June the FIRST (2013)

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June 2013 

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

June 2013
In this issue:

From the editor

Announcements and Regional Updates
Forum: 3 new essays
New on the website

Jim Keenan S.J Editor
Jillian Maxey Layout 

From the desk of the editor
Dear Friends,

Sorry for our delay with the First!

I just got back from the Catholic Theological Society of America. Susan Ross is the outgoing President and both she and Linda Hogan gave major plenary presentations on conversion. The Conference was superb!

On Thursday, June 27, Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church is meeting in Berlin.  We are going to Berlin to host a meeting of Theological Ethicists from Eastern and Western Europe, continuing our work of building stronger continental networks, as we have done in Africa and as we are planning for Asia, Latin America, and North America, as well.

In this issue there’s so much to report on including the Forum by Shaji George Kochuthara, Peter Knox, and William C. Mattison III. There are updates from Africa, Asia, and Latin America and we are awaiting a number of updates from North America as well.

But here I just want to tell you about Berlin.

From June 27 through June 30, four of the CTEWC Planning Committee (Antonio Autiero, Linda Hogan, Andrea Vicini, and I) will be meeting with 17 other Europeans, including several university presidents and deans.            There is an enormous investment in this meeting to further relations in Europe by addressing together the institutional and personal challenges theological ethicists face in teaching, mentoring and research as members of the church and the academy.

Please keep this meeting in your prayers!

On June 29th, the rest of the CTEWC Planning Committee will arrive, participate in the European Conference and then have its own annual meeting there, through July 1.

We will have a good deal to report on July the FIRST. 

All the Best,


Eastern Europe:

Slavomir Dlugos, Slovakia (and Vienna) Roman Globokar, Slovenia (Ljubliana) Konrad Glombik, Poland (Opole) Katica Knezović, Croatia (Zagreb) Jaroslav Lorman, Czech Republic (Prague) Miroslaw Mroz, Poland (Torun)

Zorica Maros, Bosnia-Herzegovina, (Sarajevo) Petr Stica, Czech Republic (and Erfurt)

Western Europe:

Phillipe Bordeyne, France (Institut Catholique) Julie Clague, Scotland (Glasgow) François-Xavier Dumortier, Italy (Gregorian) Marianne-Heimbach-Steins, Germany (Muenster) Martin Lintner, Italy (Bressanone, Brixen)

Julio Martínez, Spain (Comillas) Martin McKeever, Italy (Alfonsianum) Sigrid Müller, Austria (Vienna) Paul Schotsmans, Belgium (Leuven)


CTEWC Forum: India, the U.S., and South Africa
The "Tyranny of Money"

Pope Francis has urged the global leaders to end the "tyranny" of money. He said that money should be made to "serve" people, and not to "rule" them. The Pope was unambiguous in his strongly- worded criticism: "The worship of the golden calf of the old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal." (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ne ws/religion/the-pope/10061700/Pope-Francis- urges-global-leaders-to-end- tyranny-of-money.html).

The Pope was referring to the predominant economic systems in the world, in particular to the capitalist, neo-liberal system and was calling for a more ethical system. This "tyranny" of money is deeply felt not only in the economic system, but in every sphere of life; rather, this tyranny of money in the economic system influences every sphere of life. Everything is evaluated in terms of money and monetary benefits; money becomes the only criterion in life. Not only in business, but also in education, sports, healthcare, money becomes the only norm. Or, everything has become a business to make profit at any cost; anything has become ethical if it helps gain more money. People and institutions voluntarily and happily surrender themselves to this "tyranny" of money. Even religious institutions are often not an exception to this.

Indian sports has been disturbed in the last few days by controversies over illegal betting/spot-fixing in cricket, the most popular sports in India. (Betting is still illegal in India). Such cases were there also in the past, but this time, even important players were arrested. The owner of a team also is arrested on allegations of spot-fixing, and he is the son-in-law of the president of the Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI). Though they gain millions legally, that is not enough to satisfy them. Betraying the ideals of sports and betraying the trust of their fans, they are ready to take resort to any means to make more money. Not only in India, almost everywhere sports has become a business, controlled by business men, to gain money, legally and illegally; buying and selling of sports stars is a business involving millions.

