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61. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 20
Marilyn Martone Making Health Care Decisions without a Prognosis: Life in a Brain Trauma Unit
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When the author's daughter was hit by a car and remained unconscious for over seven months, she found that there were certain factors where traditional ethical theory was not sufficiently nuanced to guide her practical decision making in regard to her daughter's health care. This article concentrates on three of those factors. They are: (1) no reliable prognosis can be offered for many brain-injured individuals; (2) a patient's age and the relationship between the patient and the caregiver affect the context of caring; and (3) there are severe difficulties in obtaining and sustaining chronic care and accessing scarce resources.
62. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 20
George D. Randels Jr. Cyberspace and Christian Ethics: The Virtuous and/in/of The Virtual
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While Christian ethics utilizes various frameworks and tools, Stanley Hauerwas contends that narrative, character, and community are the crucial ones. This paper utilizes these aspects of Christian ethics to analyze cyberspace, juxtaposing them with Sherry Turkle's (and others') ethnographic studies of cyberspace. It then argues that while Hauerwas's critique of liberal society applies more aptly to cyberspace, his critique contains its own difficulties and internal tensions. Nevertheless, the critique and its difficulties, especially the sectarian charge, provide insights for framing Christian ethics in cyberspace.
63. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 20
William Johnson Everett Introduction to Daniel J. Elazar
64. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Elliot N. Dorff Is There a Unique Jewish Ethics?: The Role of Law in Jewish Bioethics
65. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Aline H. Kalbian The Catholic Church's Public Confession: Theological and Ethical Implications
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The Catholic Church, as part of the year 2000 Jubilee celebrations, issued a prayer of confession for sins committed in the past. Most notable was the confession for "actions that may have caused suffering to the people of Israel." In this paper I identify two prominent metaphors in the magisterial literature associated with this act of contrition—the metaphor of Church as mother, and the metaphor of repentance as purification of memory. I analyze these metaphors and place them in the context of important conversations about the Catholic Church and the Holocaust, and about collective responsibility and repentance.
66. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
67. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
William T. Cavanaugh Is Public Theology Really Public?: Some Problems with Civil Society
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This paper sketches two ways in which the concept of civil society is currently being used to carve out a space for Christians to be "public," and makes some suggestions of problems that arise from these models. The first way involves the theoretical appropriation of John Courtney Murray's work by authors who advocate a "public theology." The second is a practical application of Harry Boyte's work on civil society which is being appropriated in Catholic schools to advance the public mission of Christian education. Despite differences, this essay argues that, though both seek to create a space for the church which is both "public" and "free," neither succeed. At the end of the paper, suggestions are made of a more adequate ecclesiology of the public.
68. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Jean Porter Natural Equality: Freedom, Authority and Obedience in Two Medieval Thinkers
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The middle ages is commonly seen as an age of inequality, when society was structured by fixed social hierarchies. However, beginning in the late eleventh century and continuing through the thirteenth century, widespread economic and cultural changes, together with a revival of spiritual intensity and widespread concern for religious reforms, transformed the dominant structures of Western European society. These changes did not immediately transform Europe into an egalitarian society, but they did give new saliency to ancient Christian ideals of equality, particularly among scholastic theologians and canon lawyers of the period. In this paper, I focus on the virtue of obedience and its limits as one entrée into the scholastic concept of natural equality, further restricting myself to a comparison of Bonaventure and Aquinas on this topic. I will argue that while both theologians value the virtue of obedience highly, both also place clear limits on the obligation of obedience, limits which point beyond themselves (explicitly, in Aquinas' case, but clearly in Bonaventure's case) to a norm of natural equality which constrains the exercise of authority.
69. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Christopher Steck Tragedy and the Ethics of Hans Urs von Balthasar
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The goodness in many people's lives is often obscured by the limitations and brokenness which mark those same lives. The saint as moral icon, in which the moral beauty of the individual is clearly visible to all, cannot be the exclusive paradigm of Christian holiness. The kind of obscurity effected by limitation and human imperfection can be described as tragic—events and circumstances beyond the agent's control seem to determine the agent's moral fate. I argue that von Balthasar's theological aesthetics helps illuminate the tragic features of Christ's own life and can, in turn, help us understand the tragic dimension present in varying degrees in every Christian life. In tragic situations, where the brokenness and sin of the human condition threaten to undermine human love, the Christian's moral response, like Christ's own, will be inspired more by a hopeful fidelity to God's call than by a confident expectation of the fruitfulness of her love.
70. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Aaron L. Mackler Is There a Unique Jewish Bioethics of Human Reproduction?
71. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Douglas A. Hicks Inequality, Globalization, and Leadership: "Keeping Up with the Joneses" across National Boundaries
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Economists and sociologists have shown that social norms and relative standing are significant factors in the perception of one's well-being. Globalization increasingly extends the scope of the "neighbors" with whom persons compare themselves. Worldwide income inequality currently stands as high as inequality in Brazil, Guatemala, and South Africa. While Christian ethicists can applaud certain dimensions of globalization, we must also develop critiques of those inequalities that obstruct the full participation of persons in their societies. This paper considers how a social-relational anthropology informed by the preferential option for the poor should understand global inequality and deprivation. It offers a constructive account of how relative factors (local, national, and international) should count alongside absolute concerns in our understanding of well-being, and it suggests ways in which leaders, scholars, and citizens can respond to inequality and globalization.
72. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Emilie M. Townes Response to "Social Science, Christian Ethics and Democratic Politics: Issues of Poverty and Wealth" by Mary Jo Bane
73. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Christine Firer Hinze Dirt and Economic Inequality: A Christian-Ethical Peek Under the Rug
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This essay argues that cultural practices surrounding body-related dirt form a crucial axis along which racial-ethnic, class, and gender disparities are illumined, and ideological supports for inequities in household and public economies exposed. Late-modern technological, information-based societies valorize nearly-disembodied freedom and demand high degrees of bodily control, while denying or scorning bodies' limits, messiness, and incorrigibility. This leads to subtle but powerful prejudices concerning bodily dirt, dirty work, and those who perform it. A contemporary concatenation of dualistic leanings and purity rules fuels these prejudices, which in turn help legitimate otherwise patently unacceptable social and economic inequities. Effective Christian analyses of economic inequality, therefore, will uncover and challenge distorted cultural assumptions concerning bodily-related dirt, and develop strategies for renovating them.
74. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Jack Hill Doing Ethics in the Pacific Islands: Interpreting Moral Dimensions of Prose Narrative
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Given the current interest in globalization, this paper seeks to identify and explicate some of the distinctive moral perspectives of Pacific Islanders. Drawing on the narrative approach of Nussbaum, within a broader hermeneutical perspective, the author seeks to interpret moral orientations in legends from Fiji and the Cook Islands. It is argued that these orientations provide a fresh understanding of contemporary political events and social relations in the islands. The paper concludes by discussing issues raised by this type of narrative ethical analysis for the field of comparative religious ethics.
75. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
William McDonough Alasdair MacIntyre as Help for Rethinking Catholic Natural Law Estimates of Same-Sex Life Partnerships
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Christian ethics struggles to articulate a method for thinking about homosexuality and the sexual acts of same-sex oriented persons. In 1988, Hanigan suggested a promising "social import" approach and then judged homosexual acts deficient. MacIntyre's Dependent Rational Animals (1999) articulates a fuller social import approach to morality. Although he does not address homosexuality, MacIntyre rejects narrow understandings of family and of "disinterested friendship": we need "communal relations that engage our affections" to grow in "the virtues of acknowledged dependence." How do gay people grow in these virtues? What if Hanigan got the method right, but the evaluation wrong?
76. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
R. Neville Richardson On Keeping Theological Ethics Theological in Africa: The Quest for a (Southern) African Theological Ethics
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What is the direction of South African theological ethics as that country moves out of the apartheid era into a new democratic future? Following its struggle against apartheid, how will theology respond to the new challenge of making clear its distinctive stance in a democratic, multi-faith society with a secular constitution? A danger, similar to that previously discussed in the United States, exists in South Africa as theology evolves from a mode of resistance to that of compliance and accommodation, especially under the guise of "nation-building." The essay plots a trajectory by means of a consideration of four works representing nonracial liberationist theology which emerged at key points in the past fifteen years—the Kairos Document (1985), and works by Albert Nolan (1988), Charles Villla-Vicencio (1992), and James Cochrane (1999). For all their contextual sensitivity and strength, these works appear to offer little of a distinctively theological nature, and little of Christian substance to church and society. The way lies open for the development of an African Christian ethics.
77. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Jean Bethke Elshtain Response to Panel Papers
78. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Charles T. Mathewes Faith, Hope, and Agony: Christian Political Participation Beyond Liberalism
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The recent emergence and maturation of "agonistic" political thought, in explicit opposition to liberal political theory, offers opportunities for Christian thinkers in two ways. First, it releases Christians from the unnecessarily narrow political etiquette of received liberal political theory, and makes possible a more comprehensive public debate in which thick Christian commitments can plausibly play a role. Second, it sets Christian thinkers the task of determining how they can legitimately participate in this movement for a more "agonistic" democratic theory (and, by extension, a more agonistic democracy.) Some agonists argue that Christianity is the sort of worldview which is blind to the ineliminable pervasiveness of violence, and so is potentially a dangerous participant in the development of agonistic theory. Others challenge the idea that Christians can comfortably participate in a pluralistic conversation at all, given that their aim inevitably is (or should be) the conversion of other participants. The former group claims others ought not allow Christians to participate; the latter claims Christians ought not want to participate. This paper explores and responds to these challenges in order to uncover a new and properly Christian approach to understanding political life, by contesting both sorts of challenges about Christian participation in agonistic democracy. It argues that, in contrast to agonists who see conflict as necessarily violent because essentially governed by a zero-sum logic of winners and losers, Christians can imagine and approach moments of conflict in the conviction that no one need lose or win, but that the struggle can be a struggle for conversion of one's loves and the loves of one's interlocutor. By so interpreting conflict, Christians can re-imagine politics as a conflict about loves, and the movement for "agonistic democracy" can be seen as clarifying the possibility of re-interpreting politics as a struggle over peoples' loves.
79. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Laurie Zoloth Nursing Fathers and Nursing Mothers: Notes toward a Distinctive Jewish View of Reproductive Ethics
80. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 21
Eric Gregory Augustine and Arendt on Love: New Dimensions in the Religion and Liberalism Debates
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This paper illustrates the need for a more integrated theoretical account of two large but typically isolated subjects in twentieth century Augustine studies: love and the ambiguous relation of Augustinianism to liberalism. The paper is divided into three parts. First, by aligning Augustinian caritas with a feminist "ethic of care," it presents a morally robust ethics of liberalism that differs from both liberal-realist and antiliberal extrapolations of the Augustinian tradition. Second, and most extensively, it presents Hannah Arendt's provocative reading of Augustine that issues both "Kantian" and "Nietzschean" challenges to a political ethic that moves beyond liberal reciprocity and relates love for neighbor to love for God. Finally, and more tentatively, it argues that Augustine's much maligned categories of "use" and "enjoyment" should be redeemed by those who defend a version of Augustinian liberalism that does not sentimentalize or privatize love.