Forum Submissions





September 2017

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

July 2017

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

June 2017

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

May 2017

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

April 2017

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

March 2017

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

February 2017

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

January 2017

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

December 2016

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

November 2016

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

October 2016

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

September 2016 


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

 Hong Kong

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

 United  Kingdom

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

July 2016

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

 Thomas Massaro and Mary Jo Iozzio

Padova: Ten Years Later and …

June 2016

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

May 2016

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

April 2016

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

March 2016

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

February 2016

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

January 2016

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

December 2015

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

November 2015

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

October 2015

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

September 2015

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

August 2015

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

July 2015

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

June 2015

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

May 2015

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

April 2015

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

March 2015

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

February 2015

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

January 2015

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

December 2014

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

November 2014

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

October 2014

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

September 2014

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

June 2014

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

May 2014

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

April 2014

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

March 2014

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

February 2014

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

December 2013

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

November 2013

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

October 2013

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

September 2013

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

August 2013

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

July 2013

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

June 2013

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

May 2013

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

April 2013

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

March 2013

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

January 2013

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

December 2012

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

November 2012

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

October 2012

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

September 2012

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

August 2012

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

July 2012

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

June 2012

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

May 2012

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

March 2012

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

February 2012

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

December 2011

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

November 2011

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

October 2011

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

August 2011

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

July 2011

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

Democracy at crossroads in India!

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

Democracy at crossroads in India!

‘Will India survive’ asks one. ‘This is not the India that the freedom fighters fought for and sacrificed much and dreamed about’ says another. Such captions and titles, alluding to and reflecting the ground reality, are alarming. Each time major elections are conducted in the country, headlines globally refer to India as the largest democracy in the world. Yes, we are, and each time millions go to vote and return from the booths with ink-marked index fingers, it feels us all proud. On the hills and on the plains, the poor and the rich, the young and the elderly, people of diverse religions, languages and food habits walk together to exercise their right, an incredible gift. At least during these times, ‘the forgotten little ones’ are remembered and recognized, and with folded hands the mighty politicians approach and seek their votes.

If the politicians of various national and regional parties are retained at times, at many other times they are displaced with newer members, from the older parties and at times from the newborn parties. Major parties publish their manifestos stating how they differ from the others and what they will do if voted to power. The various wings of media dissect and discuss and debate these agenda, whetting the appetite of diverse constituencies. Such exercises inevitably strengthen the democracy.

While there is much in this process that needs to be acknowledged and appreciated, I like to flag two contemporary developments that are worrisome. The communal factors were not absent in the electoral process in the past but by and large people voted irrespective of one’s religious affiliations. However, these factors have taken a new life and direction and force under the current dispensation. Proponents of democracy worry about how religious riots are orchestrated and passions are aroused in order to control and manage voting patterns. In many instances the contesters won elections, almost predictably, confirming how successful the process of polarizing people is along religious lines.

Another worrisome factor is the role of money in this process. Again, this is not a new thing in itself. Various political parties, overtly or covertly, have been giving gifts to people –bicycles to clothes to Television sets to cell phones to Tabs etc.,- trying to please them, and bind them to vote for them. However, since from a decade and more so now, the role of money in elections has changed remarkably. Contesters of major parties have been distributing money directly and this is not just to the poor people but to the most populations. Obviously, the more one is ready to spend/distribute, the more one is likely to win. It’s sad to see people reducing the entire democratic achievements and processes to a ‘buyable’ commodity. One way to look at it is to examine how free people are to understand and participate in the democratic process and how many un-freedoms block and blind people from realizing their political potential!


An American Horror Story

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Mary M. Doyle Roche |

An American Horror Story

Mary M. Doyle Roche


Election night, November 8, 2016, sets the stage for the seventh season’s first episode of American Horror Story, a cable television program that has featured plenty of spine-tingling suspense, gore, and the supernatural. The reference to the real horrors unfolding in our political landscape was entertaining until it brought home the feeling that watching the evening news is actually scarier than tuning into AHS. September 2017 also brought the release of the remake of IT, a movie based on the book by one of the masters of scary storytelling, Stephen King. IT quickly became the top-grossing R-rated horror film of all time.  IT’s Pennywise, the child-eating, otherworldly clown that emerges from the sewers, is terrifying indeed. But what makes IT truly chilling are the non-supernatural horrors that the main characters, all children, face in their lives at home and at school: bullying, sexual abuse at the hands of a parent, grief over the loss of a sibling.


Horror sells. The Hollywood film industry capitalizes on the knowledge that viewers will pay good money to be scared out of their seats. People are drawn to a tale of terror.  Perhaps stories written by the likes of King and Rowling give us a way to deal with what scares us. They provide a narrative of hope that evil will be conquered in the end, even (and perhaps especially) by the courageous actions of children. 


I had to close my eyes a couple of times during IT. Lately, it seems that I regularly watch the news through the spaces between my fingers, hands over eyes. Apart from the occasional human-interest story, the news leaves me edgy and anxious, with the feeling that things are spinning out of control and that there is nothing I can do about it. The information is often not meant to be empowering, rather it is intended to leave me mired in fears: some real and urgent and some distorted at best, manufactured at worst. 


Horror stories are unfolding before our eyes and in our communities: devastation wrought by storms, fires, floods, and earthquakes, exacerbated by the ensuing suffering resulting from delayed or misguided responses. These dangers are real horrors that demand an immediate heroic response on the part of many, as well as committed solidarity and steadfast generosity on the part of many, many more. And they require the courage to move forward in constructive ways that honor and respect the complex interdependence between human communities and their natural environments.


Other horrors have many on the edge of our seats wondering if there will be healthcare when illness strikes; if our families are safe or whether they will be separated by deportation and travel bans; if our systems of justice (and religious communities) will be able to stand up to or be complicit in racial injustice, gender and sexual violence, and many other forms of discrimination. Again, the dangers are very real. But President Trump tweets and tells us not to worry about global warming and pollution, hate speech, or about deteriorating international relationships. Instead we are to feel threatened by legitimate protest, by the desire for freedom and a livelihood on the part of those who immigrate to the U.S., by science and facts, by challenges to the capitalist logic that shapes “our way of life.” The tweets incite us to an irrational fear of each other.


