Thursday, November 8, 2012

BIS #3217 Indian Moral Theologians Meet at Pune

BIS Mumbai                                  


Indian Moral Theologians Meet at Pune

Charles Irudayam (CNUA)



MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 08, 2012 : The Annual meeting of the Association of Moral Theologians of India took place as scheduled on October 26-28, 2012 at De Nobili College, Pune. More than 30 Moral Theologians from all over India took part in this meeting which began with the Eucharistic celebration presided by Bishop Thomas Dabre of Pune. Bishop Dabre, in his inaugural address mentioned about the moral issues that the moral theologians must focus on in today's context. Fr. Clement Campos cssr, in his presidential address paid homage to late Fr. Soosai Arockiasamy, the previous president and the founding member of the Association and emphasized the contribution of Vatican II towards the renewal of moral theology placing the human person adequately considered as the centre of the moral reflection.

Fr. Charles Furtado ofm-cap, while addressing the gathering on Secular Ethics, defined secular humanism as a philosophy that seeks maximum welfare of human beings without any reference to God. In his evaluation he criticized it as an atheistic and highly detrimental to human wellbeing. Fr. John Karuvelil sj, (reading a paper prepared by Fr. Henry D'Almeida) referred to the Hindu Ethical system, the essential component of Dharma as Rta and Satya. He insisted that Dharma could be seen as an Indian equivalent to the christian concept of the Natural Moral Law. Fr. Michael Peters cssp, in his presentation on Islamic ethics, depicted Islam as a religion of peace and good, and that which has been deemed by Allah. The members discussed some of the similarities that exist between Christian and Islamic ethics. Sr. Vimala cmc in her presentation underlined the importance of being moral in contemporary society. The discussion brought out certain challenges as well as responsibilities for us to be morally authentic persons.

The second day began with an orientation talk by Fr. George Pattery sj, the acting president of JDV, who pointed out the task of moral theologians in forming mature christians in a pluralistic world. In his paper, Fr. Matthew Coutinho sdb explained the essential elements of moral education. The core of moral education is to make passionate followers of Christ. The discussion that followed pointed out the challenges we face today in character formation. The ill-effects of tourism was the central theme in the paper of Fr. Donato Rodrigues. He presented the boon of tourism as well as its social consequences and ethical challenges. The discussion that followed emphasized the role of the Church in fighting against the unjust systems and practices. Fr. Shaji George Kochuthara cmi, in his paper summarized the salient features of Natural Moral Law. The active discussion that followed emphasized issues like the transition from "is" to "ought" and the weakness of natural law conditioned by a physicalist approach. Fr. Paulachen Kochapilly cmi, has given new insight to the beatitudes in the light of Buddhist tradition of Ashtangamarga. The paper on corruption by Fr. Shaji George Kochuthara cmi, highlighted the most important features of corruption and its impact and effect in present Indian society. The discussion that followed centred on viewing corruption as a sin.

On the third day the new scholars shared their research papers followed by planning for the next meeting and the silver jubilee celebration next year. The theme for the next annual meeting is "The contribution of moral theologians to the Indian Church" and, it will be held on 25- 27th October 2013 at St. Vincent's Retreat Center, Gopalpur-On-Sea, Berhampur, Orissa. The local Coordinator of the meeting is Fr. Thomas Parayil.

The meeting has taken the following decisions as part of the silver jubilee celebration:
1) to approach all Indian Moral Theologians to present a paper (4000 words) on their research area or any other interested area in the forthcoming meeting;
2) to publish a book, namely, the contribution of the moral theologians to the Indian Church;
3) to collect the addresses of all the moral theologians of India and
4) to begin a web site.
The meeting of the Association of Moral Theologians came to a close with the vote of thanks and prayer by Fr. Clement Campos.


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