Author: Tobias Winright

The 411 on R2P

In her post on March 28th, Meghan Clark rightly brings up the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) in connection with UN Resolution 1973 concerning Libya. Since there appears to be a lack of familiarity with R2P in the U.S., I thought it appropriate to outline its contours. In 2007 I was invited to participate in a consultation on R2P at the Academy of Arnoldshain near Frankfurt, Germany, sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) as part of its “Decade to Overcome Violence” program, which will culminate this May in an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica. The March 2001 issue of the WCC’s journal, The Ecumenical Review, contains articles related to this topic (“Peace on Earth-Peace with Earth”), including one that I wrote on R2P. My brief comments here are culled from there. The phrase first appeared in a 2001 report by that title issued by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, an initiative of the Canadian government to reflect on how to move beyond the moral and jurisprudential obstacles surrounding what was referred to as “humanitarian intervention” during the 1990s in countries such as Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo. The United Nations subsequently studied this proposal, and at the 2005 World Summit, member states endorsed R2P. A report in January 2009 from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect” led to further debate...

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Why Lectionary & Liturgy on a Site by Moral Theologians?

Why does a website about Catholic moral theology include a tab about lectionary and liturgy? I thought I’d offer a couple of reasons for anyone who is wondering about this question. First, the Second Vatican Council in the Decree on Priestly Formation suggested that the discipline of moral theology “should be more thoroughly nourished by scriptural teaching” (no. 16). Moral theology, prior to this, had come to focus mostly on natural law, with a focus on actions and rules. While these remain important, attention is now also given to character, virtue, and discipleship—indeed, on the person and work of Jesus, too. The Bible, therefore, is essential for moral theology. In his book, The Making of Disciples: Tasks of Moral Theology (Michael Glazier Publishing, 1982), Irish Catholic moral theologian Enda McDonagh writes that by “adopting discipleship as one dominant theme of their reflections and explorations, theologians…are compelled to address the Scriptures in text and context more directly and seriously than some doctrinal and moral traditions of the immediate past” (4).  As for liturgy, in his book, Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship (Brazos Press, 2002), Catholic moral theologian Paul Wadell shares a story about a question Methodist theological ethicist Stanley Hauerwas once raised: “You Catholics go to Mass all the time,” Hauerwas observed, and then he asked, “What do all those Masses do for you?” If,...

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