Courage is the virtue that helps us move forward in spite of, or rather in the midst of our fear. Courage keeps us from becoming paralyzed on our moral journey. Courage, guided by prudence, knows when, how, and with whom to confront fear. It also helps us know when it’s time to be afraid and to discern the difference between irrational fear and fear that is real and reasonable. Courage helps us to resist incitement to fear and/or blame.  Courage helps us to act both in moments of urgency and in proactive ways over the long haul to mitigate danger. Courage is acquired in communities of solidarity where its practice does not depend on power and violence but on commitments to care with and for those with whom we journey beyond fear to freedom and peace.


We need information to participate in and contribute to the common good. We also need good judgement about consuming information and the constant flow of social media. Even this practice requires courage and community. I think I’ll skip the popcorn.




0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Emilce Cuda |


Emilce Cuda


El espacio teológico no escapa a la lógica de los tiempos modernos, donde todo capital -ya sea financiero, social o cultural- se acumula sobre el endeudamiento del prójimo. La lógica del endeudamiento es señalar la falta en el otro. Hacer visible al otro que algo le hace falta para justificar su exclusión del mundo simbólico, que es la cultura y está conformado por  instituciones laborales, familiares, políticas y también académicas. La falta puede ser dinero, pero también conocimiento canónico -es decir, el reconocido como válido. El muro es interno a la cultura, el peaje es un cierto capital acumulado, y la causa de la condena es la falta de ese capital canónico. Si no se tiene algo acumulado no se pasará.


La contabilidad nace en el mundo moderno. Contabilizar es hacer legible lo que se tiene. Eso requiere de poner en el lenguaje lo que se tiene. Si los bienes acumulados tienen nombre por todos aceptado, puedan ser legibles y puestos en el haber. Pero si los bienes acumulados no tienen nombre serán ilegibles, no podrán ser contabilizados y se estará en deuda por falta de bienes legibles. Eso es la cultura como mundo simbólico.


El conocimiento es un bien más a contabilizar, siempre y cuando lo que se sepa sea nombrado como conocimiento, factible de ser leído y luego contabilizado; es decir, reconocido. Si lo que se sabe no es legible para la contabilidad establecida, se estará en falta, es decir endeudado. Eso producirá que, cada vez que se hable de una relación injusta que se sabe perjudica a un hombre concreto, si esa relación no ha recibido un nombre aún que la torne visible, consiguientemente no podrá ser contabilizada y por ende quien la denuncie será acusado de estar en falta, endeudado con el saber canónico, porque está hablando de algo que aún no ha sido contabilizado por no figurar en ningún canon.  Esto lleva a que la acusación más común con la que se enfrente un intelectual que practique un discernimiento situado hoy sea la siguiente: “usted sostiene ese juicio porque no sabe lo suficiente aun; vaya, hágase de un concepto, y vuelva”.


La falta del saber canónico deja fuera del mundo simbólico, es decir fuera de la palabra pública, el reclamo por justicia de millones de personas en el mundo actual, entre ellos a los teólogos. A menudo, sobre algunos teólogos moralistas, aquellos que se dedican a una ética teológica aplicada a la realidad concreta y contemporánea -es decir, situada-, cae la condena por deuda. Dicho de otro modo, se tiende a endeudarlos teológicamente. De acuerdo con la lógica de la contabilidad mencionada anteriormente, ciertos discursos académicos son cuestionados por falta de conocimiento. Argumentos tales como “usted dice eso porque no estudió lo suficiente, aun no leyó a fulano, o desconoce a mengano en su propio idioma”, son escuchados en conferencias y medios especializados cuando lo que se está rechazando es en realidad una visión de mundo. En resumen, se lo acusa de falta de saber más para entender bien. No basta cualquier saber, sino el saber del que ya está dentro del mundo simbólico y ha nombrado la realidad para luego levantar barreras de entrada al mundo del conocimiento evitando que la acumulación en ese campo se vea amenazada, ya que sin ella perdería su legitimidad.


La descalificación desde el lugar del saber es difícil de percibir por el descalificado, siempre se considera en falta; sin embargo es otro modo de desconocimiento. En la mayoría de los casos, quien la padece cree que aún le falta algo, que debe irse y estudiar más para saber más, y luego volver a probar suerte de ser aceptado a pasar el muro, o no. No puede negarse que en muchos casos no sea así, y que la ignorancia ciertamente juegue un papel perjudicial. De ninguna manera se está queriendo decir que la tradición no tenga un valor en sí misma y que cualquier posición encarna la verdad absoluta, sino todo lo contrario. Se está tratando de hacer visible la imposibilidad del diálogo si no se reconoce también un saber en ese otro saber encarnado que da el sufrimiento por falta de trabajo, de comida, de alimentos, de educación, de dignidad. Cuando este último saber no es contabilizable tampoco es legible, de modo que no podrá ser colocado en la columna del haber.


Pongamos por caso el saber teológico. Si un argumento se desarrolla, casi de manera filológica, en torno al discurso de un teólogo antiguo o medieval, cuya herramienta era la filosofía -por ser el recurso de la época-, el mismo es considerado teología y, en consecuencia, su autor es considerado un teólogo legítimo. Sin embargo, cuando un argumento se desarrolla, casi de manera profética, en torno a la demanda por necesidad contemporánea, cuya herramienta son los datos concretos que visibilizan un problema social -por ser también el recurso de la época-, el mismo no siempre es considerado teología y, en consecuencia, su autor no siempre es considerado teólogo. En la actualidad muchos de los más reconocidos especialistas en autores antiguos y medievales no son teólogos, como es el caso de Peter Brown, hoy el mayor especialista en San Agustín según reconoce la academia. Del mismo modo, no resulta difícil encontrar especialistas reconocidos sobre los teólogos medievales entre los filósofos no católicos. Sin embargo, no se dice por eso que estos son teólogos, del mismo modo que se niega esa condición a aquellos cuyo discurso no versa sobre cuestiones medievales para fundamentar puntos de vista ético-teológico sobre problemas sociales del siglo XXI.


