Forum Submissions





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

GUERRA DE DIOSES: Posverdad o fin del Secularismo

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

En América Latina y el Caribe, en el campo de la moral social, asistimos nuevamente a una Guerra de Dioses. Los teólogos eticistas, aunque lo deseen, no podrán mantenerse al margen de este nuevo escenario. Las terceras posiciones no existen. Siempre se está en uno de los dos lados. La condición de tibios no es evangélica. “Quien no confiesa a Cristo confiesa al demonio”, dijo Francisco.[1] Por consiguiente, los teólogos eticistas sociales: o estarán del lado del 90% de los pobres trabajadores desechados, o estarán del lado del 10% de los rentistas dueños del 90% del capital -financiero y natural.[2] Estarán del lado del Dios verdadero que se encarnó, vivió entre los pobres y murió por ellos, o del lado del dios dinero que lo colgó de un madero y sigue crucificando. Como dijo Francisco, “la política es la forma más alta de caridad”. Si esto es así, no solo la política cae en el campo de la ética y de las virtudes, sino también hacer política nos hace virtuosos. Pero política para la administración de los bienes comunes es lucha por derechos y no por verdades, lo contrario es metafísica. Quizás sea conveniente recordar que la lucha por verdades trascendentes es teología, pero la lucha por verdades inmanentes es idolatría. En contra de lo que se piensa últimamente, no estamos en la época de la post verdad sino en el fin del secularismo, es decir, en la vuelta a la lucha por verdades. De la teología política al totalitarismo hay solo un paso.

El comienzo de la modernidad, con su modelo de Estado Nación, se caracterizó por ser una lucha política con fines particulares económicos, pero enmascarada en lucha por verdades religiosas.[3] El escenario social se hallaba atomizado entre los distintos sectores de la burguesía agrupados de acuerdo a los distintos gremios, incluyendo estos tanto a patrones dueños de los medios de producción como trabajadores y aprendices, tratando de llegar a la administración del Estado para garantizar sus intereses sectoriales. No obstante, la lucha que se libraba por intereses particulares, siempre estaba oculta detrás de verdades religiosas.[4] Dicho de otro modo, públicamente no hablaban de intereses sino de principios, por lo cual el argumento con el que movilizaban a la acción era religioso y no político, y los pobres no eran más que un ejército al servicio de ídolos.

La lucha política moderna, hasta la Revolución Industrial, fue lucha por verdades. A partir del siglo XVIII, con los cambios cualitativos en el modo de producción, la lucha política por verdades religiosas deviene lucha política por derechos sociales. Por primera vez en la historia los sectores trabajadores tendrán palabra pública mediante sus organizaciones sindicales primero, y partidarias más tarde. El escenario cambia, y los gremios por rama de trabajo devienen sindicatos de trabajadores. El escenario social se divide en dos: los de arriba, formado por una burguesía dueña de los medios de producción; y los de abajo, formado por todos los trabajadores. Cada uno de estos sectores armara su propio partido político con la finalidad de llegar al gobierno -o administración de los bienes comunes por parte de un Estado centralizador de bienes y cuerpos-, para garantizar: en el caso de la burguesía, sus intereses individuales de clase; en el caso de los trabajadores, sus necesidades colectivas vitales.

A partir de la Revolución Industrial, la verdad sale del campo de lo político como tema de interés de los de abajo y es reemplazada por lucha  de derechos sociales de parte de los trabajadores. Eso fue el secularismo, y no la separación Iglesia Estado, como simplemente se cree. Lo que se separa es lo religioso de lo político, es decir lo metafísico de lo práctico, la verdad de los derechos.[5] Esto permitió que los sectores pobres, es decir los trabajadores, aquellos que no viven de la renta sino de su trabajo para sobrevivir hasta el dia siguiente, por primera vez en la historia se organicen sindicalmente y arman sus propios partidos políticos como estructuras de representación de sus propias necesidades con la intención de que fuesen reconocidas por el Estado como derechos.

En América Latina, durante el siglo XX, en muchos países esto fue eficaz. Los sectores trabajadores dejaron de participar en luchas que no eran parte de sus necesidades vitales, desplazando la falsa religión de la política, y enfocando en una conquista de derechos que les garantizara una vida digna para ellos y su familia. La organización sindical y los partidos políticos de los trabajadores no fueron solamente, durante el siglo XX, meras instituciones mediadoras de salario. Por el contrario -con la ayuda de la pastoral cristiana en sus organizaciones-, fueron también instituciones sociales que lucharon por condiciones de vida digna. Un ejemplo de esto son la larga lista de derechos sociales conseguidos por los sectores pobres -es decir trabajadores-, como por ejemplo: jornada de ocho horas, seguro en el empleo, acceso al crédito para viviendas, educación pública primaria, secundaria y terciaria, sistema salud y previsión social.

En el siglo XXI el escenario cambia. La lucha por derechos sociales vuelve a convertirse en lucha por verdades. Los sectores pobres, trabajadores ahora desempleados, vuelven participar de la Guerra de Dioses. Ya no salen a las calles a demandar por derechos sociales sino por verdades funcionales a sectores particulares en el poder del Estado. No les importa, a los trabajadores, si en un día derogan todos los derechos conseguidos en cien años de lucha política y sindical, con tal de saber la verdad sobre la corrupción. Los partidos políticos se convirtieron en agrupaciones que incluyen sectores que hasta ahora pertenecían a partidos opuestos, y las organizaciones sindicales son reemplazada por movimientos sociales, ya que el sindicalismo no es posible cuando no se tiene trabajadores juntos, por ocho horas, seis días a la semana, en un mismo espacio.

Esta nueva forma que adquiere la Guerra de Dioses hace que -con la ayuda del falso discurso religiosos-moralista de los medios de comunicación hegemónicos- los pobres trabajadores estén más interesados en que el dinero que ha caído en manos profanas vuelva a manos sagradas -aunque nunca a las suyas-, que en la pérdida cotidiana y progresiva de todos sus derechos. Dicho de otro modo, si en esta lucha pierden, a cambio, todos los derechos sociales conseguidos y con ellos su dignidad, no les importa, siempre y cuando el dios dinero no sea profanado, es decir, no caiga en manos que no sean sagradas, como si el origen de las grandes fortunas no estuviese manchado de corrupción. Parecería que el dios dinero también salva, purifica y santifica, sin embargo no es sustentable ya que no puede mantener en la vida al mismo mundo por él creado.

No intento poner en debate aquí el tema de la corrupción de los gobiernos -la cual se da tanto en gobiernos de corte popular como de corte burgués-, sino el cambio de eje del conflicto social. Lo sagrado vuelve a ocupar la escena como fetiche de la explotación de los de arriba sobre los de abajo -si es que aún pueden ser explotados en un escenario de capitalismo financiero y extractivista que ha puesto fin al trabajo asalariado.

La verdad es campo de la metafísica y no de la ética y la política, como ética práctica. Cuando la verdad pasa a ser el centro del debate político comienzan los problemas como: totalitarismo y caza de brujas. No significa esto que la verdad no existe, que no importa, o sobre lo cual no debamos reflexionar y predicar. Significa que la verdad no es algo que debe debatirse y juzgarse desde los escaños de la política. El criterio sobre el que se juzga en el campo de la política es el de justo-injusto, y no verdadero o falso, bueno o malo, bello o feo. La verdad puede ser su fundamento, pero no su instrumento enmascarador. No se trata de una distinción academicista. Por el contrario, cuando los criterios de juicio se desplazan de un campo a otro, los primeros que sufren son los más pobres.

La ética latinoamericana de la liberación se destaca por hacer una propuesta nueva. La misma consiste en una ética construida a posteriori de la realidad cultural. Dicho de otro modo, teniendo como fundamento principios a los que se considera verdaderos -en el caso del cristianismo, los evangelios-, se juzga la realidad de manera culturalmente situada y se proponen acciones que tengan como fin la vida buena y digna para todos los hombres, considerados estos como imagen de Cristo. Sin embargo, algunos sectores teológicos cristianos -olvidando que para ellos el único Dios verdadero es el Dios Uno y Trino que se encarna en la segunda persona de la trinidad para rescatar al hombre de las garras del pecado al precio de la vida-, en lugar de defender estructuras políticas que  representen y garanticen una justa distribución de los bienes para garantizar la vida digna de hijos adoptivos de Dios a todos los hombres, usan su pluma para justificar teológicamente procedimientos políticos que no hacen más que entronar ídolos. Laudato Si, es un canto de alabanza al único Dios verdadero, y no a ídolos opresores.

