, whereby the poor, who are always in the majority, see their voter’s cards as a means to an end. Some voters see election periods as an opportunity to get their own share of the national cake, to the extent that some sell their votes, their future, for as low as N4,000 ($11). The rights of the poor are violated by vote-buying because their limited means makes them susceptible to intangible amounts of money.[iv] Offering money, goods or services to induce voters to vote for a particular candidate, makes the electorate vote for their leaders out of fear, duty, indignity, gratitude, righteousness or calculated self-interest. It compromises the will of the people,[v] and it obstructs the democratic process by interfering with the rights of citizens to freely decide who will represent them and their interests.



[i] Frederic Schaffer, Poverty, Democracy, and Clientelism: The Political Economy of Vote Buying, December, 2005. Accessed on 10/02/2019 from>file>publications.

[ii] Wale Ogunade, Vote-buying, a danger to Nigeria’s budding democracy, Jul 2018. Accessed on 25/01/2019 from

[iii]  Tomori Uriel, Electoral Slavery: Criminalizing Vote Buying By Economic Confidential, August 2018. Accessed on 10/02/2018 from

[iv] Gram Matenga, Cash for Votes: Political Legitimacy in Nigeria, October, 2016. Accessed on 10/02/2018 from

[v] Chukwudi Ekezie, Vote buying: Resolving Nigeria’s new political puzzle, July 2018. Accessed on 10/02/2018 from>news>source>jul.

La ética en la sociedad mexicana: de la indiferencia de "las aguas tranquilas" a la vorágine

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Miguel Ángel Sánchez Carlos |

Resumen: El nuevo presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ha comenzado a gobernar con iniciativas que han movido tanto a la opinión pública como a algunos sectores de la sociedad poniendo sobre la mesa el tema de la ética y la moral a través del combate a la corrupción. Se presentan grandes desafíos pero también oportunidades que la ética teológica puede iluminar.

Palabras clave: ética política, moral social, corrupción, ciudadanía, asuntos públicos.

Abstract: The new president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has developed initiatives that have moved both public opinion and some sectors of society by putting the issue of ethics and morality “on the table” fighting against corruption. Great challenges and also opportunities arise that theological ethics can illuminate.

Keywords: political ethics, moral theology, corruption, citizenship, public affairs.


El nuevo presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ha comenzado a gobernar con iniciativas que han movido tanto a opinión pública como a algunos sectores de la sociedad. Le ha llamado a su periodo de gobierno “la cuarta transformación”, suponiendo, adelantando, que estará a la altura de algunos de los grandes próceres de la patria (Miguel Hidalgo con la Independencia de México, Francisco I. Madero con la Revolución Mexicana y Lázaro Cárdenas con la Expropiación Petrolera), objetivo que además de sumamente pretencioso suena muy peligroso de no lograrlo. De cualquier modo es una propuesta política y social que ha traído a la discusión varios de los grandes problemas por lo que atraviesa nuestro país y gran parte de la región latinoamericana.

En esta propuesta política y social existe un elemento central que llama nuestra atención y es el motivo de esta colaboración: la ética y la moral.

A este respecto el presidente relanzó la propuesta de la Cartilla Moral, que tiene su antecedente en Cartilla Moral que escribió Alfonso Reyes para promover la campaña de alfabetización (para adultos principalmente) del gobierno de Ávila Camacho en 1944. Este cuadernillo contiene catorce lecciones en las que se transmiten nociones de moral, sociología, antropología, política, educación cívica, higiene y urbanidad.

A este respecto surgen varias preguntas, entre las cuales resaltamos dos: Aunque sea muy conveniente difundir en el ámbito público la necesidad de voltear la mirada a la inspiración moral ¿es en la ética deontológica donde podemos coincidir las y los ciudadanos de diferente manera de pensar, “modernos” o “posmodernos”? ¿No es una manera equivocada de proceder hablar de cartillas y códigos de conducta? ¿No sería más adecuado convocar a la ciudadanía para reelaborar o resignificar el papel de la ética en nuestra sociedad, a partir de la identidad y los valores comunes y propios?

