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Planning Committee at the Vatican

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An Account of CTEWC's Papal Meeting - Father James Keenan

We just came back from a week in Rome with Planning Committee Members of CTEWC. They were Kristin Heyer, Toni Ross and I from BC; Linda Hogan from Dublin, Antonio Autiero from Berlin, Roman Globokar from Slovenia and Emilce Cuda from Buenos Aires (4 of our board could not come, Agnes Brazal, Elias Omondi Opongo, Shaji George Kochuthara and Andrea Vicini).
Because we are hosting our third International Conference of CTEWC in 2018 in Sarajevo, we decided to build bridges with many Roman/Vatican institutions.  We had lengthy meetings with the leaders of three universities (Gregorian, Alfonsianum, and Urbanium), the Cardinal Prefects of 6 Congregations, Father General Arturo Sosa of the Society of Jesus, and finally, on St. Patrick's, with Pope Francis.
Pope Francis met with us for 50 minutes and the discussion was singularly on the work of CTEWC in collaboration with others. We had the good fortune to be the only ones meeting with him (the people greeting us left). Below are a few pictures. It was a blessed week.  

We also visited many other leaders of the church to talk about CTEWC and our forthcoming International Conference in Sarajevo in July 2018.
We visited:
Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, at the Congregation for Catholic Education
Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, ofm, of the Congregation for Religious Life
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, of Propagation of the Faith
Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, of the Congregation for the Laity, Family, Life
Cardinal Peter Turkson, of the Dicastery of the Service of Integral Human Development
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, of the Pontifical Council of Culture
Each Cardinal graciously engaged for roughly an hour each.  We placed the resources of CTEWC at their service.  They introduced us to their staffs as well.  Photos of our planning committee with each leader can be found in the photo gallery below. We also met for some time with the General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa SJ.
Finally, we gave lectures at three Pontifical Universities, the Urbanianum (where we were hosted by Vicenzo Viva), the Gregorianum (where we were hosted by Miguel Yanez), and the Alfonsianum (where we were hosted by Andrzej Wodka).


An Account of CTEWC's Papal Meeting - Professor Kristin Heyer

At the end of our week of formal meetings in Rome, the CTEWC planning committee made our way to the private papal library in the Apostolic Palace: past Swiss guards, up marble staircases surrounded by intricate frescoes, and keenly aware of others who had awaited such audiences throughout history. Yet from the outset, our meeting with Pope Francis was marked by warm welcome, unexpected jokes about whiskey dispensations for St. Patrick's Day, and shared poignant memories. When Jim Keenan explained to Pope Francis that several of our planning committee members could not be present (Agnes Brazal, Shaji George Kochuthara, Elias Omondi Opongo and Andrea Vicini) he offered Lúcás Chan's memorial card, noting his role on the planning committee and recent death. Several of us were moved to tears at this point, reflecting on Lúcás' presence and absence, and Pope Francis' response that this was "a beautiful gesture" set a personal, intimate tone for the remainder of the private audience. Hence whereas I thought the meeting would be brief and somewhat pro forma, it was dynamic and interactive-and lasted nearly an hour with only a translator present. Throughout our extended time together, Pope Francis remained very animated, interjecting between each person's presentation with questions, candid commentary, and interest in and appreciation for our work.
Our members presented each of the books from our Orbis series to Pope Francis as an occasion to communicate our priorities and efforts: the origins and impact of the scholarship program for African women , for example, or the book series' mode of pairing of coeditors from different geographical contexts and enlisting contributors from every region to shape robustly international contributions to the field of Catholic theological ethics. In discussing our regional conferences, we emphasized our method of prioritizing personal encounter to the exchange of ideas in order to foster harmony in diversity. We underscored our attempts to serve and empower those isolated or on various peripheries of the field by reprinting books in our series at lower costs and connecting one another via our website and The First .
We also shared with the pope ways in which we have engaged our membership to disseminate and promote the reception of Amoris Laetitia across various contexts, and how our own Just Sustainability volume anticipated some of the key themes and approaches of his subsequent Laudato Si'. When we spoke of CTEWC's endeavors, whether indicating our attentiveness to context or our desire to build bridges, Pope Francis frequently made theological connections to the work of salvation history or the inner workings of the Trinity, for example-which indicated the value he perceived in the work and hopes we conveyed. His comments throughout the morning struck me as reflective of his deep commitments, insight, and receptivity.
I found the meeting confirming of CTEWC's projects and trajectory, particularly as we look ahead to our 2018 conference in Sarajevo. On a broader vocational level, given various challenges facing our ongoing work for the church, academy and wider world, I was particularly moved when he concluded our time together by saying "thank you for your work, and thank you for your courage."  