La ética teológica tiene -como todo en la vida- dos alternativas: defender a las creaturas de Dios que están sufriendo, o defender un sistema que mata. Si hacen lo primero son desestimados como teólogos y acusados de hacer política. Si hacen lo segundo son vistos como en el camino de lo políticamente correcto. Cabe preguntarse de qué dios son teólogos. Un teólogo eticista que pretenda ser fiel al evangelio, a la tradición cristiana y católica, al magisterio episcopal y pontificio, deberá replantearse si el campo de la moral social no es también su campo misionero. La paz depende de la justicia social, pero también de la misericordia. Sin misericordia toda ética teológica corre el riesgo de perder su legitimidad moral, al margen de su precisión académica.





[1] Francisco, Homilia a los Cardenales, 14 de Marzo de 2013.

[2] Cf. Piketty, Thomas, El capital en el siglo XXI, Fondo de Cultura, 2014.

[3] Cf. Cavanaugh, Bill, El mito de la violencia religiosa, Nuevoinicio, Granada, 2010.

[4] Cf. Thompson, E.P. La fromacion de la Clase obrera en Inglaterra, Capitan Swing, Madrid, 2012.

[5] Marramao, Giacomo, Poder y Sacularismo, Peninsula, Barcelona, 1989.

China’s New Global Initiative and Authentic Development

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Mary Yuen |

Development and connectivity are often regarded as important features of a society in the present age of globalization. Development should not refer only to economic growth in terms of value of goods and services produced, measured by Gross Domestic Product, but must lead as well  to improvement in human welfare, quality of life, and social well being, taking into consideration the needs of the future generations.  In an era of globalization, communication, exchange and connection among different places at various levels are inevitable and necessary. Transnational activities, whether economic or social, can bring mutual benefits, if these activities are not equal and respectful ways.      


China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a new global program that has potential to bring about human development and interconnection, if it is conducted in a right direction. According to the Chinese government, BRI is a multifaceted economic, diplomatic and geopolitical undertaking, creating a web of infrastructure, including roads, railways, telecommunications, energy pipelines, and ports, as well as education and real estate. It claims that BRI would serve to enhance economic interconnectivity of over 63% of the world’s population and facilitate development across Eurasia, East Africa and more than 65 partner countries. BRI has two primary components: the overland Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), and the sea-based 21st-century Maritime Silk Road (MSR). Together, they form the “belt” and “road”.


China emphasizes the co-operative nature of the initiative and its objective of “win-win outcomes”. In his address to the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation in Beijing in 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping, described the BRI in terms of “peace and co-operation”, “openness and inclusiveness”, “mutual learning”, and “mutual benefit”. The strategy is designed to stimulate corporate partnerships within the Belt & Road countries, leading to increased international collaboration.


However, behind this rhetoric of harmony and mutuality, some analysts point out that the underlying agenda is to foster an emerging China-led operating system for the international economy, with an intention to assume a more prominent global leadership role through the BRI, acting as the development vehicle or the hardware of trade and investment.


In fact, in December 2017, speaking to representatives of nearly 300 overseas political groups in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Communist Party would proactively push forward the construction of a global network of partners and will proactively push for political solutions for international hot issues and difficult problems. The intention to be a global leader is obvious.


With the rapid expansion of the scale, sectors and destinations of Chinese investment abroad, controversy has also been growing over its social impact on host countries, especially those which are unable to regulate the foreign firms.  In the past, Chinese firms investing in these countries have been accused of engaging in poor labour, safety and environmental practices, bribing government officials and violating human rights. The undesirable results for China’s image have prompted Beijing to introduce regulations, guidelines and policies to govern the conduct of Chinese firms investing abroad. The conduct of Chinese state-owned enterprises and private firms investing along the Belt and Road must be subjected to international scrutiny.  


In Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples), Pope Paul VI stated that “development involves building a human community where human persons can live truly human lives, free from discrimination on account of race, religion or nationality, free from servitude to other men or to natural forces which they cannot yet control satisfactorily. It involves building a human community where liberty is not an idle word, where the needy Lazarus can sit down with the rich man at the same banquet table. (#47)” This is a new humanism in which people are treated with dignity – can enjoy the higher values of love and friendship, of prayer and contemplation. This is what will guarantee authentic development— transition from less than human conditions to truly human ones. (#20)


With the Belt and Road initiative, China is pursuing a new development strategy that will broaden its role in global markets and production networks as well as its potential geopolitical influence. Whether China can set a new ethical standard that will shape the governance of labour, safety and environmental standards on a global scale is an imperative issue. Or will the Chinese firms or state-run enterprises maintain a low standard in countries that have weak governance?


Through the BIR, China is well-placed to be the dominant player in facilitating the transition and roll-out of green and renewable energy infrastructure across Eurasia. This is especially so since the Trump administration has ceded American influence in international climate politics. However, some critics also query whether China brings in clean energy or problematic energy (such as nuclear power) to the developing countries.


Recently, in December 2017, there is news about Sri Lanka formally handing over the strategic port of Hambantota (on the belt and road route) to China on a 99-year lease when the new government struggled to pay its debt inherited from the former government to China. Some critics said such act threatens the country’s sovereignty. Moreover, in May 2018, the newly elected Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia would talk to the Chinese government about renegotiating what he called “unequal treaties,” including a Chinese company-led $14 billion East Coast rail project in peninsular Malaysia.


All these news alert us whether the relationship between China and other countries can be built on an equal base and directed toward solidarity and authentic development through BRI. Hope BRI can really contribute to authentic human development and interconnectedness among various countries at a global level.









Arguments Catholic Ethicists Must Refute on the US Immigration Crisis

2 Comment(s) | Posted | by Mary Jo Iozzio |

The U.S. is in the throes of an Immigration Crisis that it is ill equipped to handle, given the extreme bipartisan non-cooperation (or is it ennui?) in both houses of Congress, a grossly ill prepared President, and a populace largely underserved by public education and unaware of systemic protections to elitist power. Members of Catholic communities are split on responses to the crisis since many have been convinced that southern border immigrants and immigrants from predominantly Islamic nations pose a threat to US citizens’ comfort and reveal intolerance with “others”. Unfortunately, many simply ignore the history of theft, murder, enslavement, segregation, and other oppressions that built this nation by backbreaking labor in fields, factories, and homes for those with “choice” and privilege. Clearly, those who were enslaved had no choice, immigrants ventured the distance with hope, but those arriving now –as displaced persons, refugees, and asylum seekers—face the unfamiliar with despair. How are we Catholic ethicists in the US to respond in the face of the crisis at our southern border?

If Catholics in the U.S. are to unite and effectively campaign for immigrant justice, regardless of their legal status, arguments about the Immigration Crisis need to be understood so as to explain and to refute them well. We ethicists have to be prepared and know the arguments against (more and merciful) open borders as thoroughly as time and energy allow. And we ethicists are encouraged to commit to social activism (consider the Facebook posts of “Catholic Social Thought, Politics, and the Public Square” and “Ethicists without Borders” among other groups for ideas on what to do or where to start).

Current U.S. Government practice on immigration is a product of an administration that enjoys the support of many Catholics: 48% of the Catholic vote went to Donald Trump. Trump-voting Catholics try to justify their support with a number of arguments. Having listened carefully to such persons and their concerns, we summarize their arguments here (admittedly, Ramon lives in Arizona, a southwestern state that has an ambivalent love-hate relationship with its border neighbors in Mexico, where the debates he encounters often reflect a personal stake among his interlocutors in the outcome).

Catholics who support the current government policy of Zero-Tolerance for those crossing the US-Mexico border illegally say that the policy is an overt enforcement of the law that permits entry only to those persons with paperwork. Form DSP-150, B-1/B-2 Visa or a valid passport and a Border Crossing Card issued by the US Department of State grants legal admission of Mexican citizens to the US; persons from other nations may be granted entry by a Visa (or Visa Waiver Program status) plus a valid passport. Supporters argue “simply” that the policy is upholding the law by returning those seeking entry illegally to their places, their properly papered legal context, i.e., their home countries.

The logic of enforcement exposes a failure to recognize the desperation experienced by most of those attempting to reach safety over the U.S. border without papers: these immigrants are seeking refuge in the U.S. to escape poverty or, more troubling, the well-documented violence in their homelands. They are not coming to the U.S. for vacation or criminal gain but for the promises that “This Land” holds for them and their families. To “place” them back in their home countries would risk their death. But, they argue, the law’s intent is U.S. protection; if death awaits them home, it is not our fault. Yet, this outcome is more than likely for many and the U.S. may be complicit in their deaths. Sadly, many Zero Tolerance supporters reject attempts to nuance discussion with information on the terror that threatens individuals and families at home. Similarly, their appeal to the law exposes a failure to recognize the thoroughgoing bias since colonial times against and social, political, and (assumed) legal constructions of inferiority and danger about people of color at the border now.

