December the FIRST (2011)

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The FIRST
December 2011 

From the desk of the editor 
Hello Friends!

We have another wonderful issue of the FIRST. This month, we carry reports and photos of the wonderful Skype transmission to five US university settings of the Ecclesia Women of Asia (EWA). Congratulations to Andrea Vicini, Gina Wolfe and Agnes Brazal for building a bridge between EWA and Ethicists in the US.  This is the first of numerable other such projects.

In our Forum we hear from Peter Knox (South Africa) on World AIDS Day in South Africa; Eric Genilo (Philippines) on the image of God in Filipino culture; and, Emilce Cuda (Argentina) gives us an essay on the “Mistica y politica en los nuevos estilos Democraticos Latinoamericanos.” Just a reminder... we hope you respond to these essays or earlier ones... see the Forum page.

In our news from the Regions, you will see the developments in reporting!!! Thanks To MT Davila we have reports from individuals throughout the Latin America region. Similarly, Lucas Chan has just recruited four others to report more locally from Asia.

Our first doctoral candidate, Veronica Rop just defended her dissertation at Catholic University of Eastern Africa. In the next issue, we will feature her! Congratulations, Veronica!

Don’t forget to check the "CLEARING HOUSE" on the web page: Call for papers, Jobs, Fellowships, etc...are posted.

Finally, if you are attending the Society of Christian Ethics in Washington DC next month, look out for the book launch of Catholic Theological Ethics, Past, Present, and Future: The Trento Conference. For more information on the volume, you can visit http://catholicethics.com/bookseries. More news in the January newsletter.

All the best for a blessed Advent!
Jim


Report on EWA Skype Sessions
Brilliant, fantastic, delighted with the experience, and great endeavour! These are only some of the words used to described the first CTEWC sponsored Skype video-conference presentation. In early November, students and faculty gathered on five Catholic university campuses in the US to observe live paper presentations by three participants of EWA V, the fifth biennial conference of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The US sites were: Barry University, Boston College, Fordham University, Loyola University Chicago, and Santa Clara University.

Each of the three presenters focused on an aspect related to the conference theme, "Wired Asia: Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Human Connectivity". Virginia Saldanha (India), former Executive Secretary of the Women’s Desk, Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences Office of Laity & Family, considered the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on women's lives, with particular attention to the positive potential of the "soft power" of ITC in the service of flattening hierarchies. Kochurani Abraham (India), a faculty member of the Dept. of Christian Studies, University of Madras, India, examined the way in which the virtual world offers women spaces of their own – whether prophetically to critique patriarchy, break cultures of silence or reclaim the subjectivity and agency more generally in line with Jesus’ "subversive trespassing". Agnes Brazal (Philippines), professor at the Maryhill School of Theology and past President of the Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines, presented a provocative and hopeful proposal about cyborgs as bearing God’s image and technology as an extension of nature rather than a threat to it.

The discussions that followed were rich and wide ranging. Both in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and in the US they not only considered the speakers' different styles, narratives, theological methodologies, and proposals, but also the benefits, dangers, and potentials of a wired world community. In KL, discussion also focused on poverty and access to the new technologies and whether being wired is the solution. Concern was raised about the digital divide among women, while acknowledging that characteristics of this divide differ in various Asian contexts and cultures. Kucharani Abraham noted, for example, that poverty in India is very nuanced and that her research indicated that extremely poor women have more freedom of mobility and greater economic agency than middle class women. 

Reports from the US indicate that Agnes Brazal's proposal, that communication technologies could actually be considered as part of the human body, generated the most diverse opinions and responses. Overall, participants in the US were struck by the expressions of hope in the liberating possibilities that technology can bring and were reminded that this is an emerging area of communication that raises multiple social and ethical issues. There was a general consensus among the US observers that they had been constructively challenged by the EWA scholar’s hope, given the more cynical attitudes and instincts in the US regarding abuses of technology or questions of accountability.

All participants – speakers, conference attendees, and observers – found the experience to be well worth the effort and appreciated the visibility it gave to groups of women scholars in Asia. The one thing missing – all agreed – was the opportunity for greater interaction between the EWA speakers and attendees and observers in the US. Finding ways to facilitate cyber-interaction among the venues would be appreciated. CTEWC looks forward to more occasions to facilitate conversation across the world, from one continent to the other and expresses great thanks to EWA for its willingness to participate in this project. Hopefully, this innovative mode of communication will enhance future relationships of colleagues across continents.