Esto lleva a reflexionar seriamente qué legitima hoy la práctica ética teológica, para no caer ni en academicismos ni en generalidades románticas. Si la teología, en última instancia, se ocupa de reflexionar sobre Dios y sobre la obra creada por Dios -es decir, el mundo y el hombre, su dignidad y su destino final-, entonces, cuando un teólogo eticista se ocupa, de manera situada, de los problemas actuales que ponen en peligro al mundo y al  hombre: ¿hace teología o sociología? Cuando un teólogo toma partido por los que más sufren las consecuencias del pecado manifestado en las estructuras injustas del mundo contemporáneo, ¿está haciendo teología o política? Por último, cuando un teólogo eticista trata de reunir todas las herramientas interdisciplinarias posibles que le permitan un buen discernimiento sobre un problema particular que amenaza a un hombre concreto: ¿está haciendo ética teológica o ideológica? Marcar el campo de la ética teológica como tarea estrictamente académica, o como pastoral teológica sin fundamento teórico, es un camino sin muchas salidas. Poner fin al pedido de cuentas entre unas posiciones y otras puede ser uno de los caminos para abrir nuevos espacios de dialogo, entre los teólogos y con otras disciplinas.








0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Tina Beattie |


Tina Beattie



At a time of humanitarian and environmental disasters and political crises, overshadowed by the threat of nuclear war, it is hard to believe that the Catholic hierarchy is engaged in vicious in-fighting over Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and his leadership of the Church. This is less a case of Nero fiddling while Rome burns, as of Rome fiddling while the world burns.


Yet these alarming signs of the times may not be entirely unrelated. It’s important to avoid over-simplification, but there is a particular kind of Catholic who seems to have been emboldened by the election of President Trump in the US and the result of the Brexit referendum in the UK, when the British voted by a small majority to leave the EU.  The success of both these campaigns has fuelled a rise in extremism, and Catholic far right alliances are proliferating in the blogosphere. Opposition to Pope Francis runs high in these groups, whose members often show a nostalgic yearning for the more doctrinally rigid era of Pope Benedict XVI.


The problem is that the political silence and ecclesial in-fighting of the hierarchy at times such as these gives free rein to those who conduct campaigns of censorship and divisiveness within the Church, so that the poison of hatred begins to ooze through all levels of Catholic life. The most famous recent case has been the outcry against Father James Martin SJ’s book,  Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity, which has unleashed a wave of homophobia against institutions associated with him.


Yet Fr Martin enjoys powerful support and, while it is distressing to be the target of such hostility, his high profile accords him a certain security in terms of his livelihood and status. The same is not true for women theologians and activists who experience similar attacks, but who are often left to struggle on in isolation and obscurity.

Last month, the Catholic Women Speak Network (CWS) released a statement on extremism and social media in support of one of its members, Rebecca Bratten Weiss, who was told in August that her contract with the Franciscan University of Steubenville would not be renewed, even though she had a busy schedule of work for the autumn semester. She was shown screenshots of conversations she had participated in on social media, as evidence for why she was no longer employable by a Catholic institution. None of the evidence used against her was doctrinally heterodox, but unlike the far better known case of James Martin, no member of the hierarchy has spoken up in her defence. The CWS statement also refers to the voluntary cancellation of a lecture that Professor M. Shawn Copeland was due to give at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, after an attack by a group called Church Militant. Like the Lifesite News website which launched a scurrilous attack on Bratten Weiss, these groups represent very small minorities which are in no way representative of the exuberant vitality and diversity of the worldwide Church. Nevertheless, the Catholic hierarchy seems more ready to clamp down on educated and faithful women theologians than to resist pressure from these minority factions with their few episcopal supporters. No wonder women are leaving the Church in droves, and taking the next generation with them.


We are living through a dangerous era – inside and outside the Church – when there are no fences left to sit on. Each of us has to decide where we stand, and why. That is not to deny the need to seek dialogue and engagement with those who are on a different side, but in times of rapid and unpredictable change which has devastating implications for the poorest and most marginalised people, and indeed for life itself on Planet Earth, we cannot prevaricate on fundamental issues of human dignity, social justice and care for creation. Perhaps, in finding himself pushed to the margins by a self-serving clerical elite, Pope Francis is exactly where he needs to be, and that is a situation which asks each of us to decide in turn where we need to be.

I have always been puzzled by the apparent self-contradiction in Jesus telling his disciples that ‘whoever is not against us is for us’ (Mk 9:40; Lk 9:50), and then also saying ‘whoever is not with me is against me (Matt 12:30, Lk 11:23). Perhaps we need to be discerning in how we interpret these sayings in different contexts. There are harmonious and peaceful times when the former may be true and support for a cause can be silent and implicit, but there are violent and divisive times when one must make a decisive choice as to who one stands with and why. St Paul cautions us to avoid personality cults among the followers of Christ, but that does not exempt us from having to ask which leaders best empower and enable us to hear Christ’s call and to follow him in the free, risk-taking and joyful adventure of our Catholic faith.





0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Anthony Egan |

Augustine our Interlocutor

By Anthony Egan

In an age of populism, political uncertainty and generalised sabre-rattling Augustine of Hippo (whose feast is celebrated on August 28th) offers us – particularly those of us who live and work on Augustine’s continent of birth – a valuable spiritual and intellectual dialogue partner. Despite many differences we may have, particularly his attitudes to women and who might be saved, Augustine feels a lot like our contemporary.

We live in similar times. Augustine lived in a time of social turmoil: an empire in freefall, the rise of barbarism, a crisis of reason. In our times we see similar crises: the hints of a break-up of one global bloc (the European Union), the weakening of another (the United States) through internal political turmoil, nuclear brinkmanship in East Asia, and populist irrationality on every continent. In Africa this past month we have observed a president survive a no-confidence parliamentary vote despite overwhelming evidence that he is manifestly corrupt (South Africa); another president re-elected with a laughable 98.8% of the vote (Rwanda); and an election marred by pre- and post-poll violence and allegations of election fraud (Kenya).

What might we as ethicists learn from Augustine to help us in our theological reflection and praxis?

My sense is that we could do well to reread his great work The City of God. written as apologetic in response to those who saw the collapse of the Roman Empire as the fault of the Christians. By stressing the difference between the Heavenly City and the Human City, Augustine offers believers in difficult times a hope rooted in realism, an ethic for the ‘between times’ in which he – and we – live.

By highlighting the distinction between Heaven and Earth, sacred and historical time, Augustine reminds us that no civilization can be equated with the reign of God. It is God not humanity who inaugurates and fulfils the reign of God; humans merely cooperate in or obstruct it in history. All human institutions contain within themselves the holy and unholy. Human actions either move the process forward – or temporarily delay it.