Catholics who support current policy argue also from a logic that compares the number of deaths at the border to deaths that result from abortion. Since abortion kills more people than those killed or who die of dehydration or traumatic injury on the border, it is more important, they argue, to follow the policies of and lend support to the political party that best verbalizes opposition to abortion. This logic exposes the failures of a single-issue voting platform popular during the 2016 campaign season and affirmed through the election until now; it exposes also how such a narrowly conceived protection of vulnerable life co-opts Catholic teaching for an agenda of xenophobia and isolationism. Moreover, a methodology of utilitarianism is at play in manipulating the conscience of the nation, at least until national and international news broadcast in visual, talk, and print media the separation of children and babies from their parents. Nevertheless, utilitarianism could go another way if the maximum benefits possible were extended to all who are vulnerable (but the preferential option for the majority of people remains deliberately elusive).

            When Catholic social teaching is raised about the right of persons to immigrate and emigrate, Catholics who support current administration policy insist that those rights imply legal immigration and emigration. However, as the USCCB affirms, “A country’s regulation of borders and control of immigration must be governed by concern for all people and by mercy and justice. A nation may not simply decide that it wants to provide for its own people and no others. A sincere commitment to the needs of all must prevail” (Third Principle). The right of countries to defend their borders is always trumped by universal human rights to life. The majority of persons on our border and whose families are being separated and incarcerated are Catholics and with them we U.S. Catholics profess that our one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church transcends borders and nation states. To remind those who are placing law and national security over Christ and his Church requires breaking down their legal and philosophical walls that support current government policy and replacing them with justice for immigrants, migrants, refugees, displaced persons, and asylum seekers.

Christian Social Ethics and its Theological Relevance through the Lens of Veritatis Gaudium

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

In his Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium (27th December 2017) Pope Francis highlights the relevance of (academic) theological formation and research as a major path for the renewal of what he calls the evangelizing mission of the Church. The first part of the constitution is dedicated to a deep reflection on the goals and functions of theological formation as such and of ‘ecclesial studies’ as a constitutive means to fulfil the mission of the Catholic Church in our era. He considers our time to be characterized by “a true epochal shift”, “marked by a wide-ranging anthropological and environmental crisis”, as the Pope says with reference to His Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium (2013) and the encyclical letter Laudato si’ (2015).

Theological formation and research is therefore expected to contribute to the necessary “process of discernment, purification and reform” (EG30). Following the Apostolic constitution “a fitting renewal of the system of ecclesiastical studies” is necessary in order to enable theology to play a strategic role in this process further on. Without Christian Social Ethics and/or Catholic Social Teaching being explicitly mentioned as specific subjects of theological formation the whole reflection seems to be clearly based on the idea that theology has to start from a thorough analysis of the social and cultural conditions of life in specific contexts. Only with a precise and engaged awareness of the various situations in which Christian witness and ecclesial activity are to be performed will theological reflection  be apt to reach its addressees. Social and cultural analysis must not be confined to a description of circumstances, but needs to focus on the needs and the capabilities of the poor – including the basic conditions of ecological integrity. Thus the inquiry on the conditions of life will at the same time reveal the conditions in which the mission of the Church has to be fulfilled and for which Christian theology has to provide an apt language and mode of thinking.

Within this framework presented in the first part of the Apostolic constitution strong allusions are made to the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching – especially to the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes and to the encyclical letters concerning the “social question” and its globalization in the Post-Vatican II-period up to the most recent ones. The reflection reads as a strong plea for a kind of bottom up or inductive method of reflection. It explicitly refers to the “social question” as an “anthropological question, one affecting the fate of the entire human family” – alluding to Populorum progressio (14) – and stipulates a theological contribution to what Pope Benedict called “the globalization of humanity in relational terms, in terms of communion and the sharing of goods” in his encyclical letter Caritas in veritate (42).

The Constitution identifies four criteria to prove the aptness of ecclesial studies to meet these challenges. To put it very roughly, these criteria aim at a profile of the theological formation that enables both the students and the teachers  (a.) to develop a faith-based fundament (“spirituality”) of global solidarity; (b.) to promote a “culture of encounter” and to cultivate a “wide-ranging dialogue” going beyond the limits of the community of faith itself; (c) to engage in an interdisciplinary if not cross-disciplinary approach to the areas of fragmented knowledge. This is meant to create deeper understanding, to integrate the diverse pieces of knowledge under a unifying perspective gained through a deep understanding of the unity of theory and practice, knowledge and virtue, truth and love, from the score of Christian faith: the mystery of Christ; (d.) to build a global – or rather: a  catholic in its original sense of ‘all-including’ – network of theological studies and research, which not only promotes partnerships between remote places in the world, but meets the multifold contextual challenges and conflicts and involves theological students and experts in the search for solutions as theologians and faith-based activists. “Theology must doubtless be rooted and grounded in sacred Scripture and in the living tradition, but for this very reason it must simultaneously accompany cultural and social processes, and particularly difficult transitions. Indeed, ‘at this time theology must address conflicts: not only those that we experience within the Church but also those that concern the world as a whole’” (Apostolic Constitution 4,d; quote from Pope Francis’ Video message to the Papal Catholic University of Argentina in 2015 on the occasion of the centenary of its Theological faculty). This involves “the willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process”, thus acquiring “a way of making history in a life setting where conflicts, tensions and oppositions can achieve the diversified and life-giving unity. This is not to opt for a kind of syncretism, or for the absorption of one into the other, but rather for a resolution which takes place on a higher plane and preserves what is valid and useful on both sides” (ibid., quotes: EG 217-218).

Notwithstanding the fact that plenty of fundamental questions have to be dealt with in order to precisely work out the suggested understanding of theology itself and of theological formation and research in particular, the reflections of Pope Francis may be basically taken as a plea for a strong social analysis and social ethical research which is needed to empower the presence and to promote the inspiring dynamic of Christian faith and discernment in modern societies – in terms of justice, mercy and the performance of true love.

Thus they might well encourage the expectation that Christian Social Ethics, representing an important domain of theology, be explicitly implemented within the revised normative framework of ecclesial studies which is presented in the Second part of Veritatis gaudium. But this is not the case as it hasn’t been in the framework of Sapientia Christiana (1979). Social ethics does not appear as a discipline of its own which has to be taught in the regular theological courses and is thus guaranteed in the ecclesial studies’ infrastructure of Church run institutions or theological faculties integrated in Catholic or secular universities.

This discrepancy clearly shows up in the present situation of academic Christian Social Ethics in probably most places of Catholic theology worldwide. Compared with the claim to strengthen a theology which is contextually aware and sensitive of social, cultural and ecological crises we experience an alarming institutional weakness of social ethics within academia in general and specifically within the system of ecclesial norms for theological formation. Given that Catholic ethicists generally agree with the Pope’s analysis which underlines the importance of ethical reflection and an active presence of Christian convictions in the socio political arena it is not a marginal issue how to overcome the precariousness of resources social ethical teaching and research are able to rely on in the theological realm.

Having dealt with this situation for a longer period before, the German speaking Association of Social Ethics (which assembles academics from Germany, Austria and Switzerland) published a Position Paper on The Importance of Christian Social Ethics for Society, University, Theology and Church in March 2018 (the text is available in German, English, Spanish and Italian as preprint on: The English version is also available at

Our paper stresses the importance of social ethical reflection with regard to the global challenges:

The current situation of humanity, in which the different continents, nation-states and peoples are growing together, raises significant issues of justice at all levels. Among other things, we must respond to what justice and sustainability mean in the current global change, and how they can develop their normative effects under the conditions of freedom, plurality, demographic and digital change, as well as the complex economic and financial systems and, last but not least, under the fragile approval of the institutions of international politics. Particularly the pressing questions, which today arise in a new and existential way, concern the necessity of averting, respectively, moderating the overheating of the earth's atmosphere and - closely related to this - the challenges of migration, peacekeeping and human rights abuses. (Position Paper, 2) 

It therefore underlines the necessity to strengthen the resources for social ethical engagement in both theory and practice. Although it mainly refers to the situation of academic theology in Germany and the German speaking countries, it focuses on a much broader horizon. Being clearly aware of the fact that in many other countries the resources for teaching and research in the social ethical realm are not as extensive as they are in Germany, Austria and Switzerland the German speaking social ethicists aim to contribute to a broader and interconnected reflection on how to promote personal resources, institutional infrastructure and guarantees and thus to solidarily strengthen our global catholic social ethical potential.