Por otro lado, si bien es cierto que hay aspectos muy discutibles en las opciones políticas y económicas que ha tomado el actual presidente, (cancelación del nuevo aeropuerto, cerrar los ductos petroleros para evitar el robo de combustible, pretender ser neutral sobre la crisis venezolana, etc.) el tema de la ética y la moral están presentes en su administración de forma muy concreta y real a través del combate a la corrupción.

A este respecto existe un ejemplo muy lamentable y terriblemente trágico, que ha puesto en el ámbito público tanto el problema de la corrupción como el de la ética: la explosión de una toma clandestina de gasolina, donde mucha gente recolectaba el combustible, lo que provocó más de un centenar de muertos y decenas de desaparecidos.

Entre las cuestiones que brotaron de esta tragedia podemos citar: ¿cómo hemos llegado a un nivel estructural de corrupción, de manera que quienes dirigen las instituciones productoras de petróleo son los mismos que organizan el robo de millones de dólares al país? ¿cómo esta corrupción ha permeado la mentalidad de la población, a tal grado que existen pueblos enteros donde “lo normal” es el robo y la rapiña? ¿por qué en nuestros comentarios y razonamientos resulta tan delicado distinguir un comportamiento inmoral de una consecuencia trágica, como el morir carbonizado en una explosión, a tal grado que pareciera inhumano llamar delincuente a la víctima?

Es enorme la tarea sociocultural que tenemos en México al respecto de los temas de ética y de moral, pero es una gran oportunidad el que el tema “esté sobre la mesa” para cooperar con nuestras reflexiones y propuestas. Los espacios están dados en nuestras instituciones religiosas y educativas y en las redes sociales.

El Papa Francisco nos anima con su mensaje, dado a los trabajadores mexicanos en su visita a México en 2016[1]: “Los invito a soñar el México que sus hijos se merecen; el México donde no haya personas de primera, segunda o de cuarta, sino el México que sabe reconocer en el otro la dignidad de hijo de Dios”.

Está hecha la invitación.

Legal Attempts to Rob Land from India’s Indigenous

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Stanislaus Alla |

Key words: Adivasis, corporations, democracy, land, Indian Constitution, tribals  

Along with the various other communities, India (South Asia to a large extent) is home to the Dalits (formerly known as the untouchables who have been -and still are- discriminated), and, tribals who are nearly 9 percent of the nation’s billion plus population. The Indian Constitution calls the various communities of indigenous people (Adivasis means original or aboriginal people: it is in contrast to the others who arguably came to the Indian subcontinent in waves from elsewhere) as Scheduled Tribes (the Dalits are called Scheduled Castes). In Indian context, people and documents used the word ‘tribal’ descriptively but I shall refer to them here as Adivasis. While the Dalits and their struggles have been documented and are receiving international attention, not many know of Adivasis and the anxieties and uncertainties they face today. Historically, the Dalits suffered discrimination while the Adivasis were exploited economically. Unlike the Dalits, Adivasis lived in the forests and secluded places, surviving and flourishing on a special bond they developed with (jal, jungle, jameen) water, forest and land. 

Adivasis are spread all over India but in some states and localities they are densely populated. They have their own diverse religious world-views. Myths and symbols are their lifeline. While they still retain and celebrate some unique features, Indic/Hindu religious thought, and mythology infiltrated their routine life and mindset. Community is central to them and decisions are made collectively. Semi-democratic processes define their social lives and women are endowed with greater freedom in choosing spouses and making decisions. Living closer to the nature, their life has been eco-friendly. Superstitions and other evils, ancient and modern, have not spared the Adivasis. Down the ages, they have been fighting injustices and exploitation, and in the recent decades, they began to assert their dignity and rights. The governmental policies, projects and interventions (initiated since India’s Independence), efforts of the Christian and other missionaries and non-governmental organizations played a critical role in improving their histories and destinies. 

Education and empowerment, assertion of human dignity and human rights come with a cost.