In India, May-July is the period of the beginning of the academic year, and hence of new admissions. Education had been considered a sacred profession/mission in the Indian tradition. This was true with regard to private institutions as well; running an educational institution for economic profit was something unthinkable. But in the recent decades, this has changed a lot. A number of private agencies and business firms have entered the field of education with the motive of making money. I do not know whether Christian educational institutions can claim complete freedom from this "tyranny" of money. The yearly balance of many Christian educational institutions amount to millions/tens of millions or rupees. Evidently, it is a very competitive field and for developmental works Christian institutions also need money. But, the profit that many institutions make seems much beyond their actual needs. The net result is that the poor are practically kept away from these institutions. For many religious congregations and dioceses, the only criterion to discern whether to begin a new institution, seems to be the prospective financial gain. Often, the success of an institution is evaluated in terms of its account balance.

Reports on the business motives in the field of healthcare appear frequently. Reports on the fraudulent practices of Ranbaxy is only a latest addition to this (http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/a-deception-most-foul/article4753453.ece).  This "tyranny" of money in every sphere of human activity and makes the life of the poor unbearable and distressed. Even for the rich life loses its meaning and joy since the amassing of money becomes the only value. To rediscover the meaning and joy of life, the ethics of life based only on money is to be challenged. This is especially the duty of an ethics that believes in the preferential option for the poor.

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. 

Hope and Pope Francis: A Reflection from the US
By: William C. Mattison

More than two months since Pope Francis was elected to the papacy, the settling of the initial media buzz invites some analysis of how that election has been received in general, and especially among Catholics. American Church politics offers one milieu in which to see different and similar dynamics beyond the U.S.

One of the most important observations on the reaction to this election is the overwhelmingly positive reception Francis has received. There are of course the novelties: first Latin American pope, first Jesuit pope, and first Francis. There are the scrutinized gestures of his first minutes, including his self-identification as Bishop of Rome, his choice of transportation, and his request of the faithful to pray for him. Finally there is a remarkable simplicity, humility, and solidarity with the poor.

Pope Francis has received an enormous amount of good press. I sense a certain hospitality in this response, a welcoming hopefulness for someone in a new position, akin to what Americans refer to as the “honeymoon” of a new presidency. In a society and media where the controversial and unseemly garners the news, this reception is good news indeed. 

Even in this warm reception, there are reasons for caution. One reason may be the tendency to think something to the effect of: the new pope will finally change the Church into what I know it should be! For example, over the course of one day I had two noteworthy encounters concerning the election. The first with a friend and colleague telling me that “The election of Francis is a repudiation of Benedict’s papacy.” My more left-leaning friend was naively confident that, with Francis, things have been changed for the better and unalterably in a matter of weeks. The second, in talking to a more right-leaning loved one, I was directed to George Weigel’s "The Humble Pope: Catholic Reform Through Evangelical Purification" (The National Review, April 8). There Weigel described a reform infused with an Ignatian humility that avoids some of the post Vatican II errors which, he claims, were wholeheartedly embraced by the Jesuits. Here people are reading the meaning of Francis’ election in diametrically opposed ways, united only by their common affirmation that the new pope “will finally change the Church into what I know it should be!”. Such mutually exclusive responses are found also in relation to Francis and liberation theology: some regard his conspicuous lack of endorsement of liberation theology as a distancing from, while others see his consistent advocacy on behalf of the poor as a friend of the movement.

Only time will tell what sort of papacy Francis will have. However, the ease with which people have commandeered him should give us pause, suggesting the embrace has more to do with their own agenda for the Church than with Francis himself. And this warm hospitality can easily slip into idolatrous messianic hope. If the first caution is a matter of corralling a new papacy in service to a political agenda, the second is an overinflated expectation that this papacy can set all things anew. Surely we should not underestimate the extent to which papacies --such as those of John XXIII and John Paul II--can galvanize the Church. However, Americans are particularly aware of how messianic hope is attached to a leader; consider, for example, the expectations put upon Barack Obama, the nation’s first president of African American descent. Ultimately, these hopes present a disservice to the person and the community. Of course the Church is not merely a political organ, nonetheless, we are well served to heed Pope Francis’ own reminder in the opening days of his pontificate, when (on March 16) he addressed an audience of journalists in the midst of the media fascination with his election and reminded them that “Christ remains the center, not the Successor of Peter not the Pontiff.”

