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Letter from the Editor
Sadly, Margaret Ogola died on September 22 at the age of 53. Participants at Trento will remember her plenary paper on HIV/AIDS. Margaret was renowned throughout Africa. A pediatrician and medical director, Margaret had just been awarded our most recent scholarship for securing a PhD in theological ethics. Her death is an enormous loss, for her family, her orphanage, those whom she served throughout Kenya, and for us. We post a brief obituary.
Among other matters, Renzo Pegoraro, site coordinator of the Padova conference, was appointed chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The Development committee successfully completed their laptop initiative; they are now preparing to skype a segment of The Ecclesia of Women in Asia. There’s also an initiative, “A Catholic Call to End the Death Penalty,” posted on these pages as well.
At the Forum are three essays. Malaysia’s Sharon Bong introduces us to the Obedient Wife; Kenya’s Veronica Rop, the first African woman offered a CTEWC scholarship, writes about Mulieris Dignitatem; and Brazil’s Marcio Fabri dos Anjos captures a challenging difference among Catholics….. If you want to post a letter in light of these or any previous posting, just send it to me (email@example.com)
At our website visit our “Clearinghouse” to find calls for papers both from the Journal of Political Theology and from Asian Horizons. Also see some conferences and JOBS posted there as well. Also check out the “Publications” page for 13 essays posted just this month.
Finally, I’m happy to announce that the Trento Plenary Papers will be appearing in November! For the month of November 2011, subscribers to this e-letter will received a 30% discount on Catholic Theological Ethics Past, Present, and Future by directly e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org and including the promotion code K30. Please provide shipping and billing addresses and your credit card information (number and expiration date). There will be an additional charge for shipping and please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery of international orders.
All the best,
- Dr. Margaret Ogola died on September 22 at the age of 53
- Fr. Renzi Pegoraro appointed chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life
- CTEWC is gearing up for the African Regional Conference in August 2012
- Five U.S. universities to Skype a session of the bi-annual conference of Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA)
- The CTEWC laptop initiative was a great success. Our goal was $6,000. Sixty-two donors contributed a total of $9,710.
- Over 300 theologians, scholars, and activists have signed a document protesting the state-sanctioned executions of Troy Anthony Davis and Lawrence Brewer, as well as calling for the abolition of the death penalty in the US.
- Call for papers From Asian Horizons: Misson and Evangelization http://catholicethics.com/clearinghouse
- Call for Papers From Journal of political theology: non-Western contexts
In Memory: Dr. Margaret Ogola
NAIROBI, September 23, 2011 (CISA) –Renowned Kenyan writer Dr Margaret Ogola who co-authored Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga’s biography; A Gift of Grace is dead.
Dr Ogola, a paediatrician and medical director of Cottolengo HIV and AIDS orphans Hospice, died September 22, at the age of 53.
Dr Ogola was a celebrated Kenyan author of three novels, The River and the Source that won the Jomo Kenyatta Literature Award and Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book in Africa in 1995.
The two other novels are I Swear by Apollo, a novel that examines issues of medical ethics and the question of authentic identity and Place of Destiny, a novel about a woman dying of cancer.
The late writer also authored a handbook for parents titled Educating in Human Love, as well as A Gift of Grace, a biography of the first Catholic bishop, and cardinal in Kenya, Cardinal Maurice Michael Otunga.
The late Dr Ogola was Vice-President of Family Life Counselling in Kenya and National Executive Secretary of the Commission for Health and Family Life at the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) from 1998 to 2002.
From 2002 to 2004, she was the Country Coordinator of the Hope for African Children Initiative, a partnership of several international NGOs, which included Plan, CARE, Save the Children, Society for Women and AIDS, World Conference For Religion and Peace and World Vision.
The late Ogola helped found and manage the SOS HIV/AIDS Clinic, which is for People Living With Aids. In 1999, she received the Families Award for Humanitarian Service of the World Congress of Families in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr Ogola leaves behind a husband, four children, and two foster children.
Renzo Pegoraro appointed chancellor of Pontifical Academy for Life
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 13, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appointed Father Renzo Pegoraro, bioethics professor at the Theological Faculty of Triveneto, Italy, and scientific director of the Lanza Foundation of Padua, as chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The Vatican announced the appointment Monday.
Renzo Pegoraro, 52, is a doctor with a specialization in moral theology and bioethics.