Our text reflects the importance of social ethics as a source to help develop standards of responsibility, justice and solidarity within pluralist and secularized societies. It also pays attention to the function of social ethics for the development of the (worldwide) church and, of course, specifically in the realm of academic theological formation and ecclesial studies. With regard to the mission of the Church it says:

If we look at the focus of current conflicts within a world society, pressing socio-ethical challenges are emerging. The world is at the same time globally connected as well as torn apart by deep upheavals. Nowadays it is an essential practical test for the Christian message of salvation to actively contribute to the solution of these problems. However, this requires a reflective combination of basic theological insights combined with socio-theoretical competence. Christian social ethics itself is a place of open and controversial discourse. It provides a sense of orientation and reflection on Christian beliefs in and for modern societies. […] Today the discourses on regulatory, economic-, social-, peace-, bio- and environmental ethics are more on a global level. Therefore, a further internationalization of socio-ethical research is required. So Christian social ethics is indispensable for the scientifically founded struggle of the World Church for a responsible contemporary commitment in a globalizing world. (Position Paper, 5).

Regarding how urgent it is to accompany the social, economic, ecological challenges and political conflicts of the present time with ethical discernment, with a sense of responsibility and solidarity we need to grow the awareness that social ethical knowledge and sensitivity have to be trained and cultivated also within the programs of theological formation.

The changing constellations of Christian responsibility in a pluralizing and globalizing world, as well as the complexity of the reference sciences to be taken into account, demand methodological and content-related expert knowledge, particularly for the translation of Christian faith into secular and plural societies. A belief that wants to enable people to assume responsibility needs social-ethical competence. As a reflection on responsible contemporaries, Christian social ethics therefore belongs to the essential core of theology. (Position paper, 9).

Marianne Heimbach-Steins, Münster









Remembering and Honoring Professor Sr. Anne Nasimiyu Wasike : A Concerned, Socially Engaged and (not so) Little Sr. of St Francis

3 Comment(s) | Posted | by Teresia Hinga |

Several weeks ago,  I received an email through the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians  network t to the effect that Sr Anne Nasimiyu, a Founder member of the Circle  had  passed on. I was profoundly shocked by the  announcement considering that there was no  prior news of her being sick. I wondered what could have caused the untimely and sudden death.  Could it have been an accident ? For a  moment I was in denial , thinking that the announcement was possibly a mistake .. may be it was  not even true.. ?

Initially  it was explained that she had died after a short illness, possibly malaria….

This explanation left me not only with a sense  of loss and grief  but also a sense of lament . If  indeed she died of malaria, she would have succumbed to one of  the diseases that are preventable and even curable with the appropriate medical care and facilities.  Pondering  the possibility that  she might not have had  access to the appropriate kind of care  when she needed it  left me also with a palpable  sense of  irony and paradox. This is because Sr Nasimiyu was a member of a Franciscan African Order of nuns called the “The Little Sisters of St Francis.” In my view,   while the word Little in their  title signals the spirit of humility that marks their service and ministry particularly to the marginalized and vulnerable, their works of mercy are anything  but little. In Kenya ,  for example, they have created St Francis Community  Hospital in Kasarani which is one of the better Faith -based  healthcare facilities  intended  to make quality healthcare more accessible  particularly for the vulnerable and impoverished.[1]  That  Sr  Nasimiyu could have died due to lack of access to quality care when she needed it struck me  as  as paradoxical and even ironic  given the commitment of this group of concerned and engaged(consecrated)  women to bring such care to those who need it but cannot access it or afford it.

While  Sr Nasimiyu’s sudden death was  described in the obituary simply as the outcome of  a short illness, her sudden  passing reminded me that the possibility of  fair , just , affordable and efficacious healthcare as a human right is still a pipe dream for  many in Kenya , Africa and indeed globally. This rather haunting thought  kept surfacing in my mind as I contemplated Sr Nasimiyu’s  untimely death . I was reminded of Paul Farmer, who  considers poverty ,   an outcome of what he calls “pathologies of power “ often inscribed in what he calls “structures of violence[2] . I was reminded also of  Paul Farmer’s profound insight that poverty is pathogenic i.e. that it generates disease ,  the kind often referred to in the literature as Diseases of Malaria. I  was reminded also of his insight that such diseases  often reach pandemic proportions and are disproportionately lethal among the impoverished .. The poor end up dying what Farmer calls “stupid deaths” because these deaths are  for the most part preventable .  Through their  healthcare services , the  Sister of St Francis are contributing to the reduction of such premature yet   preventable deaths.

Meanwhile ,, Jeffrey Sachs  in his book The End of Poverty  comes to a similar conclusion . He considers poverty and its  attendant lack of access to healthcare  an enduring ethical scandal . He considers a moral scandal that  in Africa , for example ,15000  people die each day for what he calls preventable causes of disease among the poor (e.g. lack of food, water and or sanitation   ) The  Little  Sisters of St Francis, of whom Sr Nasimiyu  was not just a member but a  superior  general for many  years, have recognized this ethical scandal and have done   something proactively about it through their works of mercy instantiated here by the health care services they offer to the vulnerable. As I remember Sr Nasimiyu today , I wish to put on record my appreciation and celebration  of the (not so little) Sisters of St Francis’  collective efforts to save lives , even as I  mourn and lament the passing of Sr Nasimiyu.

My sense of deep loss  was also occasioned by the fact that I have had the privilege of   interacting with Sr Nasimiyu in 2 major contexts.  Sr Nasimiyu was  for many years my colleague in the department of  Religious Studies at Kenyatta University, Nairobi , where we both taught in the 1980s and 1990s. In those years ,I got to know her as a scholar and teacher of African Theology and even  African Religions and Cultures. Much as she was a Catholic theologian  and a  leading one at that, Sr Nasimiyu also appreciated African cultures and religions and taught courses,    published and   facilitated research   meant to deepen  awareness of and respect for African spiritualities . She was commendably a champion of what  is known in Catholic circles “inculturation theology”. I now  look back with renewed appreciation  for her role in the collective efforts  by colleagues at KU and elsewhere in the east African region to bring African Christian Theology from the margins to the center of Christian theological discourse. For example, she  was an active participant in what we simply called “the Sagana group” that met yearly  for quite a few years  to discuss emerging issues in African Christian Theology and practice.  The outcomes of those consultations  were edited and Published by Prof Jesse N Mugambi , the convener of the Sagana group under what was  called the African (theology) Challenge series .  Sr . Ann Nasimiyu and J. N Mugambi in 1992 coedited  “Moral and Ethical Issues in African Christianity Exploratory Essays in Moral Theology, one of the several volumes in the African Challenge series . In Sr Nasimiyu’s untimely death then,  Africa has lost a   passionate champion who called the world to recognize and apply Afro-Christian theo ethics   as a viable way of seeking a livable and humane world.

I also had the privilege of knowing  Sr Nasimiyu through  the Circle of Concerned African  Women Theologians ,a  Panafrican organization of African Women  founded under the leadership of Mercy Amber Oduyoye in 1989 . She was a founder member  and I vividly remember her participation in the inaugural gathering of 70 women from across Africa in Accra Ghana September of 1989.  Recognizing that Religion is implicated in African women’s lives for good or ill,  one of the core goals of the Circle was /is   to conduct as systematic  and  critical study of  religions in Africa  with a view to naming to what extent  the practice of  these religions support or subvert  particularly (though not limited to the flourishing )  of women.

In the last  3 decades, members of the Circle individually or collectively have written and published  the results of their systematic and socially engaged  critical study of religion in Africa and indeed globally. Theirs has been a prophetic voice as they name and shame  sexism in Church and society and  they struggle particularly to end gender based violence and exploitation of women . In her capacity as a founder member of the Circle of Concerned African women theologians, Sr Ann has been part of this prophetic theological voice of African women.  Though not quite acknowledged and at times censored, this  prophetic voice has been  bold and enduring and has had an impact that is also yet to be quantified or acknowledged in any substantive manner neither in  church or society.

In recalling Sr  Nasimiyu as a member of the circle, I conclude that  Sr Nasimiyu’s is one of those untold “Her-Stories “ that The Circle of Concerned African Women theologians consider an imperative to tell as part of their   theological , scholarly and prophetic agenda. Such Herstories were the subject matter of a volume edited by Isabel Phiri (also a  founder  member of the Circle [3]  Perhaps Sr Nasimiyu’s Herstory will (sooner than later ) be told  in more detail and nuance than I have  neither time nor space to do  in this short tribute.

