Reimagining Catholic Ethics Today

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Theologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2024 | Viewed by 4103

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Theology, University of Portland, Portland, OR 97203-5798, USA
Interests: decoloniality; social and political ethics; political theology; existentialism; theological anthropology; ecclesiology; African philosophy; whiteness studies; ethnic studies; liberation theologies; interfaith theologies and ethics; missiology and world Christianity; politics of language; politics of hermeneutics; pedagogies and globality; systematic theology; African queer theologies of recognition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As our world continues to embody diverse expressions of globality, ethical discourses cannot be framed anymore in monologic terms. Consequently, Catholic ethics, understood as a pathway for addressing the multiple contextual realities defining both human and non-human worlds, has become a necessary tool for negotiating the meanings and praxes of the good life.

This Special Issue seeks to address the following questions: How can Catholic ethics be reimagined today in such a manner that it speaks to the realities defining the world that humans and non-humans call their home? How can the reimagination of Catholic ethics allow for new ways of being that promote the common good? What methodologies and praxes are relevant today after a careful pneumatological reading of the signs of the times?

To properly address these questions, pneumatologically reading the signs of the times calls for an embrace of such methodologies and praxes that take deep listening seriously, as well as discernment and critical analyses, providing a pragmatic turn towards both the familiar and unfamiliar, which play out in different contexts. In fact, all the above lead to an ethnographic query of the socio-political, cultural, philosophical, religious, theological, linguistic, and hermeneutic factors shaping the contemporary world both in particular localities and in the global context.

This series is intentionally expanding the focus to include ecumenical and interfaith perspectives (religious and secular). It seeks to make the case that catholicity, which is inherent in Catholic ethics, ought to be grounded in an embrace of radical inclusivity when exploring the signs of the times as a tool for articulating a better world for all. This deliberate preference for inclusivity is in fidelity to the fact that ethical questions and responses to them always play out within spaces of interconnectedness, whether one is conscious of such connections or not.

We request that prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editor (send to both emails: [email protected]; [email protected]) or to the /Religions/editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editor for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

Dr. SimonMary Asese A. Aihiokhai
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • common good
  • colonialities and decoloniality
  • ethics
  • environmental ethics
  • ethical imagination
  • existentialism
  • gender and sexuality
  • hermeneutics and politics of language
  • humanism
  • posthumanism
  • religious ethics
  • social ethics