Links:

For other reports on the conference, please go to the EWA website, which includes more photos, http://ecclesiaofwomen.ning.com/ or the UCAN (Union of Catholic Asian News) website http://www.ucanews.com/2011/11/14/bridging-the-gender-gap-in-cyberspace/

To read a recent National Catholic Reporter interview with Virginia Saldanha, one of the speakers, go to http://ncronline.org/news/women/voice-women

See more pictures on http://catholicethics.com/ewaskype2011.   More details from the event can also be found in the Asian regional report.


Woodstock Theological Center International Visiting Fellowship Program
More information including a link to the application can be found at http://catholicethics.com/clearinghouse.
CTEWC FORUM: The Philippines, Argentina, and South Africa


In God’s image
Filipinos take their religious images very seriously. Recently, a local artist’s exhibited work provoked intense public outrage because it affixed objects like Mickey Mouse ears and condoms to images of Christ. The artist faced lawsuits and death threats for causing offense to religious sensibilities. It seemed ironic, however, that the same level of outrage had not been directed against existing unjust and inhuman conditions in Philippine society. Respect and reverence for holy images have not led to greater concern for vulnerable people who are created in the image and likeness of God. This discrepancy may be due to the way popular devotions have been traditionally presented, with more emphasis on individual salvation than on social concern. Let me give other examples.

The oldest Christian image in the country is a statue of the Holy Child, the Santo Niño de Cebu. On its feast day, images of the Santo Niño are paraded in the streets by ardent devotees. In contrast to the attention given to the Holy Child, the country still fails to meet international standards for the protection of children, especially from sex trafficking. According to UNICEF there are approximately 60,000 to 600,000 victims of child prostitution in the country. The Philippines ranks fourth among countries with the most number of prostituted children.

One of the most popular Marian devotions in the country is the novena to the Mother of Perpetual Help. Its national shrine draws thousands of pilgrims. A striking contrast to this devotion to Mary is the situation of women in the country. According to Amnesty International, domestic violence remains pervasive in the country despite the existence of laws that prohibit and penalize violence against women.

The image of the Black Nazarene, a dark wooden statue of Christ carrying his cross, draws hundreds of men to walk barefoot and accompany the image through the streets of Manila during its feast day. Despite a strong devotion to the suffering Christ, Filipinos have not been able to stop the suffering of victims of human rights violations in the country. The 2010 Human Rights Report of Amnesty International enumerate arbitrary killings, secret detention, torture, and forced displacement of indigenous peoples as among the human rights violations resulting from armed conflicts between the military and local insurgents.

Catholic social teachings seek to overcome this disconnection between popular religiosity and social realities. Evangelium Nuntiandi recognizes popular religiosity as a potent means of evangelization and Justice in the World reminds us of the essential relationship between evangelization and “action in behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world.” The Church’s current efforts toward renewed evangelization in the Philippines presents a timely opportunity to harness the power of popular devotions to move people to express their love for God and to channel this power into expressions of love for neighbor through the building of a more just and humane society.

The first letter of John raises the question, “If we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” As the feast of the Christmas draws near, we are reminded of our God who chose to become human and dwell among us. May we always seek to see and love God in every person, especially those who are most weak and vulnerable.

Eric Genilo is a member of the Society of Jesus. He is an assistant professor at Loyola School of Theology in the Philippines. He finished his doctorate at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts (currently the School of Theology and Ministry of Boston College). His doctoral dissertation was on the methodology of the American moral theologian John Cuthbert Ford, S.J.


