Reflections on the Social and Ecological Impacts of Religious Patriarchy

Vol. 2, No. 7, July 2006

Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

Newsletter Home Page

Humanity is currently on a global journey from patriarchy to solidarity, sustainability, and sustainable human development. The Solidarity & Sustainability newsletter is a series of reflections on how to mitigate patriarchal barriers to human development and, in particular, how to overcome the enormous obstacles caused by religious patriarchies. The newsletter integrates existing and emerging knowledge (empirical evidence, tradition, relevant experience, wisdom) to show that true religion radically transcends the patriarchal mindset. In fact, true religion always enhances human development, and should never be an obstacle to it. The "Millennium Development Goals" of the United Nations are used as a point of reference.

Theme of this Issue:
Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 4

NOTE TO READERS: This issue is a reconsideration of the previous issue. The intent is to focus on the mimetic analysis of religious violence, independently of other theological or pastoral considerations. It is reiterated that this analysis in no way implies intentional wrongdoing by any person at the Vatican or elsewhere.


The theme of "mimetic violence in patriarchal religions" is reconsidered to elaborate on some key points of mimetic theory that, based on reader feedback, need clarification to pave the way for further research. These include the Girardian insight about the innocence of scapegoats in biblical texts, the difference between religion and patriarchally organized religion, the contagion phenomenon that leads to unanimity (as opposed to unity) in the selectio of the scapegoat(s), the selection of human scapegoats to disguise the absurdity of blaming God for mimetic scandals, how the scandal of the Cross becomes the definitive victory of Christ over Satan, and how the patriarchal mindset inhibits human development. Hopefully, this issue paves the way for a deeper analysis of religious violence as the main obstacle blocking the path toward human solidarity and ecological sustainability.

Note: This issue also includes an invited paper written by Dr. Evandro Vieira Ouriques, Professor of Communication and Culture at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Using an epistemological line of reasoning, he concludes that the patriarchal nature of institutions is at the heart of our inability to overcome the problems of violence and its inevitable derivatives: all forms of injustice, poverty, hunger, and abuse of the human habitat.



The Sustainable Theory of Communication:
A New Epistemological Perspective for Solidarity and Sustainability
in the Essentially Patriarchal and Emblematic Crisis
of the Western Mindset

By Dr. Evandro Vieira Ouriques
Professor of Communication and Culture
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


That the exclusion of women from roles of religious authority is a theological absurdity is well documented [01]. Not so the fact that such exclusion is an act of violence that used to be rationalized by the presumed inferiority of women relative to men; and now is perpetuated by blaming God for a prohibition that is entirely manufactured by human hands.

This issue is focused on one such act of violence: the ban on women priests in the Roman Catholic Church. The reader should have no difficulty in thinking about similar cases in other religious traditions. The Girardian method of mimetic analysis [02] is used to show that God is being used as the scapegoat to justify the violent act of reserving priestly ordination to men alone.

An important reason for using Girard's method is that it explicitly deals with issues of religious violence. Another important reason is that it identifies the Bible as the one and only sacred text in which the scapegoats are innocent, and especially so the divine Scapegoat, Jesus of Nazareth, who finally reverses the notion of sacrificial religions by showing that what God really desires is mercy, not sacrifice [03]. This is a significant breakthrough in religious and social thinking. It can be summarized as follows:

Myths Innocent Guilty
Bible Guilty Innocent
Table 1 - The Girardian Breakthrough

In the case at hand, there can be no doubt that God is innocent. Does it follow that the Vatican is guilty? The answer is yes if by "Vatican" we mean "the Vatican as a patriarchal system." The answer is no if we try to assign guilt to one or more of the Vatican officials involved in this sad episode. One reason is, of course, that only God can judge. In terms of mimetic analysis, another reason is that the aformentioned Vatican officials were acting under the contagious influence of the patriarchal mindset. The real culprit is the phenomenon of patriarchal contagion. Perhaps these officials thought that they knew what they were doing, but the weight of large and old institutions, such as the Roman Catholic Church, is just too much for anyone on the inside to remain free of patriarchal contagion. Therefore, as Girard suggests, it is always wise to remember the words of Jesus on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." [04].


