The First
The Monthly Newsletter of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church
April 2021
Featured Forum Articles
African Forum: "The People Calling for Social Justice in Meeting Basic Needs in a Globalizing World"
- Reginald Maudlin Nalugala

European Forum: "Remembering Enda McDonagh" - Linda Hogan

North American Forum: "Covid-19 Deaths and Religious Sisters in the US: Reflections on Everyday Ethics and Solidarity"
- Aline Kalbian
Asian and Oceanic Forum: "Consideration for Each Person's Life"
- Osamu Takeuchi

Latin American and Caribbean Forum: "'Boring to the Front of the Line': Government Officials in Jamaica's Covid Plan" - Anna Perkins

Junior Scholars Forum: "A Different Battle: Asian Women's Leadership"
- Kristine Meneses
Virtual Tables Report
Nonviolence and Just Peace Virtual Table

Our purpose has been to deepen reflection on the cross-cutting, intersectional theme of nonviolence. We have discussed existing, constructive efforts of nonviolence on the ground in the regions where participants reside; how nonviolence is a cross-cutting, intersectional theme both in terms of illuminating specific moral issues and generating creative, transformative praxis; what norms and ethical framework better enables nonviolence to proliferate and deepen within the Catholic church and broader society; and how might a just peace ethic contribute to this effort.

We have refined and advanced a description of nonviolence and the just peace ethic. We are working on case studies drawing on and perhaps further refining the ethic. These cases include Boko Haram, Congo, and the intersection of the Vatican's Laudato Si’ Action Plan with nonviolence. Participants have included Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, Maureen O’Connell, Leo Lushombo, Lilian Ehidiamhen, Jasmin Nario Galace, Marie Dennis, Sami Basha, and Eli McCarthy. We meet once a month on the 3rd Friday at 8-9:15am EST (Washington DC). Contact: Eli McCarthy,
African Regional Report
On the Passing Away of Tanzanian President John Magufuli

"President Magufuli was neither a saint nor an angel who, in his administration, could joyfully be celebrated. Most of the Tanzanians have been very critical especially on the covid question and the way he and his administration have treated the opposition parties. Every leader is the son of his/her own time. The truth remains, what Tanzanians have seen in this almost six years of his administration, was never seen before. We mourn his death because of the good deeds."
- Fr. Method Mwihava
Cardinal Fridolin Responds to Erosion around Kinshasa

"The conditions of precariousness and poverty resulting from these erosions are indescribable. I know a young married man, with two children, popular in the neighborhood, who died crushed by a wall that collapsed on his chest two rains ago. His death was not counted among the officially listed victims, neither did it make the headlines in the news. How many other lives are lost without anyone’s notice? Every time it rains these days, entire families spend sleepless nights, ready to flee to escape the worst.

In addition to the vulnerability of people, these erosions reveal the fragility of our urban infrastructures. On the one hand, many people go into exile in the city in the hope of finding survival. The decrease in crops yields in rural areas due to heavy rains and climate change is a real threat to our ecological equilibrium. Besides, we are witnessing the breakdown of families as a result of these rains, erosions, and loss of homes. In fact, families had worked hard and invested all their savings into building a home that parents believe to be the inheritance to their children. When these homes collapse, the children or the widow are so desperate that they find themselves homeless people." - Toussaint Kafarhire Murhula, S.J. speaks to the erosions in Tanzania in this short YouTube video.
Asian Regional Report
Recent Publications

Kristine Meneses, “L’Arche, A Radical Reversal: Fearless Dialogue between Foucault and Vanier with the New Testament.” Journal of Disability and Religion 24 No. 2 (2020): 151-173.

____. “Deafinitely Different: Seeing deafness, Deaf and healing in the Bible from Deaf perspectives.” In Unlocking Orthodoxies for Inclusive Theologies: Queer Alternatives, edited by Robert E. Shore-Goss and Joseph N. Goh, 174-191. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2020.

_____.“Biblical Conversations with the Deaf: The Word Made Flesh, Seeing Biblical Theology in Pictorial and Performance.” Asian Horizons 13 no. 3, (Sept 2019): 373-388.
European Regional Report

The book departs from the question why sexuality education so often leads to tensions. A first contribution (S. Müller/P. Morciniec) elaborates this questions. According to the authors, an integral approach to sexuality education leads to the claim not to regard sexual ethics anymore as a specialized field of ethics independent from others, but to integrate it in an ethics of human self-expression and action. The book is on sale now. It will be open access after one year's time.

Mensch – Tier – Gott. Interdisziplinäre Annäherungen an eine christliche Tierethik, ed. by Martin M. Lintner. Available in print or open access.
The growing academic interest in animals and in their abilities and interactions with humans, along with insights from behavioural biology and philosophical reflections on animals, have led to a reassessment of the relationship between humans and animals – and this has had consequences for theology, which must investigate the philosophical and theological reasons why it largely ‘forgets about’ animals. This book presents an interdisciplinary approach to a form of Christian animal ethics that is not seen as one isolated ethical field in philosophy or theology, but looks for answers in the debates about the relationship between human beings and animals.

Bioetika a medicina by Innocent-Mariá V. Szaniszló, O.P., Podhájska 2021 for students of the faculties of medicines, bioethics and law.


Societas Ethica conference, August 19-21, 2021 (online) on the theme "Time of Crisis – Time of Hope.“ We welcome contributions from philosophical, theological, and applied ethics, as well as from political and social theory, history, psychology, and the sciences.
We invite papers in the following areas:
- Philosophies and theologies of crisis and hope and their status and/or role in ethical reflection
- Signs of hope: initiatives, social practices and/or movements, and policies in European societies (and beyond)
- Is there room for new utopias or a future-oriented ethics?
- In addition to papers that look at the concepts of crisis and hope theoretically, we invite you to present your research on the following crisis points: COVID-19/health, democracy, climate chang, migration.