Mistica y Politica en los Nuevos Estilos Democraticos Latinoamericanos
¿Es la democracia populista una negación de los principios cristianos de libertad e igualdad? Existen dos modos de verla: como degeneración de la democracia representativa, o como nuevo modo de articulación de la negación más allá de la representación. Por un lado, el mito moderno de igualitarismo pareció excluir la palabra de lo Otro y de lo absolutamente Otro. Por otro lado, una larga tradición de la vía negativa dice que lo Uno es lo Otro. Me pregunto si una articulación de la Palabra Divina con la palabra pública puede facilitar en los pueblos la percepción de lo diferente como un valor social y no como amenaza. Los populismos, en general, están categorizados como un modo de democracia inmediata que, operando desde la negatividad, intenta la articulación de toda palabra en el espacio público. Es así como llegan al poder en el siglo XXI, en América Latina, figuras poco frecuentes en la tradición democrática como: mujeres, indígenas, ex guerrilleros, sindicalistas, y sacerdotes. Los casos de Michel Bachelet en Chile, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner en Argentina, Lula da Silva y Dilma Rousseff en Brasil, Evo Morales en Bolivia, Pepe Mujica en Uruguay, y Fernando Lugo en Paraguay son, para algunos, ejemplo de degeneración de la democracia representativa, para otros, son su superación.

La democracia populista se da cuando un pueblo dice No. Los griegos dividían al pueblo endemos okhlos –el pueblo como uno en lo diverso. El demos refiere al pueblo de ciudadanos; el okhlos al pueblo de marginales. Puede observarse que, en los populismos, ambas partes del pueblo dicen NO; el demos dice No como afirmación de su libertad, mientras que el okhlos dice No como negación de su miseria. Esto podría ser, un punto de entrada al problema de lo político a partir de una ética católica. La negación, que parece reemplazar a los partidos, aparece como mecanismo invisible e ilegible de los populismos. Por algunos es vista como pura negatividad sin proyecto político ni moral.

Sin embargo, de acuerdo al método místico, puede interpretarse como la manifestación de lo Otro que aparece en el vacío del discurso representativo. Curiosamente, los populismos latinoamericanos articulan demandas de los dos sectores: las del okhlos que pide comida y las del demos que reclamaba seguridad. Uno dice No a la corrupción institucional, el Otro manifestaba en su cuerpo el crimen social. Cuando esto ocurrió en Argentina, el populismo bajo tres presientes sin interrumpir el proceso democrático, obligando a los gobiernos a ampliar el margen de la tolerancia social. Esto demuestra que lo Otro, si se manifiesta – aunque inefable-, puede ser reconocido como palabra. Este modo de democracia negativa marca una diferencia entre la democracia de los ‘90 y los nuevos estilos democráticos de los 2000.

Explicar desde la teología negativa qué se entendió a lo largo de la historia por lo Uno y qué por lo Otro, puede ser un modo de abordar el problema de la democracia desde un compromiso ético. La vía negativa surgió, a partir del neoplatonismo, como método de conciliación de la diversidad en la unidad. Esto invita a reflexionar si la negatividad de los populismos es degeneración de la libertad, o método de conciliación de contrarios. Pensar la democracia como negativa, también es pensar en un nuevo modo de democracia que tolere la diferencia, lo cual implica también la articulación de la Palabra Divina en el discurso público, descartando la secularización social como condición de la democracia. La articulación entre Palabra Divina y palabra política, como juego permanente de pregunta y respuesta, de demanda y reconocimiento, de decir y no decir, fue la modalidad que toma la teología en América Latina desde su compromiso con lo social, tratando de que el pueblo- inefable aparezca y diga. En el contexto latinoamericano, populismo y religión son constitutivos de una identidad que articula demandas populares y significantes religiosos.

Autores latinoamericanos, como Gustavo Gutiérrez, declararon en su momento que el pobre no tuvo la palabra política para irrumpir en la historia, aunque la igualdad por filiación divina fue y es el centro del mensaje evangélico que ellos reciben. Decir que Jesús es Dios, en tanto unión hipostática, ya es reconocer, según Gutiérrez, la unidad en la diversidad, la semejanza en la diferencia. Sobrino también ha dicho que la dialéctica de la lucha contra la pobreza implica comprender que lo Otro es determinado como pobre, pecador, e ignorante por un discurso para el cual escuchar decir que el destinatario privilegiado de la Palabra Divina es el marginal, le resulto un escándalo. En Juan Luis Segundo, la negatividad no solo parece ser equivalente al conflicto sino que actuaría como resorte histórico. Trigo también sostuvo que el reconocimiento implica la diversidad. La idea de pueblo como okhlos, también aparece en Castillo, diciendo que es el término que más se repite en los Evangelios sinópticos cuando hablan de la multitud, y que Demos, que expresa el carácter público del pueblo en cuanto asamblea, solo aparece 4 veces.