In addition to the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), other patriarchally organized religions suffer from the use of violence, usually manifested as some form of exclusion based on gender, race, or some other human differentiation. Religious violence is generally sustained by some mix of the triple addictions to wealth accumulation, absolute power, and worldly honors. Most of the Eastern religions are also very patriarchal, including the Hindu and Sikh traditions in India, Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Confucianism and Taoism in China, and Shinto in Japan. But it is noteworthy that the ancient origins of some of these Eastern religions was not patriarchal, and included both masculine and feminine images of God. Some of them also had a nosexist ethos. Nevertheless, most of them degenerated into patriarchal religions as they became institutionalized over the centuries.

It cannot be overstressed that religion is not the culprit; patriarchy is the culprit. Religion (spirituality might be a better term) is the indispensable expression of the human need to relate to God -- under one name or another. But religious patriarchy has nothing to do with God's will or the integral development of human beings. As a matter of fact, patriarchal behavior is against the divine plan for humanity and constitutes an enormous obstacle to human development. Violence is always against the divine plan for humanity; Jesus is the model who always answers violence with nonviolence [05]. Blaming God for religious violence is always a lie that consumes energy and other resources at the expense of authentic human development [06].

There is an old saying, "what is best may be the enemy of what is good". It does not apply in this case, because patriarchy is not good. Marx said that "religion is the opium of the people". Marx was wrong. Religion is not the opium of the people. But patriarchal religious institutions, and the social behavior they induce, are the opium of the people. As Matthew Fox has pointed out [07]:

"It goes back to the patriarchy overtaking the Western church in about the fourth century when it inherited the empire. There's a statement by one of these ascetic philosophers, Philo. "We must keep down our passions just as we keep down the lower classes." That gives you some insight into history, doesn't it? Passion and compassion are related. A passionate response to injustice is what gives you energy to do something about it. If you can keep that energy down, then those who are running things are safe. In our culture, television and consumerism are the opium of the people. They keep people from getting in touch with their deep passions. People keep getting fed more and more TV and more and more things to shop for so that they don't ask the deeper questions."


Patriarchy is mimetically contagious. This "contagion phenomenon" is explained by Girard as follows [08]:

"When human groups divide and become fragmented, during a period of malaise and conflicts, they may come to a point where they are reconciled again at the expense of a victim. Observers nowadays realize without difficulty, unless they belong to the persecuting group, that this victim is not really responsible for what he or she is accused of doing. The accusing group, however, views the victim as guilty, by virtue of a contagion similar to what we find in scapegoat rituals. The members of this group accuse their "scapegoat" with great fervor and sincerity. More often than not some incident, whether fantastic or trivial, has triggered a wave of opinion against this victim, a mild version of mimetic snowballing and the victim mechanism."

This is a very generic mimetic process. It applies to patriarchal hierarchies as well as to any other system of governance. How can it be detected in any given secular or religious institution? A very reliable "contagion detector" is available: when, in order to resolve any mimetic crisis, the civil and/or religious authorities equate "unity" with "unanimity", or "unity" with "uniformity," and fail to tolerate "unity in diversity," there can be little doubt that the "contagion phenomenon" is operative and the selection of a suitable scapegoat (human or divine) is about to be made. When the "unanimity" is enforced by some form of coercion, the "contagion detector" becomes a flashing red light. Such was the case in the Vatican episode that "terminated" the discussion about ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, it was stipulated that the issue could not be discussed anymore, under penalty of self-excommunication (or self-expulsion, i.e., the kind of scapegoating in which the scapegoats have to do their own scapegoating) . The "contagion detector" thus becomes a flashing red light with a very high pitch siren like those used by firetrucks. The selection of Christ as the divine scapegoat is almost "lost in the blur."

Girard's method of mimetic analysis does make sense and seems to be a good fit for the process leading to the publication of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on 22 May 1994. The bypassing of widely public preparatory announcements, and the blunt language used in the document, reinforce the perception of mimetic violence independently of the literalist content of the text. In the opening paragraphs, the Anglican Communion is admonished to stop ordaining women, else ecumenical relations will suffer. Thus the Anglican Communion -- weak and vulnerable as it is when compared to Roman Catholicism -- is another convenient form of scapegoating, i.e., it is just a matter of keeping them outside the boundaries of the Roman church. Let them be aware that they are in very good company -- the Risen Christ, Lamb of God and Definitive Scapegoat. The Anglican Communion should feel blessed and honored. The Episcopal (Anglican) Church of the United States recently elected a woman as Presiding Bishop. Good for them!

