The newsletter of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church
May 2019

Dear CTEWC Friends,
By now you should have received an email inviting you to take a survey about your participation in CTEWC. Thank you in advance for giving it some time and attention prior to May 15, as we are eager to hear from as many of you as possible as we assess the past 16 years and strategize for the future. Several people alerted us that the survey required every question to be answered. We had that feature changed, and now you should be able to respond to the survey with greater ease.  It is being administered by the Center for Applied Research for the Apostolate (if you have any questions or need any help with the survey, contact CARA researcher Sister Thu Do at ).
This issue of The First includes details about a recent global nonviolence workshop at the Vatican along with regional updates. Our European Forum features an insightful analysis by Sigrid Müller on the church as a "structured culture of encounter" in light of Pope Emeritus Benedict's recent letter. In our Junior Scholars' Forum, Sr. Anne Celestine Achieng discusses the threats posed by electoral violence across African nations. From Hong Kong, Mary Yuen considers whose interests city planning efforts typically serve, while Mary Doyle Roche turns to biblical mothers to reflect on advantaging our children in light of rigged educational admissions. Finally, we hear from Anthony Egan, SJ about the failure of service delivery on the eve of South Africa's national elections.
Our prayers remain with those impacted by the recent bombings in Sri Lanka. May this Easter season offer resurrection hope in the midst of our shared woundedness.

Kristin Heyer
Shaji George Kochuthara, CMI
Andrea Vicini, SJ

Featured Forum Articles
Africa: Anthony Egan, Power Outrage

North America: Mary Margaret Doyle Roach, Confessions of a Parent on a College Tour

Junior Scholars: Anne Celestine Achieng Oyier Ondigo, Self-Defense in Valuing Human Life
African Regional Report
Symposium on Integral Ecology Report
From March 25-27, Hekima College held a symposium on Integral Ecology and the Future of Humanity. Three members of the CTEWC participated in the symposium. Lisa Fullam, Peter Knox, and Toussaint Kafarhire presented papers respectively on (1) "We are the Meteor, We are the Dinosaur: A Virtue Ethics Approach to the Social and Environmental Crises Before Us"; (2) "Integral Ecology and Theology"; (3) "Externalities and the Debt we Incur to Future Generations." The Symposium focused on appropriation and implementation of the spirit of  Laudato Si'  in the African context.
Asian Regional Report
Publication Announcement
The following volume was recently published in honor of the late Clement Campos, an original member of the CTEWC planning committee from India and world-renowned Redemptorist moral theologian.

European Regional Report
Journal of Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity 
The new multilingual open access "Journal of Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity" (JEAC) just brought out its first issue. Its goal is to establish a dialogue between exegetical, judaistic, patristic insights and philosophical, systematic-theological approaches to ethical questions. Further information is available on this homepage:

A Commentary on Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger's Analysis of Secual Abuse by the Spokespersons of the German Association of Moral Theologians
In their role as spokespersons of the German Association of Moral Theologians, Christof Breitsameter and Stephan Goertz reacted in a recent statement to retired Pope Benedict XVI's letter on sexual abuse. In their two-page letter, the theologians sharply criticised his analysis because it contains a "number of false assumptions" that lead to "a failed and improper contribution to the resolution of the abuse crisis."

Presentation by Eberhard Schockenhoff on the Topic of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Ethics at the Colloquium of the Spring General Assembly of the Episcopal Conference in Germany
On 13th March 2019, at the colloquium of the general assembly of the Episcopal conference in Germany, the German moral theologian Eberhard Schockenhoff presented his reflections on the connections between the scandal of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and its teaching on sexual ethics. In this reflection, he also pleads for a renewed sexual ethics that is open towards recent findings of other disciplines and grounded in an anthropology that wants to serve a just and loving relationship between human beings.

Beyond a Northern Paradigm: Catholic Theological Ethics in Global Perspective
by Linda Hogan, Kristin Heyer
Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics
published on March 26, 2019
DOI: 10.5840/jsce20193251

Notwithstanding the commitment to the inclusion of historically underrepresented communities, Christian ethics continues to be dominated by the voices, concerns, norms and methodologies of scholars from the northern hemisphere. This paper analyses the state of the field through the lens of the Catholic Theological Ethics in a World Church network whose mission is to promote international exchange. It assesses the lacunae arising from the northern-centric nature of Christian ethics as practiced in the northern hemisphere, highlights the inflection points, and considers the likely re-prioritization of concerns that will flow from the systemic inclusion of the multiple, diverse voices of majority world scholars.

North American Regional Report
Catholic ethicists across North America continue to work diligently to understand and address the devastating and ongoing revelations of clergy sexual abuse and the systemic cover up.  
Maggi Van Dorn's America Magazine based podcast "Deliver Us" interrogates the crisis through conversations with experts, advocates, and sexual violence survivors. CTEWC member Julie Hanlon Rubio especially recommends Episode 11 on the subject of clericalism, in which she is a featured expert.

CTEWC member Emily Reimer-Barry questions the structures that allowed Theodore McCarrick to abuse fellow priests, seminarians, and others. She asks the rhetorical question of whether it was possible that " he knew the way the system worked and he would ensure that the system would work in his favor?" Read the full essay here.

One of CTEWC's sharpest thinkers on sexual violence, Megan McCabe, has also been using her talents to address clergy sexual abuse and its cover up. She diagnosis the root of the problem: "Certainly, the church and world have been scandalized by the acts of sexual abuse by the very small percentage of priests and bishops who are guilty of rape, sexual abuse, and/or sexual harassment. But more shocking is the near universal cover-up of these crimes by those who have been entrusted with a ministry of oversight within the Body of Christ. Until church leadership recognizes that the root cause of the crisis the church now faces is not the individual acts of the accused-which can be classified in a number of ways to manipulate statistics-but rather a wider clerical culture that permitted the systemic cover-up of clergy sexual abuse, it will not be able to authentically stand with victims or claim that the church is a safe environment." Read the full essay here.
These are just a few highlights in a growing body of work by North American theologians and ethicists. For more, see this "Updated Catholic Abuse Crisis Syllabus" compiled by Susan Osborne.
Global Nonviolence Workshop
On 4-5 April, the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Pax Christi International's Catholic Nonviolence Initiative organised a workshop on the theme, " Path of Nonviolence: Towards a Culture of Peace."

With a consideration and understanding of current situations of conflict and violence, participants engaged in dialogue about the roots of violence, the hope for peace and reconciliation, and reflected on paths to a conversion to nonviolence. They noted that nonviolence is not only a method but a way of life, a way to protect and care for the conditions of life for today and tomorrow.

Eli McCarthy reports that the new leadership of the Dicastery is now supportive and willing to directly ask the Pope for an encyclical on nonviolence and just peace. Anyone wanting to get more involved can contact Eli at There is also a global CNI education committee that is looking for volunteers.

In This Issue
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Kristin Heyer



Sara Bernard-Hoverstad

Asst. Editor