Here are some pictures from the CTEWC Planning Committee's meeting with Pope Francis

Planning Committee and Pope Francis

Father James Keenan with Pope Francis

Linda Hogan with Pope Francis

Antonio Autiero with Pope Francis

Kristin Heyer with Pope Francis

Emilce Cuda with Pope Francis

Roman Globokar with Pope Francis


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We just wrapped up a four-day conference here in Bogotá, Colombia brilliantly organized and realized by the indomitable Maria Teresa (MT) Davila from Andover Newton Theological School and Director of the Latin American Region of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church(CTEWC). 

After CTEWC’s second international congress in Trento in 2010 where 600 Catholic theological ethicists converged from 72 countries, the Planning Committee of CTEWC decided to fortify the network by hosting regional conferences.  In 2012, the Nigerian Agbonghianmeghe Orobator, SJ, chaired the first Pan African Congress in Nairobi.  In 2013, the North American Regional Committee decided to engage their colleagues through a working group (2014-2016) at the annual meetings of the Catholic Theological Society of America.  In 2014, Roman Globokar (Slovenia) and Konrad Glombik (Poland) held the European Congress in Krakow.  In 2015, the late Yiu Sing Lúcás Chan, SJ, (Hong Kong) and Shaji George Kochuthara, CMI (India) organized the Pan Asian Conference in Bangalore.

Here in Bogotá, Davila worked with two professors from the spectacularly hospitable and beautifulJaveriana University, María Isabel Gil Espinosa and Alberto Munera, SJ.  Together they invited roughly one hundred Catholic ethicists from more than twenty countries.   While the shared identity of Latin American theologians provided the background, the organizers brought to the foreground the differences from each part of the continent by inviting nine distinctive national voices to speak.  Despite some similarities, the challenges and hopes in contemporary Brazil are considerably different from those in Chile, Colombia, or Cuba.  No where was the difference heard more than when Luis Jesús Paz Acosta from El Salvador spoke about the urgent struggles with gangs, while Javier Menocal acknowledged the absence of such phenomenon in Nicaragua.

Differences across Latin America were remarkable.

The conference sponsored 12 plenary papers and more than 60 other concurrent presentations on such themes as gender, sexuality, human trafficking, de-colonization, immigration, Laudato Si’ and sustainability, Amoris Laetitia and the family, poverty, unemployment, drug use, aesthetics, and the primacy of conscience.  Besides Paz’s riveting paper on gangs, high points included María Verónica Anguita Mackay (Chile) on bioethics and how (poorly) mass media communicates on such urgent contemporary issues, Miguel Sanchez on corruption in Mexico, and María Isabel Gil Espinosa, who works at an AIDS clinic here in the capital and closed the conference with a passionate and critical summons for a more inclusive, closer-to-the-ground attention to human suffering across the continent.

Major senior moralists like Munera were there including: Marcio Fabri dos Anjos, CSsR (Brazil), Theresa Lowe Ching, RSM, (Jamaica), Luis Ugalde, SJ and Pedro Trigo, SJ (Venezuela).  But newer scholars were even more evident.  Besides Luz and Gil Espinosa, Alexandre Martins (Brazil), Jutta Battenberg (Mexico), Hilda Ortiz Mena Fernández (Mexico), and Claudia Montes de Oca Ayala (Bolivia) each prophetically urged us toward greater dialogue, fearless solidarity, and critical attention to the most marginalized.

Bishop Jorge Lonzano who heads the Social Pastoral Commission of the Argentinian Bishop’s Conference presided at Saturday evening’s Eucharist and earlier presented a very significant paper on communication and social change. 

MT Davila who headed the Latin American Region for the past six years has decided to step down as director so as to become the first director of our social media communications.  Emilce Cuda (Argentina) and Elio Gasda, SJ (Brazil) succeed her.  Their first task is to publish the plenary papers along with 15 selected concurrent papers with the Javeriana University Press’ on-line publications.  After that they will lead the Latin American region in preparation for our third international congress to be held in Sarajevo in July 2018.  More on that later.

Bangalore Report

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Here is a article from the Bangalore Conference 

Jose Kavi's two entries on the conference:

First one on Vimal Tirimanna's opening address:

THen an essay on Cardinal Tagle: 

For a copy of the Bangalore Program, view here.

New Book from Agnes M. Brazal & Emmanuel S. de Guzman

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This volume is among the first to reflect on the contemporary phenomenon of migration from an ecclesiological perspective. It sets the context of migration and cultural encounters within a global capitalist economy. Expounding on the concept of interculturality through the use of several theoretical frameworks, such as those of Stuart Hall and Pierre Bourdieu, the authors locate cultural practices in the context of power. A. M. Brazal and E. S. de Guzman describe and evaluate contemporary metaphors for the church, and identify new ecclesiological models which have emerged in response to various migration contexts. Intercultural Church: Bridge of Solidarity in the Migration Context is proposed to imagine new directions for church in an ever-changing society.

