Forum Submissions

Month

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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

Exclusion and Method in Moral Theology

6 Comment(s) | Posted | by Jason King |

Keywords: Charles Camosy, Emily Reimer-Barry, intersectionality, method in moral theology, inclusion, exclusion, tradition 

In his recent “The Crisis of Catholic Moral Theology” and the follow up interview in America  magazine, Charlie Camosy argues that Catholic moral theology is in crisis, divided by the “ascendant methodologies” of intersectionality that excludes those who approach moral theology differently.

 Emily Reimer-Barry responds to Camosy’s claim in "We Don't Need a Requiem for Moral Theology." She argues that the field is not crumbling in division rather it is facing “urgent and complex questions” that arise from globalization and the social and natural sciences. For Reimer-Barry, intersectionality discourse equips theologians to better understand and respond to these questions.

While they differ, you can only see the difference after seeing all the ways they agree. As Reimer-Barry defends intersectionality, so does Camosy. 

Camosy writes that those who employ this discourse “are often astute on the functions of power, and they have refused to bend on many issues of justice that traditional activism has overlooked. Their focus on interlocking injustices overlaps with the “consistent ethic of life” tradition advocated by, among others, Pope St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae.” 

As Camosy argues we should work within the tradition, so Reimer-Barry works within the tradition.  

In her post, Reimer-Barry cites scriptures, bishops, and colleagues in moral theology. She understands the Catholic moral tradition as driven by questions like, “What is the best way to bring about what God may be saying to us? How should I be attending to contemporary sources and what sources from the moral tradition should guide me?” 

Both are similarly concerned about people being excluded: Reimer-Barry reminds us that the sources of our tradition are wider than a Euro-centric canon; Camosy reminds us that theologians must be accountable to both the revelation and the people who consider our reflections. Reimer-Barry raises up people who have typically not been heard by those working in the discipline, writing that “the reason why intersectional thinking is so life-affirming for so many people is because whole schools of thought have ignored their lived experiences for so long, and finally intersectional theologians are paying attention.” Camosy worries about people who attend to the tradition being left out or worse: he worries about the ways in which power in a Foucaldian sense may be deployed “to discipline and punish” traditionalists who dissent from the critique.

 They agree that people are being excluded; they disagree on whom. Does exclusion apply to those more focused on the tradition (Camosy) or to those who have been ignored or continue to be excluded from the tradition (Reimer-Barry)? While framed in a desire for inclusion, their opposing theses implicitly raise the question “who among the discipline’s interlocutors should be excluded and on what basis?”  

I do not raise this question lightly, but asking and attempting an answer is important for the discipline and for collegial respect. It is both insufficient and unsatisfying to say, “we should listen to everyone.” Such a response glosses over the realities of exclusion and buries the reasons for our discomfort. We must avoid the rhetoric of “very fine people, on both sides” that masks real biases and prejudices, animosity and hostility.

Moreover, Catholic moral theology has long been involved in discerning who we should and shouldn’t listen to. It is called tradition. The problem is that tradition has too often been understood as static, closed, and univocal (a point Megan McCabe makes in her response to Camosy). While the tradition includes doctrinal certainties –like the creed professed at Mass every Sunday–overall the tradition develops. The centuries have witnessed deep and expanded understandings of the Spirit’s movement over time, speaking with several voices that we prioritize and reprioritize as insight comes to the fore. Thus, today we exclude Mirari Vos and the Syllabus of Errors that condemn freedom of speech, press, and religion and we include Pacem in Terris and Dignitatis Humanae to insist on these rights. Moreover, voices that have been “outside” the tradition, for just one example, women, become voices “inside” the tradition. As Alastair MacIntyre notes (cf. Whose Justice? Which Rationality?), living traditions draw in and begin to engage new voices and ideas and develop thereby.

 As we wrestle with development in the tradition, we should keep in mind Terrence Tilley’s insight (cf. Inventing Catholic Tradition) that we often do not understand development until we are looking back at a tradition through history. In the meantime, we utilize whatever skills we have, listening to the voices that we have reason to think are important, listening to the voices we do not typically hear so that we may be able to do the work of theology for the Body of Christ, the Church. 

We need this development in Catholic moral theology today to help us in reflecting carefully about who is and is not included. It is no easy task. We should be including those people who Camosy and Reimer-Barry worry about being excluded. We need, to use Reimer-Barry’s words, a “wider” scope and a “more complex” method in moral theology, an approach that means our “comps lists get longer and conference sessions become more variable.” We also should heed Camosy’s call for “intellectual solidarity” in our pursuit of discerning what is right and just. On that basis then and as a matter of course, we all should be raising the questions of exclusion.

Even then, our pursuits will be messy, incomplete, and filled with mistakes along the way. Thus, we should be extra kind and merciful to ourselves and to those around us. Only if we listen carefully and attentively can we better speak about and try to live according to “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

The Case of Miracles in Africa Today

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

Keywords: miracles; affliction; Africa; healing

Introduction

What understanding do the African tradition and Christianity have of miracles? When most people think of miracles, the images that come to mind are of Lourdes, Fatima, and Marian sanctuaries like Nsimalen, etc. where the miracles are taking place. In this context, miracles become “facts which no longer necessarily present a religious framework, arise from the ordinary and are remarkable, and evoke questions for those who are their beneficiaries, or who observe them.”[1] For the believer, events which they call miracles are messages, events in which they discover a Word of God for him- or herself. The miracle is considered to be a surprising fact, an inexplicable event. So, most often, it is a sign of faith. But what is at stake in the practice of miracles in our contemporary African context?

