Forum Submissions

Month

Country

Author

Article

October 2019

United Kingdom Anna Abram Ecclesial Ethics- a Way Forward?
  Kenya Teresia Hinga Justice, Dignity, Accompaniment and the Theo-Ethical Challenge of "Neurodiversity": A Reflection
  Philippines Eric Genilo Children in Conflict with the Law
  Brazil Maria Inês Castro Millen

Ética Entre Poder e Autoridade

  United States Alexandre Martins Global Health and the Voices of the Poor: Inverting the Problematic Top-Down Approach
  United States Gerald Beyer CTEWC in Sarajevo One Year After

September 2019

United States Thomas Massaro 2019: The Summer of Our Discontent
  Chile   Claudia Leal

Notas para una espiritualidad familiar en salida

  Philippines Kristin Meneses

Recto-22: The Blurred Stance of Mr. Duterte and his cohorts on the Common Good and Sovereign-Human Rights

  Japan Osamu Takeuchi Life and Beauty
   Kenya  Peter Knox  To Whom Does the Amazon Belong?
   Germany  Marianne Heimbach-Steins  

The Global Ecological Crisis and the Global Common Good

July 2019

Australia Hoa Trung Dinh Australia's Plenary Council 2020: Discerning God's Voice in the 21st Century
  India Geevarghese Kaithavana “Grace Filling Families”: Reading Amoris Laetitia in the Context of Syro-Malankara Church
  United States Aline Kalbian How Much Space is Enough?
  Argentina Emilce Cuda BAJO EL PESO DE LA LEY
  United Kingdom Tina Beattie Gender Theory and Catholic Education
  Kenya Peter Knox UN Habitat Assembly

June 2019

France Gregoire Catta Yellow Vests... and Beyond!
  United States Mary Margaret Doyle Roche Dispatch and Appeal from Worcester, MA
  Brazil Elio Gasda El Bolsonarismo, una teopolitica fundamentalista neoliberal
  Malaysia Sharon Bong Whose Dignity?: Abolishing Child Marriage for the Girl Child
  Kenya  Teresia Hinga

Acknowledging Cucu /Pim/Grandma Power: Agency, Wisdom and Elder(ly) Civic Engagement

   Czech Republic Petr Štica  Civil Protests and Theological Ethics

May 2019

 South Africa  Anthony Egan Power Outrage
  Kenya

Anne Celestine Achieng Oyier Ondigo 

The Self-Defense in Valuing Human Life
  Germany Sigrid Mueller Sin and Evil in the Church: Some reflections originating from Pope Emeritus Benedict’s recent letter
  Hong Kong Mary Yuen City Planning to Serve Ordinary People or Those in Power?
  United States Mary Margaret Doyle Roche Confessions of a Parent on a College Tour
 

April 2019

 United States  Emily Reimer-Barry  

Does catechism class groom young people for sexual abuse?

   Austria  Martin Lintner   

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

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

La protección de menores en la Iglesia

  Jamaica   Anna Perkins

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

 

March 2019

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

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

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

February 2019

Colombia Maria Isabel Gil Espinosa 

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

   Puerto Rico  Jorge José Ferrer

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

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

January 2019

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

December 2018

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

Aníbal Torres

Características del liderazgo político necesario para enfrentar la crisis mundial

November 2018

 

Geevarghese Kaithavana

Resonance of Gender Equality in India

   
Gregor Buss

Jewish Responses to Laudato Sí

   
Michael Jaycox

A Climate of Fear, Incompetence, and Possibility

     Osamu Takeuchi

 The Judgment of Human Beings and the Forgiveness of God

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

October 2018

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

September 2018

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

July 2018

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

June 2018

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

May 2018

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

April 2018

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

March 2018

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

February 2018

     
       
       
       
       
       
 

January 2018

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

December 2017

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

November 2017

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

October 2017

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

September 2017

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

July 2017

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

June 2017

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

May 2017

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

April 2017

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

March 2017

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

February 2017

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

January 2017

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

December 2016

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

November 2016

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

October 2016

 Uganda  Margaret Ssebunya  Of violent protests in South African universities: Where is the Church in South Africa?
   Vietnam  Hoa Trung Dinh  CHURCH LEADER CALLS FOR ACTION AGAINST MARINE POLLUTION IN VIETNAM
   United Kingdom  Julie Clague  Structural injustice revisited
   United States  Mary Jo Iozzio  The US Affordable Care Act: Modest Success
       

