Welcome to the FIRST

The newsletter of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church
October 2016

Dear Friends

We are happy to send you the First of October.

We are presently updating our website.  It ought to be completed on November First, though much of it is already done, thanks to our Web Administrator, Rebecca Reilly.

I asked you for your writings on 
Amoris Laetitia. WeE received a great response.  But many essays are not yet published.  We will have in the next issues the links to the essays as they are published.  In the meantime, we are happy to give you below what we have already received.

I also asked for two sentence reflections on Padua, 2006.  Next month we will publish them, so if you get a chance, please send me your reflections on what you took away from Padua.

There are the forums below.   Mary Jo Iozzio has written on the Affordable Care Act, Maggie Ssebunya on violent protests, Hoa Dinh on marine pollution in Vietnam, Plus many, many adverts below, note particularly the conference on "The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics" at Heythrop College.  Clearly, theological ethics is alive and well.

In addition to conferences, Luca Badini asked us to post the Statement on the Ethical Use of Contraceptives, from The Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.  Inasmuch as we are a network keeping members informed of one another's activity (when they ask us), we are happy to pass on their statement as well. 



Amoris Laetitia
WE asked people to send us news about who is writing on Amoris Laetitia.  I am writing an essay for Theological Studies on Amoris.  It will be coming out in March 2017.  I will be using much that was sent me.  If you have not sent it and you want me to consider it for my essay, please send it.
Here is what we received... that we can incorporate below.  As your essays get published send me the links and we will post them at our website.  In November our website will be completely updated.
From Antonio Autiero: Amoris Laetitia: a new way of doing moral theology ?
The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL), in addition to discussing issues concerning marriage and the family, addresses a series of fundamental matters regarding moral theology. Theologians ask: Does this document constitute a new way of doing moral theology? In a collective volume, a group of German moral theologians proposes an answer. The volume, edited by Stephan Goertz and Caroline Witting, will be published in late October or early November 2016 by the publisher Herder with the title: Amoris laetitia: Wendepunkt für die Moraltheologie?
With its ten contributions, the book argues that AL will stimulate anew the debate on issues that, in recent decades, especially since the encyclical Veritatis Splendor and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, appeared to be decided authoritatively by the Magisterium.
Since the mid-1990s, moral theology seems to have been taken out of the field of theological debates, although it had actively participated in the conciliar revision of Neoscholastic positions. With AL, we can affirm that a new era opens for moral theology, in which a more courageous reflection on fundamental questions can now be creatively addressed.
Although AL only mentions many relevant moral issues and presents them in a non-exhaustive way, AL shows that the moral theology of the Magisterium cannot be proposed without needed innovations.
The book aims at being a first contribution to a renewed dialogue on key issues in moral teaching and intends to tackle and analyze issues that are discussed in the Apostolic Exhortation.
The introductory part of the book offers a very exhaustive study, conducted by the two editors, on the genesis and the hermeneutics of AL, but also on its controversial reception.
In several of its chapters, the book addresses the relationship of moral laws and general principles with concrete life situations and circumstances. This is a well-known debate in moral theology that, already in the 1950s and 1960s, led to interesting developments on the foundation of moral norms and that emerges repeatedly in AL, also with reference to the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
In AL, the place and the role of conscience is also deepened in comparison with the approach articulated in the encyclical letter of John Paul II Veritatis Splendor. AL shows a different theological perspective, which is also reflected in its diverse approach in discussing issues in sexual ethics and that emphasizes the relationality between persons, substantiated by their love and responsible choices.
In examining the moral magisterium and its authority, which occupies an important place in AL, some of the authors in the volume ask whether we are not facing a new form of magisterial moral argumentation and teaching that are influenced by the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council and by the dynamic idea of synodality.
In examining the struggles on some couples that live in the so-called "Irregular situations," a concept of sin and personal responsibility of the subject seems to shape the theological reflection of AL with a focus on intrinsically evil actions, which in traditional moral teaching occupied a central place, mainly in sexual ethics. When one compares this approach to the situation lived by divorced and remarried couples, one can ask whether AL proposes anew the positions of the past years or whether it takes a step forward in pointing both to the needed attitudes in pastoral care and to the articulation of moral doctrine. To answer, the theological reflection turns to the graduality and mercy as central points of reference in the teaching of Pope Francis and in the argumentative system of AL.
Finally, the itinerant character of the people of God is a relevant ecclesiological category that guides the comprehension of the Apostolic Exhortation.
In conclusion, the volume highlights well the innovative value of the Church teaching on marriage and the family. At the same time, it does not hide the critical and fragile points of the Apostolic Exhortation. The authors also stress how AL is offered to the Church as an instrument for understanding changes in theological reflection and pastoral engagements and for encouraging further reflection on the issues addressed in the Apostolic Exhortation.
This book will appeal to scholars in moral theology, but, because of its accessible writing style and open approach, a wider audience of readers will enjoy reading it and will benefit from it.