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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9 pages, 212 KiB  
Article
Populist Authoritarianism and Catholic Political Ethics: A Framework for a Moral Review
by Elias Omondi Opongo
Religions 2024, 15(6), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060660 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 388
Abstract
Can there be an ethics of politics or political ethics in populist authoritarian democracies? Given that politics operates under potentially risky and morally ambiguous methods that involve strategic calculations with some elements of irrationality, developing an ethics of political leadership can be an [...] Read more.
Can there be an ethics of politics or political ethics in populist authoritarian democracies? Given that politics operates under potentially risky and morally ambiguous methods that involve strategic calculations with some elements of irrationality, developing an ethics of political leadership can be an abstruse exercise. The frequent mismatch between political methods, objectives, and outcomes exemplifies the complexity of political reality and its unpredictability. The existential tension between utilitarian and deontological approaches to ethics frequently arises in politics. However, to address the failures of democracy in political leadership, it is imperative to explore the ethical implications of populist authoritarianism. By scrutinizing how populist authoritarianism undermines democratic principles and polarizes societies, one can better understand its moral challenges and work towards developing a more ethical framework for political leadership. This article discusses Catholic political ethics in response to populist authoritarianism from three different perspectives: first, it analyzes what populist authoritarianism entails and its limitations in political governance; second, it discusses diverse components of political ethics, highlighting realistic dilemmas in the application of each component; and third, it makes an ethical evaluation of populist authoritarianism from the Catholic social ethics perspective, emphasizing human dignity, common good, and solidarity as key to countering populist authoritarianism. The article makes two ethical suggestions in line with Catholic political ethics to address populist authoritarianism. The first is the principle of social cohesion, aimed at addressing the social, ethnic, racial, political, economic, and religious divisions that characterize populist authoritarian leadership. The second is the principle of social recognition, used as a strategy for safeguarding the common good by centralizing human dignity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining Catholic Ethics Today)
10 pages, 236 KiB  
Article
Creation, Thomas Berry, and the Church in Africa
by Idara Otu
Religions 2024, 15(6), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060645 - 24 May 2024
Viewed by 301
Abstract
The ecological crisis is a sign of the times, demanding adequate understanding, appropriate interpretation, and pastoral action in light of the Christian faith. Scholarly discourse on the ecological crisis continues to inspire partnership and collaborative actions in Africa. Sometimes, these efforts have yielded [...] Read more.
The ecological crisis is a sign of the times, demanding adequate understanding, appropriate interpretation, and pastoral action in light of the Christian faith. Scholarly discourse on the ecological crisis continues to inspire partnership and collaborative actions in Africa. Sometimes, these efforts have yielded significant results, though amid uncharted territories. Scholars appeal for humans to embrace a mutually enhancing relationship with creation to build a common home for all creatures. A suitable and sustainable ecological vision that supports a communitarian approach to resolving the ecological crisis is Thomas Berry’s cosmology. Berry’s cosmological vision reclaims a creation theology that fosters a mutual relationship between humans and other creatures. Humans are beings in communion and beings in relationships created by God and thus from a common origin and moving toward a common destiny. This cosmological presupposition of Berry aligns with the ecological vision of Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’. The Pope calls humanity to a new cosmic relationship that would foster interdependency of the ecosystem and respect the intrinsic value of every creature. Given the unprecedented ecological challenges, humans have a unique role as intelligent beings toward other creatures, for future generations and the common good of the earth. This human responsibility toward the earth can be realized through an ecological ethics that fosters interdependence, interconnection, and mutuality in the human–earth relationship. Berry’s insights and Catholic ecological teachings merit consideration for African Catholicism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining Catholic Ethics Today)
11 pages, 243 KiB  
Article
Collective and Substantial: Human Dignity beyond Individualism
by Justin Conway
Religions 2024, 15(6), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060639 - 23 May 2024
Viewed by 587
Abstract
This paper uses Pope Francis’s Fratelli tutti to develop traditional Catholic depictions of human dignity in both theory and practice. Black sociopolitical thought and social movement organizing are brought into conversation with theologies and philosophies that reflect on what gives life integrity. I [...] Read more.
This paper uses Pope Francis’s Fratelli tutti to develop traditional Catholic depictions of human dignity in both theory and practice. Black sociopolitical thought and social movement organizing are brought into conversation with theologies and philosophies that reflect on what gives life integrity. I posit that the substantialist (ontological) interpretation of human dignity logically extends from individuals to collectives. Further, I suggest religious leaders in the United States should emphasize this collective form of substantialism alongside the relational (Trinitarian) and functional (creative) interpretations of human dignity, thus identifying collectives as thematizing divine likeness and separating the notion of human dignity from individualism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining Catholic Ethics Today)
11 pages, 207 KiB  
Article
Artificial Intelligence and an Anthropological Ethics of Work: Implications on the Social Teaching of the Church
by Justin Nnaemeka Onyeukaziri
Religions 2024, 15(5), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050623 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 737
Abstract
It is the contention of this paper that ethics of work ought to be anthropological, and artificial intelligence (AI) research and development, which is the focus of work today, should be anthropological, that is, human-centered. This paper discusses the philosophical and theological implications [...] Read more.
It is the contention of this paper that ethics of work ought to be anthropological, and artificial intelligence (AI) research and development, which is the focus of work today, should be anthropological, that is, human-centered. This paper discusses the philosophical and theological implications of the development of AI research on the intrinsic nature of work and the nature of the human person. AI research and the implications of its development and advancement, being a relatively new phenomenon, have not been comprehensively interrogated in the social and ethical teachings of the Catholic Church. This paper, therefore, proposes a path for this interrogation by expounding a discourse which is believed to be epistemically helpful in the developing discourse of AI in the ethical and social teachings of the Church. The advancement in the research on AI is not only redefining the meaning of work, but, even more so, it is questioning the metaphysical notion of the human person and the theological notion of work as an intrinsic part in the selfhood and dignity of the human person. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining Catholic Ethics Today)
19 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
Reimagining Violence in Contemporary Africa: Catholic Martyrdom and the Ethics of Sacrificial Solidarity in Burundi
by Jodi Mikalachki
Religions 2024, 15(5), 581; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050581 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 916
Abstract
This article discusses the enculturated Catholic ethics of martyrdom embodied by the Martyrs of Fraternity of Burundi, a group of students whose cause is now before the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints for refusing to separate into Hutus and Tutsis during [...] Read more.
This article discusses the enculturated Catholic ethics of martyrdom embodied by the Martyrs of Fraternity of Burundi, a group of students whose cause is now before the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints for refusing to separate into Hutus and Tutsis during Burundi’s 1993–2005 civil war. Engaging Fratelli Tutti from a local African perspective, it considers how the conviction that all human beings are brothers and sisters is to find concrete embodiment. Its argument develops Emmanuel Katongole’s assertion that the African church provides a living witness of what hope looks like in contexts of violence and war, drawing on Burundian scholarship and more than sixty interviews conducted in Burundi from 2018 to 2024 to develop a thick narrative of fraternal martyrdom and the ethics of Ubuntu. By placing sacrificial solidarity rather than violence at the center of the story of the Martyrs of Fraternity, Burundian Catholics reimagine their civil war in ethical terms. This Burundian embodiment of an ethics of sacrificial solidarity, solidly grounded in its original cultural substratum, stands as a resource for a world increasingly engulfed by war, refusing to let violence have the last word in a story of fraternal love hallowed by sacrifice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining Catholic Ethics Today)