More than anywhere else, this is manifested in the ethics of public life. At the risk of making Augustine seem like a proto-Hegelian, my sense is that human society moves dialectically. Great social advances that promote democracy, economic justice, gender equality, racial justice and human rights (few of which I suspect Augustine could have envisioned) are brought to a halt, slowed or temporarily reversed by counter-movements like authoritarian populism, neoliberal capitalism, homophobia, sexism and xenophobia. But out of this re-emerge counter-counter-movements that refine and renew positive values. Unlike Hegel – and more akin to Augustine’s vision – there is no ‘end of history’, no perfect Human City. For Augustine, and for Christian ethicists I would suggest, all moral progress is contingent, awaiting final fulfilment in the reign of God.

How then might ethicists, particularly those in Africa, read our recent history?

In South Africa, despite the failure to impeach President Jacob Zuma, we might read the latest events as a positive sign in two respects. First, the organs of democracy have not all been captured by the corrupt. The Constitutional Court, through its independent reading of the Constitution, was able to give the green light for Parliament to vote by secret ballot. Second, a small but significant section of the ruling party voted acording to  their consciences. Ethicists need to build on this by preaching, teaching and writing about constitutionalism, the rule of law and the formation of conscience in public life.

Though the evidence of political repression and pre-election manipulation in Rwanda was considerable and depressing, and the 98.8% vote for President Paul Kagame was highly suspicious, we need to recognise that under Kagame Rwanda’s economy has grown rapidly, considerably reducing levels of poverty and illiteracy. Moreover, though authoritarian, Rwanda has become one of the least corrupt countries in Africa. Not everyone who voted necessarily did so out of fear. Ethicists’ tasks in such a context need to focus on building on the positive developments while presenting the moral case for greater democracy.

Even the Kenyan cases offers elements of hope. Shocking as electoral violence is, in a paradoxical way it is at least a sign that citizens care about democracy and who rules them. (This is in contrast to many of the more stable Western democracies where voter apathy is common). That allegations could be made about electoral fraud (despite a consensus to the contrary by most international election observers) should be seen as a sign of the widespread real and perceived corruption in the country. Ethicists should perhaps focus on exhorting all concerned to fight corruption and to manage political passions in a more peaceful and rational manner.

Augustine’s genius lay in reminding us all that Christians have a duty to live in the Human City with our eyes on the Heavenly City. This is not an ethic of withdrawal into our peaceable little ‘kingdoms’, but one of engagement. Does this mean sometimes getting our hands dirty? Yes. Does this mean we have to sometimes find a compromise between the ideal and the downright awful? I believe it does.

Augustine reminds us that we do not yet live in the reign of God. He tells us to get on and do our best in the world while keeping our eyes on the prize. We cannot as ethicists and Christians avoid it.      

Anti-Discrimination Legislation for LGBT Persons

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Eric Genilo |

Anti-Discrimination Legislation for LGBT Persons

Although the Philippines is considered one of the more tolerant countries in the Asia-Pacific region with regard to homosexuality, there are still many attitudes and practices that foster discrimination and even violence against LGBT persons. A 2014 UNDP/USAID country report on LGBT rights in the Philippines observes that “cultural and social attitudes towards LGBT people are complex, with signs of acceptance, particularly among the young,” but there are questions “whether that acceptance is based on LGBT Filipinos conforming to stereotypes and occupational niches.”

While the country had elected its first transgendered woman to Congress in 2016, LGBT-related killings are also a reality, with 28 cases reported during the first half of 2011. Human Rights Watch released a report this year on discrimination against LGBT students in secondary schools in the Philippines. Based on interviews and group discussions with LGBT students from 10 cities in the country, the report documented various types of abuses these students experience such as physical bullying, sexual assault and harassment, verbal abuse, and cyberbullying.

Although there are a number of cities and municipalities that have local ordinances against discrimination of LGBT persons, the lack of a national law against discrimination makes it difficult to achieve comprehensive and consistent protection.

Both the Philippine Congress and the Senate have pending bills prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. The progress of these bills is being carefully monitored not only members of the LGBT community but also by various religious groups. Supporters of these bills see them as necessary legislation that will provide comprehensive legal protection to a vulnerable and marginalized group in society. The bills seek to prohibit any form of sexual or gender-based discrimination on a variety of situations such as health care, military service, employment and education.

Opponents of the bills, especially among conservative religious groups, are concerned that such legislation will pave the way to the legalization of same-sex marriage. Another concern is the absence of any religious exemption in the current version of the bills, which can expose religious institutions to sanctions if they are perceived to be excluding LGBT persons from access to certain services or positions because of religious reasons. For example, Catholic orphanages that do not allow adoptions to same-sex couples may be penalized. Some faith-based institutions that traditionally practice gender segregation in worship, work or school spaces may be sanctioned if they do not allow transgendered persons into certain places or activities that are consistent with their gender identification.

The discussion on the bills in social media has already been marked by offensive and harsh language from some conservative bloggers. It is important for the Philippine Church to be a voice of reason and compassion on this issue. It needs to express its concerns about religious freedom without casting aspersions on those who disagree with it. The Church has lost much credibility and goodwill already in the past when it used strong-arm tactics to unsuccessfully block reproductive health legislation. We hope that the Church has learned its lesson and will take the path of dialogue and compromise when publicly participating in the discussions on legislation to protect LGBT persons from discrimination and violence.



“So sorry!”. Reflections on the moral importance of an everyday word

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Ingeborg Gabriel |

“So sorry!”. Reflections on the moral importance of an everyday word.

Ingeborg Gabriel


This is a continuation of my last blog in which I voiced some concern about the eroding moral basis of our societies, not least because democratic politics depend on constructive and polite behaviour as the basis of dialogue and compromise.[1] This time I want to reflect about the gradual disappearance of the word “sorry”. My observations are based mainly on the Austrian context, so if any of you have different experiences, please bear with me and let me know - it would greatly cheer me up.

“Sorry” is a verbal reaction in everyday life that indicates that we recognize having wronged somebody, in small or bigger ways and that we want to set things right. We say sorry when we unintentionally bump into another person in the tram, when we forget to do some errands as promised or – more seriously – we also say sorry when we have really hurt a person we love. In all these otherwise rather different situations “sorry” is or was used habitually, often without giving it much  thought. It belonged to life as the sort of stuff that makes relations flourish, because it does justice to the other.