September 2016 

 Uganda

 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
   South Africa  Anthony Egan  AMORIS LAETITIA: A CHALLENGE TO THE CHURCH IN AFRICA – AND ELSEWHERE
   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
   Mexico  Miguel Ángel Sánchez  LA VISITA DEL PAPA FRANCISCO A MÉXICO: UN VIRAJE ALENTADOR PARA LA ÉTICA
   United States  Michael Jaycox  Dangerous Memories, Dangerous Movements: Christian Freedom in the Empire
       

February 2016

 Vietnam  Hoa Dinh  MELBOURNE DOCTORS REFUSING TO RETURN CHILDREN TO DETENTION
   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

 South Africa  Anthony Egan  ON SNAKES, FUNDAMENTALISM AND RELIGIOUS ABUSE
   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

 Nigeria  Ojo Bolanle Bimbo  GLOBALISATION, INEQUALITY AND POVERTY IN NIGERIA: ADVOCACY FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE
      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

 Cameroon  Azetsop Jacquineau  THE EBOLA EPIDEMIC IN WEST AFRICA: AN ISSUE OF JUSTICE?
   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

 Kenya   Wilhelmina Tunu  TOWARDS A HOLISTIC UNDERSTANDING OF POVERTY
   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."
   Mexico  Jutta Battenberg  MEDIOS DE COMUNICACIÓN SOCIAL: LA MIRADA AUSENTE
   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!
   Mexico  Sebastián Mier  LA ETICA TEOLÓGICA EN EL CONGRESO CONTINENTAL DE TEOLOGÍA LATINOAMERICANA (available in English and Spanish)
   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

Notas para una espiritualidad familiar en salida

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

“Hoy, la pastoral familiar debe ser fundamentalmente misionera, en salida, en cercanía”

Exhortación Apostólica Amoris Laetitia, 230

__

En las siguientes páginas desarrollaré dos breves apartados que tienen como objetivo servir como punto de partida a nuestra conversación, se trata de tres claves de lectura que – en mi opinión – dan cuenta de una espiritualidad familiar “en salida” en el magisterio de Francisco. Se trata de ideas todavía en barbecho, que de ninguna manera cierran la forma y el fondo de nuestra pregunta.

 

1. La idea de las “semillas del Verbo” está en el corazón del mensaje evangélico. Es cierto que su formulación sistemática responde al periodo patrístico, pero se podría decir que está presente ya en los evangelios cuando un airado Jesús responde diciendo que “de las piedras Él puede sacar hijos de Israel” (Mt. 3,9). Cuando Jesús dice eso, entre otras cosas, hace un ejercicio de hermenéutica jurídica, pues despliega una interpretación de las normas que intencionadamente muestra que para cumplirlas hay que ir más allá de su tenor literal. Dicho de otra manera, la afirmación de Jesús trae a colación la distinción entre la letra y el espíritu de la norma, que en la ética cristiana sirve de base a principios tan importantes como la epikeia y, en general, aquellos criterios que aluden a la ley como instrumento pedagógico, cuya finalidad trasciende el sentido jurídico. En segundo lugar, con este grito Jesús lanza una piedra en el lago de la cultura, provocando que algunos círculos concéntricos de la onda expansiva se desplacen un poco más afuera de lo que hasta ahora se había dado por supuesto.

 

Todavía en los evangelios, vale la pena recordar también el episodio en que llegan donde Jesús unos discípulos a decirle que sorprendieron a alguien expulsando demonios en Su nombre, y le dicen con preocupación que han tratado de impedirlo, porque “no es de los nuestros”. Jesús responde tranquilizando a los suyos porque “el que no está contra vosotros está con vosotros” (Lc.9, 49-50), reconociendo de algún modo que Sus semillas están – ya en ese momento – más allá de la frontera que sus discípulos quieren fijar. Es de notar que, en este caso, el criterio de discernimiento está dado por los frutos: cuando hay signos de bondad, de justicia, de progreso hacia una vida mejor y más plena, no son pertinentes las rígidas fronteras de pertenencia de un grupo social ni religioso, y hay algo que vale mucho más de por medio. En el fondo, son esos “elementos de santidad y verdad” de los que hablará veinte siglos más tarde Lumen Gentium 8, al sentar las bases de la perspectiva católica en ámbito ecuménico.