As I conclude this short essay in honor and memory of Sr Nasimiyu, I recall that the day I received the email from coordinator of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians Kenyan Chapter ,  I looked around for more information about her. In my search , I found a tribute to her in the Daily nation of 26th February 2018 .  I was , at least for a while encouraged  by the warm thoughts and memories of her shared in that tribute[4]

On March  3rd 2018 however, as I browsed through the same paper I came across  a story about the plight of Nuns, mainly from Africa and Asia and their being “shortchanged (to put it mildly ) in terms of their rights as workers specifically[5] workers in churches and  residences of clergy in Rome   . I was perplexed by this story as I considered the scale and magnitude of the violation of  the rights of domestic workers globally.  I was perplexed as I realized that nuns have been at the frontline fighting for justice for women’s rights including their rights as workers . It struck me as ironic and painful to  read this story of how nuns themselves are facing  a similar plight as they work in and for the church

I imagined Sr Nasimiyu reading this story with the eyes of a Little Sr of St Francis.. I imagined that she would bee perplexed too, even outraged by this story .

I imagined her reading the story with the eyes of a “Concerned African Theologian, and  thought she would be concerned and possibly outraged enough to call for  recognition of that  nuns have rights, human rights including  rights as workers including when they work in and for the church .

I imagined that in calling for recognition of nuns’ rights as human rights she would not be alone. (Another) Sr Ann (Carr) BVM,RIP) in her essay , Women Work and Poverty lamented the denigration of  women’s labor not only in  society but also sadly (her word) in the church. Ann Carr would probably join Sr Nasimiyu in her call to attend to the injustices and violations of women’s rights including nuns rights. In Ann Carr’s words : ‘’

“to attend to the facts and figures of women’s work and poverty , to give voice to poor women everywhere  but especially in the third world .. to analyze the structures and systems within which most women  live and work, and to envision s transformed social order where there is free and freeing work , bread and roses for everyone  these are the urgent tasks of a critical , Christin feminist theology .. For the credibility and the very reality of the of the church as bearer of the message of Jesus , as the living signs of salvation in the world in its service to the poor depends on the transformative knowledge and practice of Christians everywhere in the dynamism, of concrete history.[6].

The plight of the impoverished lacking health care and dying “stupid deaths” and the plight of nuns workers rights being violated in what appears to be domestic servitude even within the church would in my humble view be a major concern of Ann Nasimiyu.

I imagine her  even from the other side , urging us to attend to this plight as a matter Christian , moral duty. I imagine her humbly yet strongly recommending that responding urgently proactively and prophylactically to such ethical scandals would be  the best way to remember and honor her legacy ..

Commitment to  continue fighting  for justice  particularly justice for women (including nuns ) ,, would  in my humble  view  add a ring of  authenticity and profundity  to our hope and  wish that Sr Nasimiyu, RIP …

As I conclude this reflection .I concur with the  lyrics of a song composed by her fellow (not so ) Little Sisters of St Francis, which eulogize Sr Nasimiyu for her prophetic moral courage , compassion and commitment to justice. Attached is the link to this song and its uplifting tribute. May she indeed RIP or in the Swahili lyrics of the song,  Twaomba  Mwenyezi Mungu ampokee , Twaomba Apumzike Salama, Mama Sr Nasimiyu Wasike  ( ie we pray that God receives Her. Warmly ; We pray that she rests in peace, Our Mother Sr Anne Nasimiyu

Here is the link to the song:








[2] Farmer reminds us that pathologies of power revolve around multiple axis of structural violence of which he names 3:  the axis of gender, the axis of race , and colonialism . His book Pathologies of power is his passionate plea for universal health care as a human right  that is subverted  by “market based “ medicine and care. (from Farmer, Pathologies  of  Power )


[3] For details see Phiri Isabel et all. Herstories: Hidden Histories of Women of Faith in Africa: Cluster Publishers. Pietemarisburg ,2002

[4]       For details see article entitled :Church Looses Dedicated Nun :



[6] Ann Carr (BVM)  Women work and Poverty: In Fiorenza ES. The Power of Naming: A Concilium Reader in Feminist Liberation Theology, Reprint Wipf and Stock, Eugene Oregon  2006:86-87 

Ante nuevos “vientos de doctrina”, el lenguaje de los gestos

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Anibal Torres |
“Pero ¿qué significa una tentación? Habitualmente, ella pretende desviar al hombre de su deber; pero aquí la tentación es la misma moral, obcecada en impedirle a Abraham cumplir con la divina voluntad. ¿Qué significa, entonces, el deber? El modo de expresión de la voluntad de Dios (…) Abraham se niega a la mediación; en otras palabras, no puede hablar (…) De este modo, no miente, porque en virtud de lo absurdo es posible que Dios haga cualquier otra cosa (…) pero tampoco dice nada,
porque habla una lengua extraña”
(S. Kierkegaard) 
“(…) por ser de Cristo [ustedes] son la descendencia de Abraham”
(Gál 3,29)


La profunda reflexión de Kierkegaard sobre el relato bíblico del sacrificio de Isaac (Gén 22), desplegada en su célebre “Temor y temblor” (1843),  nos permite comprender algunos rasgos del actual cambio de época. Más aún, contribuye al discernimiento personal, comunitario e institucional sobre las formas en las cuales puede darse el compromiso histórico de los cristianos en solidaridad con la humanidad, sabiéndose al mismo tiempo signo de contradicción para la mentalidad dominante. Se perfilan así dos interrogantes: ¿Qué sucede cuando el “sentido común” - que puede coincidir con la llamada “ética laica”- se configura como una “tentación” para los cristianos?  Frente a esta situación, ¿qué camino debería seguir la Iglesia?

Los “vientos de doctrina”

Tales preguntas resultan pertinentes al reparar en los modos en que se plantean y desarrollan los debates sobre algunas cuestiones particularmente polémicas (desde el aborto y la eutanasia, hasta la moral en la política, la economía y las relaciones internacionales), donde se manifiesta una dificultad de las confesiones religiosas en general y de la Iglesia en particular (dado el reconocimiento internacional a su capacidad de representación), para entrar en diálogo con otros sectores de la sociedad, debido en parte a la “crisis del lenguaje religioso” que ya observara Michel de Certeau (1969). Ciertamente no se puede generalizar, pues cada contexto tiene sus particularidades, pero a nadie escapa que tal fenómeno se da incluso en países donde el catolicismo tiene una presencia mayoritaria desde hace siglos.

Aun en tales sociedades, hay actores que, por un lado, postulan que las creencias religiosas no tienen nada que aportar al debate público democrático, que las discusiones sobre la legislación deben ser según la rígida separación entre el Estado y las religiones. Desde estas posiciones, incluso se suele criticar la expresión pública de los creyentes y sus instituciones y comunidades. Cuando no se suelta la burla, en el mejor de los casos se dice que los principios que mueven a los creyentes son muy respetables, pero que es mejor que se los reserven para el ámbito privado. Reviviendo la creencia en el progreso indetenible, se usan metáforas descalificadoras del tipo “tales posiciones atrasan” (porque siempre es más fácil ver a los otros inmersos en sus círculos hermenéuticos antes que reconocerse a sí mismo inmerso en un particular horizonte de comprensión).  De ahí que no sea raro que se exponga como modelo a seguir el laicismo, desconociendo las tensiones y revisiones que atraviesa en contextos como el francés, pese a que desde fuera sigue siendo levantado como el paradigma para tener a raya a las cosmovisiones religiosas[1].

Que tales opiniones originalmente fueran minoritarias, no quiere decir que sean irrelevantes, pues desde diferentes ámbitos –particularmente con la ayuda de los medios de comunicación- se ha ido instalado una suerte de “sentido común” donde se acepta que, en última instancia, cada uno se funda a sí mismo, en tanto ser aislado, frente al ser relacional que encuentra su fundamento en el Dios Uno y Trino. Esto, evidentemente, supone una mutación cultural, en el sentido de que marca un nuevo deslizamiento sobre el rol de quién juzga nada más y nada menos que sobre la “verdad” expuesta públicamente y cómo ésta es entendida.

Así, si en el uso dominante de la palabra pública los teólogos fueron desplazados por los políticos y éstos por los científicos, a su vez éstos –al parecer- vienen siendo corridos por los medios de comunicación. Y esto porque actualmente tiene mayor capacidad de persuasión lo que expresa una figura mediática sobre tal o cual tema, que lo que pueda decir un científico de las “ciencias duras”, que a su vez influye más que un político que representa al pueblo de su Nación, y que un teólogo que enseña al pueblo de Dios. Así, a grandes rasgos, al deslizamiento de la Verdad-Persona hacia la verdad de “la patria”, le ha seguido el corrimiento hacia la verdad empírica positivista, desde la cual se ha emprendido la fuga hacia la posverdad, incluso como fake news.