Groups of people oppose these shifts and developments. Some traditionalists who cherish and uphold hierarchy and inequality and wish that the West-inspired Constitution is NOT there at all (it promises and guarantees to ALL equality, liberty and fraternity, dignity and rights etc.) are upset. In their worldview, the Adivasis are there to serve the others and not to make claims or cultivate dreams. Some others see the Adivasis as a stumbling block to their prosperity. The Adivasis have been accorded exclusive rights over their lands. With the insistence of Jesuit missionary lawyers and others, from the early 20th century the British have enacted land laws that excluded the possibility of a non-Adivasi purchase land from the Adivasis or settle in those zones designated for them. It was primarily to protect the Adivasis from being exploited by the landlords, money lenders and other ‘outsiders.’ Successive Indian governments approved of the same with some modifications, and the Forest Rights Act of 2006 is another avatar of that.

The national and global corporations and individuals have set their eyes on the land of the Adivasis. Hungry for their forests and hills that hold immense mineral deposits and their land for agricultural and commercial purposes, they are determined to rob Adivasis of the land.

The nation’s Supreme Court gave a ruling, made public on 20th February 2019, which said that more than a million ‘tribals and forest dwellers’ (some assess that this number could go up to four million) have to be evacuated from their homes and lands by the respective states before 27th July 2019. Ironically, it is in response to the cases filed by wildlife protection groups.

To claim or ‘reclaim’ ‘their land’ now, Adivasis have to appeal to the courts, furnishing their title-deeds and ownership documents as a proof. Being illiterate and ignorant of the legal systems some Adivasis may not have any documents and those who have are not able fight the cases. Those who failed the Adivasis include the governments (at the national and state levels) and its officials, as well as the general public. There are attempts by the political parties to fight the Supreme Court’s ruling but in the meanwhile fear and uncertainty stares at the lives of Adivasis. The journalists who are sympathetic to the cause and the lawyers, intellectuals, social workers and activists who are fighting such historical injustices are branded as anti-nationals and are threatened with violence or imprisonment.

It’s a concern that does not make headlines or bother a majority of Indian Christians since they live on the West coast or in the southern states and they are not Adivasis. As elsewhere in the world, the meaning and purpose of democracy in India is also shifting fast. Corporate power has come to define and decide who will be where and who will be marginalized and eventually exterminated. An economic model that favors the affluent at the cost of the poor and their livelihood, is an unjust model that need to be confronted. If a democracy –its governments and courts- fails the people, we have to reimagine democracy in an entirely new way.


The Occupied Territories Bill: A Superficial Gesture or a Moment of Solidarity?

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Suzanne Mulligan |


On the 23rd of December 2016 UN Security Resolution 2334 was passed by fourteen votes to nil; four Security Council members with veto powers voted in favour (China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom), while the United Stated abstained. The Resolution concerned Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and it stated that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories represents a “flagrant violation” of international law, and they have “no legal validity”. And while the Resolution was welcomed by much of the international community, Israel responded with a series of diplomatic actions; the Israeli Government recalled its Ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal, the Foreign Ministry was instructed to cancel foreign aid to Senegal, and Ambassadors from over ten countries, including the United States, were either summoned or reprimanded by Israel. 

Towards the end of 2018 the upper house of the Irish Legislature passed a bill called “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018”. Its purpose is to prohibit Ireland from trading in goods and services from within illegally occupied territories. This arises from:

 "the State’s obligations … under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and under customary international humanitarian law; and for that purpose to make it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances."[1]

On 23rd January 2019, the day before the Bill was due before the Dáil,[2] two Irish Bishops, Dr. Noel Treanor and Dr. Alan McGuckian SJ, published a letter in the Irish Times calling on the Irish Government to support the vote. In their letter Bishops Treanor and McGuckian explain:

"These settlements, condemned as illegal by the United Nations, European Union, and the Government of Ireland, stand in the way of a permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians. As a country, we cannot continue to condemn these settlements as illegal under international law and then trade with them, making them economically viable …Trade with settlements in Occupied Territories legitimises their existence and ignores international law."[3]