The Pontifical Academy for Life is headed by Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, who formerly served as its chancellor.
The academy has 70 papal-appointed members, who represent the different branches of the biomedical sciences and those that are closely related to problems concerning the promotion and defense of life.
Catholic Theological Ethics: Past, Present and Future
is now available for purchase at a discount.
For the month of November 2011, subscribers to this e-letter will received a 30% discount on Catholic Theological Ethics Past, Present, and Future by directly e-mailing: email@example.com and including the promotion code K30. Please provide ship to and billing addresses and your credit card information (number and expiration date). There will be an additional charge for shipping and please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery of international orders.
CTEWC Forum Writers
Nathaniel Soede (Benin)
Veronica Rop (Kenya)
Philomena Mwaura (Kenya)
Peter Knox (South Africa) CAPO
Sharon Bong (Malaysia)
Shaji George Kochuthara (India) CAPO
Eric Genilo (Philippines)
Osamu Takeuchi (Japan)
Miguel Sanchez (Mexico) CAPO
Marcio Fabri dos Anjos (Brazil)
Javier Galdona (Uruguay)
Emilce Cuda (Argentina)
CTEWC FORUM: Malaysia, Kenya, and Brazil
‘Obedient wives, first-class prostitutes and terrorism’
In a kopitiam (local café), Obedient Wife (a married, hijab-wearing Malay-Muslim woman) is being interviewed by Journalist (a single woman of Chinese ethnicity who dabbles in Christian theological ethics) on her ground-breaking solution to rid Malaysian society of sex-related social ills.
JOURNALIST. Serve husbands like first-class prostitutes. Throat-grabbing headline. A refreshing change to have the excuse to talk about sex publicly.
OBEDIENT WIFE. [sips from her cup of teh tarik (local latté)] Terima kasih (thank you). I feel so misunderstood by feminist organisations. The Muslim ones should know better. The secular ones, typical response, what with their Western values and all. They have accused me of degrading women by this one remark.
JOURNALIST. Well, it does remind one, and not in a good way, of why Eve was created for Adam.
OBEDIENT WIFE. [enthusiastically] You are Christian? We people of the Book should stick together! Let me explain. A man married to a woman who is as good or better than a first-class prostitute in bed has no reason to stray. The key to make a man gentle and loving is a first-class loving wife—an obedient wife.
JOURNALIST. And this is your home recipe for sex-related social problems.
OBEDIENT WIFE. Yes, the solution we are proposing is one that is guaranteed to work, as it is backed by the Qur’an. Rape, incest, prostitution and sex trafficking would cease. When a man’s desires are met, he will also cease having girlfriends, mistresses, prostitutes and [triumphantly] best of all, second, third or fourth wives. A satisfied husband will also not beat his wife. [She leans in and whispers] The sex scandals in your church, God help you, need another solution-lah*.
JOURNALIST. [resignedly] Indeed. But going back to you, as founder of the Obedient Wives Club, what is your long-term vision?
OBEDIENT WIFE. [proudly] With 800 members in Malaysia and 1 000, worldwide and branches in Jordan, Malaysia, Jakarta (Indonesia), we hope to have bases in London even Rome, Insya Allah (God willing).
JOURNALIST. [admiringly] Sounds like you’ve a movement in the making. And you’ll be confronting Western values head-on as I hear that the OWC conducts sex workshops.
OBEDIENT WIFE. Heavens no, that’s haram (prohibited)! This is how everything has been twisted out of proportion. What we have are motivational talks, counselling sessions and discussions among our members.
JOURNALIST. Are these sessions reserved for Muslims only?
OBEDIENT WIFE. On the contrary, women of all faiths are welcome. [Mischievously] Better than the state of affairs for inter-religious dialogue in this country! [Her hand phone beeps].
JOURNALIST. There are allegations that the OWC is linked to fundamentalist Islamic movements? Would you care to...
OBEDIENT WIFE. [smiles sheepishly] I’m sorry I need to go. Thank you for this opportunity to spread the good news. But wifely duty calls.
* lah is a end-sentence suffix used in colloquial speech.
This single act is dramatised from news coverage on the OWC, available at, among others:http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/6/4/nation/2011060415112....
Sharon A Bong is Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia. She is author of The Tension Between Women’s Rights and Religions: The Case of Malaysia (2006) and former Coordinator of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia, an academic forum of Catholic women theologizing in Asia. She is also a member of the Asian Regional Committee of the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church.