 1.     Miracles in the light of African tradition

In general, Africans perceive affliction as “a rupture of equilibrium, simultaneously on the individual plane and on the social plane of which this individual is a member.”[2] Affliction is not only an organic dysfunction, but also points to the triple terminology of disease, illness and sickness. As disease, it is a biological dysfunction. As illness, it is a subjective experience of the person with the affliction. In a more global manner, it is sickness, because it encompasses objective and subjective realities within a sociocultural setting which ascribe meaning to it.[3] Thus affliction is considered to be “an anomaly, an exterior aggression which ruptures the equilibrium between the person, the cosmos and society. It is an event, a fracture in the normal order of things, and in order to understand it we need a frame of reference that incorporates the social and the religious in the same reality.”[4] Benjamin Sarr says that it is an aggression, a threat to life whose causes have to be unmasked.[5]

From another point of view, the perception of affliction is dependent on the vision of nature and of humans in their surroundings: forest, river, animals, etc., which are inhabited by energies. That is, everything carries vital energy and strength. That’s why the elements of nature can transmit energy to a person, which detain him until various rituals have been performed that are defined by ancestral wisdom. The traditional healer plays the role of mediator between the suffering individual and this world of energies. People thus show that they are double entities: an individual body and a social body. In the case of affliction, there is a double perception of the possible causes of its various manifestations. We distinguish between “natural” and “mystical” afflictions. The first are generally less serious, and easy to treat. The second are directly connected to the life of the clan with its beliefs, and can have much more dramatic consequences. For these two visions of affliction, there are two types of medicine: common medicine, and secret medicine, each dealing with affliction in its respective domain. We should note that traditional medical practice doesn’t act immediately on the afflicted person. It must first discover the origin of the affliction before considering the treatment. Thus for an African, healing means “re-establishing the lost equilibrium.”[6] That is why African tradition places so much emphasis on the positive role of the social context, the involvement of the patient and his family in the process of healing, human presence, the positive role of touch, of artistic expression, magico-religious representations, physical forces, relations which maintain spirit and matter, etc.

2.  Miracles in African Christianity 

Traditional imaginary about affliction is still at work in modern Africa. This is evidenced by the survival of the traditional system of medicine and belief in the world of sorcerers and their curses. The African crisis is an anthropological crisis. People’s afflictions cause structures and cultures to be afflicted. The traditional structures of health persist side by side with the so-called modern structures. When many Christians have chronic afflictions, they hope that Jesus will give them and equally effective intervention as the god of the traditional healers. Seeing the African reality, we might ask whether there isn’t some misunderstanding: The healing Christ announced in the Gospels is really different to the Christ received in African Christian communities.

However, it is important to realise that African healing practices can be a mediating space for resolving existential questions. The same happens in the communities of the Charismatic Renewal which have become the privileged spaces where popular expectations are created regarding social and religious affairs, but which have also become contested spaces because of the high expectations placed on them. Preaching about Christ the healer has assumed an important dimension in the African religious universe, particularly in countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast. These countries have itinerant preachers who come into the public space and propose Christ as the solution to all existential problems. Are these miraculous expectations always met?



[1] Charles Perrot, Jean-Louis Souletie and Xavier Thevenot, Les Miracles. Paris: Atelier, 1995, p.7.

[2] Lolke Van der Veen (ed.), Maladies, remèdes et langues en Afrique Centrale: Rapport final de recherche effectué dans le cadre du programme pluriannuel en sciences humaines. Paris: Cerf, 1995, p.132.

[3] cf. François Laplante, Anthropologie de la maladie. Paris: Payout, 1986, pp.19f.

[4] Marc Auge, “Ordre biologique, ordre social: La maladie comme forme élémentaire de l’événement” in Le sens du mal: Anthropologie, histoire, sociologie de la maladie. Paris: Archives Contemporaines, 1983, pp.35f.

[5] cf. Benjamin Sombel Sarr, La guérison divine en Afrique: Questions théologiques et pastorales. Abidjan: Harmattan, 2009, p.12.

[6] Lolke Van den Veen (ed.) Op. cit. p.140.

New Challenges to Religious Freedom

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Diego Alonso-Lasheras |

Keywords: Dignitatis Humanae, religious freedom, globalization, religious diasporas, soft power, international relations, principle of non-intervention.

The question of religious freedom has gone beyond the boundaries of nations and states, the framework within which Dignitatis Humanae (DH) declared the right to religious freedom. We need to develop the doctrine of DH taking into account the new situations of religious freedom, as an issue of international relations, and not just as an intra-state question.

DH was one of the most discussed documents of Vatican II, because it reformulated Church doctrine on the issues of Church-State relations, freedom of worship and religious tolerance. It did so by declaring “that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power” (DH, 2).

