Welcome to the FIRST

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

A Call for Greater Participation

Llamado de Participacion

Appello per una Maggiore Partecipazione

Aufruf zu einer staerkeren Beteiligung

Um Chamado a Maior Participação

Un Appel pour une Plus Grande Participation

Dear friends,


This conference will be a completely participatory conference. Next month we will announce the time and place of it. BUT NOW WE NEED YOUR PARTICIPATION on TWO matters.

First, we want to ask again, for you to share in 2 or 3 sentences what did PADUA 2006 mean to you? What did you take away from the first international conference on Catholic Theological Ethics (Even if you were not there!)? Please, this is important for our preparations. Please send me, your brief reply: james.keenan.2@bc.edu .
Second, we are interested in RECORDING THE RECEPTION OF AMORIS LAETITIA.  Have you written or said anything on Amoris Laetitia?  If you can send me either a link or a pdf to this, it would be very important.  Also, if you fund something very interesting on the REception of the encyclical, please forward me that link or pdf  Please send me your link or your pdf: james.keenan.2@bc.edu .
Finally Congratulations again to Sr. Veronica Rop, ASE, for her PhD.  This is a wonderful moment for us all.  Thank you Veronica!
Welcome to our new web administrator, Rebecca Reilly.

Successful PhD Defense
Congratulations to Sr. Veronica Rop, ASE for her doctoral defense. Here are some words about her experience with photos.

Featured Forum Articles:
These are five truly remarkable forum contributions.

Hong Kong, Mary Mee-Yin Yuen, Wisdom, Courage and Conscience in Resistance

North American Report
By: Tobias Winright and Anna Floerke Scheid
As the new Co-Chairs of the North American Committee, we first of all want to express our deepest gratitude to Kristin Heyer for her outstanding service as Chair of this Committee since its inception. Her leadership with this Committee has truly been fruitful, especially in connection with our sessions at the annual convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America (see, for example, her excellent report in the previous issue of THE FIRST, July 2016). 

