July the FIRST (2012)

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July 2012
Welcome to the FIRST
The newsletter of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC)

July 2012
In this issue: From the editor
Regional Conference Update: Bangalore
CTEWC Scholarship Programme for African Women Profile: Wilhelmina Uhai Tunu
Forum: Bangalore New on the website

Jim Keenan S.J - Editor
Jillian Maxey - Layout


From the desk of the editor

As we enter July, I'm heading off to Bangalore where I will teach for 2 weeks and attend the wonderful meeting that Shaji George Kochuthara is hosting. See his announcement below. Thirty Indian ethicists are coming!

From Kenya, Orobator writes that he is getting the African seminar ready for late August. See last months newsletter for all the details. (http://catholicethics.com/june2012)

From Hong Kong, Lucas Chan writes about upcoming meetings; he is just returning from meetings in Manila with Agnes Brazal and Eric Genilo. He too is coming to the Bangalore event.

We are happy to announce that we are forming a North American Regional Committee as well as a North American Forum.    We will post the members of each in September but we are delighted to say now that Kristin Heyer is chairing the Regional Committee and that Mary Jo Iozzio will be the Capo of the NA Forum.

Linda Hogan and I are joining Antonio Autiero in Berlin in September to lay plans for next summer's meeting there. More to come later. And, MT Davila heads back to Brazil in October for further plans for Latin America.

And by the way, keep the summer of 2018 open. There will be a third international conference of CTEWC then.

All the Best, 

P.S. Oh yes, please send us your articles that you want posted.... as well as jobs and fellowships... more and more are doing so.


Redeeming Power: Overcoming Abuse in Church and Society: A two-day conference at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, to launch a major new research project by the European Society for Catholic Theology (ESCT). Organised in conjunction with Heythrop College, University of London, and the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University.

The call for papers is posted at http://www.catholicethics.com/clearinghouse

Bangalore 2012

Workshop on Moral Theology in India
July 12-15, 2012 
Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram
Bangalore 560029

Department of Moral Theology at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (Pontifical Athenaeum), Bangalore, India organises a workshop on “Moral Theology in India” from 12-15 July, 2012. The objective of this workshop is to reflect upon the directions moral theology in India is taking and the way moral theology should develop responding to the multi-religious, multi-cultural, socio-economic and political context of India, keeping its uniqueness but at the same time in dialogue with the global context. We shall look into the historical development of moral theology in India, evaluating the present and looking into the future. This is an attempt to keep alive the spirit of renewed interest in moral theology and greater dialogue among moral theologians initiated by the CTEWC conferences. Besides moral theologians from India, James F. Keenan, the Chair of CTEWC and Lucas Chan, the Chair of Asian Regional Committee of CTEWC will be taking part in the workshop and presenting papers. We hope to organise more programmes in future in collaboration with CTEWC.

Workshop participants and topics:
1. Scaria Kanniyakonil: Integration of Virtues and Laws in Indian Bioethics 
2. Stephen Fernandes: Humanae Vitae and the Indian Response 
3. Charles Irudayam: Justice in Catholic and Hindu Traditions 
4. Thomas Srampickal: Historical Perspectives 
5. Jose Koodapuzha: II Vat and Indian Moral Theology 
6. Sr Vimala: Gender Ethics 
7. Paul Chummar Chittilappilly: In Search of a Common Denominator for a Contextualised Theological Ethics 
8. Baiju Julian: Interreligious Perspectives – Distinctiveness and Relationship 
9. Saji Kanayankal: Ecotheological Ethics 
10. John Chathanatt: Corruption 
11. James F. Keenan: Catholic Theological Ethics in the world Church 
12. Innaiah Polisetti: Spirituality and Morality 
13. Sahayaraj Stanley, SJ: Business Ethics – Corporate Social Responsibility 
14. Lucose Chamakala: Healthcare in India – Contemporary Challenges 
15. Kochuthresia Puliyappallil: Moral Theology: Malankara Perspectives 
16. Lucas Chan: Moral Theology: The Asian Scenario 
17. Patrick Xavier: Political Ethics 
18. Anthony Raj: Human Rights in India 
19. George Kodithottam: Ethics in Politics
20. Mathew Illathuparampil: The Role of Imagination in Moral Reasoning 
21. Matthew Coutinho: Family Ethics 
22. Prem Xalxo: Communication Ethics 
23. Paulachan Kochappilly: Oriental Perspectives 
24. John Karuvelil: Dignity of women and Selective abortions in India: An Ethical Reflection 
25. Shaji George Kochuthara: Sexuality: Changing Perspectives 
26. James Poonthuruthil, SDB