In these days at the end of May as I write, the Church hears Jesus continually reminding the disciples that his path leads to the Cross (Mark 9 and 10). In their arguing about who is greatest and their jockeying for political positions, the disciples repeatedly miss Jesus’ predictions of his passion and, ironically, his resurrection. In reflection on the Gospel, Pope Francis has emphasized that a Christianity or a discipleship without the cross is a mere cultural [or political] Christianity. As we rightly enjoy the luster of the exciting new papacy, and rightly hope that Francis will be a powerful instrument of the Holy Spirit in his pontificate, let’s also join him in keeping the focus in and on Christ. 

William C. Mattison III is an Associate Professor of Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. He is the author of Introducing Moral Theology: True Happiness and the Virtues (Brazos, 2008) and co-founder of the New Wine, New Wineskins Symposium for Catholic Moral Theologians.

He is currently working on a book on moral theology and the Sermon on the Mount.

50 years of the Organisation of African Unity
By: Peter Knox SJ

On the 27th of May the heads of 54 African countries gathered in Addis Ababa to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity. And on 1 June, Kenya, where I now live, celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence. These two celebrations gave pause to reflect about what independence means, whether the high ideals of our founding fathers and mothers are being realised and whether the continent’s future really is as bright as all the hype. (See www.au.int/50th )

During their 50-or-so years of independence, states have exercised various types of economy and government, from monarchy to mutliparty or one-party democracy, from benign to tyrannical dictatorship, from kleptocracy to gerontocracy, from African socialism to free-market capitalism, from military rule to anarchy, from apartheid to ‘rainbow nation.’ In a continent where local chiefs and tribal structures still hold great sway, it is not self-evident that multiparty democracy should be imposed as a natural or appropriate form of government. The ‘Arab Spring’ and partition of Sudan show us that the forging of nations with a single united narrative is still a ‘work in progress.’ 

Africa’s citizens have suffered under structural adjustment programmes but also benefitted from billions of euros of foreign direct aid and famine and debt relief. We ask ourselves why our countries so endowed with mineral and agricultural wealth are among the poorest in the world. How is it that colonial-era accords still favour multinational companies which vanish the continent’s wealth in the twinkling of an eye? And why do our leaders repeatedly sign neo- colonial agreements that allow this to take place again and again?

Our continent, in some minds synonymous with corruption and poor governance, has benefitted greatly from international bodies to keep us honest and to help us deal with our affairs. The Commonwealth and la Francophonie have been fora in which to wash the continent’s dirty linen, and from which to ostracize members not respecting the rights of their citizens. South Africa and Zimbabwe come to mind as examples of this cold-shouldering. Members currently suspended from the African Union are Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau and Central African Republic. The ICC in the Hague has tried many Africans and found some guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. It is ironical that the leaders at the 50th anniversary celebrations should accuse the ICC of racism and ‘hunting’ Africans. The continent has relatively weak judiciaries and seen some of the worst offenses against human rights. The leaders of Kenya and Sudan are currently being indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, the former at the request of Kenya itself. The United Nations currently has 2 peacekeeping missions in Sudan, and one each in South Sudan, DRC, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali and Western Sahara.

During this Year of Faith, we are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II. At the council, the bishops called for the strengthening of international organisations, international co-operation in economic matters, for Christians to be involved in international aid, and Church participation in the international community (G+S 83-90). We are urged not to remain distant from opportunities and problems in the international community. As we engage more with Africa, we come to understand that it is a continent of a billion people with vastly different cultures and histories. We recognise a level of complexity that defies easy labels like “basket-case” or “dark,” or even Pope Benedict’s “spiritual lung of the world.”

Peter is a South African Jesuit, currently teaching systematic theology and acting Dean of Hekima Jesuit School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya. His doctoral work was on AIDS, soteriology and traditional African religions.

To comment on any of the forum essays, visit: http://www.catholicethics.com/forum-submissions 

African Regional Report
Theological Colloquium: Nairobi, 14-16 August 2013

Sequel to the CTEWC expert seminar in Nairobi, there will be a colloquium on African Theology in the 21st Century: Identity and Profile; Contexts and Models from 14-16 August 2013. The Colloquium will bring together theologians, practitioners, peacebuilders and professionals from different parts of Africa. This is part of a three year series of an international Theological Colloquium on Church, Religion and Society in Africa (TCCRSA). The Colloquium will take place on 14 – 16 August, 2013 (inclusive) in Nairobi, Kenya. TCCRSA is envisaged as a pioneering theological research project.