 

Este movimiento expansivo se repetirá en momentos clave de la historia del cristianismo: explícitamente en la formulación de Justino, mediante la cual la potencia salvífica de Cristo resucitado supera las barreras del espacio-tiempo para tocar con su brazo a los justos de toda la historia; más tarde en la toma de posición de la comunidad cristiana primitiva que resuelve que no hace falta ser judío para ser cristiano; ya en el siglo xx el Vaticano ii sentó las bases del diálogo interreligioso reconociendo que fuera de las fronteras visibles del cristianismo podemos efectivamente encontrar elementos de él. Por último, nuestra tesis, es que este movimiento mediante el cual extendemos nuestra propia comprensión del cristianismo – pero también de la realidad que vivimos y de las prácticas que desplegamos – está en la raíz de la idea de espiritualidad de Francisco, tanto en Evangelii Gaudium como en Amoris Laetitia.

 

Estas dos notas – la hermenéutica jurídica y la ampliación de los círculos culturales de pertenencia – están en el corazón de lo que aquí nos interesa, es decir: la espiritualidad “en salida” de Francisco, y la proyección de esa espiritualidad en la esfera precisa de la familia. En EG aparece mediante metáforas que hablan de 'viaje', de 'itinerancia' (EG 23), de un discipulado marcado a fuego por la idea de un anuncio que no admite fronteras de ningún tipo. Al mismo tiempo, explica Francisco que una espiritualidad “en salida” puede ser también dicha como una espiritualidad de “puertas abiertas” (EG 46) - de nuevo la noción de límite, frontera – que no necesariamente vive en el ansia de anunciar sino que también es capaz simplemente de abrir las puertas que habían estado cerradas y contemplar, esperar, escuchar. Las fronteras se ensanchan no solo mediante una acción voluntaria del agente, sino también abriendo las puertas y dejando que “el otro” habite nuestro territorio con su particular modo de ser, con las sorpresas que trae consigo desde “fuera”, con lo que su mirada nos hace descubrir de nosotros mismos. Las fronteras, entonces, se desplazan naturalmente cuando al “abrir las puertas” aparecen las semillas del Evangelio en los supuestamente alejados.

 

Esta idea, de una espiritualidad marcada por la presencia, por una forma de estar, complementa la irrenunciable dimensión de una espiritualidad evangelizadora marcada por la acción de salir al encuentro, de habitar las periferias y de ir a comunicar activamente “lo que hemos visto y oído”.

 

Ideas semejantes abundan, a su vez, en AL, que insistiendo en la necesidad del anuncio del modelo de matrimonio y familia cristiano, paralelamente recuerda con insistencia que nuestra visión del amor humano debe alimentarse de la experiencia vasta y múltiple de las familias que, día a día, intentan con más o menos éxito, cuidar el don del amor: “A partir de las reflexiones sinodales no queda un estereotipo de la familia ideal, sino un interpelante «collage» formado por tantas realidades diferentes, colmadas de gozos, dramas y sueños. (…) En todas las situaciones, «la Iglesia siente la necesidad de decir una palabra de verdad y de esperanza […] Los grandes valores del matrimonio y de la familia cristiana corresponden a la búsqueda que impregna la existencia humana»” (AL 57)

 

La definición identitaria – individual y personal – consiste en un continuo proceso de apertura y replegamiento; apertura para enriquecer, contrastar e incluir, y replegamiento para definir. En la visión de Francisco el tiempo presente es el momento de la apertura, también en lo que se refiere a la espiritualidad familiar. Podría parecer paradojal que, por una parte, Francisco afirme que la familia “atraviesa una crisis cultural profunda” (EG 66) y, al mismo tiempo que “es posible que, en medio de una situación objetiva de pecado —que no sea subjetivamente culpable o que no lo sea de modo pleno— se pueda vivir en gracia de Dios, se pueda amar, y también se pueda crecer en la vida de la gracia y la caridad, recibiendo para ello la ayuda de la Iglesia.” (AL 305), sin embargo, estas afirmaciones adquieren coherencia al comprender que lo que Francisco hace – apoyándose en el trabajo sinodal, por cierto – es caminar hacia una nueva comprensión de la identidad de la familia cristiana. Esta nueva comprensión será dada por una reflexión/contemplación del modo de proceder, por un cierto estilo de vivir los valores cristianos al interno de una comunidad familiar que no necesariamente posee las características formales de una familia sacramentalmente constituida. Dicho de otra manera: ¿qué es lo que define a una familia cristiana? No es sólo el matrimonio sacramental o la conformación de sus miembros, sino un determinado estilo de vivir: la manera en que esta 'familia' celebra sus alegrías, soporta sus dolores, y vive su cotidianeidad en relaciones de cuidado y amor recíproco, de cara a la comunidad.