Meet Wilhelmina Uhai Tunu Member of the CTEWC Scholarship Programme for African Women
Wilhelmina Uhai Tunu 

I am Sr. Wilhelmina Uhai Tunu, a member of the congregation of the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. My congregation is of a Diocesan right and was founded in 1923 by Mother Mary Kevin Kearny, a Franciscan Missionary. The Motherhouse is at Nkokonjeru in the Archdiocese of Kampala, Uganda. The members of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of St. Francis follow the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St Francis of Assisi and they work in East African Countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. I had my Religious Formation and First Profession at Baraka Novitiate at Ijinyu in Same Catholic Diocese- Tanzania, between February 1996 and January 2000. In 2000 to July 2001, I worked as an assistant Postulants’ Mistress at Ukarimu Postulate and a teacher at Dido Vocational Training Center in Same Catholic Diocese.

I completed my Diploma in Theology at Chemchemi ya Uzima, an Affiliate College of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi from 2001 to 2003. I wrote a Project entitled Chanjale Seminary: A Vital Instrument of Evangelization in Same Catholic Diocese, Tanzania. Chanjale Seminary was intended by the founder to be like a seedbed where different vocations of young women and men would be nurtured to prepare church leaders for effective work of evangelization in the diocese. From 2004 to 2005, I worked as a Coordinator of Pastoral Works at St Clare Parish Kasarani, Nairobi. In January 2006 I made my perpetual vows after which I was sent to teach theology at our Novitiate in Nakuru, Kenya. Then I was trained as a religious formator and a spiritual directress between August 2006 and September 2007 and I worked as a Postulants’ Mistress at Bahati Novitiate Nakuru, Kenya until July 2009. As a formator, I played the role of assisting young women in the discernment of their vocation to Religious Life in the African and Christian context. That is, responding to the call of God in an African context.

Thanks to the CTEWC scholarship for the advanced training of African women in theological ethics, I did a comprehensive BA program in philosophy 2009-2010 at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi Kenya. I then proceeded to do MA/STL in theology with specialization in Moral theology at the same university between August 2010 and May 2012. I have now completed my Licentiate in Moral Theology and wrote a thesis entitled, Respect for Human Life: A Christian Moral Response to the Albino Killings in Mwanza, Tanzania. My aim was to explore the problem of Albino Killings and discover the causes of its emergence in recent past. I also intended to assess the Moral implications of this problem in relation to the respect for life and dignity of the human person. Through research I discovered that there is a general breakdown of African traditional values among the members of the society today which has been due to growing individualistic and selfish tendencies among the people. Such tendencies seem to have motivated many to search for power and quick wealth at all cost. The insatiable search for wealth has led to increasing disrespect for life and the search of wealth at all cost. Unfortunately, witchcraft beliefs and the myths surrounding people with albinism in Tanzania have also pushed some greedy, self-interested and ill-intentioned wealth seekers to kill the albinos and sell their body-parts in order to get quick wealth.

