All posts by John Pawlikowski

ADR Advisor The Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski is a Servite Friar priest, Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, and Former Director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program, part of The Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry, at Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union (CTU). Pawlikowski was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by several presidents, chaired the council's Subcommittee on Church Relations, served on its executive committee, the Committee on Conscience, and academic committee. He also served as president of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) and is a member 3 key committees of the Parliament of the World's Religions (Global Ethic, Peace and Justice, and Climate Action Task Force).

UN Declares the Right to a Healthy Environment – by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

On July 28, 2022, the General Assembly of the United Nations took a bold step in the ongoing process of caring for the creation we have inherited. By an overwhelming vote of 161 – 0, with eight member nations abstaining, the General Assembly approved a resolution which establishes a sustainable and healthy environment as a basic, universal right of all people. Over one hundred nations co-sponsored this resolution. The large co-sponsorship (unfortunately, the United States was not a co-sponsor) testifies to the strong support for this resolution among the UN delegates and their national governments. 

Because a livable human context is absolutely central to the continuing viability of creational life on our planet the United Nations’ vote placed this right at the core of our understanding of the longstanding human rights tradition, which includes social/political values such as freedom. This newly affirmed right is seen as standing at the very heart of that tradition. Its recognition and enhancement are not marginal but integral to the maintenance of the entirety of humanity and the universe with which we are intertwined. 

Continue reading UN Declares the Right to a Healthy Environment – by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

Climate Change and Global Cities – by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

The Chicago Council of Global Affairs brought 51 mayors & staff to Chicago to develop a flexible mayoral covenant on climate change within North America. The session in which I was a participant was led by the mayors of Chicago, Vancouver,Montreal, Washington and a modest size city of 150,000 in Mexico. NY TIMES writer Thomas Friedman chaired this session.
Allow me now to share some of the important points that arose from the discussion.

Continue reading Climate Change and Global Cities – by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

US Territories and the North Korean threat – by The Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

Listening to the national news programs of late as they report on the intensifying threat from North Korea has raised my ire.  Much is made about the future potential of North Korean weapons to hit major population centers of the USA such as Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angles as well as South Korea and its large contingent of American military personnel.  Without question all Americans need  to share this concern.  But mention is rarely, if ever made, of the even greater and current threat to the Pacific regions of Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and American Samoa.  Parts of Alaska also fall into this category.  To me it seems that we value the lives of those Americans less than those of us living on the U.S. mainland.  We have little sense as a nation of the apprehension currently felt  over the North Korean threat by our fellow citizens in places such as Guam.

Continue reading US Territories and the North Korean threat – by The Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

Holocaust Ethical Implications – by John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D.

The academic study of ethics, in light of the experience of the Holocaust, has witnessed rapid development in the last decade. In addition to research into ethical decision making during the Holocaust itself in such volumes as Rab Bennett’s Under the Shadow of the Swastika: The Moral Dilemmas of Resistance and Collaboration in Hitler’s Europe, more general reflections on the significance of the Holocaust for contemporary ethics have come to the fore from Jewish and Christian scholars alike. There have also been voices such as Herbert Hirsch who have questioned whether we can learn anything from the Holocaust in terms of the moral challenge facing us today given the sui generis nature of that event as well as the immense complexity of a modern, global society.

Continue reading Holocaust Ethical Implications – by John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D.

Catholic Views of Jews and Muslims — by John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D.

The 1974 Vatican document on Catholic-Jewish Relations is primarily known for its emphasis on the need for Catholics to come to understand Jews as they define themselves or, in other words, to refrain from creating what I would call “straw Jews.” The 1985 document focused its attention on the correct presentation of Jews and Judaism in Catholic religious education and preaching. The 1998 document on the Holocaust emphasized the importance of Holocaust education and tried to come to grips with Catholic responsibility during the Shoah. On the latter point some, including myself, have judged it incomplete even though it moved in the right direction on the question of Catholic collaboration with the Nazi effort at Jewish annihilation. Beyond the actual points made in these Vatican statements they helped immeasurably in creating a positive ethos for constructive scholarly work on the question on the part of theologians biblical exegetes.

Continue reading Catholic Views of Jews and Muslims — by John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Ph.D.