It is not being suggested here that Girard's mimetic theory is an "infallible" answer for all questions regarding the why and how of violent religious behavior. The jury is still out on Girard's claim that mimetism provides a complete theory of human behavior, on the same footing with the Copernican revolution in Physics and Darwin's theory of evolution in biology. Some scholars refute the general validity of the theory to explain all forms of individual and organizational behavior [09]. Others, while accepting some elements of mimetic theory, prefer to avoid using other elements that they consider too speculative [10]. Nothing human is perfect, and Girard's work is no exception. If anyone knows of a better method to analyze the subtle complexities of religious violence, and how they induce social and ecological disruptions, please write to the editor.


All patriarchal religions find the need to offer sacrifice, and the sacrificial victim can be an animal or a human being. This pattern is both confirmed and reversed in the Christian gospels: the historical Jesus, who was crucified near Jerusalem at the beginning of the Common Era, was (and is) both human and divine. Regretfully, the Christian churches have indulged in sacrificing human scapegoats many times, a well known example being that of Joan of Arch (burned at the stake in Rouen, France, 1431, when she was 19 years old, for the "heresy" of leading a secular military campaign against the British occupation of Northern France). This may be an extreme example, but it shows how much a patriarchally distorted religion can influence culture and social practices.

The churches do not seem to be learning from past mistakes. In connection with the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church, there are actually three scapegoats:

The harm done by such scapegoating is incalculable:

  • Scapegoating Christ is like using artificial birth control to prevent (perhaps even abort?) female priestly vocations.
  • Scapegoating loyal dissent attempts to coerce people to "self-expel" themselves from the Church-Body of Christ.
  • Scapegoating the Anglican Communion means that protecting the Vatican's absolute power is more important than Christian unity.

The notion that this is what God wants is absurd. God always wants what is good for people. Else, the mysteries of the incarnation and the redemption become myths that require the murder or expulsion of a guilty scapegoat. And if this is the case, then the entire corpus of Judeo-Christian scriptures becomes nonsense [11].


This is where "the rubber meets the road," the bottom line of Girard's evangelical anthropology [12]:

"Before Christ and the Bible the satanic accusation was always victorious by virtue of the violent contagion that imprisoned human beings within systems of myth and ritual. The Crucifixion reduces mythology to powerlessness by exposing violent contagion, which is so effective in the myths that it prevents communities from ever finding out the truth, namely, the innocence of their victims....

"This is why Dante, in his Inferno, represented Satan as nailed to the Cross. When the single victim mechanism is correctly nailed to the Cross, its ultimately banal, insignificant basis appears in broad daylight, and everything based on it gradually loses its prestige, grows more and more feeble, and finally disappears....

"Christ does not achieve this victory through violence. He obtains it through a renunciation of violence so complete that violence can rage to its heart's content without realizing that by so doing, it reveals what it must conceal, without suspecting that its fury will turn back against it this time because it will be recorded and represented with exactness in the Passion narratives....

"The Gospels themselves draw our attention to the loss of mythic unanimity everywhere Jesus comes and intervenes. John in particular points out on numerous occasions how the witnesses become divided after Jesus speaks and acts. Each time, the people around him quarrel, and far from unifying them, his message precipitates disharmony and division. In the Crucifixion especially, this division plays a primary role. Without it there would not be a Gospel revelation...."

So much for "unanimities" imposed by ecclesiastical intimidation. What matters is unity in Christ, the kind of unity that builds the Body of Christ [13].


The mimetic analysis of religious violence sets the stage for our second iteration through the patriarchy-solidarity-sustainability feedback loop [14]. Violence is the common denominator that prevents progress toward a world of human solidarity and ecological sustainability. In particular, violence is the common denominator for most obstacles that prevent further advances in human development. And, much of the violence in society is triggered -- directly or indirectly -- by religious violence, especially patriarchal religious violence. In other words, more religious violence leads to more social violence, and more social violence leads to disruptions of human solidarity and ecological sustainability.

Figure 1 shows plots of the Human Development Index (HDI), Gender Development Index (GDI), Life Expentancy Index LEI), Education Index EDUI), and GDP Index (GDPI). The data source is the latest United Nations Human Development Report [15]. The graph shows the HDI and other indicators for 177 countries, with the countries ordered by increasing value of the HDI.