Thus, through a deeper moral theological reading of the situation, I realized that killing is a problem which is happening not only among the people in Mwanza. It is a serious problem world over. That is why, in giving solutions to this problem we need to go beyond this area because there are external structural causes which exacerbate the problem. For example issues like drug abuse, human trafficking and disrespect for the sacredness of human life bring about the same results. The truth is that people are not satisfied with what they have thus they crave for more. If they do not succeed they kill others. On account of this, I proposed ways that should be employed to combat any further killings of people with albinism. On the part of the Church I pointed out that, as the conscience of the society, she has a moral obligation to ensure that all people observe the natural law in a manner fitting to the Gospel of Life. In fact, every stakeholder in the society is responsible for the protection and promotion of life, especially of the most vulnerable. The government must put in place policies and rules that will ensure the protection of the life of every citizen in the society.

Furthermore, an African Christian moral response in promoting respect for human life ought to focus on relatedness. This is a fundamental principle where a human person is basically human because of other humans. There is a need to reconsider the African communal values like respect, solidarity, love, and holiness. These values shape a person in such that one is considered as a person-in-community not against the community. These are the basics of the ethical dimension of the community. In promoting respect for human life in an African context, we face the challenge of inculturation. That is, a way of inserting the gospel message into the human culture in order to make Christianity feel at home in the lives of people. The sanctity of human life implies that all human life has an inherent dignity, worth and sacredness that sets it apart from all other creatures in the world.

As I pursue my doctoral program from August 2012, it is my wish that all will be well and God willing be able to take me through, and help me to tackle yet another troubling moral issue and deepen it for the good of the Church and society at large. I continue to pray for CTEWC and thank them for a wonderful program of training women theologians in Africa, where they are few and their indispensable role is yet to be fully appreciated.

CTEWC FORUM: Bangalore

Millions of Missing Girls! Female Foeticide and Ethical Concerns

Many Indian newspapers on 27-06-2012 had an important news: “Sunitha Williams to Adopt a Gujarati Girl.” This follows the famous astronaut’s visit to Gujarat in 2007. She was shocked over female foeticide in the state.

According to the 2011 census of India, the sex ratio is 914 females per 1000 males. It is the lowest since India’s independence. The main reason for this is selective female foeticide. The statistics vary. According to some studies, selective abortion of female foetuses account for up to 12 million missing girls in India over the last three decades. Some studies say that up to 35/40 million female foeticide have taken place in India. Anyway, it is clear that millions of female foeticide take place. There are cultural and religious reasons for the preference given to male children. However, surprisingly, more female foeticide take place in the urban areas and among the educated class. India is not the only country where female foeticide is done. Another example is China. Many other countries, especially in the Southeast Asia show similar patterns. Besides being a crime against women, female foeticide leads to other social evils - growing violence against women, abduction, kidnapping and selling women for marriage, etc., since a growing number of men are unable to find marriage partners.

Female Foeticide raises serious bioethical concerns:
1. It is a typical example of how medical technology, if used without ethical concerns, can become harmful to human life and social well- being.

2. How can the medical professionals collaborate in such a heinous crime? The number of female foeticide makes it clear that a number of medical professionals are involved in it. This raises serious questions about their ethical formation and practice. When profit becomes the chief or the only motive in medical practice, it becomes the deadliest weapon against human well-being.

3. If the inviolability of human life from the first moment of conception is not defended, it will result in the destruction of human life in different ways. Even bans on female foeticide have been ineffective mainly due to the provisions for abortions on different grounds.

4. Knowing well the social consequences of female foeticide, why the medical professionals collaborate in it? One important reason is the exclusion of social concerns from the decision-making process in medical practice. Often, decision-making is considered the prerogative of the medical practitioner and the person approaching him/her, excluding the society. When decision-making in medical practice is done excluding the society and its well-being, it results in a number of evils.

Inculcating strong ethical codes in the medical professionals from their training period, social sensitivity in the medical professionals, empowerment of women, involvement of society in bioethical discussions, etc. are needed to prevent this heinous crime against women and against humanity.

Can the Church do anything to prevent female foeticide? Only very rarely we hear Church leaders speak on such issues. Christianity is a minority in India. But, the Churches run a number of educational institutions all over the country. Do we take care to conscientise the students over such crucial issues? I doubt. Moreover, the Church also should be aware that any structure or practice that discriminate women will only encourage discrimination and violence against women in different ways.

