After Ciase, thinking together about the Church and the ethics of relationships
Journal of Ethics and Moral Theology, No. 317, March 2023
Cerf, 160 p., 18,50 €
Moral theology offers itself as a theoretical knowledge that thinks about action and sheds light on it. After the revelations of the Sauvé report, she was called upon to contribute to the renewal of the Church. In its March 2023 edition, the Journal of Ethics and Moral Theology offers ten contributions that have been the subject of conferences throughout the spring of 2022.
Men and women, priests and lay people combine their analyzes to rebuild an ethics of relationships within the Church itself, in an area where it seems to have been so cruelly lacking for decades. “The shame, pain, fear and discouragement that have been repressed, hidden and concealed must be brought to light”, announces Hans Zollner, member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. He continues: “Theology, psychology, Church law, spirituality must work together. »
The challenge is immense. Hans Zollner intends to contribute to understanding and then reforming the whole Catholic mentality, in particular on “two essential desires of the human being: power and sexuality”. Because, in reality, there is not a single victim who cannot identify them as the two main causes of his misfortune.
It is to go so far that the Church had to make the deliberate choice to put the victims at the center of the process of investigation and reflection. But how to make the lived history of people the starting point for a reflection on moral theology?
Elements of the answer can be found in each of the contributions, which converge on the idea that the detour via the human and social sciences is the path to take, provided that you do not tremble before the changes to be made.
A question runs through the book: isn’t the traditional Catholic moral order, which tends to describe everything as serious, the cause of the problem? Is it not the excessive pre-eminence of the legality of acts, despite their significance, which has hindered the way of managing violence against children? Under the pen of Catherine Fino, teacher at the Catholic Institute of Paris, we better perceive the challenge of change. For her, what should attract attention is no longer the law and its transgressions, which ultimately speak of the aggressors, but the victims.
Referring to Geneviève Médevielle, the theologian affirms that, “in contemporary culture, the perception of injustice has become the first lever of the ethical fight”. The renewal of moral thought would therefore pass through the feeling of justice. How to find the path of justice in the heart of the trauma? Catherine Fino wants to believe that “the primary resource (is) the story of our small and great resilience, of the truth that has been said, of the support that we have discovered, of the solidarity in which we have been able to engage”. Faced with the psychological devastation of aggressions and crimes committed on minors, as testified by Lorraine Angeneau, psychologist, forgiveness appears as an easy solution. Guilhem Causse, philosopher, and Vincent Guibert, theologian, restore its depth, while specifying the conditions for its proper exercise.
Further on, Étienne Grieu, also a theologian, reminds the reader of the evidence that it is Jesus Christ who must inspire the Church and Christians, a Christ less legislator than healer, whose closest ministerial figure does not is no less the deacon than the bishop. Far from being a simple puppet game, it is a question, as Dominique Greiner, theologian and journalist at La Croix, evokes, who returns to the “Repair the Church” operation, of rethinking authority in the Church in the Light of Pope Francis’ Calls Against Clericalism.