Each Colloquium will create a forum for conversation and listening, presentation of commissioned papers and responses, and joint working/research sessions among participants. Participants will be drawn from three broad categories: 1. The Theological Academy 2. Ecclesial Hierarchy 3. Civil Society/Practitioners

The Colloquium will aim for a Pan-African participation and representation of linguistic composition (French-speaking, Portuguese-speaking and English-speaking); gender composition (women and men), geographical composition (North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa: east, west, central and southern), generational composition (established theologians and young/new scholars) and ecclesiastical composition (lay, religious, clergy, ecclesiastic). It will also include African theologians in the Diaspora.

Each Colloquium will comprise three kinds of sessions: Plenary, Panel and Palaver. For a Plenary Session, one speaker will deliver a commissioned paper on a topic of major significance in African Christianity/theology that so far may not have received serious theological consideration. A Panel Discussion will be composed of three or four panelists discussing a point of relevance in African Christianity/theology. During a Palaver Session, two speakers will present position papers on an issue of concern/contention in African Christianity/theology.

At the end of the conference there will be a three day mentoring of the 8 African women theologians under the CTEWC scholarship. The women theologians will have the privilege of receiving mentorship on theological writings from renowned African theologians who include: Emmanuel Katongole, Laurenti Magesa, Teresa Okure, Mercy Amba Oduyoye and Elochukwu Uzukwu. This will certainly be an interesting and innovative experience.

This July, there will also be an English programme for the 2 CTEWC scholarship recipients from Francophone countries. And on a different note, we celebrate a recent publication edited by Orobator Practicing Reconciliation, Doing Justice, Building Peace: Conversations in Catholic Theological Ethics in Africa. Paulines Publications Africa: 2013. This is a collection of articles from the last CTEWC colloquium in Nairobi, last year. Congratulations, Bator!

Paulines Publications Africa has published the essays from the CTEWC regional seminar held in Nairobi last August.

Practising Reconciliation, Doing Justice, Building Peace
Conversations on Catholic Theological Ethics in Africa

Editor: A. E. Orobator, SJ


Latin American Regional Report


Zacharias, Ronaldo. "De uma crise sem precedentes aos precedentes de muitas crises. A urgência de uma nova compreensão da sexualidade". In: João Décio Passos e Afonso M. L. Soares (orgs.). Francisco. Renasce a esperança. São Paulo: Paulinas, 2013, p. 58-70.

Zacharias, Ronaldo. "From an unprecedented crisis to the beginning of multiple crises: The urgency of a new understanding of sexuality." Published in Francis: Hope is Reborn, edited by Joao Decio Passos and Afonso M. L. Soares. Sao Paulo: Paulinas, 2013: 58-70. 

Asian Regional Report
Book on moral theology in India released

Moral Theology in India Today, edited by one of the Asian regional committee members, Shaji George Kochuthara, CMI, was released by Dharmaram Publications last month. The book is a collection of 27 papers presented in the DVK national workshop on moral theology held in Bangalore, India, July 12-15, 2012.

The 3rd National Consultation on Gender Relations in the Church and Society

Streevani, Pune is organizing a national consultation on the theme: “Living ‘Nirbhaya”: Towards a Violence Free Society, in collaboration with Satyashodhak, IWTF (Indian Women Theologians Forum) and Montfort Social Institute. The Consultation will be held at Atmadharshan, Mumbai (East), on August 9-11, 2013.

The Consultation is a follow up of the 1st consultation organized by Streevani in 2010 and the subsequent one jointly organized by Streevani, Satyashodhak, IWTF (Indian Women Theologians Forum) and Montfort Social Institute in 2011.

These consultations were prompted by two important contemporary events in the Church: the publication of The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (2010), and the unprecedented crisis in the universal Church triggered by revelations in the public sphere of cases of sex abuse.