Anthony Egan: essays from Jesuit Institute of South Africa
"Love always gives life" - A Mother's Reflection on Amoris Laetitia
From Michael Lawler and Todd Salzman:
From Alain Thomasett

Answering your request concerning  Amoris laetitia , we have just published an edition of AL with commentaries, annotations, introductions, testimonies and a glossary (Lessius editions, Namur-Paris). This edition was directed under the responsibility of the council "Famille et société" of the French Bishop conference and the faculty of theology of Centre Sèvres-Facultés Jésuites de Paris. We had 15 theologians collaborators from various universities. I was member of the editorial team and coordinator of the project.
Joined the flyer of presentation.

Featured Forum Articles:

United Kingdom, Julie Clague,  Structural injustice revisited

United States, Mary Jo Iozzio,  The US Affordable Care Act: Modest Success
European Report
By: Roman Globokar
A Question of Gender Justice - A Report from Gunter Prueller-Jagenteufel, University of Vienna
The three years' research program of the International Network of Societies in Catholic Theology (INSeCT) is now in its most productive phase.
The Topic " A Question of Gender Justice : The Role of Women in Decision Making in Different Areas of Church and Society" has been discussed at two conferences that have been co-organized by the European Society of Catholic Theology (ESCT).
  1. In July a conference was organized together with the Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines DaKaTeo to discuss the ecclesiological impact of gender research. 16 papers have been presented by European and Asian theologians discussing the fundamental issue of gender justice and gender bias in our church.
  2. In September a second conference was held by ECST and the European Society of Women in Theological Research (ESWTR) with a special focus on church and society in Western Europe and Eastern Central Europe (i.e. Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia). Six keynotes and 15 papers have been delivered.
Both conferences showed clearly that the gender issue is not an ideology, but mainly a question of fundamental justice between men and women. The growing ideological fight proves to be a major obstacle to individual and social justice; so the issue would be to clarify the true meaning of "gender" and "gender mainstreaming" and to stand up against false conspiracy theories and to engage again in plain objective discussions.
The keynotes and papers of the two conferences will be published.

The Value of Creation - The Dignity of Man - Conference report from Gusztáv Kovács
Since the publication of Laudato si' the global ecological crisis became one of the hottest issues in the Church. The conference held at Theological College of Pécs on 27th September 2016, also picked up this hot potato and tried to get hold of it from different angles. The event was part of the series of conferences on current topics in theological ethics organized by the recently established Department of Human Dignity and Social Justice. The concept of "preservation of creation" was at the heart of the lectures, which not only discussed current developments in theology, but also tried to provide a global overview of the questions. Among the speakers were Martin M. Lintner (Brixen), László Perendy (Budapest), Dominik Opatrny (Olomouc), Janusz Podzielny (Opole), and Gusztáv Kovács (Pécs). Their stimulating lectures subsumed how different theological and philosophical disciplines approach the global ecological crisis, and urged the audience to get involved in the discussions and actions aiming at the preservation of our common home, the creation. In the afternoon young scholars presented their papers written for the essay writing competition announced by the Hungarian ET-Section. The lectures of the conference will be published by the end of October 2016. For further details contact: dr.kovacs.gusztav@gmail.com

Gender and Feminisms - two modules at Catharine of Siena College - Invitation
Catherine of Siena College, at the University of Roehampton, is offering two exciting new modules in Gender and Feminisms-Biblical Perspectives (January-March 2017), and Gender and Feminisms-Theological Perspectives (September-December 2017).
Courses are taught exclusively online by expert tutors from around the world, and we offer opportunity for vibrant intercultural conversation, one-to-one contact with the tutor and other students through live chat sessions, and teaching rooted in the latest research and contextual experience.
Courses cost £343 and successful completion results in 20 credits. We have generous bursaries available, and are currently welcoming applications for one or both of these courses.
Email catherineofsiena@roehampton.ac.uk for more information and to register now.