It is worth giving it some thought, therefore, that for some time, so it seems to me, the word has disappeared or is used much more rarely. People no longer say “sorry” when they bump into each other, do not do their jobs etc. Either they simply pass over the incident without comment or they accuse the other of wrongdoing, particularly if this person protests and demands an apology. This more or less aggressive failure to admit that one has done something wrong or impolite leaves a hollow feeling in the other. There was a time when it became fashionable to say that people who apologise too often have a guilt complex. This psychological wave, however, has passed. What remains is a void which seems a perfect example of how moral erosion works: When x no longer says sorry, others will continue to excuse themselves for a while. But the more often we meet non-excusers (and are perhaps told that we have a guilt complex) the more we will feel uncomfortable about the imbalance. After all: it is not always me who is wrong. Niche cultures can be kept alive in the family and with closer friends. But in professional environments it becomes difficult since apologising where others never do may ultimately hurt my reputation. So nolens volens one starts to conform and no longer says “sorry!” This, however, leads to what might be called a Kantian paradox: Though I think this to be the appropriate maxim for everybody, I do not want to bear the cost of a practice that becomes disadvantageous and out of tune. I can stick to it at my own expense but that will not achieve very much, if the other no longer catches the point.

This is most regrettable. Because behind the small word “sorry” stands a great and long-standing Christian culture for which asking and granting forgiveness was and hopefully still is a core element. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” is the only plea of the “Our Father” based on reciprocity. Everyday politeness and recognition of smaller and larger wrongdoing constitutes the little sister of the great plea for forgiveness. It is part of the great cultural project of creating “habits of the heart” that further reconciliation and harmony. If we give up on them, our lives become much less civilized. Politics these days demonstrates it. For Hannah Arendt it was, ultimately, the inner deserts that were responsible for the emergence of totalitarianism. Modern culture and its focus on freedom are a good experiment as long as they are accompanied by a culture of respect. The ability to self-critically acknowledge wrongdoing is one of its major virtues. We will never be perfect, but as long as we understand what’s wrong there is hope. More importantly, so as to stress this  major point, one could even add that apologies create a caesura (dt. Zäsur, i.e. a rupture in time...), giving rise to the watershed moment or creating the necessary turning point that brings about a change. The recognition of guilt and the readiness to forgive are what it needs to make a new beginning. This holds true for personal as well as for political life. Forgiveness, therefore, for Arendt is one of the great human abilities to be cultivated and a precondition for democratic politics: “The discoverer of the role of forgiveness in the realm of human affairs was Jesus of Nazareth. The fact that he made this discovery in a  religious context and articulated it in religious language is no reason to take it any less seriously in a strictly secular sense.”[2] - an insight that deserves all the attention, particularly today.

[1] Cf. Bagehot, ‟Get stuffed. British Politics has become dangerously bad-tempered” (The Economist July 22nd 2017, 28).

[2] Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, University of Chicago, Chicago 1998, 238. www. (24th July 2017).




0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Jorge Jose Ferrer |


Jorge José Ferrer, S.J.

Universidad de Puerto Rico


William Jenner (1749-1823) se suele identificar como el padre de la vacunación y de la inmunología. Es verdad que investigadores ingleses y alemanes se habían percatado, antes de Jenner, de que la infección previa con la viruela vacuna prevenía la posterior infección con la viruela humana. Más aún, la variolación se había practicado desde tiempos muy antiguos. No obstante, para nuestros fines, podemos decir que la inoculación de James Phipps, llevada a cabo por Jenner el 14 de mayo de 1796, inaugura la era moderna de las vacunas. A lo largo del siglo XX, la vacunación se ha convertido en una práctica rutinaria en medicina, teniendo un papel muy relevante en pediatría. Gracias a las vacunas se han podido erradicar enfermedades muy serias como la viruela. También la poliomielitis se ha erradicado en casi todo el mundo gracias a las vacunas. Sin embargo, durante los últimos años se ha constatado también resistencias a la vacunación. Las razones son múltiples: religiosas, filosóficas y también de desinformación, como ha sido la vinculación de las vacunas con el autismo. En este trabajo abordamos, desde la óptica bioética, el debate que se ha generado a partir de la inclusión de la vacuna para prevenir la infección con el virus del papiloma humano (VPH) entre las vacunas pediátricas obligatorias. A partir de este caso particular, elaboraré una criteriología para valorar éticamente las vacunaciones impuestas de manera coactiva por las autoridades sanitarias.


Existen más de 200 tipos distintos de virus del papiloma humano (VPH), relacionados entre sí. Se propagan a través del contacto sexual y algunos de ellos ponen a la persona infectada en riesgo de desarrollar cáncer[1]. La infección con el VPH es la infección de transmisión sexual más común en los Estados Unidos. Se calcula que podría afectar a 20 millones de personas en ese país[2]. Su impacto a nivel global también es significativo[3]. En la mayor parte de los casos, es una infección benigna y asintomática. El organismo la combate eficazmente y no deja secuelas. Pero otros casos, puede ser oncogénica. Las infecciones por el VPH pueden causar varios tipos de cáncer, tanto en hombres como en mujeres, siendo el cáncer del cuello uterino el más frecuente. También puede ocasionar cáncer del ano, oral, de garganta, vulva, vagina y pene[4].

Como ya se dijo, la infección por el VPH ocurre por transmisión sexual. No es posible la transmisión por cualquier otro tipo de contacto casual en la convivencia ordinaria en hogares, escuelas u otros ámbitos laborales. Cualquier persona sexualmente activa está en riesgo de contraer la infección. El riesgo aumenta si se tienen múltiples compañeros sexuales o si se sostienen relaciones sexuales con personas que han tenido múltiples parejas. Alrededor del 50% de los casos de infección tiene lugar en mujeres jóvenes, entre las edades de los 15 a los 34 años, poniéndolas en riesgo de desarrollar cáncer del cuello del útero[5]. Cada año se diagnostican alrededor de 12,000 casos de dicho cáncer en los Estados Unidos, causando alrededor de 4,000 fallecimientos[6]. Se trata, pues, de un importante problema de salud pública.