 

Se trata, como siempre en sede católica, de un movimiento que marca al mismo tiempo continuidad y renovación: continuidad porque seguimos siendo fieles a los bienes humanos y divinos que deseamos custodiar, y renovación porque paulatinamente vamos comprendiendo nuevas formas en que el Evangelio se plasma en la historia. 

 

 

2. El principio de la dignidad humana recorre la historia de la cultura, así como también la historia de la DSI. Hace muy poco celebramos los setenta años de la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos, y vale la pena preguntarnos por las relaciones entre este hito de la conciencia occidental y la comprensión antropológica cristiana. En este sentido, la dignidad del cristiano es, ante todo, creatural, su dignidad es dignidad filial, es poder ser hijo en el Hijo, y en definitiva, poder responder libremente a ese acto primero de amor. Cuando Francisco habla de los males que padecen los seres humanos en las ciudades, afirma: “La proclamación del Evangelio será una base para restaurar la dignidad de la vida humana” (75); la noción moral de la dignidad humana es, entonces, un criterio para verificar la eficacia del anuncio evangélico. En efecto, “(…) tanto el anuncio como la experiencia cristiana tienden a provocar consecuencias sociales”, y entre esas consecuencias aparecen la fraternidad, la justicia, la paz, y la dignidad, (EG 180).

 

J. Habermas reconoce aquí un aporte del cristianismo al concepto de dignidad de la persona en Occidente: "Un ejemplo de esta apropiación que salva el contenido original sería la traducción del hecho que el hombre está hecho a imagen y semejanza de Dios al concepto de igual y absoluta dignidad de todas las personas".[1]

 

En este sentido debe ser leído el 37 de la Exhortación AL, que afirma “Estamos llamados a formar las conciencias, pero no a pretender sustituirlas.” Esta afirmación está en linea de continuidad con la comprensión de Gaudium et Spes acerca de la relación entre conciencia y ley, la aspiración de que ambos interlocutores sean imprescindibles en un diálogo horizontal que está al centro de la vida moral del creyente. En este mismo sentido, el protagonismo de la conciencia moral apela y pone en juego – a su vez – el principio de la dignidad humana – imagen y semejanza, que en virtud del contexto en que se lleva a cabo, resulta también una clave de comprensión de la conciencia de la pareja, de los esposos y de la familia.

 

En épocas más recientes, comenzamos a comprender que es necesario dar a este principio de la dignidad un contenido que pueda ser vinculado a la materialidad de la existencia corporal. No es suficiente hablar de la dignidad humana desde un punto de apoyo abstracto, por muy seguro que sea en un sentido metafísico. La dignidad del cuerpo, entonces, puede ayudarnos a ver a los seres humanos singulares: los niños, las mujeres, los ancianos, y en general, todos quienes durante la historia han debido justificar su humanidad. En este sentido avanza correctamente AL en numerosos pasajes referidos, principalmente, a los niños, los ancianos y las mujeres.



[1]          Cfr. J. Habermas, J. Ratzinger, Entre razón y religión. Dialéctica de la secularización (Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mexico 2008), 28.

2019: The Summer of our Discontent

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

Consider with me some events that have dominated U.S. public life in recent months. If ever there were a season deserving the label “the summer of our discontent,” the summer of 2019 emerges as my chief candidate. Anybody who cares about ethics in public life and who is not experiencing severe discontent is simply not paying attention. Although there is space here to consider only two recent items of political theater, many developments have evoked discouragement among observers concerned about basic standards of democracy: equity, respect, and the rule of law.

For ten days in mid-July, the news cycle was utterly dominated by President Trump’s relentless verbal assault on four first-term members of Congress: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ilhan Omar (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Ayanna S. Pressley (MA)—all liberal Democrats and, not coincidentally, women of color. Trump’s racially-tinged attacks included relentless Twitter broadsides (Go Back Where You Came From) and provocative public appearances, including a North Carolina rally in which he presided approvingly over a crowd chanting "Send Her Back!" Notwithstanding feeble and belated attempts to rationalize or walk back some of the invective, Trump’s prolonged outburst constitutes an especially egregious attempt to rouse his base by playing the race card. This blatant demonization of people of color shocked those of us who eschew grossly emboldened displays of covert belief in these and other racist tropes.