Since Leo XIII, the questions referring to religious freedom had been framed through the polarity of Church-State relations, which begged, at least, two further questions, regarding freedom of worship and religious tolerance. In this way the question entered the Council, as Chapter 9 of the earlier draft version of the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church. One of the remarkable features of the declaration is the fact that it never uses the word state. The question of religious freedom was not framed using the polarity Church-State, but in terms of the polarity Church-Society, a polarity that can also be observed in Gaudium et Spes. The term society is used 23 times in the declaration. In one case the term refers to the family “a society in its own original right” (DH. 5). In two cases, it refers to the Church, as a society of men. In three cases, it is used as human society, leaving a certain ambiguity, but in most of the other cases, it is used in the sense of the state, or society as a political body. The term is used as “civil society”, the “constitutional order of society”, “the constitutional law whereby society is governed”, “the organization of society”, “the common welfare of society”, “the usages of society.” It also appears close to expressions like public order or the right of society to defend itself. Although the bipolarity has changed from Church-State to Church-Society, the question of religious freedom is still framed within the context of a single society, or a state. It could not be otherwise, for this was the problem that laid before the Council Fathers.

Some of the questions about religious freedom have not particularly changed. Many men and women see their religious freedom denied by the state in which they live. Sometimes the state forbids or tightly controls any religious expression. In other cases, an official or dominant religion restrains freedom of worship or other religious expressions.

Yet, there is a new problem originated by globalization, growing religious diasporas and the emergence of religion as a force of international relations. Until recently, international law provided a certain religious tolerance for small religious diasporas. These diasporas were, usually, so small that they were insignificant, and were not perceived as a problem in the receiving societies. These small groups could always gather in embassies and other diplomatic representations, or worship in private houses. However, globalization has changed and enriched the casuistry. Religious diasporas have grown. In some countries they represent significant groups, and in some others, quite big ones. This fact couples with the emergence of religion as a factor of international relations. This has become particularly problematic with the “discovery” that religion as soft power can be used in international relations.

The concept of “soft power” was introduced by Joseph Nye in the field of international relations in 1990 in an article in Foreign Policy. If power is the capacity to affect other people’s behavior, Nye contended that beyond stick and carrot, threat or payment, which he conceptualized as hard power, there was a case to talk about soft power, the power of attraction. In his article he particularly developed the concept of soft power applied to the USA. The idea that religion can act as soft power in international relations came later. There are different examples of how it can work. Russia or Turkey are good examples of the use of religion as soft power.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin, has resorted to religion as a source of soft power. Putin, a former KGB agent, has presented himself in public as a devout Orthodox Christian, and has supported the Russian Orthodox Church in the country. The Russian government has also explored the ways of religion as soft power beyond its frontiers. The opening of a new Orthodox Cathedral in Paris in 2016 was seen as more than just a religious act. The Cathedral, completely funded by the Kremlin, was for many the expression of a spiritually strong and resurgent Russia.

Turkey, as well, has explored these avenues. A recent official visit of President Erdogan to Germany ended with the inauguration of a new central mosque in Cologne built by DITIB (the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, a large umbrella organization that manages 900 mosques in Germany). DITIB is linked to Diyanet, a state agency established in 1924 regarding Islamic faith and practices.

The two cases show the ambivalent use of religion. In France and Germany some have raised their voices against what they see as a breach of the principle of non-intervention. In exercising religious freedom in the new international scenarios, DH’s doctrine needs to develop, and the document itself contains elements for this development. DH argues for religious freedom to proceed along two tracks, one grounded in Revelation, and one grounded in reason. The declaration affirms that “the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.” This double track can allow us to develop some of the arguments of reason in favor of religious freedom, to assure this right in the new international scenario.

The council opted to define religious freedom as a freedom from coercion: “in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits” (DH, 2). In these new international scenarios, a balance has to be found between a freedom from coercion of the hosting country –that should assure freedom in matters religious for the new diasporas— while also assuring the freedom from coercion that could come from the country of origin of the diasporas, that under the disguise of support of the religious freedom of its citizens and their descendants, might in fact coerce in matters religious.

In this sense the “just demands of public order” of which the declaration talks, have to be understood, not just as the public order of a particular country, which has the right to request contextually specific ways of exercising religious freedom, but also as respect for the just demands of the international public order, of which the principle of non-intervention is a fundamental principle.

In that sense re-reading DH we can propose a certain development in the context of a globalized world and the rise of religion in international relations.

 

 

 

Indonesia’s Winding Road to Democracy: Facing Fake News and Hoaxes

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Dionius B. Mahamboro |

I began to write this article as Indonesia faces the national election in April 17, 2019, in which the president, the vice president, and members of the parliament will be elected on the same day. Over 190 million Indonesian are eligible to vote. After 73 years of independence, the citizens of Indonesia still have to learn how to build a democratic society. A democratic society requires not only a good government, but also mutual trust between the government and its people. Unfortunately, the trust is threatened by fake news and hoaxes which are spread rapidly through social media. In times of high political tensions, especially during presidential elections, fake news and hoaxes have been used and will continue to be used to create mistrust against the current government in order to destabilize the country.

One recent example of fake news was a report about six containers from China at Jakarta port that supposedly contained ballots with votes in support of President Joko Widodo a.k.a. Jokowi (57), who is running for re-election, along with his running mate, Ma’aruf Amin (75), a former leader of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), one of the biggest Islamic organization in Indonesia.[1] After the police inspected the port, no such containers were found. The General Election Commission stated that the ballots have not yet been printed.