Conference at the University Comillas in Madrid on 11th October 2016 - Invitation
José Manuel Caamaño López invites to the conference "El ser humano ante la ciencia y la tecnología". For more information: jclopez@comillas.edu
Asian Report
By: St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary
Changing Pastoral Style in Light of Amoris Laetitia
Seminar, 18-08-2016, St Joseph Pontifical Seminary, Mangalapuzha, Kerala, India
Pastoral Animation and Research Center (PARC), at St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary Mangalapuzha in collaboration with the Clergy Commission of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church conducted a seminar on Amoris Laetitia on 18 August 2016 with the purpose of giving awareness on the pastoral concerns accentuated by Pope Francis in this Apostolic Exhortation. Fr Mathew Illathuparampil, the Rector of St Joseph Seminary welcomed the participants, and pointed out the importance of Amoris Laetitia for the theological thinking and pastoral care of the family.
His Eminence Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, inaugurated the Seminar. He observed that one could see a paradigm shift in Amoris Laetitia ; a new outlook of the pastoral concerns on the family and marriage. Absorbing the spirit of the Second Vatican Council this Exhortation indicates a new vision and approach towards the bare realities of everyday life, he said.
Fr. Jose Kottayil introduced the new age families, the influence of Modernism and the ways and means to lead a faith oriented and value based life. He observed that although in theory Amoris Laetitia has not changed much, it calls for radical changes in praxis. Shaji George Kochuthara pointed out 'Marriage and Marriage problems' and the way in which the pastors shall approach those realities with the love and mercy of God. Dr. HormisMynatty shared his impressions on the role of pastors to become menders of the broken families following the guidelines of Amoris Laetitia . His Excellency Mar Sebastian Adaynthrath, the Chairman of Clergy Commission of the Syro-Malabar Church, gave the concluding message. In his message he expressed the need of pastoral oriented formation for the seminarians and ongoing formation for priests feeling the pulse of the society. Participants of this Seminar numbered about three hundred pastors and Seminarians.
[Report prepared by Fr Mathew Illathuparampil]

Save The Date: 


Event date:  Friday 20th January, 9:00am
Location:  Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN
An International Day Conference at Heythrop College, University of London
In his ground-breaking new publication, Reframing Theological Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016), Joseph Selling offers an ethical method that reorients Catholic understandings of theological ethics.  Catholic moral theology, he says, has been based on an approach which over-emphasises the role of normative ethics, thus confining moral responsibility to questions about whether a person is following or disobeying moral rules.
This important conference offers Catholic theological ethicists an opportunity to engage with Professor Selling's work through such themes as 'human motivation', 'intention' and 'virtue', and also through Thomistic and New Testament approaches.  We are delighted to have such distinguished speakers as Joseph Selling himself, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Edward Vacek, SJ, Nicholas Austin SJ, and Mathew Illathuparampil.


We welcome short papers from theological ethicists as well as (post)graduate students in theological ethics or moral theology who have some familiarity with the issues being discussed in Prof. Selling's book. The papers should suggest how the basic approach outlined in the book might be applied to current areas of ethical praxis. Suggested topics could include 'sexuality, parenthood, and family', 'migration and immigration', 'environmental change and sustainability', but may involve other specific areas of research. The principle aim is to apply the book's basic approach to particular topics.
Paper proposals (maximum 500 words) should be submitted to Dr Anna Abram (  a.abram@heythrop.ac.uk) before 31 October 2016. Authors of the selected papers will be notified by 15 November. These authors should prepare a presentation for the conference (maximum 20 min.) and have their final, full text (3.000-4.000 words) ready when they attend the Conference. Conference presenters are invited to publish their papers in a special issue of ' Religions' (an international, open access scholarly journal, publishing peer reviewed studies of religious thought and practice). Click  here for further details.
Conference Fee (including lunch and refreshment) 
Standard:  £ 25 
Students:   £ 5 
Unwaged:  £ 10 
Heythrop Students and Staff: free
More details about the conference including the programme will be available online from September 2016
If you require accommodation, please contact Campus Services on 020 7795 4163 or email  conferences@heythrop.ac.uk for further information.

Catholic Scholars' Statement on the Ethics of Contraceptives: 
Save The Date: 
Please join us for the Association for Moral Education Conference, December 8-11, 2016, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA.

Jim Keenan, Ronaldo Zacharias and Dan Fleming will be delivering a symposium at this conference entitled " The Formation of Prophetic Conscience and Civic Engagement in Catholicism". We will send out details of the schedule when we have them.

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the conference. Please click on the following link to registe r:  https://www.events.harvard.edu/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x434455fe38  .

Early bird registration will end on September 15, so please plan to register before the fees increase. Registration will close on November 1.

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Jim Keenan S.J.



Claudio Quintana