New Book from Alain Thomasset S.J.

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Alain Thomasset, s.j., Les vertus sociales. Justice, solidarité, compassion, hospitalité, espérance, Lessius, Paris, Namur, 2015, 340 p.


On redécouvre aujourd'hui l'importance des vertus dans la vie morale et sociale. Ces prédispositions au bien agir s'éduquent et contribuent à façonner notre manière d'être et de vivre, donc de décider. Pas de démocratie sans esprit de dialogue et souci du bien commun, pas de justice sans un désir du respect de chacun et de sa dignité. La tradition chrétienne a beaucoup à apporter dans la construction de ce vivre ensemble. 

Les vertus sociales ici étudiées, à l'aide d'exemple concrets et de leur enracinement dans la Bible, manifestent des visages particuliers de la charité. Ce sont les vertus du Royaume à vivre dès aujourd'hui. D'abord, la vertu de justice, qui oriente toute la vie sociale ; la vertu de solidarité, qui reprend un concept important de nos sociétés laïques ; les vertus de compassion et d'hospitalité, très présentes dans la Bible, dès qu'il s'agit des pauvres ou des étrangers ; enfin, l'espérance, qui apparaît aujourd'hui comme l'une des attitudes les plus nécessaires dans une société en proie à la désillusion et menacée de désespoir.


Alain Thomasset s.j., est professeur de théologie morale au Centre Sèvres - Facultés jésuites de Paris, et titulaire de la Chaire Jean Rodhain. Il est président de l'Association de Théologiens pour l'Étude de la Morale (ATEM). Il travaille en particulier sur l'éthique des vertus et sur les liens entre expérience de foi, engagement dans la société et expression théologique.



Today, we rediscover the importance of virtues in social and moral life. These predispositions to act in a good way need to be educated and help to shape our way of being and living, so our manner to decide. No democracy without dialogue spirit and concern for the common good, no justice without a desire to respect anybody and his or her dignity. The Christian tradition has much to contribute in the construction of this living together.

The social virtues studied on this book, using concrete examples and their roots in the Bible, manifest specific faces of charity. These are the virtues of the Kingdom to be lived today. First, the virtue of justice, to steer all social life; the virtue of solidarity which incorporates a concept of our secular societies; the virtues of compassion and hospitality, very present in the Bible, as soon as it comes to the poor and the foreigners; finally the virtue of hope, that appears today as one of the most necessary attitudes in a society plagued by disillusion and threatened by despair.


Alain Thomasset s.j., is Professor of moral theology at the Centre Sèvres - Facultés jésuites de Paris, and holder of the Chair Jean Rodhain. He is president of the ecumenical and francophone association of theologians for the study of morality (ATEM). He works in particular on the ethics of virtues and on the links between experience of faith, commitment in society and theological expression.



Colloquium in memory of Klaus Demmer (1931–2014): April 17–18, 2015

2 Comment(s) | Posted | by Martin M. Lintner |

Colloquium in memory of Klaus Demmer (1931–2014): April 17–18, 2015

Klaus Demmer, one of the most important and influential contemporary moral theologians, died on July 18, 2014. He was teaching Moral theology as first non Jesuit at the Gregoriana from 1970 to 2003. During these 33 years he lived at the Anima, the German college for priests in Rome. Therefore the rector of the Anima, Dr. Franz Xaver Brandmayr, Dr. Karl Hunstorfer, a former member of the Anima, and Prof. Hans Zollner SJ, Academic Vice Rector of the Gregoriana, organized together a colloquium in honour of Klaus Demmer, that was held at the Gregoriana in the noon of April 17 and at the Anima in the morning of April 18. The meeting at the Gregoriana (held in English and Italian) was opened by a very personal account of Mrs. Aldegonde Brenninkmeijer (INTAMS, Belgium) and afterwards dedicated to the specific ethical-theological approach of Prof. Demmer: “The dimension of the interdisciplinary dimension of moral theology”.  The speakers where Roberto Dell’Oro, Los Angeles (“Moral truth and anthropological mediation in the theological ethics of Klaus Demmer”; response by Aristide Fumagalli, Milan), Antonio Autiero, Berlin (“Klaus Demmer between Theology and Medicine”, response by Carlo Casalone, Naples ), Gianni Cioli, Florence (“The moral compromise in  the thought of Klaus Demmer”, response by Paolo Benanti, Romoe.  The morning meeting at the Anima (held in German) was dedicated to the link between Moral theology and Spirituality in Klaus Demmer.  The keynote speakers where Walter Schaupp, Graz (“Transzendenzerschlossene Subjektivität   – Zum Verhältnis von Moral und Spiritualität bei K. Demmer”), Roman Globokar, Ljubljana (“Moraltheologische Reflexion dient besserer Lebenspraxis. Zur Bedeutung der Lebensentscheidung bei K. Demmer”) and Karl Hunstorfer, Vienna (“Spiritualität im Krankenhaus.  Fundamentaltheologisch-ethische Aspekte bei K. Demmer als Anknüpfungspunkte einer praxisbezogenen Spiritualität”).