The Challenge Posed by Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem to the African Perspective on the Dignity of Women
The message that we invariably get about women in African society assumes that her true dignity is based on her submission to their male counterpart, being good wives and on their ability to give birth, particularly to a boy child. This perspective not only affects the dignity of African women but also hinders their development and contribution towards society. However, this attitude has been challenged by John Paul II in his 1988 apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem, on Dignity and Vocation of Women, when he stresses:
A sense of the dignity of the human person has been impressing itself more and more deeply on the consciousness of contemporary person, and the demand is increasingly made that persons should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty.
The Pope challenges us to accept the truth that a woman is a person equally created in the image and likeness of her creator. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." A woman is a unique and distinct creature and will remain so for all eternity. For this reason, a contemporary African is challenged and encouraged to no longer see femininity as a source of discord, but rather as the possibility for collaboration, and something to be celebrated and respected. Admittedly, a woman’s dignity as presented in Mulieris Dignitatem is based on a new culture that respects and welcomes femininity. For a woman has a responsible autonomy to lead her own life. This realization will open up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the dignity of women and their role in human society and in the Church. It challenges traditional limitations placed on women and instead announces their due respect and dignity. It places emphasis on her self over things, on her being over what she has or can offer. Again in Mulieris Dignitatem 30, John Paul II affirms that her dignity is closely connected with the love which she receives by the very reason of her femininity and the love which she gives in return. No wonder Benedict XVI in his message of the Bishops of Africa, points out that Jesus wants each one of us, women included, to stand up on her/his feet to rediscover the courage to ask for what belongs to her/his dignity.
Indeed, the apostolic letter, Mulieirs Dignitatem, empowers and calls upon the African girl and woman to realize her worth, a dignity that comes from being created in the image of her creator, God.
Sr. Veronica Jemanyur Rop is a member of the Assumption Sisters of Eldoret, a local congregation based in Kenya. She is currently undergoing her doctoral studies in Sacred Theology with a specialization in Moral theology. The topic of her dissertation is “Gender Equality: A Study of the Participation of Women in Integral Human Development Among the Kalenjin in the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret-Kenya.”
(Tenga en cuenta: El ensayo Foro Latinoamericano está disponible en Español e Inglés. Please note: The Latin American forum essay is available in both Spanish and English.)
Un desafiante Escenario para la Teología Moral Católica en Latinoamérica y el Caribe
Desarrollo es una palabra clave en Latinoamérica y el Caribe hoy en día. En sus esfuerzos por el desarrollo, los países se encuentran en diferentes fases y con diferentes actores en sus evoluciones. A pesar de las diferencias existen también puntos en común. Algunos de ellos son las luchas por autonomías nacionales, por la superación de la pobreza y de las discriminaciones; y la aspiración por procesos democráticos contra las dominaciones políticas y corrupciones de todo tipo.
En una buena teoría ética, el desarrollo no debería ser reducido al ámbito económico, también debería abrigar las dimensiones de la vida individual, social y ambiental. Es verdad que la modernidad aportó un enorme refuerzo a las subjetividades individuales y grupales. Sin embargo, esto se une en nuestro contexto a pesadas herencias del colonialismo. De ese modo, aunque el neoliberalismo vigente en el mundo occidental ayude a destacar los derechos individuales y subjetivos, éste encuentra nuestras sociedades civiles bastante fragilizadas para ir más allá de los intereses particulares. Persisten las inequidades sociales y es lenta la potencialización de la conciencia ética social. La esperanza es desarrollada por grupos y actores sociales que, en diferentes ámbitos, asumen la superación de este proceso suicida.
¿Cómo se insertan en este contexto los actores de la Teología Moral Católica? Encontramos grandes diferencias. Existen los que aún no se despertaron del sueño de la cristiandad y de las ventajas derivadas de alianzas y poderes en la sociedad. Hay los que se concentran en el interior de la iglesia, en implícita dicotomía frente a los procesos sociales, excepto cuando se trata de garantizar sus propios espacios en la sociedad. Hay los que actúan de forma asistencial y/o transformadora delante de las iniquidades y sufrimientos de las personas en medio de los procesos sociales. Sería muy difícil cuantificar cada una de las tendencias, incluso porque se interpenetran en varios aspectos. Mejor tomemos dos de ellas.