En 2006, el Food and Drug Administration (FDA) de los Estados Unidos aprobó la primera vacuna para prevenir la infección con los VPH: Gardasil, fabricada por la Compañía Merck. Esta vacuna protege contra los subtipos 6, 11, 16 y 18[7]. Es importante destacar que los subtipos 16 y 18 son responsables por el 70% de los casos de cáncer del cuello del útero, mientras que los subtipos 6 y 11 causan alrededor del 90% de las verrugas anogenitales[8]. Los subtipos 31, 33, 45, 52 y 58 son responsables por el 20 por ciento de los restantes cánceres relacionados con el VPH[9]. Desde 2015 está disponible en el mercado otra vacuna, también fabricada por Merck, cuyo nombre comercial es Gardasil 9. Fue aprobada por el FDA en diciembre de 2014. La nueva vacuna protege contra los subtipos 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 y 58[10]. En los ensayos clínicos de Gardasil participaron más de 29,000 voluntarios y más de 15,000 en los de Gardasil 9, según datos de los Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) de los Estados Unidos[11]. Además de las vacunas de la compañía Merck, existe otra vacuna producida por GlaxoSmithKline, cuyo nombre comercial es Cervarix, que protege contra los subtipos 16 y 18. En 2016, Glaxo dejó de mercadear esta vacuna en los Estados Unidos por razones comerciales[12].

Dichas vacunas se recomiendan para pacientes pediátricos a partir de los 11 años, pero se pueden aplicar a pacientes entre los 9 y los 26 años, según las instrucciones de la propia empresa fabricante del Gardasil 9[13]. A partir de los resultados de los ensayos clínicos y conforme a las recomendaciones de las autoridades sanitarias, las vacunas son eficaces para la protección contra los subtipos de virus para los que han sido preparadas.  


A pesar de que las autoridades sanitarias recomiendan la vacunación contra el virus, existe un amplio debate en torno a estas vacunas y una fuerte oposición a su uso por parte de algunos sectores. En este trabajo prescindo de los grupos que se oponen a las vacunas en general. Me limito a considerar los argumentos que se adelantan específicamente contra las vacunas del VPH. Hay que evaluar si la inclusión de esta vacuna en el catálogo de vacunación imperado para acceder a las escuelas está justificado desde el punto de vista sanitario y ético. Es importante destacar que el primer paso para la justificación ética es el establecimiento de la justificación salubrista. Sin serias y apremiantes razones de salud pública, no se pueden justificar las limitaciones a la libertad, los inconvenientes y costos de una intervención médica coactiva.

El caso de las vacunas del VPH es distinto en aspectos importantes de otras vacunaciones impuestas de manera coactiva a los menores de edad en la actualidad. Javitt, Berkowitz y Gostin identifican algunas de estas diferencias[14]. Los autores repasan las justificaciones que históricamente se han invocado para fundamentar los mandatos legales requiriendo la vacunación de los menores de edad como condición para su escolarización[15]. Javitt, Berkowitz y Gostin recuerdan que las leyes imponiendo la vacunación obligatoria surgieron, en los Estados Unidos, a principios del siglo XIX con el advenimiento de la vacuna contra la viruela.

En 1905, el Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos, en el caso conocido como Jacobson v. Massachussets, articuló los principios básicos para el ejercicio de los poderes coercitivos del Estado en el contexto de la vacunación obligatoria: 1) Debe existir una necesidad de salud pública, 2) debe darse una relación razonable entre la intervención y el objetivo de salud pública que se persigue, 3) la intervención no debe ser arbitraria ni opresiva, 4) no debe imponer riesgos a la salud de la persona a la que se aplica la vacuna[16]. En la actualidad, en una cultura que tiene en alta estima el respeto por la autonomía de las personas, habría que añadir la necesidad de sopesar el conflicto entre los valores de respeto por la legítima autonomía de las personas y el interés social que representa la promoción de la salud pública. La discreción parental con respecto a la educación y al cuidado de la salud de sus hijos representa los valores asociados con la autonomía, mientras que la promoción de la salud pública representa valores de justicia social, no-maleficencia y beneficencia.

A partir de lo que se ha dicho en el párrafo anterior, voy a proponer una criteriología básica para la evaluación bioética de intervenciones coactivas de salud pública. Desde mi punto de vista, para poder imponer una intervención médica con carácter obligatorio deberían darse las siguientes condiciones: 1) El interés de salud pública es apremiante, 2) no hay maneras menos restrictivas de conseguirlo, 3) la relación entre la intervención y la finalidad de salud pública perseguida es razonable y está científicamente fundamentada, 4) los riesgos que la intervención representa para los individuos son proporcionados al bien social que se quiere conseguir, 5) la intervención es costo-efectiva, 6) se debe procurar conseguir un consenso social en torno a la intervención, de tal manera que la misma pueda contar con el apoyo y colaboración de la mayor parte de los ciudadanos.

Como señalan Javitt, Berkowitz y Gostin, las vacunas contra el VPH son difieren, en aspectos importantes, de las vacunas requeridas tradicionalmente para el acceso a la escolarización. Se ha tratado de infecciones con altos índices de morbilidad e incluso de mortalidad, que se pueden transmitir dentro del ambiente escolar[17]. En las vacunaciones obligatorias tradicionales, la relación entre el objetivo de salud pública (evitar la transmisión en la escuela) y la vacuna es incuestionable. Concluyen que el caso de la vacuna del VPH es distinto: se trasmite por vía sexual (no por contacto casual) y no parece representar un riesgo grave para la mayor parte de las personas que se infectan. A estos argumentos de los autores, debe añadirse, teniendo en cuenta el criterio de costo-efectividad que he propuesto, que la vacuna del VPH es una intervención cara. Según el portal electrónico de las farmacias Walgreens, la primera dosis tiene un costo de US$249.99 y la segunda y tercera dosis tienen un costo de US$214.99 cada una[18]. Cada país tiene que examinar si se trata de una intervención costo-efectiva, teniendo en cuenta los recursos disponibles.