That disheartening episode faded from the headlines only when it was eclipsed by another public spectacle with its own problematic features. Special Counsel Robert Mueller appeared on July 24 in front of two Congressional committees to (reluctantly) testify on his 448-page report regarding Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election and evidence of subsequent obstruction of justice. Witnessing the partisanship on display during the congressional hearings and tracking the public discourse before and after the nation heard the Mueller testimony provided abundant grounds for even further discouragement. The nearly seven hours of the Mueller hearings turned a few heads, but probably changed very few minds regarding the conduct of the Trump campaign and administration. Tracking public discourse and news coverage confirms what we already suspected: ours is no longer a nation characterized by the search for truth and pursuit of justice, rather it has become a place where people by and large talk past one another, seeking confirmation of their own biases and self-interest at every turn. I readily admit my own participation in the “new national pastime” of keeping score of political points for or against Trump and other public figures. Many of us find the political jousting so compelling that the search for truth—the integrity of our electoral process, cybersecurity, constitutional principles—is eclipsed by the pursuit of partisan advantage.

And so we witness the devolution from conversation to accusation, from protocols of respectful dialogue to the culture of taunting, from fair-minded consideration of factual evidence to the desperate search for the most effective strategy of spin. We are all-too-aware of the vicissitudes of American political history to subscribe to a simple narrative positing a putative fall from a past Golden Age of comity, but surely something new is unfolding in today’s hyper-partisan atmosphere. Consider just a few of the pressing national questions that seem to elude rational assessment: Did the Mueller report really exonerate the President? Do the four Congresswomen verbally attacked by Trump have the best interests of the U.S. in mind? Are our current border-control procedures and migration policies characterized by prudence or by cruelty?

That final question reminds us that, as disturbing as the Trump-Mueller examples of national pathology may be, numerous other areas of public life and government policy betray the US heritage of fair-mindedness. It appears that political tribalism, always a corrosive social force, may be robbing us of our ability to conduct meaningful dialogue about justice and the common good, a subject of especially strong concern to all ethicists.

What particular contribution may theological ethics make to our national plight? We draw from traditions of reflection that have long considered how to create conditions for human flourishing and corporate wellbeing. The discipline of ethics has for millennia pondered the virtues that foster social peace: integrity, fairness, and restraint in the use of power. Perhaps as importantly we have arrived at a marked appreciation for the complexity of contemporary social realities—a realization that recognizes and engages the importance of tolerance, mutuality and dialogue.

One recent trajectory within Christian moral reflection is the enterprise of public theology. Although by no means a new undertaking (even first-century Christian communities debated the proper stance of the faithful toward government authority and life in a pluralistic setting), public theology has encouraged a more conscious grappling with the challenges of society-wide encounter, including the embrace of principles and virtues of good citizenship. John Courtney Murray, S.J., one of the architects of American public theology, wisely called attention to the theme of respectful deliberation and consensus-building as the hallmark of a healthy society; applying some of his priorities to the present social and political context may just spark creative steps fostering the dialogue we desperately need to revive our union. By pointing to public theology as a promising framework, I am not imagining an easy solution to problems old or new, but simply proposing dialogue, a sometimes-overlooked tool for addressing the polarization that everybody seems to decry but few feel empowered to engage.

In the end, nobody will deliver us from the poisoned environment we inhabit except ourselves. While I sometimes dream of a ”Cosmic Fact-Checker from Beyond” adjudicating rival claims and loosening those dug-in heels on all sides (especially the heels of those I consider my personal opponents), I know that the way forward is through respectful dialogue and democratic deliberation. Is it unrealistic to expect such progress in an unfavorable climate? Should we not be wary of a “Catch-22”, whereby amelioration absolutely depends upon the very conditions we lack and the very steps we are disempowered from taking? Maybe so, but just as winds do change for sailors, as well, the prospects for national renewal are not doomed to perpetual stasis.

My own hunch is that the erosion of public trust, while serious in its manifestations, is not a permanent feature of the landscape for a people with strong traditions of public service and magnanimity. While democracy is indeed fragile, the people of the USA have time and again demonstrated the ability to rise to the occasion and participate in a revival of virtue. Though it was far from easy (and healing the trenchant wounds of racial injustice is maddeningly and scandalizingly incomplete), reknitting the Union North and Confederate South in the wake of the Civil War emerges as one example when deep discord was addressed with enlightened laws and institutional arrangements that (despite their flaws) lighted the path to social justice. American history contains much encouragement regarding the project of holding power accountable. For all the vice demonstrated in the national story, we have resources—commitment, dialogue, and experience—to rise above the present quagmire of rank partisanship and bullying.

Will “the summer of our discontent” turn into a springtime of civic renewal? With stakes high and the conditions challenging, let us use the power of our discipline to instruct and model what justice and the commonweal require.

Nonprofit Web Design and Development by New Media Campaigns