Also, we are pleased that Christine Firer Hinze, Bryan Massingale, and Chris Vogt have agreed to continue serving on the North American Committee. In addition to Co-Chair Anna Floerke Scheid, new Committee members include Victor Carmona and William O'Neill, SJ.
I (Tobias) have enjoyed collaborating with Kristin, Christine, Bryan, and Chris on this Committee, and I look forward to working with our team as we further explore how we North American Catholic theological ethicists can become something akin to Médecins Sans Frontières--that is, in our research, scholarship, teaching, and service we are theological ethicists without borders, drawing from work outside of our continent and collaborating with theological ethicists who are not North Americans. Being a part of CTEWC has truly impacted my own efforts as a Catholic theological ethicist in the United States. As a white male who has lived most of his life in the Midwestern and the Southern United States, and as a former corrections and reserve police officer, I continue to learn from my colleagues as I concurrently unlearn some things from my rather parochial background. Being a part of something greater than myself keeps me going, and I am thankful to Jim Keenan, SJ and many others in CTEWC for their trust, friendship, and support. I will strive to do my part to amplify the trajectory that Kristin and the rest of the North American Committee has established so well.
Anna is an Associate Professor of Theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.   She attended the first CTEWC conference in Padua as a student assistant from Boston College, where she earned her Ph.D.  in theological ethics.   Later, in Trento, Anna presented a poster of her work using African theological anthropology to bridge conceptual divides between interpersonal and social reconciliation.  In the true spirit of CTEWC, in Trento, she was able to hear critically important feedback directly from many African colleagues.  Anna is grateful for the many opportunities CTEWC offers for engaging in challenging cross-cultural conversations about how theology can respond to critical issues facing both local communities and the entire globe.  She is delighted to begin working with Tobias, and the rest of the North American Committee to grow these opportunities for the field of theological ethics, and for the Church.  
Call For Papers
Asian Horizons, Dharmaram Journal of Theology
Vol. 10, No. 4, December 2016
Call for Papers
Conscience is a traditional, yet an ever-new theme in theology. Although we are aware of the presence and working of the conscience within us, conscience eludes a strict and clear-cut definition. Vatican II speaks of conscience as "man's most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depth" (GS, 16). Although we speak about the primacy, dignity and inviolability of conscience, in reality we feel constrained by laws and rules. In theological discourses, the relation between the autonomy and inviolability of the conscience and the teaching authority of the Church has been rather tensed and uneasy. Formation of conscience, the process and agents of the formation of conscience, etc. also have been important concerns. Pope Francis' words in Amoris Laetitia that "We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them" (Paragraph, 37) has caught the attention of many and has given a new perspective to the concept of conscience and its formation.
December 2016 issue of Asian Horizons is dedicated to the discussion on conscience, various issues involved in the understanding and approaches to conscience and the contemporary theological discourse on it.
Suggested Topics (only recommendations, not exhaustive):
- Conscience in the Moral Tradition of the Church
- Conscience in Light of Psychological Theories
- Conscience in the Documents of Vatican II
- Conscience in the Magisterial Teaching of the Church
- Magisterial Teaching and Freedom of Conscience
- Conscience in Amoris Laetitia
- Formation of Conscience
- Conscience and Moral Sense
- Conscience in World Religions
- Erroneous Conscience/Conscience and Error
- Conscience and Social Consciousness
- Conscience and Women's Voices
- Freedom of Conscience and Its Limitations
- Conscience in Contemporary Theology
- Conscience and Conflict Situations
As usual, we welcome other articles on any area of theological interest and research.
Please send your articles  (4500-5000 words, including the footnotes) at the latest by 15 November 2016.  Kindly include the abstract of the article in 150-200 words, 5-7 Keywords and a summary of the CV of the author in 100-150 words.
Other regular items:  "New Scholars": Abstract of doctoral theses (recently defended and not yet published); book reviews.
For submitting the articles and for more details: Shaji George Kochuthara (editor-in-chief): kochuthshaji@gmail.com
N.B. Kindly forward this to your friends and colleagues.
[ Asian Horizons , published from DVK, is a forum for theological reflection in the Asian context marked by economic poverty, cultural diversity and religious plurality. Although the focus is on theological reflection in the context of Asia, we also address theological developments and concerns of the universal Church and try to dialogue with the Church in various contexts. Hence we welcome authors from all over the world. Asian Horizons was launched in 2007 as a biannual. From 2011 it is published   as a quarterly. We have an editorial board consisting of members from India, other Asian countries and other continents.]
Asian Horizons, Dharmaram Journal of Theology
Themes: 2016-2017
2016: Vol. 10
March: Ethics, Theology and Technology
June: Asia's Women Theologians
September: Asian Christian Heritage
December: Conscience
2017: Vol. 11
March: Amoris Laetitia
June: Protestant Reformation after 500 Years
September: New Faces of Religious Fundamentalism and Violence
December: Asian Christologies

New Job Listing

Theologische Fakultät The University of Lucerne is the youngest university in Switzerland. The roots of the Faculty of Theology extend back into the 16th century. On the foundation of the Judeo-Christian tradition, professors conduct research and lecture on individual theological disciplines in an interdisciplinary discourse with other related academic fields. The faculty recognises that the local church and the world church are connected and sees ecumenical and interreligious dialogue as a top priority. In Switzerland, the faculty takes a leading role in training theologians.
The Faculty of Theology at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland) seeks to appoint a

Chair for Theological Ethics (100%)

with immediate effect.
The chair would represent the field (moral theology and social ethics) in research and teaching. Additionally, he or she would head the Institute for Social Ethics. A specialisation in applied ethics (e.g. business ethics, political ethics, environmental ethics) is desirable. Knowledge of economics is beneficial, good knowledge of English is required.
Candidates are expected to hold a doctorate and postdoctoral degree or equivalent qualification in theological ethics. In the interests of increasing the percentage of women in the University of Lucerne's research and teaching activities, applications from women are expressly encouraged.
Please send applications in both written (written documents will not be returned so please do not send originals) and electronic (CD) formats with the usual documentation (in particular CV, academic certificates, academic teaching positions, higher education didactics certificates, list of publications, research specialisations) to the University of Lucerne, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Frohburgstrasse 3, P.O. Box 4466, CH-6002 Lucerne by 27/09/2016.