Por otro lado, hay un segundo conjunto de actores que conserva capacidad de movilización; son aquellos que confesándose creyentes o viendo en las religiones un medio para el orden social, propugnan el enfrentamiento abierto con los primeros, pues perciben amenazadas sus convicciones, cuando no las “venerables” y rígidas tradiciones a las cuales se han aferrado más por el poder que emanan que por la fe que deberían custodiar y trasmitir dinámicamente. Al parecer las posiciones de este segundo grupo no constituyen actualmente el discurso hegemónico en los medios masivos, lo que no implica que aún conserven el control de ciertos resortes de poder, incluso al interior de las instituciones y comunidades religiosas.  

Llegados hasta aquí se puede advertir que la historia de Abraham y el hijo de la promesa, nos ayuda a comprender la situación de la Iglesia en el ámbito público. Ella se ve muchas veces enfrentada a este dilema: si calla y no hace nada, puede quedar a merced de quienes pretenden “ignorarla”, confinándola al ámbito privado. Si la Iglesia habla de ciertos temas en su lenguaje y medios habituales, puede quedar sujeta a quienes pretenden “instrumentalizarla” para sus propios objetivos.   

No se puede asociar rápida y linealmente quiénes pretenden acallar o utilizar políticamente la voz de la Iglesia (si “la derecha”, “la izquierda”, “los conservadores”, “los progresistas”, “los liberales”, “los populistas”, etc.), ya que en general, salvo posturas extremas, no suele haber una aceptación o un rechazo total a sus posiciones magisteriales. Así, algunos aplauden los postulados en moral social y critican los de índole sexual, y viceversa; cada uno toma y deja lo que le agrada o desagrada, propio del avance del proceso de individualización del creer. 

Lo cierto es que ceder ante unos u otros es ceder a las ideologías, a aquello que en la perspectiva paulina se denominan “vientos de doctrina” (Cf. Ef  4, 14) de cada época. En la recordada homilía preparatoria del Cónclave de 2005, señalaba el entonces Cardenal Ratzinger: “¡Cuántos vientos de doctrina hemos conocido durante estos últimos decenios!, ¡cuántas corrientes ideológicas!, ¡cuántas modas de pensamiento! La pequeña barca del pensamiento de muchos cristianos ha sido zarandeada a menudo por estas olas, llevada de un extremo al otro (…) A quien tiene una fe clara, según el Credo de la Iglesia, a menudo se le aplica la etiqueta de fundamentalismo. Mientras que el relativismo, es decir, dejarse ‘llevar a la deriva por cualquier viento de doctrina’, parece ser la única actitud adecuada en los tiempos actuales (…).

Nosotros, en cambio, tenemos otra medida: el Hijo de Dios, el hombre verdadero. Él es la medida del verdadero humanismo. No es ‘adulta’ una fe que sigue las olas de la moda y la última novedad; adulta y madura es una fe profundamente arraigada en la amistad con Cristo. Esta amistad nos abre a todo lo que es bueno y nos da el criterio para discernir entre lo verdadero y lo falso, entre el engaño y la verdad” (Ratzinger, 18/04/2005). 


El lenguaje de los gestos

Pero entonces, ¿qué hacer? ¿Cómo no ceder en la misión y al mismo tiempo no dejar a la humanidad librada a su suerte? ¿Cómo escapar a la tentación tanto del laxismo que esperan unos, como del rigorismo condenatorio que añoran otros?

Para empezar, si recuperamos algunos rasgos del análisis kierkegaardeano de la historia abrahámica –lo que en sí mismo tiene un potencial para el ecumenismo- podemos decir que aquel nos recuerda que cada cristiano y la comunidad eclesial no debe tener miedo a (re)situarse por encima del conformismo general, de la mentalidad dominante, para (re)ingresar “en una relación absoluta con lo absoluto”, tal la célebre expresión del autor danés. 

Puede decirse que la llamada de Francisco a la conversión pastoral –rasgo programático de su ministerio, junto con la opción preferencial por los pobres y excluidos- apunta a que cada cristiano y toda la Iglesia, bajo la inspiración del Espíritu Santo, “hablen” en otra lengua: el lenguaje de los gestos (¡más que los documentos!). El propio Papa es un signo elocuente de ese cambio, plasmando con su impronta un nuevo tipo de liderazgo, reconocido a nivel mundial. La conversión, en tanto proceso de cambio personal comunitario e institucional, purifica el discernimiento de los signos de los tiempos negativos y positivos, y así dispone mejor para la misión: “Sueño con una opción misionera capaz de transformarlo todo, para que las costumbres, los estilos, los horarios, el lenguaje y toda estructura eclesial se convierta en un cauce adecuado para la evangelización del mundo actual más que para la autopreservación” (Evangelii gaudium, nº 27).

Más específicamente, a nivel personal, Francisco señala de manera contundente: “Estamos llamados a formar las conciencias, pero no a pretender sustituirlas”, poniendo el énfasis en el “discernimiento” de cada situación antes que en la aplicación irrestricta de manuales o códigos de conducta (Amoris Laetitia, nº 37, 296 y sig.). También, el Papa propone un salto cualitativo y cuantitativo al apuntar a una “conversión ecológica”, frente a la “cultura del relativismo” (y su “antropocentrismo desviado”), la “globalización del paradigma tecnocrático”  (que es “homogéneo y unidimensional”) y la “adoración del poder humano sin límites” (Laudato si’, nº 106, 217-218, 122-123).

Estos son los supuestos para poder entrar en diálogo con sectores diversos, con los “hermanos enigmáticos” de los que hablaba de Certeau (1969), en relación con las cuestiones candentes que atraviesan muchas sociedades postseculares y democráticas. Por eso resulta central el señalamiento, sumamente trascendente para la ética social católica, del principio según el cual “la unidad es superior al conflicto”. El camino sugerido no es la intransigencia que va al choque porque ve amenaza a los privilegios, ni la condescendencia irresponsable con corrientes de moda, sino una muy similar a lo que señalaba Kierkegaard respecto a Abraham: obrar a partir de levantar la mirada por sobre la ética de la mentalidad hegemónica, para recibir la “sabiduría que viene de arriba” (Stgo 3,18), aunque, como para el patriarca, el proceso resulte angustioso, sufrido:

“Ante el conflicto, algunos simplemente lo miran y siguen adelante como si nada pasara, se lavan las manos para poder continuar con su vida. Otros entran de tal manera en el conflicto que quedan prisioneros, pierden horizontes, proyectan en las instituciones las propias confusiones e insatisfacciones y así la unidad se vuelve imposible. Pero hay una tercera manera, la más adecuada, de situarse ante el conflicto. Es aceptar sufrir el conflicto, resolverlo y transformarlo en el eslabón de un nuevo proceso. ‘¡Felices los que trabajan por la paz!’ (Mt 5,9). De este modo, se hace posible desarrollar una comunión en las diferencias, que sólo pueden facilitar esas grandes personas que se animan a ir más allá de la superficie conflictiva y miran a los demás en su dignidad más profunda. Por eso hace falta postular un principio que es indispensable para construir la amistad social: la unidad es superior al conflicto. La solidaridad, entendida en su sentido más hondo y desafiante, se convierte así en un modo de hacer la historia, en un ámbito viviente donde los conflictos, las tensiones y los opuestos pueden alcanzar una unidad pluriforme que engendra nueva vida. No es apostar por un sincretismo ni por la absorción de uno en el otro, sino por la resolución en un plano superior que conserva en sí las virtualidades valiosas de las polaridades en pugna” (Evangelii gaudium, 227 y 228).

Estas indicaciones del magisterio de Francisco apuntan a que la Iglesia debe ahondar su conversión pastoral si quiere encontrar alguna forma de articulación posible y virtuosa entre la ética religiosa y la ética laica, erigiendo la comunión en las diferencias desde una purificación mutua. No se trata de ceder a las ideologías (asociadas en el lenguaje ignaciano con la “mundanidad”), sino de  saber discernir lo que puede haber de legítimo en las demandas, proceso que se realiza estando fundados en la “amistad con Cristo” (Ratzinger, 18/04/2005).

Más allá de los discursos y documentos, es necesario entonces que toda la Iglesia, cada comunidad y cada uno haga resplandecer con gestos concretos de projimidad el cristianismo de la libertad, de la luz y de la alegría, poniendo en el centro la opción preferencial por los pobres y las obras de misericordia, revalorizadas por el actual pontificado. Esa praxis del “amor civil y político”, del “amor social” (Laudato si’ nº 231) demanda ser “artesanos de la paz” (Stgo 3,18), siendo “testigos” de la verdad de la Resurrección del Señor y de una “promesa” que es para todos (Cf. He 1, 22; 2, 39).

