News Detail
Photo by Christopher Soldt, MTS Photography
Jesuit’s Vision Leads to Worldwide Network of Moral Theologians

February 21, 2014 — A friendly dinner attended by six moral theologians in Rome gave Jesuit Father James Keenan the idea to establish a worldwide network for teachers of theological ethics.

Fr. Keenan, the Founders Professor in Theology at Boston College, helped establish the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) project over 10 years ago. In 2003, a colleague from Boston College visited Fr. Keenan in Rome while he was a visiting professor at the Gregorian University. Fr. Keenan invited two moral theologians from the Gregorian and two from the Accademia Alfonsiana to join them for dinner.

“I had four theologians, each from a different country, each who had been teaching in Rome for 15 years. Everyone had a great time, and at the end of the meal I asked them how often they got together. They said, ‘We’ve never met one another.’ I took that as an indication that it would be good to get moral theologians to meet one another,” Fr. Keenan explained.

From that idea, Fr. Keenan formed the CTEWC as a way for teachers of theological ethics from all over the world to meet and discuss their work. After much planning, the first-ever international conference of moral theologians was held in 2006 in Padua, Italy, with 400 people from 52 countries in attendance.

Planning for the first conference began in 2003, and it revealed to Fr. Keenan areas where the CTEWC could focus some of its efforts. For instance, Fr. Keenan raised $400,000 to fund the conference, including the attendance of 120 scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America. He was surprised when the list of theologians from Africa contained only men. Fr. Keenan insisted on adding several women from Africa to the list and three attended.

“We realized three out of 40 was a mighty small proportion.  At Padua, our committee promised the participants that we would find money to support seven women from Africa to do Ph.D.s in theological ethics,” Fr. Keenan said. “We ended up with eight, so now we have eight women in moral theology who weren’t there before.”

When the CTEWC held its next conference in Trent, Italy, in 2010, it had grown to 600 people from 75 countries. The CTEWC provided some funding for 170 attendees from the developing world, as well as for 150 younger scholars from the industrialized world.

After the second conference, the organization decided to expand its focus. The new goals included providing support to moral theologians around the world; hosting regional conferences; publishing a book series; and producing a monthly newsletter and interactive website.

“Network is really our trademark,” said Fr. Keenan. “We don’t see ourselves as a member organization, we see ourselves as members of the network.” He invites all readers to visit their website at www.catholicethics.com.

In addition to Fr. Keenan’s work for the CTEWC and at Boston College, he is writing a book on university ethics and recently finished up a 20-year stint as editor of the book series “Moral Traditions” from Georgetown University Press.





Recent News

December 10, 2018 — Former Johnson & Johnson executive David Smith returns to his hometown to lead school. He will succeed Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ, on July 1, 2019.

November 30, 2018 — This Advent season, we ask Jesus to light the dark. We pray for that light to inflame us with brighter faith, hope and love.

November 27, 2018 — This year, U.S. and Canadian Jesuits were ordained to the diaconate at several different Masses in the United States, Canada, Rome, Paris and Cairo.

November 26, 2018 — Better known as Padre Melo, Ismael Moreno, SJ, is the director of the Honduran Jesuit radio station, Radio Progreso.

November 22, 2018 — On this Thanksgiving Day, we share with you an Examen prayer of gratitude, adapted by Marquette University Campus Ministry.

November 19, 2018 — With the launch of the sainthood cause for Fr. Arrupe, a reflection on his legacy.

November 15, 2018 — Kenyan Jesuit Father Victor-Luke Odhiambo, 62, was murdered on Nov. 15 when unknown assailants attacked the Daniel Comboni Jesuit Residence in Cueibet, South Sudan, where he resided.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 12/10/18

America 11/26/18

America 11/12/18



Manresa House of Retreats
Manresa House of Retreats is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Convent, La., midway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.