Figure 1 - Human Development Indicator and Other Indicators

Source: United Nations Human Development Report 2005 and United Nations MDG Indicators Database (the ebook is a free download, the database is free access).
Note: MDG=Millennium Development Goals, HDI=Human Development Index, GDI=Gender Development Index, LEI=Life Expentancy Index, EDUI=Education Index, GDP=GDP Index.

It is noteworthy that HDI and GDI increases are highly correlated. Country names are not shown, but the 20 countries with the lowest HDIs (0.281 to 0.453) include 16 countries where a strongly patriarchal religion is dominant, and 4 countries where there is significant religious diversity. On the other hand, the 20 countries with the highest HDIs (0.933 to 0.963) include 3 countries where a strongly patriarchal religion is dominant, and 17 countries where there is significant religious diversity. Coincidence?

Indices such as those used in Figure 1 require careful interpretation and validation of the assumptions implicit in their formulation, and careful evaluation of the credibility of the data used in their quantification. Given reasonable transparency of assumptions and credibility of data, they serve to give a sense of the dominant trends associated with human developement.

This is not a formal exercise in statistical inference. However, the tight correlation of HDI and GDI, and the religious mix of the countries at the low and high ends of human development, bring us full circle to the theme of Volume 1 Number 1 of this newsletter, i.e., the critical importance of cross-gender solidarity. The invited article by Dr. Evandro Vieira Ouriques provides a solid epistemological foundation for further research.



"God of love and peace, we confess as Christians that we are heirs to a long heritage of prejudice and violence. Guide us to a place where we may gain the wisdom to resist all beliefs and actions that harm others. Make us into a people who understand your love as illustrated in Christ’s suffering. Keep us from crucifying others in the name of the crucified Christ. Amen."

Rev. Chase Peeples
The Congregational Church of Manhasset, New York (UCC)
Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, February 22, 2004


Satan is no longer in control. The acceptability of violence is decreasing. Concern for the victims of violence is increasing. What is the next step going forward? See Part Three of I see Satan Fall Like Lightning, Rene Girard, Orbis Books, 1999.


"Think globally. Act locally." Enjoy the Summer.


NOTE TO READERS: Click on the reference [##] to go back to the text.

[01] On the case for ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church:

Should Women be Priests, R. W. Howard, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1949.
The ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church, John Wijngaards et al., 1996-2006 This monumental web site is a treasure of relevant texts and other resources.
Can Women be Priests?, Pontifical Biblical Commission, June 1976.
Tradition and the Ordination of women, Catholic Theological Society of America, 1997.
Fallibly Infallible? A New Form of Papal Teaching, Hermann J. Pottmeyer, America, 3 April 1999.
A Priest Called Ludmila, Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet, 2001.
On the case for not ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church:
Inter Insigniores: On the question of admission of women to the ministerial priesthood, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , 15 October 1976.
Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: on Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone , Pope John Paul II, 22 May 1994.
Responsum ad Dubium, Concerning the Teaching Contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 28 October 1995.
Apostolic Letter Motu Propio Ad Tuendam Fidem: by which certain norms are inserted into the Code of Canon Law and into the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Pope John Paul II, 18 May 1998.

[02] On the mimetic theory of René Girard:

Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COVR), Official website for exploration, criticism, and development of René Girard‘s Mimetic Theory. Last updated 22 June 2006. This site includes a list of Girard's publications, a list of publications about Girard's work, links to Girardian material available online, the COVR bulletin, and other Girardian resources.
Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary: Understanding the Bible Anew Through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard, last revised 6 May 2006.
Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads, Gil Bailie, Crossroads, 1995.
Violence and the Kingdom of God: Introducing the Anthropology of René Girard, Abbot Andrew Marr, based on an article published in the Fall 1998 issue of the Anglican Theological Review under the title of Violence and the Kingdom of God.
René Girard’s Contribution to the Church of the 21st Century, Gil Bailie. Published in Communio: International Catholic Review, Vol. XXVI, No. 1, Spring 1999.
What is Paul actually inviting the Corinthians to do?, Pauline Guthrie, Theology@McAuley, Australian Catholic University, February 2003.
My Core Convictions: Nonviolence and the Christian Faith, Paul Nuechterlein, last updated 2 February 2005.
Violence and the Sacred Victim Vindicated, Abbot Andrew Marr. Last updated 4 March 2005.
'Let the Word alone do the Work': Mimetic Theory Goes to Church, Rev. Stephanie Perdew, Senior Pastor, and Mrs. Suzanne Ross, Director of Christian Education, United Church of Christ, Wilmette, Illinois, USA. Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COV& R), Koblenz (Schöenstatt) Germany, July 2005.
The Cornerstone Forum: Exploring Faith and Engaging Culture, Gil Bailie. Last updated 14 June 2006.
James Alison Theology Webpage, James Alison, last updated 2 June 2006.
How faith turns violent ~ We have begun to understand the ways violence and religion are linked; now we must learn to break those links, Vern Neufeld Redekop, Ottawa Citizen, 22 May 2006 .