Sólo desde la apertura sincera a la conversión según la voluntad de Dios, se puede pedir el auxilio de Su luz. Como expresara un infatigable testigo de la fe en América, un auténtico obrero de la paz y del amor social: “He sentido profundamente la diferencia de pensar entre un numeroso sector de nuestra patria (…) y el sentir cristiano. Pido al Señor que ilumine los caminos de su Iglesia para que sean comprendidos…” (Mons. Óscar Romero, Diario personal, 26/03/1979).

[1] Según el debate reabierto en Francia sobre todo a partir del discurso del presidente Emmanuel Macron ante los obispos católicos del país en abril de 2018. En septiembre del año pasado hizo lo propio ante autoridades protestantes. Macron, según la prensa, ante el Episcopado “elogió la dedicación de los católicos franceses a la ayuda a los más necesitados y les animó a ‘hacer más todavía’ implicándose en la política. ‘Por muy decepcionante que pueda ser para algunos, por muy árida que a veces sea para otros, necesita la energía de los comprometidos, vuestra energía’. Al mismo tiempo, esbozó una teoría de laicidad que sirve para otras religiones, no sólo la católica, chocó con las lecturas más estrictas de la ley de 1905, y convocó para algunos el fantasma de una apertura de la República al islam (…) La laicidad de Macron se inspira en la de uno de sus maestros, el filósofo protestante Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur abogaba por una ‘laicidad de apertura’, en la que la neutralidad religiosa del Estado no fuese un obstáculo para la expresión, en convivencia o tensión, de la espiritualidad de sus ciudadanos. Lo contrario de esta laicidad abierta sería lo que Macron llamaba, en una entrevista en 2016, el laicismo, ‘una versión radical y extrema de la laicidad que se nutre de los miedos contemporáneos’. ‘Hay que preservar como un tesoro la concepción liberal de la laicidad que ha permitido en este país que cada uno tenga derecho a creer o a no creer...’ ” Fuente:



Breaking the Nyaope addiction in South Africa: Is it possible?

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Margaret Ssebunya |

Nyaope is a very popular highly addictive, dangerous and destructive drug substance that is unique to South Africa. It is usually a cocktail of various ingredients i.e. heroin, methamphetamine and cannabis with other harmful substances such as cleaning detergents, bicarbonate of soda, crushed antiretroviral drugs, sugar and rat poison to make its impact stronger and last longer. Nyaope is believed to be South Africa’s worst drug[1] whose uniqueness lies in an almost exclusive consumption by black people. The extent of nyaope addiction is quite complex as it is easily accessible by almost anyone including primary school children. It costs between R25 (US$2.00) and R30 (US$2.25). However, while the price of buying nyaope is low, the social cost paid by the users, their families and their communities is very high, due to the severity of the addiction and the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.[2]

The drug is mainly consumed in two ways - smoking and via ‘Bluetooth.’ The ‘Bluetooth’ method involves addicts sharing the drug through either a) through blood transfusion or b) sharing the same syringe as the drug is injected directly into the body. In the first option, after the primary consumer has injected him/herself with the drug, blood (supposedly believed to be high in nyaope) is drawn from him/her and is given to other addicts who take turns to inject themselves so that they also get ‘high.’ In most cases the addicts who rely on the blood of the first user usually have no money to buy their own nyaope concoction. The addicts defend themselves with the popular saying that “sharing is caring.” In the second option the addict mixes the concoction with a small amount of water and pulls it into a syringe injecting him/herself. The same syringe is then passed on to other addicts who repeatedly use it. Using the ‘Bluetooth’ method is believed to be the quickest way to get ‘high.’ The addicts seem not to care that the use of the nyaope concoction, and worse still the sharing of syringes and blood, has got a number of health implications, such as blood mismatch and incompatibility, diseases like hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, cellulitis and thrombophlebitis, as well as harm to vital body organs such as the liver, heart, kidneys and the brain.

By law, nyaope is prohibited and punishable yet despite this, it continues to be the leading ‘drug of choice’ for many unemployed South African youths living in the townships. Mitigation efforts by the South African government have not yielded much results. In some cases, the very officers who arrest and detain the addicts are the ones who are bribed to release the addicts, or carry the drugs to prison. The local communities have also not adequately mobilized themselves to address the consumption of nyaope despite government’s efforts to localize the fight against use of illicit drugs. Rather, addicts are blamed for living a chaotic life. One wonders whether the consumption of nyaope can be broken given the dramatic increase in its consumption.

Who has the duty to address this social problem that is claiming lives of youths every day? Is it entirely to government? What is the role of other actors such as the church, civil society, individuals, family and the local communities in addressing the nyaope crisis? Do we have any moral and social responsibility towards addicts who very often are labelled with derogatory names such as ‘dirty,’ ‘criminals,’ ‘messed up’ and ‘unworthy’ members in society? How can we as ethicists continuously engage leadership and policy in order to effect desirable change within society? How can we help victims to escape nyaope dependence? How can we offer victims of nyaope and other drugs the human values of love and life illuminated by faith? How can the Church promote a lifestyle based on evangelical values and contact with God, especially among the youth to help them discover the true meaning of human existence?

Pope Francis has emphasized the role of society is responding to the drug crisis. For instance during the visit to St. Francis of Assisi of the Providence of God Hospital in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013, Pope Francis noted that “it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future. We all need to look upon one another with the loving eyes of Christ, and to learn to embrace those in need, in order to show our closeness, affection and love.”[3] Genuine love, care and affection towards the victims of drug use would mean that we move beyond blaming and criminalizing them. It would also mean continuously investing resources in extensive rehabilitation programs of drug addicts in order to promote their health as well as restore their joy and dignity. I believe that by drawing close and embracing our neighbors we can manage to escape the powerful waters that drown so many youths in the vice.

[1] Health24. (2014). Is nyaope South Africa's worst drug? Accessed from

[2] Masombuka, J. (2013). Children's addiction to the drug “nyaope” in Soshanguve Township: Parents' experiences and support needs. Masters dissertation. University of South Africa.


Raising Consciousness and Forming Consciences: Strategic Disruptive Nonviolence

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Mary Jo Iozzio |

The Spirit is moving across the US, and throughout the globe, with prompts to respond to calls for inclusive justice revealed in the initiatives of Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, LGBTQ+, Sanctuary-Refugee-Asylum Seekers, and Sustainability movements. On many high school, college, and university campuses, these movements’ grass root activists –among them Catholics inspired by our tradition’s social teaching regarding human dignity, solidarity, participation, and the common good—persevere with a decidedly preferential option for those who have long been on the receiving end of unjust exclusivist policies and practices. This wellspring of critical consciousness and courageous conscientious action has the potential to change hearts hardened against others (possibly siblings, parents, children, other family members, friends, neighbors, students, colleagues, and as yet unknown acquaintances and passersby) to incarnate communities recognizable by the Spirit’s compassionate abiding love.

            The North American Forum authors have pointed to these activist movements and other issue-inspired initiatives like them (e.g., responding to the opioid crisis, gun violence, nuclear weapons, attacks on civilians, Confederate war memorials) trying to find the argument(s) best suited to challenge the incomprehensibility and intractability of these goings on and of the persistence of complacent and complicit fear-inspired hatefulness. Beyond North American borders and since the inception of the Forum in July 2011, nearly every Forum essay of The FIRST exposes similar failures in our CTEWC respective contexts. Aware of these failures and moved by the Spirit to confront and transform them (to turn swords into plowshares and vice into virtue), we name both overt and subtle forms of violence as injustice against the people and the planet, both in dire need of assurances and concomitant action that maintains the dicta all are welcome, all will have their fill, and all manner of things will be well.

            I am hopeful in these tumultuous and unstable times that the initiatives of strategic disruptive nonviolence can win despite 24-hour newsfeeds and social media that defy logic in their power to cloak abusive commercial and political power, military and law enforcement recklessness, and unexamined (mostly) white (mostly) male privilege. One of these strategic disruptive nonviolence initiatives is “sanctuary” or the right of vulnerable persons to refuge. Sanctuary initiatives –from campuses to cities to houses of worship—have an historic home in the biblical and Church traditions of asylum. Asylum space included the tent, tabernacle, holy of holies, place of sacrifice/sacrament where God is present and the people safe in God’s refuge. The Church continued the tradition through protective custody of even presumed capital criminals with developments in ecclesiastic law from the Decretum of Gratian, congregational and curial norms, to recognition of organizational needs identified at the Council of Trent, including the right to sanctuary/refuge, which was promulgated in the 1917 Canon Law, c.1022 (though abrogated by the revised Code of 1983).