Pero antes de sugerir proponer una conclusión, necesitamos atender el argumento que más peso ha tenido entre los que se oponen a que la vacuna contra el VPH sea una de aplicación obligatoria a los niños y adolescentes: las alegaciones de efectos adversos significativos. De hecho, en España existe una Asociación de Afectadas por la Vacuna del Papiloma (AAVP) [19]. Esta asociación alega que los efectos adversos son significativos, incluyendo cefaleas, pérdidas de visión, parálisis y enfermedades autoinmunes, entre otros trastornos. Es evidente que es preciso corroborar si dichas alegaciones están suficientemente comprobadas y se trata de un número estadísticamente significativo. Hay que decir que, a pesar de las alegaciones de efectos adversos severos, las autoridades sanitarias siguen afirmando la seguridad de la vacunas contra el VPH. En una declaración fechada el 12 de enero de 2016, la Agencia Europea del Medicamento (AEM) indica que ha llevado a cabo una revisión de las informaciones recibidas vinculando las vacunas del VPH con los síndromes de dolor regional complejo (CPRS por sus siglas en inglés) y taquicardia postural ortostática (POTS por sus siglas en inglés). La AEM concluye que las pruebas presentadas no sostienen la existencia de un vínculo causal entre las vacunas y el desarrollo de dichos síndromes. El estudio llevado a cabo por la agencia no evidenció que la prevalencia de estos síndromes sea mayor en las jóvenes que han recibido la vacuna de lo que sería normal esperar en esa población. El informe concluye que los beneficios de la vacuna superan los efectos colaterales adversos conocidos hasta ahora, con la salvedad de que la seguridad de todos los medicamentos tiene que ser continuamente monitoreada para responder a la emergencia de nuevos datos en el futuro[20]. De la misma manera, los CDC siguen recomendando la aplicación de la vacuna: “Las vacunas VPH son seguras y se recomiendan para las niñas y niños de las edades de 11 o 12 años[21].” Las principales asociaciones profesionales también mantienen su apoyo a la vacunación para prevenir la infección por el VPH. La Sociedad Americana del Cáncer dice en su portal Web que las vacunas para prevenir las infecciones con el VPH son seguras y eficaces, y pueden salvar vidas[22]. Una posición similar tiene la Academia Americana de Pediatría[23]. Estos apoyos no significan que no existan reacciones adversas, como las hay para todos los medicamentos. Por eso es preciso que se continúe con la evidencia epidemiológica.


De hecho, en un estudio publicado recientemente, Rebecca E. Chandler y sus colaboradores revisaron los informes sobre efectos adversos relacionados con las vacunas VPH registrados en la base de datos VigiBase de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS). La misma está dedicada a la vigilancia farmacológica. Chandler y sus colaboradores concluyen que existen informes de efectos adversos severos, compatibles con los síndromes CRPS y POTS, y también con el de fatiga crónica (CFS). Estos efectos adversos, señalan, son desproporcionadamente mayores cuando se comparan con otras vacunas administradas a mujeres entre los 9 y los 25 años de edad. La relación causal no se puede establecer con certeza, por lo que los autores recomiendan que se haga un estudio más amplio para resolver definitivamente la cuestión y disipar las dudas del público en torno a las vacunas VPH[24]. Por lo tanto, aunque existe un fuerte consenso oficial a favor de la seguridad y eficacia de estas vacunas, hay que también existen algunas dudas razonables. Por lo tanto, es imperativo que continúe la vigilancia, acompañada de información completa al público.

Antes de pasar a formular algunas conclusiones, vale la pena decir una palabra sobre una objeción de índole estrictamente moral que se podría plantear. La aplicación de esta vacuna a edades tempranas, ¿no equivale a una tácita promoción o, al menos, aprobación de la actividad sexual precoz y de la promiscuidad sexual? Desde mi punto de vista, esta es una objeción que carece de mérito. La vacunación puede y debe ir acompañada de una oportuna educación sexual, incluyendo la dimensión moral de la sexualidad. La Sociedad Americana del Cáncer señala que la edad en las que se inicia la actividad sexual, las enfermedades de transmisión sexual y los embarazos precoces son semejantes cuando se comparan los adolescentes vacunados con los no vacunados[25]. Además, no debe olvidarse que la infección puede transmitirse en la actividad sexual dentro del matrimonio. 


En la actualidad hay que admitir, como ya se ha dicho, que la opinión científica predominante favorece la seguridad y eficacia de las vacunas para prevenir la infección por el VPH, pero también es preciso decir que existen cuestionamientos que requieren que la vigilancia y la investigación continúen. También es preciso remarcar que todos los fármacos tienen efectos colaterales adversos, que pueden llegar a ser severos en algunas personas. Por ejemplo, un antibiótico tan usado y probado como la penicilina puede provocar una reacción anafiláctica severa en algunas personas, que podría llegar incluso a causarles la muerte. Por lo tanto, no se pueden descartar que haya casos de efectos adversos e incluso severos en el caso de la vacuna VPH. Como es habitual en medicina, se trata de juicios de proporción: ¿Son los riesgos potenciales proporcionados al beneficio que se espera de la intervención?


¿Significa esta opinión mayoritaria de las autoridades sanitarias que queda demostrada la legitimidad ética de la vacunación pediátrica coactiva, como condición para acceder a las escuelas, en el caso que nos concierne? Recordemos la criteriología propuesta: 1) El interés de salud pública es apremiante, 2) no hay maneras menos restrictivas de conseguirlo, 3) la relación entre la intervención y la finalidad de salud pública perseguida es razonable y está científicamente fundamentada, 4) los riesgos que la intervención representa para los individuos son proporcionados al bien social que se quiere conseguir, 5) la intervención es costo-efectiva, 6) se debe procurar un amplio consenso social, de tal manera que la misma pueda contar con el apoyo y colaboración de la mayor parte de los ciudadanos.


El interés de salud pública es legítimo, aunque, en mi opinión, puede cuestionarse que sea apremiante, dado que existen otras maneras menos restrictivas de conseguirlo, como lo son la educación, la vacunación voluntaria y las pruebas médicas habituales de las mujeres sexualmente activas (pruebas rutinarias de Papanicolaou). La fundamentación científica de la intervención puede considerarse establecida, en el estado actual de nuestros conocimientos. Quedan, sin embargo, dudas legítimas sobre la posibilidad de efectos adversos en un nivel superior al de otras vacunas. Además, se precisa un estudio económico para determinar si la vacunación coactiva es más costo-efectiva que las medidas de educación, vacunación voluntaria y pruebas rutinarias de seguimiento que estamos proponiendo como alternativa.

En mi opinión, el mejor curso de acción en este momento sería no requerir la vacuna como requisito para la admisión de los niños a las escuelas. Sin embargo, se debe dar a los padres toda la información científicamente validada sobre la vacuna, incluyendo las recomendaciones favorables de los cuerpos regulatorios y asociaciones profesionales relevantes. El Estado también debe buscar los medios para que la vacunación sea económicamente accesible para las familias que decidan vacunar a sus hijas e hijos. Por lo tanto, en este momento parece que informar y aconsejar sean éticamente requeridos, la vacunación obligatoria no parece estarlo en el momento actual. Mientras tanto se debe abrir un amplio debate social sobre este tema, también para crear conciencia sobre el problema de salud pública que representan el VPH y los riesgos que, a largo plazo, representan para miles de personas en todo el mundo.