Surely that is bad news for democracy in Indonesia. The fake news about the six containers is seen as an attempt to delegitimize Indonesia’s 2019 presidential election. The fake ballots are used to form opinions that the elections will be unfair to the opposition candidate against Joko Widodo, Prabowo Subianto (67), and that he might lose the election. When watching the first presidential debate between Jokowi and Prabowo on January 17, 2019, I found the same pattern of presenting false data by the opposition. For instance, he stated that the salary of the current governor of Middle Java Province is low, although he leads a province which is larger than Malaysia. In reality, the province is one tenth of Malaysia. Such statement was used to dramatize the situation, as if public officers were lowly paid. In many occasions, aggressive rhetoric and social media manipulation were shown by the campaign team of the challenger.

Hoaxes are considered as the biggest threat for democracy in Indonesia. It is a real threat if I consider that Indonesia has an enormous number of social media users, yet most of them have only low media literacy. The lack of critical thought causes the rapid spreading of false news for political purposes. This method is proven to be effective especially in countries with a relatively short experience of democracy and great inequalities like Indonesia.

Since 1997, before every election, the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference publishes a pastoral letter regarding elections and reminds Catholics to use their right to participate in elections. The letter of the bishops also gives advice that voters have to choose a candidate who has moral integrity and wants to serve for the common good. Thus the Catholic voters need to learn about the track record of the candidate. The invitation to be a “smart voter” is a realization of Christian virtues in a democracy. In a society threatened by potential conflicts due to fake news like Indonesia nowadays, the faithful need to practice the virtues of prudence and temperance.

Kwanzaa’s Nguzo Saba: A Timely and Much Needed Retrieval of Afro Ubuntu Ethics for Enhanced Flourishing in the African Diaspora and Beyond

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

26th December was the beginning of the seven days of Kwanzaa, a week long celebration that ends on January 1st .[1]

For those not familiar with Kwanzaa, the  term Kwanza is a Swahili word meaning “First” and it is shorthand for the concept behind Kwanzaa, a symbolic celebration “first fruits.“ The celebration is reminiscent of “new harvest” festivals in Africa. Founded by Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is  a Pan -African event   celebrated by many particularly in the US. 

Kwanzaa  festival resonates with me partly  because the concept is   articulated in Kiswahili  (with suitable and creative adaptations)[2] a language which I speak and I am most  familiar.  Secondly, Kwanzaa resonates with me since  it  invokes African ethics and values revolving around the African concept of  Ubuntu, a concept which speaks to the very essence of what  it means to be human in community  . Through  its Nguzo Saba (7 Principles) Kwanzaa invites  all to live a life inspired  by Ubuntu  afro ethics  for enhanced flourishing .

The Nguzo are reminiscent of the African notions of the person well captured by the term Ubuntu: As Bishop Tutu explains,    “a person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.” A person with Ubuntu recognizes that   "My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours and that   we “all belong in a bundle of life”. An Ubuntu inspired person knows that   "A person is a person through other persons." [3]

This Ubuntu ethos  palpably permeates the whole notion of Kwanzaa as imagined by  its  founder . .The 7 Nguzo  (/principles or pillars[4] are values and virtues that constitute ,express and prop up Ubuntu as defined by Tutu. These are 

  •  Umoja : (Unity )
  •  Kujichagulia: (agency and self determination)
  •  Ujamaa  (cooperative rather than competitive cut- throat  economics (Nyerere tried to operationalize this in Tanzania)
  •  Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility (AKA Harambee in Kenya)
  •  Nia : Purpose  :Intentionally   Making collective flourishing our life time  common Goal
  • Kuumba(Creativity):  Commitment to do all we can  to ensure that we to leave our community/world  better than when we inherited it.
  • Imani  Faith  :not just faith in an abstract deity that is far removed from peoples

 struggles for justice and enhanced flourishing , but faith , in people  and their capacity for  good, confidence  in the viability of relationships built on   and Ubuntu , and commitment to affirm each others  contribution to the flourishing of all . Imani calls for all to recognize and  build on the wisdom  of ubuntu inspired leadership regardless  .

It seems to me  that at the very least Kwanzaa’s Nguzo  Saba  comprise food for thought as we all consider the global impact of radical individualism coupled with greed and power hunger . A call for  Umoja,(unity) sounds like a suitable antidote in a palpably polarized world while Ujamaa ( Cooperative Economics,) sounds like much needed balm in a world torn apart by a predatory global economic system where profit is the primary goal and where everything, including people have a price tag . Nia, is the  Nguzo that calls us to make it our lifetime  goal or vocation to enhance rather than  subvert each others flourishing while Kujichagulia (self determination)  reminds us of the imperative responsibly to exercise our  moral agency ,  a defining feature of Ubuntu and  to refrain from  subverting  that of others. Given the complexities and multiple crises facing humanity today, Ujima  (collective Work and Responsibility )and , Kuumba (Creativity) are  particularly urgent principles as we collectively make efforts to leave our rather vandalized planet better than we inherited it.