Históricamente es sabido cómo se combatió la Teología de la Liberación en décadas pasadas, con resultados negativos para la educación de la conciencia socio-crítica. También se enfrió el compromiso de los cristianos en la lucha por la justicia social y defensa de los empobrecidos. Sin embargo, persisten de diferentes formas los ideales y las prácticas de asociar la fe en la transformación social y en la asistencia a los que sufren. Es elocuente en este sentido el testimonio de personas y comunidades en áreas de conflictos y carencias. En el Brasil, la Campaña de la Fraternidad (2012) tratará sobre la salud pública. En 2012 se realizará el Congreso Continental de Teología, en S. Leopoldo-RS (Brasil), para celebrar los 50 años del Concilio Vaticano II y pensar sobre los desafíos y tareas de la Liberación cristiana en Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Los preparativos incluyen Jornadas regionales de estudio ya realizadas en México, Guatemala, Colombia y Chile. Son algunas señales importantes.
Por otro lado, florecen Las Nuevas Comunidades Católicas como propuestas atrayentes a la subjetividad (pos) moderna, de perfil neo-pentecostal o no. Solamente en Brasil son más de 500 diferentes Comunidades. Las Jornadas Mundiales de la Juventud expresan en números el vigor de estos grupos. En este modelo la Moral cristiana es bastante centrada en los comportamientos individuales, y el núcleo indispensable de la caridad se transborda en acciones fuertemente asistenciales.
Mirando de cerca estos dos grupos, parecen dos extraños morales. Ciertamente no por la fe cristiana, sino por la epistemología y método de sus morales, y principalmente, tal vez, por la desconfianza mutua que los separa. Imagino que en tal contexto la Teología Moral tiene un grande y urgente desafío interno para superar estas brechas y establecer un diálogo enriquecedor ¿Cuáles serían nuestras oportunidades para esto?
Sobre el autor: Doctor en Teología por la PUG-Gregoriana, de Roma. Profesor de Ética Cristiana en el Instituto Sao Paulo de Estudios Superiores. Profesor e investigador en el Programa de Posgrado en Bioética de la Universidad de Sao Camilo (S.Paulo/Brasil). Miembro del Comité de Bioética del Consejo de Medicina del Estado de Sao Paulo/Brasil
A challenging scenario for the Catholic Moral Theology in Latin America and the Caribbean
Development is a key word in Latin America and the Caribbean today. In their efforts to develop, countries are at different stages and with different actors. Despite these differences, there are also similarities. Some of these concern the struggles for national autonomy, by overcoming poverty and discrimination, and the aspiration for democratic processes against political domination and corruption of all kinds.
In a good ethical theory, development should not be reduced to economics alone, but should entertain the dimensions of individual life, social and environmental. It is true that modernity brought a huge boost to the individual and collective subjectivities. However, this is united in our context by the heavy legacies of colonialism. Thus, although the current neo-liberalism in the Western world helps to highlight individual and subjective rights, our civil societies weaken as they move beyond individual interests. Social inequities persist and slow the emergence of social ethical awareness. The hope is developed by social groups and actors in different areas, trying to overcoming this suicidal process.
How do I insert in this context the actors in the Catholic moral theology? We find here big differences. There are those who have not yet awakened from the slumber of Christianity and the benefits of alliances and power in society. There are those who are concentrated in the interior of the church, who support implicit social processes, except when it comes to ensuring their own space in society. There are those who act in response to the wickedness and suffering of people through social processes. It would be very difficult to quantify each of the trends, not least because they interpenetrate in many ways. Better take two.
Historically the critiques against Liberation Theology in past decades led to negative results in the education of critical social consciousness. It also cooled the commitment of Christians in the struggle for social justice and defense of the poor. However, many persist in different ways with the ideals and practices associated with faith in social transformation and in helping those who suffer. It is eloquent in the testimony of people and communities in areas of conflict and deprivation. In Brazil, the Fraternity Campaign (2012) will focus on public health. In 2012 the Continental Congress held in Theology, S. Leopoldo-RS (Brazil) to celebrate 50 years of Vatican II and to think about the challenges and tasks of the Christian Liberation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Preparations include regional study seminars already being held in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Chile. These are some important signals.