Si los significantes religiosos pueden ser capaces de articularse con esas demandas -no ya como teología positiva sino como práctica discursiva -, entonces la teología puede proporcionar un marco de sentido a la pura contingencia de los populismos en América Latina. La Palabra Divina no irrumpiría como superestructura –de modo positivo-, sino como no-palabra de lo absolutamente Otro -al modo de la teología mística-. Sobre todo si se considera que lo Otro, tanto en la democracia negativa como en la mística, aparece en el vacío discursivo, y existe cuando es enumerado. La nueva democracia es también un campo de la teología si se admite que, como en la mística, lo Otro aparece en el vacío de la palabra. El cristianismo es palabra encarnada; es revelación y tradición; es un pueblo santo por su habilidad para escuchar la palabra de lo absolutamente Otro, habilidad que debería tomarse en cuenta al momento de pensar lo político y lo ético desde la teología. Pensar la historia de la salvación en términos de articulación discursiva entre un Logos Divino que demanda y un logos humano que desde su anonadamiento responde, lleva a reconsiderar la categoría de negación de las nuevas democracia por parte de los teólogos, entendiéndola no como destrucción hostil, sino como un No abierto a un Sí que permite la manifestación del Logos en el espacio vacío, un Sí ante la resurrección que permite la manifestación de la fe de de la Iglesia en el espacio vacío del sepulcro.   

Emilce Cuda, Ph.D. en Teología Moral, especialista en temas sociales, centrándose en la relación entre teología y política en América Latina y el diálogo Norte-Sur.


World AIDS Day 2011

On Thursday we commemorate World AIDS Day. This annual reminder at the beginning of December recalls our human fragility and susceptibility to disease. In South Africa and other countries on the continent, we remember friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances who are living with the HIV virus, or who have died because they did not receive the necessary treatment. In management- and resource-poor countries like ours, with phenomenal HIV-infection rates, this is an all-too-common reality.

We ask how this year is different to previous years, and why we should continually confront ourselves with this sad aspect of modern life. In the past twelve months the South African Government decided no longer to distribute free formula milk to nursing mothers. Their argument goes that exclusive breastfeeding, even when a mother is HIV-positive, is much better for the health of the baby.  The risks to the mother’s health are apparently also much reduced if she is breastfeeding. So, after years of the distribution of formula milk, there has been a volte face on this policy.  What was once deemed necessary for both mother and child has now been shown “in the light of further research” to be detrimental.

The decision might conceivably have been taken on purely medical grounds (although it would be surprising if this were possible.) A doctor-friend of mine, working in the public sector, constantly has to make life-and-death decisions based on cost-effective use of resources in short supply. One wonders what economic and political considerations were influential in coming to the decision to discontinue formula milk. For example, South Africa is now in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation.

Pretoria locuta, causa finita. Pretoria has spoken, the matter is closed. Ultimately there is very little we can do about the decision announced by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. The discontinuation of the distribution of formula milk illustrates one aspect of the lives of people dependent on government services: Decisions are made on their behalf, depriving them of their independence and agency, effectively disempowering them.  We need to be more sensitive to the desire of people living with HIV or AIDS to be treated as adults who have not lost all of their own decision-making responsibility and power. We must be careful not to de-personalise them, by ignoring them, or treating them as invisible, or not consulting them on matters concerning their own health, welfare and social integration.

Thus, as we reflect on World AIDS Day this year, we are challenged in our attitude to all people who suffer all sorts of sickness. In a prevailing culture that promotes and glorifies the body beautiful, youth and vitality, we shy away from the realities of aging, illness and death. Often our inclination is to look the other way. We are uncomfortable in the presence of people who are not strong or healthy. As a result of our avoidance of their realities, our neglecting to visit them at home or in hopsital, our less-and-less frequent phonecalls, Twitters and e-mails, sometimes ill people suffer a “social death” long before their actual death.  We need to focus on the whole person and not the illness, to recall the graces that person is receiving, rather than their receding capacities.

Peter Knox SJ is a member of the Jesuit Institute in South Africa (see www.jesuitinstitute.org.za ). He teaches systematic theology at St Augustine College in Johannesburg and St John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria. In 2008 he published AIDS, Ancestors and Salvation (Paulines: Nairobi), a reworking of his doctoral thesis. Peter’s email is p.knox@jesuitinstitute.org.za.