This Consultation will focus on: Violence, Fear & Healing, Masculinity, and Changing mindsets by going to the roots of these perceptions which hinder women and men from being committed and prophetic leaders of today. Resource persons include M.T. Joseph, SVD, Kochurani Abaraham, Subhash Anand, Julie George, SSpS, M.C. Abraham, Lisa S. Cahill, Varghese Theckanath, SG, Astrid Lobo Gajwala, and Shaji George Kochuthara, CMI.


The 11th Annual Conference: Vatican II after Fifty Years: Philippine Experience The DaKaTeo (Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines) will hold its annual conference on the theme: “Vatican II after Fifty Years: Philippine Experience” on October 18-20, 2013, in Butuan City. In order to provide a comprehensive reflection, the papers presented can be historical (interventions made by the participating members of the Philippine hierarchy, their alliances, and reception of the Council); theological (how recent developments in various fields of theology or in the ecumenical field in the Philippines can be evaluated vis-à-vis Vatican II’s spirit and letter); or pastoral (how concrete pastoral programs are shaped by the spirit of Vatican II as well as how new issues or concerns impact on the critical appropriation of the Vatican II documents). Please visit their homepage for further information (http://dakateo.webs.com/). 

Asian Horizons, Dharmaram Journal of Theology Vol. 7, No. 3, September 2013
Call for Papers
After 50 Years: Being a Church in the World

One of the major contributions of the Vatican II has been its new vision of the Church. In the place of the traditional hierarchical and pyramidal model of the Church, the Council presented the Church as the People of God and as the community of the faithful. The Church is the sign of the Kingdom of God, the Light of the nations, at the service of the world. This new vision of the Church and the consequent new ecclesiology has its impact not only on the self-understanding of the Church, but also on its relationship to the world. The Church is invited to engage the civil space, instead of being concerned only about its internal matters and structures.

The September 2013 issue of Asian Horizons proposes to reflect on “Being a Church in the World” today in the light of Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes. Besides critically evaluating how the vision of Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes has been actualised after the Council, we invite our contributors to reflect on the present day challenges and how the Church can be a meaningful presence in the world today responding to these challenges.

Suggested topics (only recommendations, not exhaustive):

: Lumen Gentium/Gaudium et Spes and the Church in Our Times
: The Challenge of Continuing Dialogue with the World
: Critical Appraisal of Actualizing the Vision of Lumen Gentium/Gaudium et Spes : Evolving Ecclesiologies and Models of the Church
: Being a Church in Asia (could be also based on a particular country in Asia)
: Being a Church in a Secularised World
: Being a Church in a Globalized World
: A Church at the Service of the World/Peoples/Cultures
: Being a Church in a Multi-Cultural, Multi-Religious World
: A Church in the World of Scientific and Technological Advancements
: A Church in a World Divided by Injustice
: Gender Justice in the Church

As usual, we welcome other articles on any area of theological interest and research. Please send your articles (4500-5000 words, including the footnotes) latest by 31 July 2013. Kindly include the abstract of the article in 100-150 words and a short resumè of the author.

Other regular items: “New Scholars”;Abstract of doctoral theses (recently defended and not yet published); book reviews.

For more details: Shaji George Kochuthara (editor-in-chief): kochuthshaji@gmail.com

N.B. Kindly forward this to your friends. 

More resources on Pope Francis and on Vatican II have been added:

  1. Marciano Vidal, Soñando con una primavera eclesia
  2. Aldo Marcelo Cáceres Roldán
    • El pensamiento social del cardenal Jorge Mario Bergoglio/papa Francisco
    • J. M. Bergoglio: Claves de su pensamiento social antes de ser elegido pontífice
  3. Viviane Minikongo Mundele, Esquisse d’évaluation de la promotion du laïcat prônée par Vatican II

Get the articles here: http://www.catholicethics.com/resources/publications


Ruhr-Universität Bochum - Faculty of Catholic Theology invites applications for the position of a Junior Professor (W 1 with tenure track option W 2) in Theological Ethics to start on March 1st, 2014.

The successful applicant will be expected to cover the field of Theological Ethics (Moral Theology from the start, Christian Social Ethics in the long run) in research and teaching. Interdisciplinary cooperation with the Faculty of Protestant Theology and the programs of Religious Studies are wished-for. We expect a learned young scholar who covers the field of Theological Ethics or Moral Theology already and who will broaden his research interest to the field of Christian Social Ethics within the first three years of the professorship.