Furthermore, several former Israeli ambassadors wrote to the Irish Times outlining their concerns on the matter, stating “The Israeli occupation of territories beyond the 1967 borders, now in its 51st year, is not only unjust but also stands in violation of numerous UN resolutions”. They continue: “We are convinced that Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories is morally and strategically unsustainable, is detrimental to peace, and poses a threat to the security of Israel itself. It has been enabled by the leniency of the international community, whose rhetoric regarding the dire situation in Palestine has not been matched by appropriate diplomatic action”.[4]

This was an historical moment for Dáil Éireann. The Occupied Territories Bill had already passed the Seanad. If passed and enacted by the Dáil, Ireland would become the first country in the world to introduce legislation of this nature. In the end it passed by 78 votes to 45, but the Government has yet to enact the legislation, wanting instead to put the Bill through a type of economic “stress test” (Detailed Scrutiny) before proceeding. There is real concern that the Government may yet block this legislation.

The response by the Israeli Government was swift and predictably scathing. Ireland was accused of being “hypocritical” and “anti-Semitic”. And although there is significant public support for this Bill within Ireland, some Irish commentators have raised concerns about it also. There are implications as regards EU law, and it is unclear how the legislation would be “policed”. Nevertheless, the Occupied Territories Bill is a modest attempt on the part of Irish Parliamentarians to respond positively to the plight of the Palestinian people, and to raise global awareness of the ongoing injustices borne by millions in this region. It is also an effort to do something practical – albeit politically and economically challenging – that would demonstrate solidarity with Palestine. The outcome is still unclear, and at the time of this writing there has been no indication from the Irish Government as to when (if at all) the legislation will be introduced.


The Anti-Semitic Claim

The Israeli Government described the Occupied Territories Bill as one of the most anti-Semitic pieces of legislation in the world. Let us be clear on a number of points.

Despite its association with Israel and the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, Israel is nowhere mentioned in the Bill. In fact, this Bill would be applicable to any territories illegally occupied by foreign states.

 Second, it does not call for a boycott of Israel, nor does it deny the existence of the State of Israel. Rather, it seeks to differentiate between Israel and the Occupied Territories, borders that are already defined under international law. One may recognise the State of Israel, trade with it, travel through it, while at the same time identifying the illegal acquisition of territories in its surrounding localities.

Third, what is being condemned here is the illegal taking of land. The moral and legal focus is on a particular government, its policies and its structures, and the extent to which they are oppressive of a people. The anti-Semitic claim is not credible. One is not condemning an entire people based on ethnicity or religion, but rather the activities of a government that stand in direct violation of international law.


Catholic Social Teaching

Commitment to justice in the world is an integral part of the Christian faith. From its infancy, the Christian Church has been called to go out into the world and to transform it for the better. Throughout the centuries this has been realized in a variety of ways, and from the late nineteenth century the core values of the Church’s social mission were formulated into what we now refer to as Catholic Social Teaching. With its strong Biblical roots, we encounter a body of teaching which challenges us to be counter-cultural, to go to the margins, to stand along-side the forgotten of our societies. Like Christ, we must confront all forms of injustice, oppression and discrimination, be they structural or attitudinal.

In the Hebrew Bible the word “teshuvah” means “repentance”. It shares the same root as the word for “return”. Many in the Jewish tradition connect this with the obligation towards justice in the world, namely that it is through our commitment to social justice and human rights by which we “return” to our truest selves, and therefore ultimately to God. Put simply, one’s commitment to the covenant must be shown to be real and effective through one’s daily commitment to justice. And as David Hollenbach explains, “When God’s righteousness begins to be present in human history through human action that promotes greater justice, the glory of God’s kingdom begins to be visible. Acting ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God, thus calls for action that makes both the transcendent righteousness of God and the unsurpassed justice of God’s reign more fully visible among us”.[5]



In Sollicitudo Rei Socialis John Paul II outlines the meaning and implication of the idea of solidarity. Solidarity “is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all”.[6] The message is clear: empathy, concern, or indeed compassion alone are not enough. We are called to work towards the betterment of society and our world. The virtue of solidarity, in other words, is not passive; it pushes us outward towards enagement, right relationship, and social commitment.