None of the above is possible without Imani; Faith in people and their moral agency (Kujichagulia ) resilience and capacity for good.. Imani , is a major antidote to contemporary cynicism that often leads to deadly indifference and apathy  and prematurely  giving up on the quest for viable solutions .

 In  concluding these reflections on Kwanzaa, it is my  hope that more than African Americans can adopt the spirit of Kwanzaa and  its Nguzo Saba.. Even becoming aware of these Nguzo za Ubuntu (Pillars of Ubuntu, authentic humanity ) would , in my humble view , be  a step, however lilliputian  in the direction of enhanced flourishing, both human flourishing and that of all who call Earth ,  home.

As I conclude these reflections , I am also aware that similar values are embedded in many of our faith traditions  but have been rather forgotten and replaced by values that subvert life in many ways . Perhaps  it is time to retrieve , reconstruct and reclaim these forgotten life supporting values as  Karenga did in the African- American context or as Pope Francis has done in retrieving Franciscan and biblical virtues of stewardship for earth and solidarity among humans .   As Wangari Maathai , speaking of the need to reconstruct and reclaim Afro Ubuntu  virtues and values points out , such a retrieval  will indeed help “heal ourselves and heal the world ”.[5]



[2] Whereas  in developing the concept of Kwanzaa Karenga uses a language and idiom from among the “Bantu speaking people  of East , central and South Africa, elsewhere he taps into the  language and idiom of other parts of Africa particularly Ancient Egypt from where he retrieves the ethical notion of Maat as  representative of Afro-ethics.   For details see:  Maulana Karenga : Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A study in Classical African Ethics: Routledge 2004

[3] Desmond Tutu, No Future without Forgiveness: Doubleday 1999:31

[4] Nguzo in Kiswahili  literally means Pillars

[5] For details of Maathai’s urgent appeal  for retrieval of  Afro ethics ,see her book: Replenishing the Earth : Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and The World.   Doubleday 2010

The Naivete behind the Federal Government Shutdown

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Ramón Luzárraga |

Keywords: Government Shutdown, Naïvete, Populism, Libertarianism, Resistance 

Since 1976, the United States has sustained 21 shutdowns of the Federal Government, including the 2018-19 shutdown which just ended, putting the Federal Government back in operation for at least the next three weeks. The American people’s tolerance for government shutdowns is reflected by how these events do not translate into a major campaign issue as the Congress members primarily responsible for shutdowns are not voted out of office for their support of the action. Insofar as government shutdowns reveal both a wish and a myth in the American political psyche, many wish for a time when the reach and power of the Federal Government was not so pervasive and powerful.

The resistance to government is, in part, rooted in a peculiarly American form of Christianity with roots in the original Thirteen English Colonies. In his Warfare State, historian James T. Sparrow wrote how the United States developed a Christian religious tradition rooted in evangelical and dissenting (to the established colonial Anglican and Congregationalists) churches who actively resisted government authority. This resistance, about which historian William McLoughlin often wrote, became a predominant part of American culture with the Second Great Awakening (1800-1830). This religious revival, begun at Yale University to defend its Calvinist foundation against French Enlightenment thought, rapidly evolved into something very different on the American frontier west of the Appalachian Mountains. There, people confident in their own intellectual and physical abilities did not see themselves needing East Coast institutions or their established churches with their educated clergy. Rather, people on the frontier privileged their individual, subjective, and experiential understandings of the Protestant faith tradition and interpretations of Scripture over any such authority. They relied on themselves for a populism that voluntarily formed communities and shaped their religious practices. This American populism was decisive in bringing about the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828. Since that time, many Americans on the conservative and libertarian right, and to a far lesser degree on the anarchist left, imagined a golden age of the United States where human enterprise was free because the Federal Government’s role was limited. Today’s populists believe that if that government is shrunk to the point that, as tax-concerned political activist Grover Norquist put it, citizens could drown what remained in the bathtub, we could return to that golden age where the people rule themselves and solve problems locally without government experts interfering in matters of local governance.

This anti-government attitude is dangerously naïve on two counts. First, it is based on the assumption that extensive government regulation and the reach of its power is an exclusively modern phenomenon. Second, it assumes that the size of government always grows at the expense of individual human freedom. Colonial New England governments regulated a great deal, from religiously motivated laws forbidding economic and leisure activities on Sunday, to regulating the height of picket fences on one’s front yard. With independence, the Federal Government has always played a major role in encouraging commerce and in bringing order to lands west of the Appalachians. With 19th century westward expansion, Thomas Jefferson sponsored the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase and Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, and the Morrill Act in 1862, as incentives by the Federal Government to settle those lands and establish institutions, which quickly developed into new states of the Union. The Morrill Act confirmed the national need for an educated citizenry. Private businesses profited from Federal Government contracts to build government and military infrastructure and early generations of engineers received their training at United States military academies. These initiatives were (are) anything but restrictions on individual freedoms.