The colloquium revealed not only the important and very specific academic moral-theological approach and heritage of Klaus Demmer (as Schaupp said, most probably the widest and most extensive approach in contemporary Moral theology), but how he has left a significant mark on many generations of international students through his personal testimonial of a simple, humble and spiritual lifestyle. As typical Westphalian he was a sober, austere and calm person, but at the same time a personality with a deep humanity and a spiritual depth.

The publication of the papers will be provided by the Gregoriana and the Anima in a special issue in honour of Klaus Demmer. Already in 2011 a group of former students of Prof. Demmer have published a “Festschrift” (“Pensare l’agire morale : omaggio italiano a un maestro internazionale: Klaus Demmer”, ed. by V. Viva and A. Fumagalli, San Paolo Edizioni: Cinisello Balsamo 2011) in occasion of his 80th birthday. The presentation of this book on November 9, 2011, was the last time that Demmer visited the Gregoriana and gave a Lectio magistralis “La teologia morale contemporanea: sfide e prospettive”. The last book of Demmer was published posthumous, ed. by A. Autiero: “Selbstaufklärung theologischer Ethik. Themen – Thesen – Perspektiven”, Ferdinand-Schöningh-Verlag: Paderborn 2014.

Martin M. Lintner

Johannes Gründel (1929–2015) and a human-friendly moral theology

0 Comment(s) | Posted | by Konrad Glombik |

Johannes Gründel (1929–2015) and a human-friendly moral theology


On 16th March 2015 died Johannes Gründel, retired professor for moral theology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and a priest in e little parish in Freising-Hohenbachern. He was born on 13th May 1929 as the third child from fourth children in a farmer family in Ullersdorf near Glatz in Lower Silesia. After the Second World War was his family displaced to Melle near Osnabruck in West Germany. He continued his school-learning at the Gymnasium in Munster and 1947 he began his study in philosophy and theology at the new High school in Königstein and than in Munich.

On 28th September 1952 he became a priest for the his maternal diocese Glatz-Prag and began the pastoral work in the parish in Montabaur and than in Bad Homburg in the diocese Limburg. After few years he went to Rome to continue the study in theology at the Papal University Gregoriana and to prepare his doctorate in moral theology. Gründel wrote the dissertation about the significance of circumstances for the evaluation of human attitude in the earl medieval thought and became on 30th April 1963 the doctorate for moral theology at the University of Munich. Three years later he became habilitation in moral theology about virtue-teaching by Radulfus Ardens. In December 1968 became Gründel a Professor for moral theology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

The begin of his work as theologian converged with the publication of the document of Paul VI. Humanae vitae. His position war not to polarize in this hot discusses theme, but to look for agreement between different positions in the question of contraception. Gründel’s position was to take positive fundamental contents into the foreground and the decision about use of the contraceptives to leave to the decision of conscience of individual persons. In the academic year 1971–1972 was Gründel decant of the Faculty for Theology in Munich. He was Professor for moral theology till his retire in 1997. At the same time was Gründel since 1972 employed in the pastoral service in a little parish in Freising-Hohenbachern. This pastoral-practical activity influenced his theoretical works, studies and positions. He understand the theological ethics not as massage of threat, but as a massage of joy and so he underlined the positive significance of the human freedom, of the solidarity and of the self-responsibility. He understand the change in the moral theology after the Second Vatican Council as a way from the moral of law to the ethics of responsibility. He wrote in his book Normen im Wandel: „The best state is not this, which has the most legal laws; the best government is not this, which gives the most regulations, but this, which wakes the highest measure of self-responsibility and protect the free field for such self-responsibility“ (München 1980, p. 27).

Gründel is author of many publications about the history of moral theology, relations between faith and reason, theory and praxis, receive and given. Many of them are translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Polish. He is promoter of about thirty doctorates and tree habilitations. For his engagement by the foundation of study-course for orthodox theology at the University of Munich he became the doctor honoris causa degree of the University of Athens in Greece. In Germany was r Gründel espected not only in the theologian spheres, but also as competent expert of modern questions in the public opinion. He had many contacts with polish moral theologians and become involved for the human rights in the world. In the field of moral theology is he a most profiled representative of the Christian ethics of responsibility.


Konrad Glombik

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