Letters to the Editor: Responses are posted at http://catholicethics.com/Forum

In order to promote some exchanges within the Forum, we invite you to send e- letters of up to 200 words in response to any of the already published pieces. Send letters to Jim Keenan, S.J. (james.keenan.2@bc.edu). Every month we will post those that we receive on the Forum page of catholicethics.com.


Regional Updates

Regional Report: Africa
African Regional Conference 2012: CTEWC in Africa After Trento: Engaging the African Synod
Plans are on course for the CTEWC Regional Conference scheduled for August 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. Invitations have been sent to the three lead presenters: Elias Omondi Opongo (Reconciliation), Victor Adangba (Peace) and Pete Henriot (Justice). All of them have accepted to participate. Invitations for respondents and participants will go out in January 2012.

Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Pope Benedict XVI was in Benin Republic in November to launch the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Africae Munus, of the Second African Synod (held in 2009). Initial reviews of the document are positive. The CTEWC Regional Conference in August 2012 will engage with the themes of the document (reconciliation, justice, and peace) in light of Trento 2010. 

CTEWC Scholarship for African Women
One (1) scholarship is still available for the advanced training of African women in theological ethics. Send application to wadoghe@yahooo.co.uk

A. E. Orobator, Regional Chair

Regional Report: Asia
The Fifth Biennial Conference of Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA): “Wired Asia: Asian Feminist Theology of Human Connectivity”
Thirty women gathered at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 6-9 to reflect and theologize on the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on human relations in an Asian context. Two of our CTEWC participants from the Philippines, Agnes Brazal and Gemma Cruz, spoke on how the “cyborg” offers us new ways of conceiving the human that transcends in particular, the man/woman, material/spiritual divide in embracing the inclusiveness of “Spirited Matter,” and on migrant women and communication technology in the context of the Philippines respectively. Sharon Bong, a CTEWC participant from Malaysia, offered an analysis of postings by “DiscipleSFX” in response to the crises of the Allah issue and desecration of places of worship to show how their ethos of inclusiveness challenges the government’s exclusionary practices in managing ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in her country.

Another CTEWC involvement was the six-way Skype presentations involving Boston College, Fordham University, Barry University, Loyola University Chicago and Santa Clara University as observation sites during which some presentations were discussed.

For further details on the conference, please visit their website http://ecclesiaofwomen.ning.com/


Publications
The same Ecclesia of Women in Asia launched an anthology of papers from its 2009 conference on Practicing Peace: Toward a Feminist Theology of Liberation. The book is edited by Judette Gallares and Astrid Gajiwala-Lobo and published by the Claretian Publications, Philippines.

The Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines (DaKaTeo) also released its latest publicationReimaging Christianity for a Green World a collection of essays which focuses on climate change and the ecological crisis, and edited by Eric Marcelo Genilo and Randy Odchigue. DaKaTeo’s publication last year on Politics and Christian Tradition, edited by Emmanuel S. de Guzman and Aloysius Cartagenas, is now accessible online for free at http://www.philjol.info/philjol/index.php/HAPAG

Lúcás Chan, Regional Chair

Noticias desde América Latina:

Padre Marcelo Cáceres, OSA - Argentina
Marcelo nos informa que mientras continúa su trabajo doctoral en La Universidad Pontificia de Madrid, bajo el tema “El florecimiento humano en Martha Nussbaum,” ejerce como docente en la Universidad en el área de Cristianismo y ética social en la Facultad de Derecho y Economía. El Lic. Cáceres terminó su Master en Ciencias de las Religiones en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid con especialidad en el diálogo interreligioso. Próximamente el Lic. Cáceres publicará “Iglesia y Globalización” (diciembre 2011). En el 2005 publicó “Una Ética para la Globalización” (Editora Religión y Cultura).

Edwin Vásquez - Perú
El 11 de diciembre próximo se graduarán 14 estudiantes del Diplomado en Bioética, Salud y Ambiente que organiza la Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (la universidad jesuita del Perú). Edwin Vásquez Ghersi, SJ es el director del diplomado, el cual tiene una duración de dos semestres académicos y 360 horas de clases. En diciembre alcanzaremos el número de 50 graduados. Para el 2013 esperamos comenzar una maestría en Bioética.

