Back to Forum

Theological Ethics in Asia after Padova

Theological Ethics in Asia after Padova


The formation of the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, has provided a global/regional community of support that gave impetus to moral theological reflection and cross-cultural exchange in Asia, as well as, encouraged postgraduate students to specialize in moral theology.


            Various types of activities had been organized in Asia to concretize the vision and ethos of the Padova conference to “appreciate the challenge of pluralism, to dialogue from and beyond local culture, and to interconnect within a world church not dominated solely by a northern paradigm.” Two regional conferences were held to promote cross-cultural dialogue.  The first one was in 2008 at the Loyola School of Theology in Manila, that convened 22 theological ethicists from East Asia and 3 from the USA. The fruit of this conference was the publication of Transformative Theological Ethics: East Asian Contexts, ed. Agnes M. Brazal, Aloysius Cartagenas, Eric Marcelo Genilo, and James Keenan (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2010). A second broader regional gathering happened at the Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK) in Bangalore, India, where more than 80 theological ethicists from all over Asia met to strengthen networking across national and linguistic boundaries, as well as, support the next generation of Asian Catholic theological ethicists. The papers presented in the conference were published in the anthology Doing Asian Theological Ethics in a Cross-cultural and an Interreligious Context, ed. Lucas Chan Yiu Sing, Keenan, and Shaji George Kochuthara (Dharmaram Publications, 2016).


In between these two regional conferences, the journal Asian Horizons came up with an issue in 2010 on “Moral Theology in Asia” prompted by the then forthcoming CTEWC international conferemnce in Trento. A national workshop was also held at DVK  in Bangalore in 2012 attended by 30 Indian scholars and guests to discuss the state of moral theology in India today. The papers presented were published in the book Moral Theology in India Today, ed. Kochuthara (Dharmaram Publications, 2013). 


The essays presented in the CTEWC conferences in Padova and Trento were disseminated in Asia through copublications with the Ateneo de Manila University Press (AdMU) and Asian Trading Corporation (Bangalore) for Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, AdMU Press for Applied Ethics in a World Church, and AdMU Press and Theological Publications in India (Bangalore) for The Catholic Theological Ethics: Past, Present, and Future. A number of papers of Asian theologians presented at the Trento conference have also been published at the Summer 2011 issue of Asian Christian Review on “Catholic Moral Theology in a Pluralistic World.”

After the regional conference in Bangalore in 2015, Dharmaram Publications started with a series dedicated to Asian Theological Ethics, with a board of editors from various parts of Asia. The first book in the series is the re-print of Chan’s book, The Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes (2015) followed by the anthology Doing Asian Theological Ethics. A scholarship fund named after Chan who regretfully passed away before the Bangalore conference he spearheaded in organizing, was also set up in DVK for doctoral students specializing either in Asian Theological Ethics or Biblical Ethics. Earlier in 2013, the St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST), Manila, has also started offering scholarships to qualified students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in Theological Ethics.

            Tapping the potentials of cybercommunications, CTEWC and the Ecclesia of Women in Asia facilitated cross-cultural conversations bridging continents through the videoconferencing of sessions of the biennial conference of EWA to universities in the USA/UK/South Africa, in 2011, 2013, and 2015, with the help of Andrea Vicini and Gina Wolfe and our CTEWC contacts in these institutions. The online Forum writers since 2011– Sharon A. Bong, Kochuthara, Genilo and Osamu Takeuchi – have not failed as well to provide the CTEWC network with the latest update on the important ethical issues in their respective regions. Mary Yuen, Hoa Dinh, Stanislaus Alla (replacing Kochuthara) and Brazal have recently joined the group in 2015. The CTEWC visiting professors program is another venue for cross-cultural exchange. In 2015, the Loyola School of Theology hosted Gustavo Irrazabal from Argentina while De la Salle University/SVST hosted Patricia and Shannon Jung from the USA.


In all of these programs, friendships have been established across Asia and with theologians from other parts of the world, even spilling to other collaborative projects outside CTEWC. 


Submitted by: Agnes M. Brazal