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.
Save The Date: 


1 & 2 Lotus Building, Neco Gardens, Viman Nagar, Pune 411014 streevani@gmail.com

National Consultation
Impact of Religion and Culture on Women's Empowerment - an Indian Perspective

Dear Friends,                    
As you know, we are living in times where rising communal tensions and the virulent divisiveness of our national politics weaken the democratic secular fabric of our nation, the price of which women ultimately have to bear.
In another sphere, women also face excesses from within their own religion. Religion has been for a long time considered to be the domain of a select few men. Men have always been the recipients of divine messages, transmitters of the same and have kept to themselves the right to read, interpret and apply religious doctrines to the masses. This culture of men as givers of religious knowledge and women as receivers has been going on from time immemorial despite the support of a few men who understand the situation of women and stand by them in their cause. Women on their part for many decades now had accepted the power of men over religion. And if they were told that they are inferior, women believed in it because it had the force of religion and hence by default the force of God.
It is with a rising consciousness, awareness and an innate confidence in themselves and as well as a strong belief in their own equality before God, that women have been raising questions which now are making men uncomfortable, especially the clergy who control religion and them. It is not surprising thus that Hindu and Muslim women and women from other minority communities have raised questions about discrimination within their respective religions. While Hindu women have recently questioned the restriction on women's entry into Sabarimala, Shani and Trimbakeshwar temples, Muslim women have questioned the decision of the trustees of the Haji Ali Dargah who have stopped women from entering the sanctum sanctorum. Within the Muslim community, in an ongoing   campaign 92% women are demanding the ban of the triple talaq and nikah halala , while Bohra women have begun a drive to ban the practice of female genital mutilation. Christian women, for a long time already, have been demanding their rightful place in the decision making processes of the Church, particularly in matters pertaining to them and their lives.
A common thread amongst these women is that they are firm believers, love their faith  and at the same time demand complete restoration of fundamental human rights as enshrined in the values of their respective religions and within the Constitutional framework of the country.
With this background, it is imperative now to bring together women from different religious backgrounds who are resolved to raise a common voice to demand rights within religions and the state.
And thus it is with pleasure that Streevani, in collaboration with Montfort Social Institute, Indian Christian Women's Movement, Indian Women Theologians Forum and Satyashodak, invite you to our 4th National Consultation .
This consultation will explore the impact of Religion and Culture on women's empowerment from an Indian perspective. We will delve further into Religion and the culture of Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and Sikhism, and the dynamic interplay between scripture and tradition regarding customs and praxis particularly in the lives of women.  We shall also be investigating the structure of Religion and Power.  Through Religion and Law we shall attempt to understand the existing personal laws before dealing with a uniform civil code, and if there is a necessity of it.
We know that you are as concerned as we are about creating a network for advocacy and campaigning particularly in our Indian reality of today, and thus we would be pleased to have you with us through our consultation, to help us in our task of constructing a culture of inclusion.
We are challenged to live more inclusive and collective.  And even though we cannot keep away from the dynamics of injustice and violence in our country, we need to graft alternate ways onto our structures to dismantle or transform them, and this is only possible through networks committed to human rights and justice.  As followers of our respective religions we need to recover this dimension to make the leap from individual to collective courage.
The details of our consultation are as below:
Date: 23 rd 4 p.m. to 26 th noon September, 2016
Venue: Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad

As our budget is limited we will be unable to reimburse travel expenses. However, we will take care of your local hospitality (accommodation and meals). We trust this is acceptable and are extremely grateful for your commitment to this Consultation which we hope will greatly benefit out different religions in India. In case of a genuine problem with meeting travel expenses, do let us know and we will try to arrange funding.
In solidarity,
Organizing committee for the Consultation.

RSVP:  Streevani : streevaniprogram@gmail.com

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Jim Keenan S.J.



Claudio Quintana