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The newsletter of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church
Bangalore Report
August 2015

On Monday afternoon we finished, here in Bangalore, our first ever Pan-Asian Conference Theological Ethicists: "Doing Catholic Theological Ethics in a Cross-Cultural and Interreligious Asian Context."  There were 95 ethicists, among whom were 14 plenary speakers and another 36 presenting paper during concurrent sessions.


One of the finest plenary sessions, "Doing Interfaith Ethics in Asia" involved three speakers from countries where Catholics are very much a minority. Delivering a flawless paper, "A God by any other name," Sharon Bong covered the trajectory of lawsuits filed by the Catholic church in Malaysia against its government's decision to permit only Muslims to use the word "Allah" in referencing God. For twenty centuries, Malay-speaking Christian Malaysians have used "Allah" as their word for God, easily predating the Muslim use of the word. In 2008, the Catholic press was banned from using the word, or else it would forfeit licensing. With a final court decision ultimately upholding the government ban, Bong entertained whether forgiveness or resistance marks the proper ethical response.


Haruko Okano from Japan proposed an argument on how feminist Catholic writings on "moral responsibility" could help contemporary Japanese ethics. Explaining how much a shaming culture inhibits any autonomous accountability, Okano considered how often a Japanese apology is a face-saving action that has little to do with assuming personal or social moral culpability. When asked what was the meaning of the Japanese apology for World War II, she answered that it was a way of simply saying, let bygones be bygones, a reply that left the audience speechless.

During the conference, several bishops, archbishops and cardinals came to be with us. At a Syro-Malabar rite Liturgy on Sunday morning, Archbishop Joseph Perumthottam spoke to us about the strengths of the Eastern rite churches in moral theology. Earlier on Saturday evening, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, head of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences and a member of Pope Francis' G8, gave a remarkably invigorating appeal for moral theologians to help the church prepare for the upcoming synod and for the implementation ofLaudato si'.


After the Gracias' liturgy, at a memorial service for the Asian theologian, L¨cÓs Chan Yiu-Sing, S.J., Director of the Asian Region of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) and the organizer of the conference before his death on May 19th, the leadership of CTEWC announced the launch of a new book series in Chan's honor, Asian Theological Ethics, as well as a scholarship in his name for doctoral studies in biblical ethics at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram in Bangalore.


The last plenary speaker was Sr. Vimala Chenginimattam, CMC, who addressed the role of women ethicists in terms of the future development of moral theology.  She spoke of how nearly everywhere but India, lay women were theological ethicists throughout Asia.  Having finished her doctorate at the Alfonsianum in Rome 9 years ago, she described the situation in India where 60,000 religious women are beleaguered with numerous roles but few in leadership.   She presented however a host of women religious who as physicians, theologians, and lawyers advance the cause of justice in the service of faith. In her final remarks she poignantly spoke of her own struggles to express the needs of Roman Catholic women in India.


On Monday, the indefatigable Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle came from Manila and gave a public lecture to us and another 300 Indian seminarians, priests and nuns mostly students and faculty from Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram where the conference was held.  The cardinal gave a very fine presentation on cross-cultural dialogue and the problem of the way a few particular cultures dominate others.  His style was inimitable as he provided, almost through pantomime, hilarious narratives and images of the difficulty involved in recognizing differences in cultural expectations.   Wearing only dress pants and a Filipino everyday Barong, Tagle could not have more impressed his Indian listeners.   During the q and a, one young priest commented, that he had never met a cardinal quite like Tagle: unimposing, casual, funny, delightful and insightful.  The room broke out into sustained applause. 



Jose Kavi's two entries on the conference:

For a copy of the Bangalore Program, view here.


Photos from Bangalore

Opening Plenary Panel



Bishop Commensoli Prepares to speak

Happy Participants
Opening Plenary Panel

Interview Photo.



Plenary Panel on Inter-Religious Dialogue





Conference Participants


CTEWC Forums from Latin America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America
Regional News 
The Catholic Network on Population and Development (http://catholicdevelopmentnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/) is currently developing a research project that seeks to identify the coded understandings that underpin the widely-used concepts of 'gender', 'sexual and reproductive health' (SRH) and 'reproductive rights' (RR)).  The aim is to suggest ways in which such insights might facilitate a deeper engagement between global development discourses and religious (especially Catholic) discourses on gender.  If you would like to be involved with this research, please contact me on g.paterson@heythrop.ac.uk

Julie Clague from Scotland has sent two interesting information from West-Europe:


Catholic University of Leuven 

The Erasmus Mundus Master of Bioethics programme (www.masterbioethics.org) at the Catholic University of Leuven has created a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/bioethicsstudyandtraining as a platform for training and study initiatives in the field of bioethics. It is open to all individuals interested in announcements on training and study initiatives related to bioethics. Organizers of seminars, conferences and courses can post their events, as well as their PhD fellowships and other relevant scholarships. It also brings together alumni and trainees of such courses and events and offers relevant study and training information for graduates and post-graduates.