Del 18 al 20 de octubre estuvo en Lima el Dr. Diego Gracia Guillén, eminente bioeticista español, invitado por el Colegio Médico del Perú para dictar un curso de Bioética Clínica.

Gustavo Irrazábal - Argentina
Gustavo no hace llegar los datos bibliográficos de su último artículo: Gustavo Irrazábal, “Aspectos éticos del “matrimonio” homosexual”, Moralia 130/131 (2011) 151-176. También nos informa de la publicación de su libro de moral fundamental, El camino de la comunión.Introducción a la teología moral, Buenos Aires, Ágape, 2010.

María Teresa (MT) Dávila - Puerto Rico/EEUU
Actualmente contribuye una serie de ensayos en theologysalon.org sobre los principios básicos de la doctrina social de la Iglesia y el movimiento “Occupy” en los EEUU. La serie incluirá contribuciones de parte de otros eticistas norte americanos. Por favor contacten a MT si tienen artículos o ensayos sobre el movimiento de ocupación desde la perspectiva latinoamericana, o si quisieran los artículos de MT en español. Espero que esto sea el inicio de una conversación global sobre la necesidad de la transformación de la economía desde la concientización de la perspectiva de los privilegiados o supuestos ganadores de la globalización.

Miguel Angel Carlos Sánchez – Mexico
La Cátedra de Teología Feminista, del Departamento de Ciencias Religiosas de la Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México, organizó un ciclo de conferencias con la participación de la Dra. Ivone Gebara, destacada teóloga feminista brasileña. La primera conferencia se realizó el 24 de noviembre y llevó como tema: “Visibilizando el mal desde una perspectiva teológica feminista”, donde la conferencista puntualizó que visibilizar significa tornar visible el mal que a simple vista no lo es, como es el mal que sufren gran cantidad de mujeres; mal que, en la provisionalidad de su interpretación, no es una abstracción conceptual sino que tiene como punto de partida el ser viviente, donde el vivir se interpreta de forma integral, sin dualismos. En esta línea de pensamiento, el mal es todo aquello que impide la calidad de vida. Ivone Gebara destacó que existen condiciones que posibilitan o facilitan el mal sufrido por las mujeres, como son las estructuras eclesiásticas centradas en la autoridad masculina ortodoxa, las cuales implican para su transformación un nuevo paradigma que no suprima la autoridad sino que reubique desde la alteridad y la diferencia; otra condición facilitadora del mal es una teología identificada sin más con la tradición, que reduce el papel bíblico e histórico de la mujer a secundar al hombre o a ser la causante de la caída, lo cual implica una nueva hermenéutica para habla de Dios y de Jesucristo desde la sororidad y no sólo desde la fraternidad; del mismo modo es necesaria una nueva ética que no identifique a la conciencia cristiana con una determinada subjetividad apoyada en “la gracia conferida por el estado de vida”, sino que se respete el derecho a decir Dios, Jesucristo, amor, etc., de otra manera. Al final de la conferencia, el Dr. Miguel Ángel Sánchez Carlos señaló lo importante que es hablar del mal como el impedimento de la calidad de vida, especialmente en el terreno de la bioética, como lo había mencionado la conferencista, lo cual permite identificar a las víctimas sufrientes con nombre y apellido, sin abstracciones, y puede dinamizar una toma de conciencia y un compromiso con quienes sufren, como es el caso del Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad que ha dado voz a las víctimas de la violencia en el México actual. Esta característica es muy propia de la teología latinoamericana. La Dra. Ivone Gebrara abundó sobre esta puntualización, señalando que es muy importante considerar que dar nombre y apellido a las víctimas requiere de la comunidad para que se sumen fuerzas en la búsqueda de la justicia social.

La segunda conferencia se realizó el 29 de noviembre, teniendo como título: “Ecofeminismo: una perspectiva filosófica y teológica inclusiva”. En esta conferencia la Dra. Ivone Gebara señaló que el tema del ecofeminismo no ha tenido aún el nivel de desarrollo de la teología feminista ni el de la teología ecológica. Agregó que del mismo modo en que existe la contaminación del medio ambiente existe una contaminación en las ideas teológicas que es necesario descontaminar; uno de esos elementos contaminantes en el patriarcalismo.