Review

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16 pages, 278 KiB  
Review
Reimagining Ethical Leverage in Technology for Peaceful Synodality: A Bioethics of Synodality with Technology
by Pascal Mwambi Mwakio
Religions 2024, 15(6), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060642 - 23 May 2024
Viewed by 397
Abstract
This paper seeks to reimagine ethical leverage in technology for peaceful synodality (the term peaceful synodality is coined to mean a synodality that welcomes participation and inclusion of people from different backgrounds and views without compromising the truth and respecting their dignity and [...] Read more.
This paper seeks to reimagine ethical leverage in technology for peaceful synodality (the term peaceful synodality is coined to mean a synodality that welcomes participation and inclusion of people from different backgrounds and views without compromising the truth and respecting their dignity and journeying together) through the lens of the bioethics of synodality with technology. The concept of this paper is that technology can be leveraged ethically to promote peaceful synodality in the Catholic Church and that such an approach to technology is rooted in reimagining a bioethics of synodality that emphasize the need for journeying hand in hand with the speed at which technological advancement moves in order to enhance ethical decision-making processes. Ethics has moved at a different pace than technology, especially in matters involving human life. Ethics has been viewed as problematic in technology, especially where science wants to be neutral, but rethinking ethics as a companion of emerging technologies will be helpful in directing the ethical uptake of technology. To argue this thesis, the paper will employ a review of relevant literature while presenting the theological and ethical perspectives of synodality. By and large, an interdisciplinary approach will be employed where various disciplines play a key role. Such methodology advances the theme of reimagining Catholic ethics by offering a fresh perspective on the ethical implications of technology in the context of synodality. By emphasizing the importance of journeying together through enhanced ethical guidelines for proper decision-making and by exploring how technology can respect human rights and dignity among other values, this paper contributes to a broader conversation about how Catholic ethics can be reimagined in light of technological developments. Ultimately, this paper argues that a bioethics of synodality with technology can offer a vision for technology that is grounded in Catholic social teaching that promotes universally accepted human dignity and the common good. A cross-cutting method will also be used, given that ethics has basically constant principles, yet technology keeps on changing. Reimagining ethics means studying the advancement brought about by biotechnology and seeing to what degree human beings are affected in their basic rights and the risks versus the benefits brought about by the same. The assumption is that decisions made regarding the ethics of various technologies will be at par with the rate at which new technologies emerge and are employed. What is of vital importance is that ethics can have the power to journey together with technology, not as an adversary but in synodality. Reimagining ethics means being ever alert in the developing technologies that serve humanity so that in consultation with various experts, the best practices can be embraced within the ethical guidelines for the common good. The outcome of this research is that reimagining Catholic ethics involves listening to the needs of humanity and how technology is bringing solutions to them. Participating in bioethical debates, training on bioethics and listening to experts in various fields will enable a critical, analytical and pneumatological discernment of how ethical decisions on frontier technologies can benefit non-humans and humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining Catholic Ethics Today)
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