A good deal of US saber-rattling these days is directed toward Sanctuary cities and the people fleeing conditions in their homelands worse than what awaits them in encounters with the US Border Patrol and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The most recent statistics (2016) collected by the UN High Commission for Refugees indicate that a mere 1.2% (¡815,608!) of the 67.7 million women, men, and children on the move –refugee/asylum seekers/displaced persons/stateless persons/persons of concern—are hosted in the United States. This minimally hospitable response to the global refugee crisis is embarrassing in a land as expansive, bountiful, and diverse in its peoples and its natural resources as the US. However, add the US government’s rhetoric about those seeking refuge, rhetoric that depicts our sisters and brothers in less than dignified and increasingly Spirit-insulting ways, and the reasons for that embarrassment become sinful. When this embarrassing failure is named sin some will be moved to shame and will admit perplexed astonishment at the scandalizing proportions of critical need. In place of despair, some will rise to consciousness about responsibilities for one another’s well being, to conscience engaging solidarity with and participation in strategic disruptive nonviolence with those asking for respite and for sanctuary.

Although Canon Law no longer includes the right to sanctuary/asylum/refuge, the Spirit appears to approve the practice considering that Catholic sponsored institutions, parishes, and religious communities do offer disruptive assistance that includes the sanctuary of shelter. In addition to Church folk, the Spirit moves others as well, considering what Peter L. Merkowitz opines in the New York Times is legal precedent for local law enforcement “to do nothing” that would assist federal immigration enforcement efforts to arrest and deport people without papers. Sanctuary efforts in this vein disrupt the Federal order of isolationist and fear-mongering business with local non-violent, strategic, subversively inspired non-cooperation.

The Spirit is moving. Her winds are howling in some corners and whispering elsewhere but winding their way nevertheless as “the divine force that changes the world” (Pope Francis, Pentecost, 20 May 2018). In collaboration with the Spirit, some days we follow her lead with outward gestures and disruptive collectivist civil action. Other days we work behind the scenes with disruptive and life-giving social action in safe houses, food banks, and service programs. And still other days we labor with disruptive scholarship activism. This activism brings the weight of Scripture, theological reflection, and Catholic Social Teaching to our failures of inclusive justice. And this activism can expose the sins against the Spirit, the divine force who abides in all including those whose humanity is compromised by another’s avarice and bigotry, and who grieves for the sins committed against them. The Spirit is speaking in this activism. Are we hearing and heeding the force of change that howls and whispers support those bent low with dignity, hope, and material comfort?

As I finish this essay, newspapers, broadcast news, and social media are abuzz about the latest in a series of US-Mexico border tragedies surrounding refuge/asylum seekers. The Office of Refugee Resettlement is uncertain vis-à-vis the whereabouts of 1,475 children taken into protective custody with sponsors; other child-related practices concern the immediate separation of babies and young children from their parents with assumptions of unlawful crossing and expectations of prosecution by the Department of Justice. UNICEF estimates 26,000 children were apprehended at the US-Mexico border in just the first six months of 2016, sadly, more sinfulness to be confessed and repaired by strategic disruptive nonviolent activism.

Gaudete et Exsultate and the Unfinished Agenda of Vatican II

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

One of the unfinished agenda of the Second Vatican Council is the democratization of holiness.

In Lumen Gentium – a compromise document – there remains, as the late Sr. Anne Patrick had
pointed out, the tension between a two-tiered and a more egalitarian unified approach to holiness.
While LG 11 affirms the universal call to holiness, LG 42 undermines this with statements on
how persons with the gift of celibacy “can more easily devote their entire selves to God alone
with undivided heart”and with their vow of poverty, they “more closely follow and more clearly
demonstrate the Savior’s self-giving” and through the renunciation of their will, they “liken
themselves more thoroughly to Christ in His obedience.” In his recently released apostolic
exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis intends to “repropose” the call to holiness in our
times. My focus in this brief discourse is to analyze the extent Gaudete has addressed the
unfinished agenda of Vatican II toward a more unified approach to holiness.
Gaudete et Exsultate seems to have gone beyond the two-tiered view of holiness, that is
based on dualism and subordination (i.e. of earthly values to heavenly values; of action to
prayer), that enables the clergy and religious to lead “holier” lives. Pope Francis, in GE 14
qualifies that “To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious.” The day-today
concerns of lay people are not “distractions” to holiness. One does not need to flee from ordinary
concerns to be able to pray more (GE 27). “We are all called to be holy by living our lives with
love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.” This is reinforced
in GE 26 that states, “We are called to be contemplatives even in the midst of action…”
The two-tiered approach to holiness tends to narrow as well the moral life to matters of
sexuality. Chastity – understood as abstinence from all nonmarital sexual thoughts and actions –
was considered as the pinnacle of perfection. In sexual sins there is no smallness of matter. It is
thus noteworthy that there is no mention, not even once of the virtue of chastity in the Papal
In contrast, the virtue of justice was referred to 21 times and mercy 23 times in the
apostolic exhortation. Noting the danger of a very broad definition that identifies justice to
“faithfulness to God’s will in every aspect of life,” the Pope adopts instead a liberationist
definition that links it to a preferential option for the poor: “ [I]f we give the word too general a
meaning, we forget that it is shown especially in justice towards those who are most vulnerable:
“Seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Is 1:17). (GE 79)
Pope Francis cautioned against two “ideologies striking at the heart of the gospel.” On
the one hand, are those whose social engagement are stripped of a personal relationship with
God. On the other hand, are those “who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as
superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist.” (GE 101) In an indirect critique
of groups, also present in the Philippines, who are focused only on a single issue – oftentimes
against artificial contraception or abortion – while ignoring other issues that “kill” such as
corruption, poverty, and other forms of injustice, the Pope noted how for them “the only thing
that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend.”

In a seeming response as well to critics of Amoris Laetitia’s focus on mercy, the Pope
warns of new forms of elitism or hierarchical thinking fostered by false forms of holiness: a
gnosticism or intellectualism that is bereft of mercy (GE 37) and a Pelagianism or a rigid
orthodoxy devoid of a need for God’s grace and of love (GE 57-59).
Significant too in its thrust toward democratizing holiness is the exhortation’s recognition
of models of holiness from other faiths (GE 9): “But even outside the Catholic Church and in
very different contexts, the Holy Spirit raises up ’signs of his presence which help Christ’s
Yet, despite the movement in this document toward a more egalitarian unified approach,
it retains traces of a tiered view of holiness. While it recognizes the holiness of the “saints next
door” such as the sacrifices of parents to raise and support their families, calling these faith
responses as “the middle class of holiness” (GE 7) reeks of hierarchical thinking, implying an
upper and a lower class of holiness. Furthermore, the models of holiness mentioned in the
apostolic exhortation are also overwhelmingly priests and/or religious. Except for Mary and
Joseph, Monica, and Thomas More, the rest of the lay saints fall under “companions,” “martyrs,”
and “saints next door.”
The reference to a feminine style of holiness is likewise confounding. It is as abstract as
the term “feminine genius”! The exhortation cites as example women saints who engaged in
church reform implicitly suggesting that those who intend to do so must employ a “feminine
style.” It is not clear though how the saints mentioned exhibited a distinct feminine genius. On
the one hand, if femininity is the “capacity for the other,” then everyone is called to manifest
this. As the CDF, in the document “On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and
in the World,” underlined: “But in the final analysis, every human being, man or woman, is
destined to be for the other.” (14) On the other hand, if there is indeed a feminine style, why is
there no reference at all to a corollary masculine style of holiness?
A two-tiered holiness that is gender-based is also implicit in Pope Francis’ stronger
identification of gossiping with women (GE 16). For the Pope, gossiping is a form of
“terrorism,” one of the “worst enemies of harmony,” that threatens to destroy the Church from
within. In his audience with nuns in Lima, Peru, he even compared, albeit jokingly, gossiping
nuns with terrorists!
Overall, in terms of numerical representation, the apostolic exhortation named 13
individual women saints/blessed (mentioned a total of 16 times) compared to 22 individual men
(mentioned a total of 41 times), thus continuing to reflect the largely gendered modeling of
holiness within the Catholic church.
Indeed, we find in Gaudete et Exsultate elements of a movement forward toward an
egalitarian and unified approach to holiness…though this still remains wanting in other respects!

De la Salle University Manila, Philippines

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