On the other hand, The New Catholic Communities flourish through subjectively attractive proposals (post) modern, whether neo-Pentecostal profile or not. In Brazil alone there are over 500 different communities. The World Youth Days in numbers express the strength of these groups. In this model the Christian morality is quite focused on individual behavior, and the core of charity provides indispensable to those in need.
Looking closely at these two groups, these two strangers each appear moral. Certainly they are not strangers by their Christian faith, but by the epistemology and method of their morals, and also, perhaps, by the mutual mistrust that separates them. I imagine that in this context moral theology has a large and urgent domestic challenge to overcome these gaps and establish a rich dialogue. What are our chances for this?
About the author: Doctor in Theology from the Gregorian-PUG, Rome. Professor of Christian Ethics at the Institute for Advanced Studies Sao Paulo. Professor and researcher at the Graduate Program in Bioethics at the University of Sao Camilo (S.Paulo / Brazil). Member of the Bioethics Committee of the Board of Medicine of Sao Paulo / Brazil.
Letters to the Editor:
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. (firstname.lastname@example.org). Every week we will post those that we receive on the site, under “Letters to the Editor.”
Development Committee Initiatives
Fundraising Initiative for laptops for 8 African women PhD students: Final UPDATE from US members of Development Committee
At Trento, a group of theological ethicists from the US wanted to promote the Trento experience. One concrete way was to supply personal computers to the eight African women scholars studying for PhDs in theological ethics in various African universities in six African countries (Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania).
We are very pleased to inform you that, thanks to the generosity of those colleagues in the U.S., the CTEWC laptop initiative was a great success. Our goal was $6,000. Sixty-two donors contributed a total of $9,710.
In interpreting the donors’ desire and commitment to help concretely these African students during their studies, the extra money that was donated will be used to constitute a discretionary emergency fund on behalf of the eight African women. In the next three years, it could be used for emergencies occurring during their studies (e.g., computer repairs, books, etc.). This emergency discretionary fund will be administered by Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, SJ, who is member of the CTEWC Planning Committee, and who is responsible for administering the overall funding for the eight women’s studies.
Andrea Vicini, Chair, Development Committee
Five U. S. universities to Skype a session of the bi-annual conference of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA)
On Monday, November 7, five universities in the U.S. will provide an opportunity for those interested in Catholic Theological Ethics to observe a session of the bi-annual conference of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA) which will be taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The theme of the conference is "Wired Asia: Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Human Connectivity". EWA, an academic forum of Catholic women theologians in Asia, promotes doing contextual feminist theologies from the perspective of the excluded and in dialogue with other disciplines, religions/faiths. The three papers that will be presented in this session are:
- "Digital Revolution - Creating a Flat World for Asian Women!" by Virginia Saldanha (India)
- "Women in Cyberspace: A New Key to Emancipatory Politics of Location" by Kochurani Abraham (India)
- "Spirited Cyborgs" by Agnes Brazal (Philippines)
Abstracts of the papers and short biographies of the presenters can be found below.
The five host institutions in the U.S. are Boston College, Fordham University, and Barry University on the East Coast, Loyola University Chicago in the Midwest, and Santa Clara University on the West Coast. We are very excited about this pilot project that will further CTEWC goals stemming from Trento by building bridges between and among regional networks.
The East Coast sessions are scheduled to begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. EST. For information on the exact location and to register please contact one of the following hosts:
- Boston College: Lisa Cahill at Lisa.Cahill@bc.edu
- Fordham University: Christine Firer Hinze at email@example.com
- Barry University: Mary Jo Iozzio at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Midwest session is scheduled to begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. CST. For information on the exact location and to register, please contact the host:
- Loyola University Chicago: Susan Ross at email@example.com
The West Coast session is scheduled to begin promptly at 4:00 p.m. PST. For information on the exact location and to register, please contact the host: Santa Clara University: Kristin Heyer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstracts of Papers
"Digital Revolution - Creating a Flat World for Asian Women!" by Virginia Saldanha (India)
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2: 27-29
The hope of dreams for justice, democracy and building community is strengthened with the possibilities offered by the Digital Revolution. In this paper I elaborate on the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on women particularly in South Asia. On the one hand, many women are currently not able to use ICT fully because of illiteracy, the lack of access, as well as, gender constraints. On the other hand, women’s groups and individual (middle class) women, both in the Church and the bigger society, have started utilizing ICT to transform their lives. Examples from my own experience of working with women victims of violence and clergy sexual abuse show that women can creatively use communication gadgets to take action and change their situation. Online education has also empowered women while Catholic women’s groups have been sustained and nourished through online communication.