News from Latin America:

Father Marcelo Cáceres, OSA - Argentina
Marcelo informs us that during his doctoral Pontifical University of Madrid on the topic of “Human Flourishing in Martha Nussbaum,” he has been teaching in the area of Christianity and social ethics in the School of Law and Economics. Fr. Cáceres completed his work on a masters degree on interreligious dialogue. He has a forthcoming book on the Church and globalization, and in 2005 he published “Una ética para la globalización” (Religión y Cultura).

Edwin Vásquez - Perú
In December the program in Bioethics, Health and the Environment of the Universiad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (Jesuit in Perú) will graduate 14 students. Edwin Vásquez Ghersi, SJ is the director of this degree, which consists of two academic semesters and 360 class hours. This will total 50 graduates from this program. They hope to initiate a masters prgram in Bioethics in the year 2013.

From October 18-20 renowned Spanish bioethicist Dr. Diego Gracia Guillén, taught a course on Bioethics at the Medical College of Perú.

Gustavo Irrazábal - Argentina
His most recent article “Ethical aspects of homosexual marriage” (“Aspectos éticos del “matrimonio” homosexual”), was published in the journal Moralia 130/131 (2011) 151-176. He also announces the publication of his recent book on fundamental moral theology: “The road to communion: Introduction to moral theology” (El camino de la comunión. Introducción a la teología moral), Buenos Aires, Ágape, 2010.


María Teresa (MT) Dávila - Puerto Rico/EEUU
MT is currently contributing a series of essays on the basic principles of Catholic social thought and the “Occupy” movement in the U.S. to theologysalon.org. The series will include contributions from other ethicists in the U.S. She requests that you get in touch with her (mtdavila@ants.edu) if you have any essays or reflections on the “Occupy” movement from the Latin American perspective, or if you would like her reflections in Spanish. She hopes that this become a global conversation on economic transformation from the conscientization of the supposed ‘winners’ of the global economy.

MT Davila, Regional Chair

Development Report

From Hans Wennink on the Development Committee we hear the following news, especially for those interested in European Politics and theological Ethics:

Last week I was present at the presentation of the results of the European Values Study 2008. I consider the results of this round important for politicians but also for academics including theological ethicists. The European values Study (EVS) explores Europeans' attitudes about religion, politics, work, society, family and Europe. It started in 1981 followed by surveys in 1990, 1999 and, as said, 2008.

Results are available through the following websites:

http://www.europeanvaluesstudy.eu
www.atlasofeuropeanvalues.eu 

Especially the last website offers a lot of information since it shows the results of the different rounds and comparison of patterns and trends over the years in maps. There are tools to compare maps or create new ones. The website offers also educational applications for secondary and higher education. There is also a world values survey. Its website is www.worldvaluessurvey.org


Women, Conscience, and the Creative Process
Anne E. Patrick

In Women, Conscience, and the Creative Process, renowned moral theologian Anne E. Patrick offers a deeply personal interpretation of conscience, drawing on Scripture, ethics, psychology, and stories of women’s lives to demonstrate the impor- tance of the virtue of creative responsibility. Inspired by Vatican II’s call for a moral theology that challenges the faithful to “bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world,” Patrick suggests that the creative Jesus who invented stories and knew when to observe rules and when to go beyond them for the sake of neighbors in need is best followed by disciples whose spiritual practices include the nurturing of creativity. In her detailed discussion of the creative process, she shows how eminently creative individuals, especially women of the past and present, are continuing to influence the world for the better. 

Creativity, the author maintains, is a trait shared by all, and its exercise should be encouraged for everyone, since powers of imagination and willingness to risk new approaches to problems are essential for the Christian moral life. Readers will gain a new appreciation of their own creative process and a deeper grasp of its impor- tance for their spiritual and moral lives. Instead of thinking of “conscience” as a piece of moral radar equipment, they will come to understand it as a shorthand way of talking about the “creatively responsible self.”

Anne E. Patrick, SNJM, is William H. Laird Professor of Religion and the Liberal Arts, emerita, at Carleton College, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. She is the author of Liberating Conscience: Feminist Explorations in Catholic Moral Theology and many articles on religious, ethical, and literary topics.

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New on the Website:

December newsletter New clearing house additions: 1 fellowship Forum Essays and new responses 2 newly posted publications

Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church

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