Beginning with the Civil War, big government is the consequence of the growth of the United States as a continental nation, an urban society, and an industrial economy. In the twentieth century, the Federal Government has had to respond to urban poverty, labor exploitation, business monopolies and corruption, and local government corruption generated by the Industrial Revolution. The Progressive Age gave us the earliest regulations to guarantee food and drug safety, the arbitration of labor disputes, the regulation of workplace hours, safety, and child labor, and the abolition of anti-competitive business monopolies to protect free markets. (Curiously, the protection of free markets, ironically, is something anti-government advocates value.) The national crises of World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, the Cold War, and the fight for Civil Rights, followed in rapid succession. No decentralized, small national government, no local government, and no religious or secular voluntary social organization could have marshaled the political power and economic resources to adequately grapple with these crises and defeat autocracy, Fascism, Communism, and (overt) race-based discrimination. Historically, the Christian worldview encourages political engagement, support of, and participation in governance to advance a more humane society. While the founders of the colonies and leaders of an independent nation may not recognize these United States, a populist small government belongs to an epoch in history to which we cannot return.

A free citizenry needs a sophisticated governing structure to help negotiate modern, complex individual and social lives and to correct the political and social injustices that local and state governments and civic organizations were and are still unable or unwilling to address. The Christian tradition (perhaps especially the Roman Catholic) does not have an intrinsic bias for small government but to all the government we need, with powers exercised at appropriate levels for the common good. To think we can order our lives with anything less is folly.


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

1 Comment(s) | Posted | by Jorge José Ferrer |

Keywords: 10/90 gap, disease burden, global justice

The expression “10/90 gap” (or 90/10) was coined by the Commission on Health Research for Development in a landmark report published in 1990.  The Commission, as most readers of The First probably know, was an international private initiative aimed at the improvement of health in the then called “developing countries”.  Its work was funded by important international institutions, both public and private, such as the United Nations Development Program, the Word Bank, the Nobel Assembly, and the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, among many others for a total of 16 sponsors.  The expression “10/90 gap” refers to the mismatch between disease burden and the financial resources devoted to health research.  In other words, only 10% of health research funding is devoted to the study and relief of the disease burden of 90% of the world population.  Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the undeserved populations, most of them living in low- and middle-income countries, are the ones neglected by such unequal distribution of research dollars.

Of course, many things have changed since 1990.  More resources are devoted to research today, and more research (particularly clinical trials) is being carried out in low-and-middle- income nations.  It must be added, however, that an increase in the number of clinical trials taking place in a region does not necessarily translate into a greater focus on its health needs.   As a matter of fact, the growth of clinical research in impoverished regions has raised concerns about the danger of exploitation of vulnerable persons and communities.  This topic has received much attention in journal articles and books in the bioethical literature.  We cannot dwell on this important debate in this brief essay, but its relevance must be acknowledged. 

As D. P. O’Mathúna (2008) points out, it is possible that the proportion 10/90 is, at the present time, an overstatement.  Other authors think that the problem is not one of lack of research.  They argue that there are enough drugs to treat most of the diseases affecting the poor: “The issue… is not the unavailability of medicines in the world market.  The problem… is that the poor are unable to access the medicines largely because of poverty, inadequate health infrastructure, and overbearing governments” (Vidyasagar, 2006).

Let us suppose, at least for the sake of argument, that both caveats are well taken.  Does that mean that the fundamental ethical problem of global health inequities goes away?  I do not think so.  In my view, there are several issues that need to be considered for a proper understanding of the problem that lies behind the idea of the 10/90 gap in health research.  Each one of the considerations that follows would need, of course, further elaboration.  In this context, a succinct enumeration of the issues must suffice.

First, I think that it must be admitted that the selection of research topics is largely determined by the availability of funding.  We cannot forget that, for the most part, clinical research is funded by the pharmaceutical industry: “The current global health R&D system relies strongly on market incentives.  About 60% of all health R&D funding comes from the for-profit private sector… When market incentives drive innovation, R&D that is profitable will be preferred… (Viergever, 2013).”  The profit motive works very well in certain areas.  It is, however, inadequate to respond to basic human needs, particularly in the case of impoverished individuals and populations.  In the area of health, it might even stifle innovations as the increased production of me-too drugs would seem to suggest.

Second, let us suppose that the problem is neither the lack of research nor the dearth of therapeutic interventions to serve the needs of underserved populations.  Therefore, it would be a problem of access and distribution.  If such were the case, the ethical problem does not go away.  On the contrary, it can be argued that the ethical problem is magnified.  Vulnerable persons and communities, including children, are suffering and dying of preventable and treatable diseases.  The populations in need do not have access to existing and frequently inexpensive therapeutic interventions, which are readily available to the citizens of more affluent societies and to the well off in developing countries.  If this were the case, the ethical challenge presented by the idea of the 10/90 gap has not gone away.  It has been shifted from the field of basic and clinical research to the area of public health. 

Third, it must be added that health research and issues of justice in health are not limited to basic and clinical research.  Human health is not determined only, not even mainly, by access to physicians, medications, and health-care facilities.  There are social determinants of health.  Access to education, adequate nutrition, clean water, and clean air are just as significant, if not more so. 

Fourth, there is a need to develop research capacity in impoverished regions, including the training of competent scientists, access to updated scientific literature, and the development of research ethics capacity.  Ethical reflection is highly contextual (without denying some universal values).  We cannot take for granted that an ethical reflection produced in the context of affluent societies and first world universities adequately responds to the needs of developing nations. 