I will argue that women in Asia can/should maximize the power of ICT to flatten their world of patriarchal domination, in the family, in religion, politics, anywhere they need a level playing field to work and develop their potential and fulfill themselves. The ‘soft’ power of the internet, conducive to the feminist vision of a just world can take on the hard power used by patriarchy. The freedom and democracy offered by modern communication is a sign of hope for the advent of the reign of God.
Virginia Saldanha was Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Laity, Women’s Desk (1996-2009), co-ordinator/founder member of Indian Women's Theologians Forum and a member of Satyashodak. She is author of Woman Image of God (2005) and editor of two volumes of Discipleship of Asian Women at the Service of Life (2007, 2011) which are compilations of papers presented at meetings on Women for Bishops during her tenure with the FABC.
"Women in Cyberspace: A New Key to Emancipatory Politics of Location" by Kochurani Abraham (India)
Location is a defining factor in people’s lives. This is all the more conspicuous in the case of women whose lives are conditioned by the social, economic, religious and cultural boundaries that mark their identity. Their location shapes their worldview, the manner in which they perceive the world and conduct themselves in the world. Gender relations are constructed and negotiated spatially. Women’s power negotiations are dependent on their access to space or the constraints on their mobility. This being the case, cyberspace is taken as a key to examine the politics of women’s location.
This paper addresses the following questions: How does virtual space facilitate a liberative discourse? Does access to cyberspace provide women a ‘space of one’s own’ beyond the confines of a socio-culturally defined public space? As cyberspace represents a new frontier transcending the many constraints of physical space, does it make possible an ‘ex-tension’ of borders for women? From the Indian perspective, this is a crucial step in subaltern politics, in view of overcoming the hegemonic controls that persist in women’s lives.
The theological significance of Cyberspace is examined in this context in terms of its liminality, its scope for creating in women a collective consciousness and solidarity, and its potential to give women a new voice to address the oppressive paradigms that continue to define them. The crucial question in this context is: How does cyberspace become significant as a base to engage in the politics of the Reign of God?
Kochurani Abraham has a PhD in Christian Studies from the University of Madras, India, STL from the Comillas University, Madrid, and is faculty at the Dept. of Christian Studies, University of Madras, India. She is co-editor of Concerns of Women: An Indian Theological Response (2005).
"Spirited Cyborgs" by Agnes M. Brazal (Philippines)
“Why should our bodies end at the skin?” Donna Haraway
Since communication via computer mediated technologies is virtual, “words without flesh”, or characterized by anonymity and mobility, it can give the illusion that it has no impact on real bodies. Cyberviolence against women can be rationalized by this thinking that dichotomizes the virtual from the real, the user from the computer, the physical from the non-physical. There is a need to articulate a model of spirituality that will allow us to reimagine our relationship with technology.
One alternative can be based on the concept of the human as “cyborg” ─ a “hybrid of machine and organism”. A cyborg is an organism which improves its capacities through technology. We become cyborgs when our hand touches the mouse, when we use the mobile phone, etc. In viewing the human as cyborg, the technology is no longer something one has/uses but becomes an extension of the self, a part of our embodiment.
This paper is an attempt to outline the elements of a model of spirituality built on the reality and metaphor of the cyborg and its feminist potential in breaking down rigid human/machine, man/woman, virtual/real, material/spiritual distinctions. A fundamental theological question is whether the cyborg can be indwelt by the Spirit and in that sense be God’s image. We start with the living East Asian traditions of animism (Philippine and Japanese) which hold that the world including human-made tools, is animated by spirits. Using these vernacular resources as lens, we re-read family-resembling S/spirit discourses in the Scriptures highlighting God’s indwelling the material world. Finally, we map the contours of a feminist cyborg spirituality of communication.
Agnes M. Brazal is President of the Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines, 2004 coordinator of the EWA and full-time professor at the Maryhill School of Theology. She is co-editor of the books Transformative Theological Ethics: East Asian Contexts (2010), Faith on the Move: Toward a Theology of Migration in Asia (2008), and Body and Sexuality: Theological-Pastoral Reflections of Women in Asia (2007). She obtained her SThD/PhD at the KULeuven, Belgium.