The deadline for submitting proposals on the two documents outlined in the CfP is 15 May 2021, to Dr. Galia Assadi at, using the subject line “Societas Ethica 2021 Conference." Further information.

The Early Career Conference in Catholic Theology and Catholic Studies is an online conference offering a chance for postgraduate students and other early career researchers to present their research in a collegial environment. It will take place on Monday 14 June 2021, 10am-12noon and 2pm-4pm, with an additional time for informal conversation until 4.30pm (all times UK time – BST). Sessions chaired by Paul D. Murray, Gerard Loughlin, Victoria Biggs, Elizabeth Powell, James E. Kelly, and Rik Van Nieuwenhove, among others.

Postgraduate students and other early career researchers are invited to submit proposals (title and 100-200 word abstract) for 15-minute papers on any area relevant to Catholic theology/Catholic studies, including: constructive, historical, practical, pastoral, or political theology; Catholic Social Thought and Practice; the history of Catholicism; Catholicism, literature, and the arts; Lived Theology; and the social-scientific study of Catholicism.


Central Europe: Students Learning Ethics Through the Pandemic
Forty-four students from Central and South Europe are just taking part in an online joint course organized by Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology. The aim of the course is to explore what we can learn from the pandemic. Read Dominik Opatrný's report here.
Germany: Network Meeting Report
From 5th to 6th of March, the members of “Netzwerk Moraltheologie” held an online-meeting in order to engage in an exchange on their research and current theological issues. Through these meetings, the network offers a platform for emerging scholars in the German-speaking area, who work on doctoral or postdoctoral projects in the field of moral theology. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Macht. Autorität. Ethik” (Power. Authority. Ethics). After the lecture by and workshop with Judith Klaiber (Vienna), an expert in the field, about 25 participants discussed the relation between power, authority and responsibility, as well as its downsides such as abuse (of power), authoritarianism, dark leadership, etc. The initial exchanges on ethical questions raised by these issues were then explored through presentations by members of the network itself, namely Katharina Ebner (Würzburg), Lisa-Marie Krone (Osnabrück), Marius Menke (Osnabrück), Raina Schreitz (Münster) and Anna Schönhütte (Bonn). The next meeting in 2022 will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the “Netzwerk Moraltheologie” and engage with the topic “the future of moral theology”. Further information can be found here.

Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

On March 15, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Responsum to prohibit the blessing of same-sex unions. The explanatory note accompanying the Responsum aroused reactions from various sides. About 280 German-speaking Catholic theologians signed a declaration to distance themselves from the Congregation's pronouncement, highlighting a lack of theological depth, of hermeneutical understanding, and of argumentative stringency.
The declaration of the theologians and the list of signatories can be seen here.
Latin American-Caribbean Regional Report

La diócesis de Chiclayo y Cusco promueve el curso “La misión del laico y su compromiso social” El tercer sábado de cada mes del 20 de marzo al 18 de diciembre de 2021, de 8:00 pm a 9:30 pm. impartido por el Dr. Agustín Ortega Cabrera, miembro de CTEWC. Inscripciones.


Nuestro compañero Edwin Vásquez Ghersi, SJ participa en la comisión encargada de recomendar al Ministerio de Salud del Perú los criterios y consideraciones éticas en la toma de decisiones respecto de la priorización de grupos a ser vacunados durante la ejecución del plan nacional de vacunación contra la Covid-19. 

North American Regional Report
Recent Articles

CTSA Re-issues Anti-Racism Statement in light of recent events: "In the face of the murders in Atlanta, GA of innocent Asian-American women on March 16, 2021, and during the newest phase in a long history of bias, hate and violence against Asian Americans that has arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, we write to reaffirm our statement of solidarity and commitment in the strongest terms, with special regard for our brothers and sisters in Asian American communities." – María-Pilar Aquino, President, Catholic Theological Society of America
David DeCosse and Charles Binkley, "The real moral failing with the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine would be to refuse it: Reflections on a Catholic Controversy," Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University.
Call for Submissions and Proposals

The Journal of Moral Theology welcomes submissions for a special issue entitled Doing Moral Theology Intersectionally, to be co-edited by Meghan Clark, Anna Kasafi Perkins, and Emily Reimer-Barry. Submissions must be received by May 31, 2021. More information can be found here.
Recent Books

Just Universities discusses ways that U.S. Catholic institutions of higher education have embodied or failed to embody Catholic social teaching in their campus policies and practices. Beyer argues that the corporatization of the university has infected U.S. higher education with hyper-individualistic models and practices that hinder the ability of Catholic institutions to create an environment imbued with bedrock values and principles of Catholic Social Teaching such as respect for human rights, solidarity, and justice.

Video of webinar "The Peace Dimensions of 'Fratelli Tutti" - This webinar probes the peace dimensions of Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, answering questions including: How can it be a resource for peacebuilding and impact the practice of peacebuilding? Does it change teaching on just war? How does it open dialogue on peace with Muslims? How does its Franciscan influence deepen the understanding of peacebuilding? 

This week, the Society of Christian Ethics released its report, "Intersociety Survey on Contingency in the Religion Disciplines."
Upcoming Events

April 15, 7pm EST. Join us for the St. Mary's College 35th Annual Madeleva Lecture featuring Sr. Barbara E. Reid, OP, PhD, President and Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P. Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies, Catholic Theological Union. Sr. Reid's lecture is titled: “Dining at the Table of Holy Wisdom: Global Hungers and Feminist Biblical Interpretation."