The Catholic Network on Population and Development

(http://catholicdevelopmentnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/) is currently developing a research project that seeks to identify the coded understandings that underpin the widely-used concepts of 'gender', 'sexual and reproductive health' (SRH) and 'reproductive rights' (RR)).  The aim is to suggest ways in which such insights might facilitate a deeper engagement between global development discourses and religious (especially Catholic) discourses on gender.  If you would like to be involved with this research, please contact Dr. Gillian Paterson to: g.paterson@heythrop.ac.uk



Martin Lintner from Italy has sent three short reports from South-Europe.

Italy (1)

The annual meeting of ATISM (the Italian Association of Moral Theologians) took place in Catanzaro, Calabria, form June 30th to July 3th. The meeting was entitled: Moral Theology and Pastoral Theology - the Practical Dimension of Theology. The conference started with an explanation of the notion of pastorality of the Second Vatican Council and ended up with a concrete and actual discussion concerning the problem of divorced and re-married. It discussed the relationship between moral theology and pastoral theology and reflected on the responsibility of the Magisterium in developing its doctrine. The keynote speakers were: Alberto Melloni, Giuseppe Angelini, Dario Vivian, Severino Dianich, Basilio PetrÓ, Martin M. Lintner, and Franco Lanzolla. The whole programme can be seen online: http://www.atism.it/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Seminario-ATISM-2015-manif.jpg


Italy (2)

In January 2015, the Dehoniane publishing house, Bologna, stopped issuing the journal "Rivista di teologia morale" due to financial reasons. Also due to financial reasons, the Dehoniane will by the end of 2015 stop the publication of the journal "Il Regno". However, there is already a new internet presence of "Il Regno". On this webpage, there is also a space reserved for ethical questions, called "Moralia: pagine di comment e riflessione etica". In the "blogs" section, some short comments on actual debates are published on a weekly basis, in the "dialoghi" section, you can find various contributions on specific issues and in the "studi" section, there is a possibility to publish results of personal research. Please visit the webpage: http://www.dehoniane.it/control/ilregno/moraliablog


Malta - Conference on the Family

On February 20th, 2015, a  European conference on the family: "Between Two Synods: Journeying together", took place in Malta. It was organized by the presidium of the European Society of Catholic Theology and the Dean of Theological Faculty of the University of Malta, Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Agius. The keynote speakers were: Roman Siebenrock, Emmanuel Agius, Joe Galea-Curmi, Aldegonde Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn, Kevin Schembri, Martin M. Lintner, Nadia Delicata, and Paul Pace. The proceedings of this conference are now published in a special number of the Journal of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Malta, Melita Theologica 65 (2015). For order, please contact: melitatheologica@um.edu.mt; Cover: https://www.um.edu.mt/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/248497/0._Melita_Theologica_Cover.pdf; Foreword by Emmanuel Agius and John Berry: https://www.um.edu.mt/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/248498/1._Berry_and_Agius.pdf.





CTEWC News: We welcome new Asia Forum Leader

Mary Yuen, Hong Kong

Mary Yuen, from Hong Kong, is teaching Catholic social ethics in the Holy Spirit Seminary College of Theology and Philosophy and other educational institutes in Hong Kong and Macau. She is a researcher of the Centre for Catholic Studies, Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She got her Ph.d from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, U.S.A. (with focus on Christian ethics, Chinese Confucian ethics, and Asian theology) and MA in ethics and social theory from the Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University. 



Call for papers

Asian Horizons, Dharmaram Journal of Theology

Vol. 9, No. 4, December 2015

Call for Papers

Laudato Si'


Laudato Si', the first encyclical that addresses the environment, is already considered as one of the most significant encyclicals of modern times. Not only Catholics, but the society as a whole has acclaimed it as a ground-breaking document. December 2015 issue of Asian Horizons invites articles on Laudato Si'. The articles can be on any particular topic or theme that the encyclical presents, or reflections on specific issues based on the encyclical.


Suggested Topics (only recommendations, not exhaustive):

- What is Happening to Our Common Home?: The Magnitude of Ecological Crisis

- Climate: A Common Good

- Global Inequality and the Environment

- Preferential Option for the Poor and Option for the Earth

- Interrelatedness of all Creation

- Human Roots of Ecological Crisis

- Integral Ecology

- Care for Our Common Home: Global and Local Policies and Action

- Ecological Education

- Ecological Spirituality

- Care for the Earth and Pastoral Ministry

- Laudato Si': Ecumenical and Interreligious Dimensions

- Laudato Si': An Asian Response

- Laudato Si': An Indian Response

- Laudato Si': Challenges for the Present and for the Future


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 31 October 2015. Kindly include the abstract of the article in 150-200 words and a short resumŔ 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: 2015-2016

2015: Vol. 9

March: After 50 Years: Ongoing Renewal of Moral Theology

June: After 50 Years: Apostolate of Lay People

September: After 50 Years: Church of the Future

December: Luadato Si'


2016: Vol. 10

March: Ethics, Theology and Technology

June: Asia's Women Theologians

September: Asian Christian Heritage

December: Conscience



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Claudio Quintana