 And in Pacem in Terris, John XXIII noted the global parameters of this calling. “The fact that one is a citizen of a particular state does not detract in any way from his [or her] membership in the human family as a whole, nor from his [or her] citizenship in the world community”.[7] There are, of course, varying degrees of responsibility. And we must grapple with conflicting claims of identity, loyalty, culture, religion, and history. Nevertheless, as Hollenbach argues, “Christian ethics forbids actions and policies that in effect treat those of other countries who are in grave need as nonpersons”.[8] Solidarity should not be equated with narrow nationalism, a sort of keeping to one’s own. Properly understood, and in partnership with related concepts such as the common good, the virtue of solidarity helps to counteract exclusionary and isolationist tendencies (either locally or globally) and contribute to reform of unjust structures. And so, in Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis insists: “solidarity must be lived as the decision to restore to the poor what belongs to them. These convictions and habits of solidarity, when they are put into practice, open the way to other structural transformations and make them possible”.[9]

Many might question what, if any, responsibility the Irish Parliament has towards the Palestinian people. Why try to enact a Bill that is difficult to enforce and politically unpopular? And why do it for a people with whom we are not geographically, culturally, or historically connected? Perhaps the best answer is because we can. There is a real opportunity for Ireland to show solidarity with the people of Palestine, and indeed others in similar situations. It is an opportunity to address the double-standard approach evident in so much of our political decision-making. And it in no way diminishes the responsibility to act for justice in other contexts and in other localities. The intent of this Bill is an admirable one: to remedy the ethical inconsistency of vociferous condemnation devoid of meaningful action. 


 A Crisis of Conscience?

The debate over the Occupied Territories Bill in Ireland raises broader questions about global responsibility and moral inconsistency in international decision-making. This is something that the former Israeli Ambassadors allude to in their letter, as do Bishops Treanor and McGuckian. We might call it a global crisis of conscience. The Palestinian/Israeli question is once example of it, but we could also think of climate justice, the refugee crisis, or the trafficking and sale of human beings. Take, for example, the plight of refugees. Their suffering is caused largely by war and conflict. Countries such as France, the United States, and England accrue vast sums of money from the sale of armaments to conflict zones, corrupt governments, and rebel groups. Yet many of the countries that profit from the sale of armaments are unwilling to take in refugees fleeing the violence, and in so doing refute their moral responsibility towards these people.

Returning to the Occupied Territories Bill, one might draw parallels with the response to Apartheid in South Africa. It took time, but eventually the international community recognized the need to ally condemnation with meaningful action. Denunciation of Apartheid alone was proving ineffective – concrete measures were also required. And so countries began to boycott South African sporting events, ceased trading with it, and so on. It caused short-term pain for South Africa to be sure, but without these measures the international community would have facilitated the continuation of a regime that was intrinsically corrupt. In the case of Israel, by trading with illegally occupied territories we not only make them economically viable, we bestow upon them a moral and legal status. To condemn on the one hand while enabling on the other is hypocritical.

This Bill is certainly a modest step, and it might achieve nothing in the long term. But equally it just may inspire/provoke other nations to follow suit, and re-awaken a sense of our moral duty to oppressed communities around the world. Christian faith tells us that while we can hope for a better world we must shoulder the responsibility of working for God’s Kingdom in the here and now. The Occupied Territories Bill, if enacted, will certainly not change the world or create a utopia. It is modest in its ambition. But it may be a humble, tentative first step towards the achievement of a more just and peaceful society. And as Pope Francis reminds us, “the dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised”.[10]

[2] Dáil Éireann is the lower house, and principal chamber, of the Oireachtas (Irish Legislature). The Seanad is the upper house.

[5] David Hollenbach, “The Glory of God and the Global Common Good: Solidarity in a Turbulent World”, CTSA Proceedings, 72 (2017), p.58.

[6] John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, n.38.

[7] John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, n.25.

[8] David Hollenbach, “Who is responsible for refugees”, America, January 4-11, 2016 Issue. Available at:

[9] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n.189.

[10] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n.218.

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