Shaji George Kochuthara

Shaji George Kochuthara, CMI (kochuthshaji@gmail.com) teaches moral theology at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK) (Pontifical Athenaeum of Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law), Bangalore, India. He has published The Concept of Sexual Pleasure in the Catholic Moral Tradition (Roma: Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 2007) and a few articles. He is the editor-in-chief of Asian Horizons: Dharmaram Journal of Theology and the Chairperson of the Institutional Ethical Review Board of St. John's Medical College, Bangalore.

Asian Regional Report

International Conference on Migration held in Manila

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Scalabrini Migration Center in the Philippines, an International Conference on MIGRATION, RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND MISSION WITH MIGRANTS IN ASIA was held on June 29-30, 2012, in Manila. This Conference was organized by the Scalabrini Migration Center in cooperation with the Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University. Please visit their website for further details: http://www.smc.org.ph/.

International Conference on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II, 2013
An international conference under the auspices of Asian Horizons: Dharmaram Journal of Theology, will be held in 2013 (January 31 to February 3). The conference, entitled “Revisiting Vatican II: 50 Years of Renewal,” will aim at envisaging a profound, sincere and critical reflection on the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the universal Church, with a special focusing on the Asian Churches.

This four day conference is organized by Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK), Pontifical Athenaeum of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law. Beginning with the historical, cultural, philosophical, theological and pastoral contexts of the convoking of the Council, the conference plans to analyze the various documents of the Council, the response they gave to the call for renewal in the Church and the world till our own times, as well as the relevance these documents have for the ongoing renewal of the Church and society in our times. It will feature eminent theologians and scholars from different countries and continents. There will be keynote addresses, plenary sessions, parallel sessions and poster presentations. The organizer plans to bring together more than 300 participants from its Partner institutions (including institutions from Bologna, Leuven, Paris, South Africa, Tübingen, and Vatican) and other institutions around the world.
For further information about this conference, please contact their Convenor, Dr. Shaji George Kochuthara, CMI. Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Banglaore, India 560029. Email: kochuthshaji@gmail.com. The website of the conference, which will include the call for papers, will be launched shortly. We will keep you informed in our CTEWC monthly newsletter as well.

Lúcás Chan, Committee Chair

Latin American Report

Congreso Continental de Teología - UNISINOS
La inscripción ya está abierta para el Congreso Continental de Teología en Brasil, del 8 al 11 de Octubre, 2012. Este acontecimiento en la universidad de UNISINOS, Sao Leopoldo, celebrará el 50 aniversario del Vaticano II y el 40 aniversario del libro clave de la teología de la liberación, Teología de la Liberación: Perspectivas de Gustavo Gutiérrez. Emilce Cuda (Argentina) y MT Dávila (Puerto Rico) ambas del comité de planificación para el futuro de América Latina de CTEWC, estarán presentes. Emilce Cuda presentará una ponencia en uno de los talleres del congreso.

Por favor envíennos noticias si planean participar de éste congreso. Y como siempre, por favor compartan noticias y actualizaciones de interés a nuestra red de CTEWC.

Continental Congress of Theology - UNISINOS
Registration is now open for the Continental Congress of Theology to take place in Brazil, from October 8-11, 2012. This event at UNISINO in Sao Leopoldo, celebrates the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and the 40th anniversary of the seminal book for liberation theology, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation by Gustavo Gutiérrez. Emilce Cuda (Argentina) and MT Dávila (Puerto Rico), both from the Latin America planning committee for the future of CTEWC, will be in attendance. Emicle Cuda will present a paper in one of the sessions of the Congress.

Please do let us know if you will be in attendance or participating in any way. As always, please continue to send your news and updates of interest to the CTEWC network.

MT Davila, Committee Chair

New on the Website
July newsletter New “clearing house” addition: CALL FOR PAPERS--Redeeming Power: Overcoming Abuse in Church and Society

Newly posted publications: Pawlikowski, Baranzke, and Zimmerman

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