Finally, it is possible that the 10/90 gap does not have to be taken literally in a strictly statistical sense.  But there is no doubt that, whether the problem is one of insufficient research or one of distribution and access, it expresses in very dramatic terms the very real problem of world health disparities. From an ethical viewpoint, we are dealing, in my view, with an extremely serious issue of global justice.  The idea of global justice faces serious theoretical challenges from the perspective of traditional western political philosophy.  Traditionally, theories of justice, from Plato to Rawls, have been political theories, linked to a theory of the State.  However, in a globalized world, we need to accept that strict duties of justice exist beyond the structure of the national State.  The growing recognition of human rights, as well as the increased development of international law and courts seem to point in that direction. 

Claims of global fairness and justice find an even stronger foundation for those of us who think and try to live within the context of the Christian tradition.  Universal brotherhood and sisterhood, based on both creation and redemption, require, at the very least, a commitment to global justice in the field of human health and health related research.  I hope that Catholic theological ethicists can engage in this debate enriching it with the insights proper to our tradition.  In his message to the participants in the 32nd International Conference on Addressing Global Health Inequities, on November 2017, Pope Francis quoted number 92 of the New Charter for Healthcare Workers.  The protection of intellectual property and a fair profit to support innovation are legitimate interests that cannot be denied.  However, “ways must be found to combine these adequately with the right to access to basic or necessary treatments, or both, especially in underdeveloped countries, and especially in the cases of so-called rare and neglected diseases, which are accompanied by the notion of orphan drugs.”

BASIC BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ferrer J. J., El VIH/SIDA: ¿Un problema de justicia global?, en DE LA TORRE J. (Ed.), 30 años de VIH-SIDA. Balance y nuevas perspectivas, Madrid, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, 2013, 33-50.

Id., Research as a Restorative Practice: Catholic Social Teaching and the Ethics of Biomedical Research, in Lysaught M. T. & McCarthy M. (Eds.), Catholic Bioethics and Social Justice, Collegeville, Liturgical Press Academic, 2018, 363-375.

Macklin R, Double Standards in Medical Research in Developing Countries, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Mandle J., Global Justice, Malden MA, Polity Press, 2006.

O’ Mathúna D. P., On Global Health Research Inequalities, paper presented at the Global Justice & Human Rights PSA Specialist Group, April 1-3, 2008: https://bioethicsireland.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/omathuna2.pdf, retrieved: January 18, 2019.

Petryna A., When experiments travel. Clinical Trials and the Global Search for Human Subjects, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2011.

Pope Francis, Message to the Participants on the 32nd International Conference on the Theme: “Addressing Global Health Inequalities (16-18 November, 2017): http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/pont-messages/2017/documents/papa-francesco_20171118_conferenza-disparita-salute.html, retrieved: January 21, 2019

Vidyasagar D., Global Notes: The 10/90 Gap Disparities in Global Health Research: Journal of Perinatology 26 (2006) 55-56.

Viergever R. F., The mismatch between the health research and development (R&D) that is needed and the R&D that is undertaken: an overview of the problem, the causes, and solutions: Global Health Action 6 (2013): http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/gha.v6i0.22450, retrieved from http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/1273088/, retrieved: January 18, 2019.

 

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

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by María Isabel Gil Espinosa |

Este año 2019 estamos conmemorando los 40 años de la tercera Conferencia general del Episcopado de América Latina, celebrado en Puebla (México) del 27 de enero al 12 de febrero de 1979. Esta Conferencia inspirada en Mt 25 nos señala algunos rasgos de los rostros con los que nuestro Dios Trinitario, encarnado en Cristo Jesús se identifica:

La situación de extrema pobreza generalizada, adquiere en la vida real rostros muy concretos en los que deberíamos reconocer los rasgos sufrientes de Cristo, el Señor, que nos cuestiona e interpela:

  • rostros de niños, golpeados por la pobreza desde antes de nacer, por obstaculizar sus posibilidades de realizarse a causa de deficiencias mentales y corporales irreparables, los niños vagos y muchas veces explotados, de nuestras ciudades, fruto de la pobreza y desorganización moral familiar;
  • rostros de jóvenes, desorientados por no encontrar su lugar en la sociedad; frustrados, sobre todo en zonas rurales y urbanas marginales, por falta de oportunidades de capacitación y ocupación;
  • rostros de indígenas y con frecuencia de afroamericanos, que, viviendo marginados y en situaciones inhumanas, pueden ser considerados los más pobres entre los pobres.
  • rostros de campesinos, que como grupo social viven relegados en casi todo nuestro continente, a veces, privados de tierra, en situación de dependencia interna y externa, sometidos a sistemas de comercialización que los explotan;
  • rostros de obreros, frecuentemente mal retribuidos y con dificultades para organizarse y defender sus derechos;
  • rostros de subempleados y desempleados, despedidos por las duras exigencias de crisis económicas y muchas veces de modelos de desarrollo que someten a los trabajadores y a sus familias a fríos cálculos económicos;
  • rostros de marginados y hacinados urbanos, con el doble impacto de la carencia de bienes materiales, frente a la ostentación de la riqueza de otros sectores sociales;
  • rostros de ancianos, cada día más numerosos, frecuentemente marginados de la sociedad del progreso que prescinde de las personas que no producen.[1]

En nuestro Continente Latinoamericano todos estos rostros están presentes a lo largo y ancho de nuestras ciudades, pueblos y campos. Pero el rostro que quiero mostrar en este breve escrito es el del refugiado, el desplazado y el migrante.