[1] Accedido: 4 de agosto de 2017.

[2] Pomfret T. C. et al, Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: A Review of Safety, Efficacy, and Pharmacoeconomics: Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 36 (2011) 1-2.

[3] Accedido: 28 de agosto de 2017.

[4] Accedido: 4 de agosto de 2017.

[5] Pomfret T. C. et al, Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine…, 1-2.

[6] Ib., 2.

[7] Patient Information about GARDASIL®, Accedido: 6 de agosto de 2017.

[8] Pomfret T. C. et al, Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine…, 2; Accedido: 6 de agosto de 2017.

[10] Ibídem. Cf. Joura E. A. et al, A 9-Valent HPV Vaccine against Infection and Intraepithelial Neoplasia in Women: NEJM 372 (2015) 711-723.

[11] Accedido: 6 de agosto de 2017.Los CDC son el principal instituto de salud pública de los Estados Unidos con la misión de proteger la salud pública por medio de la vigilancia y prevención de las enfermedades en Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo.

[14] Javitt G., Berkowitz D. & Gostin L. O., Assessing Mandatory HVP Vaccination: Who Should Call the Shots?: Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 36 (2008) 384-395.

[15] Ib, 388-390.

[16] Ib., 388.

[17] La única excepción suele ser la del tétano, que no es contagioso. No obstante, el riesgo de adquirirlo en el ambiente escolar es alto (por heridas o rasguños) y es una infección altamente peligrosa.

[19] Accedida: 2 de agosto de 2017. Énfasis en el original.

[22] Accedido: 7 de agosto de 2017. Traducción no oficial, hecha por el autor de este trabajo.

[24] Chandler R. E. et al, Current Safety Concerns with Human Papillomavirus Vaccine: A Cluster Analysis of Reports in VigiBase®: Drug Safety 40 (2017) 81-90.

Moving from Words to Action after Charlottesville

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Michael Jaycox |

Moving from Words to Action after Charlottesville

Michael P. Jaycox


A few weeks ago, my family made a trip to Virginia. Although the purpose of our trip was to attend a funeral, we had an extra day to visit Thomas Jefferson’s plantation before returning home. While taking the “Slavery at Monticello” tour, the tour guide informed us that Jefferson freed only seven out of the 600+ persons he had enslaved, most of whom were biologically related to him as a result of his having raped Sally Hemings. Someone asked the tour guide whether Jefferson had the legal power to free all the persons he had enslaved, in addition to those who were his own children. The guide confirmed that Jefferson did have this legal power, but she was interrupted by several other tourists, all white men, who rushed to Jefferson’s defense, offering various reasons why freeing all of them simply would not have been practical at the time. It was an infuriating interruption, but hardly surprising. White supremacy takes a long time to die.


We visited Monticello on Thursday, August 10, while in the valley below members of several white supremacist groups were preparing to commit domestic terrorism under the pretense of free speech on Friday and Saturday. Many other individuals and groups were descending upon Charlottesville to counter-protest the so-called “Unite the Right” rally, joining students and faculty of the University of Virginia, local organizers, activists, and clergy (Catholic clergy notably were not present). Local activist Tanesha Hudson succinctly summarized the systemic issue behind these events: “This is the face of supremacy. This is what we deal with every day, being African-American, and this has always been the reality of Charlottesville. You can’t stand in one corner in this city and not look at the master sitting on top of Monticello. He looks down on us. He’s been looking down on this city for God knows how long. This is Charlottesville.”


In response to these realities, four members of the group Ethicists Without Borders authored a statement condemning white supremacy and racism in unequivocal terms and invited other Christian theological ethicists to sign. The invitation was intentionally limited because of an undeniable awareness that white supremacy is a Christian problem, a system of racial domination that white Christians created, and which Christian theological ethicists among others are responsible for dismantling. The statement not only condemns white supremacy, it invites its signatories and readers to resist this evil with action. In particular, the statement calls theological ethicists to resist white supremacist evil by infusing our teaching and our writing with political resistance.


I have learned from my involvement with anti-racism organizations that professional educators, who occupy positions of relative power in our respective institutions, have a “gatekeeping” role. We have some control over access to valuable resources, among them the critical thinking skills imparted by a liberal arts education and our selves as educators of, allies in, and collaborators for the common good. Many of us already share these resources with our students. The statement more specifically asks that we direct these resources toward exposing and dismantling white supremacy and racism for the common good.


One way to expose and dismantle, for example, is to avoid the temptation to act as neutral debate facilitators in our ethics classrooms. Not every ethical issue has two sides to be taken up by equally well-informed disputants in an ideal universe; our pedagogy should discourage perceptions that there might be. Educators cannot afford to abrogate our moral authority and the power it confers on us by failing to stand on the side of racial justice in public, partial, and explicit ways. By invoking this civic authority, we also empower our students to do the same. If we allow false moral equivalence to reign unchecked, as Marcia Chatelain warns, we risk creating more “little Richard Spencers,” the mouthpiece for the “Unite the Right” rally.


Moreover, we must be clear with our students that ethics is no mere intellectual exercise in taking this or that position on an issue. Traci Blackmon reminds us that doing ethics necessarily includes the risk of placing your body in the street to support or dissent from specific laws and policies, depending on whether they erode or maintain white supremacy. While it is necessary and good to counter-protest rallies organized by open white supremacists, such counter-protest is not sufficient in view of Jefferson, “the master sitting on top of Monticello.” We must also continue to organize against the broader social system of white supremacy at the federal, state, and local level, clearly maintained and expanding under Republican politicians. These politicians may wear respectable business suits instead of white hoods, but the policy agenda of Trump, Ryan, McConnell, and company on everything from health care to taxes, maintains white supremacy and imperils black lives.


Finally, as a white person raised in and working now to dismantle white supremacy, I want to encourage other white people, as oppressors who continue to benefit from this structural violence, to recommit ourselves to the struggle against this system. I want to remind us as well of pitfalls. For example, when media images and videos of white supremacists circulate, the psychological pressure to create distance that repositions us as “the good white people” is very high. As Maureen O’Connell cautions, Catholic ethicists might be particularly prone to assume that we can undo our own socialization into white supremacy. But individual white moral progress is not the point of anti-racism work; the point is dismantling the white supremacist system. This social goal must continue to be the collective purpose of our work in solidarity with persons of color. In the meantime, grace and sin will coexist in uncomfortable tension as we work for this common good.



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