A degree in Catholic theology and a Ph.D. within the field of Christian ethics (Moral Theology preferred) is required for this position. Aptitude for academic teaching is as much required as the willingness to participate in the self-governing bodies of the RUB and to get involved in university processes according to RUB’s mission statement.

All applicants should meet the standards of the Roman Catholic Church for an academic position as professor in Catholic Theology. 

We expect furthermore:

  • readiness to participate in interdisciplinary academic work
  • high commitment in teaching
  • willingness and ability to attract external funding
  • potential to contribute to the field of Religious Studies in Bochum.

The Ruhr-Universität Bochum is an equal opportunity employer.

Complete applications with CV, certificates of Theological Studies and PhD in Catholic Theology, and a list of publications should be sent to the Dean of the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, D-44780 Bochum no later than June 20th, 2013.

For more info: http://www.catholicethics.com/news/ruhr-universitat-bochum-faculty-position-in- theological-ethics

Bursaries at Roehampton

Dear friends, 

I'm writing in the hopes that you might know some promising scholars who would be interested in applying for a full bursary to do a PhD at the University of Roehampton. The bursary fund was established by the Society of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ), and there are three criteria to be satisfied:

  • Proven academic excellence in a relevant discipline
  • Economic hardship
  • A research project in any discipline which will be of practical benefit to a poor or marginalized community on completion of the PhD, with a commitment by the candidate to work in his or her home community afterwards.

We are particularly keen to attract students working in the areas of social justice and human rights; gender, women's rights and children's rights; issues of war and conflict resolution, and environmental issues. Although we have a preference for overseas students from poorer societies, we also have some recipients who are associated with deprived communities in more affluent societies. We get a fair number of Catholic applicants, but there is no religious requirement attached to the bursaries.

We tend to get hundreds of applicants for these bursaries, which we allocate twice a year, but the standard of academic expertise or the quality of the project is not always sufficiently high for us to award the bursaries.

You can find out more on the website at this link: http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/Finance/Sacred-Heart-Scholarship-(RUSH)/

The next deadline is October (we've only just met this time which is why the website is now slightly out of date). Also, we're going to reword some of the information to emphasize more clearly the social justice aspect of the bursaries, but the information there is still valid.

If you do know any possible candidates, please feel free to put them in touch with me.

All best wishes, 

Tina Beattie

Professor of Catholic Studies Director, The Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing (DSRC), Digby Stuart College University of Roehampton Roehampton Lane London SW15 5PH

Tel: +44(0)20 8392 3419

We have several new publications to highlight from CTEWC members this month:

Adrian Holderegger and Werner Wolbert (Eds). Normtheoretische Grundlagen in der Diskussion (Academic Press Fribourg, 2013).


Lets us live!

Published by the Christian Group of Reflection and Action (GCRA) on violent attacks, following the international and ecumenical meeting held from 17 to 27 July 2012 at Bukavu

“Since 1994 the countries in the Great Lakes of Africa have been the theatre of a level of violence beyond anything witnessed before...The Churches and NGOs denounce violations of human rights and organise support networks for victims. They can only do so to the extent that victims themselves dare to go public, despite the fear that they will be rejected by their spouses and stigmatised by their community. And this is precisely the problem and allows violent attacks to proliferate: the silence of the very numerous victims and the quasi general impunity of the perpetrators. In those societies which are very largely Christian, believers need to have points of reference in both pastoral and ethical fields. Whatever the reasons, the Churches are seen by the faithful to be too cautious in dealing with all this cruelty, suffering and banality of horror. They are lacking in a point of reference confronted with this absolute evil which has gone on for so long in the whole Eastern Congo. In fact the victims of all this violence include children and men as well as women. The perpetrators themselves are often wounded and manipulated people.  This is the reason why a small group of Christians (Christian Group for Reflection and Action), made up of Protestants and Catholics, gathered together from the 17th to the 27th of July in Bukavu, in the eastern DRC, to reflect together on what message they could bring to communities, victims and perpetrators, as well as what Christian attitudes they could highlight.”

For the full document, visit: http://www.catholicethics.com/news/christian-group-for-reflection-and-action-report-on-violence-in-africa

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