Sólo algunos datos

Colombia, aparece, según la información de Acnur, como el país que tiene la segunda mayor población desplazada del mundo (7,9 millones), incluido el desplazamiento interno a causa de los conflictos y la violencia.[2]

Centroamérica (Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador,) es actualmente otro foco muy importante en cuestión de desplazados, refugiados y migrantes. Muchos grupos de personas han viajado hacia el norte esperando encontrar en México y E.U. una oportunidad para mejorar su calidad de vida.  Según Acnur en México, hay aproximadamente de 7,000 a 9,000 personas repartidos entre Veracruz y Baja California. Entre ellos se encuentran personas que huyen de la persecución y de la violencia y con necesidades de protección internacional. Muchas son personas vulnerables y con necesidad de asistencia humanitaria, incluyendo mujeres y alrededor de 2,300 niños. Recién nacidos, mujeres embarazadas, ancianos y personas con discapacidades han sido identificados. Muchos están exhaustos, y otros sufren de heridas en los pies. Los grupos, ampliamente referidos como caravanas, están divididos en tres grupos principales y varios grupos pequeños.[3] Y las caravanas siguen llegando.[4]

Venezuela es otro drama. Cada día salen del país aproximadamente 5.000 personas; Es el mayor movimiento de población desplazada, migrantes y refugiados de América Latina en su historia reciente. Tienen que caminar por trochas y carreteras por días soportando las inclemencias del clima, con hambre, con los pies ampollados, cansados, con miedo, sin más equipaje que lo que llevan puesto. Acnur asegura que más de 2,6 millones de venezolanos están desplazados. Y la cantidad de venezolanos en búsqueda del reconocimiento de la condición de refugiado alrededor del mundo ha aumentado 2,000% desde el 2014.[5] La crisis migratoria en Venezuela se puede situar en la escala de Siria. Se estima que 1,6 millones de personas han huido de Venezuela desde 2015, y se espera que otros 1,8 millones se vayan este año.[6]

Hasta el momento, la mayor parte de venezolanos desplazados, migrantes y refugiados han llegado a Colombia; otros han buscado refugio en Ecuador, Perú, Brasil, Chile y Argentina; en México y el Caribe.

Lastimosamente esta realidad va más allá de nuestra América Latina, todos escuchamos casi todos los días noticias sobre los refugiados, desplazados y migrantes que huyendo de las guerras y el hambre llegan a las costas y fronteras de los países europeos. Podemos decir que es un fenómeno mundial.

En el Evangelio Jesús no hace comparaciones, sino que afirma que él se identifica con todos y cada uno de los seres humanos que sufren:

Venid, benditos de mi Padre, recibid la herencia del Reino preparado para vosotros desde la creación del mundo. Porque tuve hambre, y me disteis de comer; tuve sed, y me disteis de beber; era forastero, y me acogisteis; estaba desnudo, y me vestisteis; enfermo, y me visitasteis; en la cárcel, y vinisteis a verme. Entonces los justos le responderán: Señor, ¿cuándo te vimos hambriento, y te dimos de comer; o sediento, y te dimos de beber? ¿Cuándo te vimos forastero, y te acogimos; o desnudo, y te vestimos?  ¿Cuándo te vimos enfermo o en la cárcel, y fuimos a verte? Y el Rey les dirá: "En verdad os digo que cuanto hicisteis a unos de estos hermanos míos más pequeños, a mí me lo hicisteis. (Mt 25, 34-40)

El Papa Francisco, en el mensaje para la jornada mundial del migrante y el refugiado (enero 14-2018) que tenía como lema, acoger, proteger, promover e integrar, señalaba:

Cada forastero que llama a nuestra puerta es una ocasión de encuentro con Jesucristo, que se identifica con el extranjero acogido o rechazado en cualquier época de la historia (cf. Mt 25,35.43). A cada ser humano que se ve obligado a dejar su patria en busca de un futuro mejor, el Señor lo confía al amor maternal de la Iglesia. Esta solicitud ha de concretarse en cada etapa de la experiencia migratoria: desde la salida y a lo largo del viaje, desde la llegada hasta el regreso. Es una gran responsabilidad que la Iglesia quiere compartir con todos los creyentes y con todos los hombres y mujeres de buena voluntad, que están llamados a responder con generosidad, diligencia, sabiduría y amplitud de miras - cada uno según sus posibilidades - a los numerosos desafíos planteados por las migraciones contemporáneas.

Todo esto nos indica que no podemos hacer Teología y en especial Teología Moral de espaldas a esta realidad de los refugiados, los desplazados y los migrantes. Porque “En efecto, las migraciones interpelan a todos, no sólo por las dimensiones del fenómeno, sino también «por los problemas sociales, económicos, políticos, culturales y religiosos que suscita, y por los dramáticos desafíos que plantea a las comunidades nacionales y a la comunidad internacional”.[7] Por supuesto, nosotros creyentes, teólogos, también debemos dejarnos interpelar por esta dolorosa realidad. En consecuencia, procurar que nuestra reflexión teológica no se quede encerrado en nuestras oficinas y que sea sólo una fría teología de escritorio.

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