The full EWA conference program along with other details can be found at: http://ecclesiaofwomen.ning.com/forum/topics/ewa-v-programme-1
We hope that this exciting pilot program will move us forward in promoting interactions across the world and that many similar events will follow.
For general questions, please contact Gina Wolfe: email@example.com
African Regional Committee Report
African Regional Conference 2012
As announced in August First, the first Regional Conference will take place in Nairobi, Kenya (21-22 August 2012) under the title CTEWC in Africa After Trento: Engaging the African Synod.
This two-day expert seminar will bring together a select group of African theologians to engage in conversation around the themes of the African Synod viewed through the lens of CTEWC-Trento. The conversation will revisit the agenda of both events in the life of the church and identify points of convergence and continuity. The participants will represent different generations of theologians and leadership in the church in Africa. Also, the seminar will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas between theologians and ecclesiastical leaders, an approach that rarely characterizes theological and ethical analysis and scholarship on the continent. In particular, the seminar will focus on the central themes of the African Synod:
The seminar will comprise three parts:
Part One: Lead Presentations
Three participants at CTEWC-Trento will deliver three lead presentations in which they lay out contexts and perspectives of the synodal themes in regard to the local church and in the currents of Catholic theological ethics in the world church.
Part Two: Brief Responses and Reflections
Four respondents will offer brief reflections on opportunities, challenges, contexts and pastoral/ethical issues from the perspective of Catholic theological ethics for the church in Africa.
Part Three: Open Session
Following the lead presentations and brief responses and reflections, participants will engage in open debate, discussion and conversation on the issues raised for the church in Africa in light of CTEWC-Trento.
We hope to have approximately 40 participants, including the eight African women on CTEWC scholarship.
On 28 September 2011, the Jesuit Institute of South Africa will host a book launch of Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace: The Second African Synod (Orbis 2011; Acton Press 2011). The organizers are: Peter Knox and Anthony Egan.
A. E. Orobator, SJ., Chair, African Regional Committee
Asian Regional Committee Report
Updates on the New Doctoral Program Reported in May newsletter
Information about the new Ph.D. program in Theology (with concentration in Moral and Systematic Theology) offered by St. Vincent School of Theology in Quezon City, Philippines, is now available. Please visit http://www.svst.edu.ph/links/academic_programs.html#phd for more details.
An International Colloquium in India
An international colloquium jointly organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture (Vatican), Christ University (Bangalore), and Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (Bangalore), will be held in the campus of Christ University and Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, India, between 25-29 October 2011. The theme of the colloquium is “TOWARDS A STRONG GLOBAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM: Revealing the Logic of Gratuitousness in the Market Economy.” The organizers are expecting 30 foreign delegates, 50 delegates from different parts of India, and a number of participants from DVK and CU campus. All participants are admitted only on the basis of prior registration. Please contact Dr. Saju Chackalackal CMI (Dean, Faculty of Philosophy, DVK; Head, Department of Philosophy, Christ University, Bangalore, India, firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com) for further information.
Lúcás Chan Yiu Sing, Chair, Asian Regional Committee
Latin American Regional Committee Report
Avance de noticias, 1ero de octubre de 2011
A inicios de septiembre se realizó el XXXV Congreso de Teología Moral de la Sociedade Brasileira de Teologia Moral. El tema del congreso fue La Contribución de la Teología Moral Cristiana en una Sociedad Diversa y Global. Ronaldo Zacharias (Brasil) indica que la reunión fue excelente.
Emilce Cuda nos informa el lanzamiento de su libro Catolicismo y Democracia en Estados Unidos. Éste es el único texto en español sobre este tema y la única traducción de las cartas pastorales de los obispos Norteamericanos al español. Poco se conoce en América Latina sobre la iglesia Estadounidense, y se le generaliza con la europea. La Profesora Cuda viene presentando este tema por más de dos años en congresos de ciencias políticas en Argentina y en otros países, enfatizando en el tema de la migración obrera católica. Desde ese enfoque trata el tema de cómo el catolicismo Norteamericano presiona sobre una república democrática, siendo vanguardia respecto de Europa. La Profesora Cuda nos dice, “Creo que una Latino América progresista debería conocer el caso [Norte]americano, sobre todo hoy con el problema del trabajador migrante. En fin, quiero destacar que la política es campo de la ética, y por tanto de la teología moral social.”
