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U.S. foreign policy lacks moral guidance, says Catholic ethicist

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Nov.5, 2002 – The forces of globalization, as well as the new first-strike U.S. foreign policy, are in need of moral guidance, a renowned ethicist told a Santa Clara University audience tonight. And the worldwide Roman Catholic Church is in a unique position to help provide that moral framework, said Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, ethics professor and executive director of Catholic Charities USA.

Warning that the U.S. appeared to be ready to discard the "wisdom of non-intervention" and four centuries of momentum towards an international order that "seeks to restrain aggression, to restrain the use of force," Hehir said the Catholic Church could use its religious vision "to seek to restrain and direct power…to protect the lives of vulnerable individuals" worldwide.

The speech by Hehir, former Georgetown ethics professor and former dean of the Harvard Divinity School, was the fifth in a continuing series of lectures in the University’s Institute on Globalization.

The 75-minute public lecture at Mission Santa Clara de Asis drew an audience of more than 400 students, faculty, staff, and local residents. It was presented by Catholic Charities, with SCU’s Bannan Center for Jesuit Education and the Institute on Globalization.

The four-day International Conference on Globalization, "Globalization as Seen from the Developing World," will feature a keynote speech on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 4:30 p.m. by Michael Czerny, S.J., in the Mission Church. It is the first of three international conferences of the institute, followed by a conference on business ethics in February and technology in April.

Czerny, the general assistant for the Jesuit Social Justice Secretariat at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, will speak on "Criterion of the Faith that Does Justice," examining perceptions of globalization in developing and developed nations in light of the Society of Jesus’ commitment to the principle of "faith that does justice."

He became involved with poverty in Latin America while doing doctoral studies at the University of Chicago, founded a national Catholic newspaper in Canada, worked with Jesuits in San Salvador, and is currently preparing to work in Africa on the crisis of HIV-AIDS.

The international conference has drawn 25 leading Jesuits from 19 countries, in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, who will meet in private sessions at Santa Clara University to jointly examine differences in perceptions of globalization between developing and developed nations.

In addition to Czerny’s keynote speech, one other speech and three panel sessions will be open to the public:

John Dear, S.J. speaks on "Globalization, Militarism, and Nonviolence" Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sobrato Learning Center at SCU. Dear, a Jesuit priest and former executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an interfaith peace organization, is an international peace activist and pastor of two churches in rural New Mexico.

The panel discussions at SCU are:

  • "Criterion of the Faith that Does Justice," Nov. 8, 9 a.m., Brass Rail, Benson Memorial Center.
  • "Globalization and Poverty," Nov. 8, 2 p.m., Recital Hall, Music and Dance Building
  • "Impact of Globalization on Culture," Nov. 9, 9 a.m., Recital Hall, Music and Dance Building.


About the Institute on Globalization

The 2002-3 Institute on Globalization at SCU is an unprecedented array of dozens of public lectures, three international conferences, and museum exhibits, plus 150 courses offered by 21 academic departments and other projects designed specifically for students. The institute examines various aspects of globalization – economic, political, cultural, environmental, and technological – through different disciplines and points of view.

Additional information about the Institute on Globalization and its events may be found at More information about the Bannan Center for Jesuit Education can be found at

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,054 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fifth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is on line at



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