Se anuncia el lanzamiento de la página web del Congreso Continental de Teología a llevarse a acabo en Octubre de 2012 en Brasil. La página está disponible en español, portugués, e inglés. En la misma se anuncian las dos Jornadas Teológicas en octubre (en México – Región Norte, y en Colombia – Región Andina). Pedimos a nuestros colegas que nos envíen noticias sobre estas jornadas y cualquier otra participación respecto al Congreso Continental.
Continuamos haciéndole perfil a diferentes páginas web que ofrezcan contenido completo de textos relevantes para nuestra red mundial de eticistas católicos. Esta vez les invitamos a que visiten la página de la Revista Iberoamericana de Teología, co-editada por Miguel Angel Sánchez Carlos. Aquí encontraran acceso a los artículos del ejemplar actual y anteriores. Visiten http://www.uia.mx/ribet/index.html.
The XXXV Congress in Moral Theology of the Brazilian Society of Moral Theology was held at the beginning of September. The theme for the gathering was The Contribution of Moral Theology to a Diverse and Global Society. Ronaldo Zacharias (Brazil) reports that the gathering was excellent.
Emilce Cuda announces the release of her book Catholicism and Democracy in the United States (Catolicismo y Democracia en Estados Unidos). This is the only book of its kind in Spanish with the only Spanish translations of the pastoral letters of the US Bishops. Little is known in Latin America about the Church in the U.S., which is often lumped together with the Church in Europe. Professor Cuda has been presenting on this topic for over two years at conferences on political science in Argentina and elsewhere, focusing on the topic of migration of the Catholic workforce. From that perspective she deals the topic of how Catholicism in the U.S. affects a democratic republic, being on the cutting edge of this topic ahead of the European Church. Professor Cuda informs that: “I believe a progressive Latin America should know the North American case, especially with the current problematic of the migrant worker. In the end I want to notice that politics is a field for ethics and therefore of social moral theology.”
The Continental Congress of Theology, to take place in October of 2012 in Brazil, launched its oficial website with news, links of interest, registration information, and other materials. The site is available in Spanish and Portuguese (the official languages of the Congress) and in English. You will find there the links to the upcoming Jornadas Teológicas (in Mexico – North Region, and in Colombia – Andes Region). We ask the members of the CTEWC network to send us news about these gatherings or any other participation or information regarding the Continental Congress.
We continue to profile different web pages that provide full content to relevant texts for our global network of Catholic ethicists. This time we profile the site for the Journal for Iberoamerican Theology (Revista Iberoamericana de Teología), co-edited by Miguel Angel Sánchez Carlos. In it you will find access to full articles from the current and past issues of the Journal: http://www.uia.mx/ribet/index.html.
MT Davila, Chair, Latin American Regional Committee
North American Regional Report
All are invited to sign: "A Catholic Call to Abolish the Death Penalty"
On September 21, 2011 two men were executed in two different states in the US. In Georgia, Troy Anthony Davis, an African American man, was put to death for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. In Texas, Lawrence Brewer, a white supremacist, was executed for his participation in the racist hate crime dragging murder of James Byrd in Jasper in 1998. Davis’ execution was widely protested, because his case exposed many longstanding concerns about capital punishment in the US, such as the problem of racial bias and the possibility that innocent persons are put to death by the state. In response, four Catholic theological ethicists (Gerald Beyer, Alexander Mikulich, Emily Reimer-Barry, and Tobias Winright) drafted a statement, "A Catholic Call to Abolish the Death Penalty," which was posted at the Catholic Moral Theology website (http://catholicmoraltheology.com/a-catholic-call-to-abolish-the-death-penalty/) on September 26th.
Within two days over 250 theologians, scholars, and social justice advocates who participate in the public discussion of Catholic theology signed the document, protesting the state-sanctioned executions of both Davis and Brewer, as well as calling for the abolition of the death penalty in the US. The statement, which cites Church teaching on capital punishment and calls upon the Church to work "unwaveringly" toward ending the practice as well as all other threats to human life and dignity, quickly garnered the attention of Catholic media, including America, Commonweal and the National Catholic Reporter, as well as news organizations like the Huffington Post.
If you would like to add your name to the list of signatories, send an email to Winright at firstname.lastname@example.org including your name, professional position, and institutional affiliation.
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