[03] Isaiah 1:11-17, Jeremiah 7:22-23, Hosea 6:6, Amos 5:21-24, Micah 6:1-4 and 6-8, Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7.

[04] Luke 24:34. For Girard's mimetic analysis of the Passion, see his article Are the Gospels Mythical?, First Things, 62, April 1996, pages 27-31, as well as his books The Scapegoat, John Hopkins University Press, 1986, chapters 8 to 12, and I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, Orbis Books, 1999, chapter 11.

[05] Mark 11:15-19; Matthew 5:38-42, 5:43-48, 10:21-22, 10:34-39, 26:47-54; Luke 6:27-36, 12:49-53, 22:35-38, 22:47-51; John 18:36.

[06] The Koran and Muslims: Intellectual stagnation in the Muslim world long preceded revivalism and its hideous offshoot, fundamentalism, A. G. Noorani, Frontline, Volume 23, Issue 13, July 01-14, 2006. Ragarding God's respect for human freedom, Noorani cites the Koran: "Verily never will God change the condition of a people until they change it themselves", Koran 13:11.

[07] Interview with Matthew Fox, David Jay Brown & Rebecca McCLen Novick, Mavericks of the Mind: Conversations for the New Milennium, 1997.

[08] An Excerpt from René Girard's I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, Orbis Books, 2001, chapter twelve, "Scapegoat," pages 154-160 (the quoted paragraph is on page 157).

[09] The following are some critical scholarly reviews of Girard's mimetic theory:
Girard Among the Girardians, J. Bottum, First Things, 61, March 1996, 42-45.
Revelation, the Religions, and Violence, Leo D. Lefebure, Orbis Books, 2000, 244 pages. For a critical and very instructive review of Girard's mimetic theory, see pages 16-23 and 29-31.
Scapegoating after September 11, Eric Gans, Chronicles of Love and Resentment, No. 251: Saturday, November 24, 2001.
René Girard and the Overcoming of MetaphysicsEric Gans, Chronicles of Love and Resentment No. 256: Saturday, February 9, 2002.
René et moi, Eric Gans, Chronicles of Love and Resentment, No. 307: Saturday, September 25, 2004.

[10] See, for example, Revelation, the Religions, and Violence, Leo D. Lefebure, Orbis Books, 2000, 244 pages.

[11] See, for example, Genesis 1:27, 5:2; 1 Kings 19:11-12; Psalm 23; Isaiah 54:7-10; John 17:11-21; Mark 15:38, 16:9-11; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 4:7-8; Revelation 21:1-7.

[12] Excerpts from I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, René Girard, Orbis Books, 2001, chapter 11, The Triumph of the Cross, pages 137-153.

[13] Ephesians 4:1-16.

[14] See Figure 1 in Solidarity & Sustainability, Volume 1, Number 7, November 2005.

[15] See the United Nations Human Development Report 2005 and United Nations MDG Indicators Database. The HDR 2005 ebook is a free download, and the MDG database is free access.


The following are links to previous issues of the newsletter:

V1 N1 May 2005: Cross-Gender Solidarity
V1 N2 June 2005: The Phallocentric Syndrome
V1 N3 July 2005: From Patriarchy to Solidarity
V1 N4 August 2005: Synthesis of Patriarchy and Solidarity
V1 N5 September 2005: From Solidarity to Sustainability
V1 N6 October 2005: Dimensions of Sustainability
V1 N7 November 2005: Analysis and Synthesis of Objective Evidence
V1 N8 December 2005: Solidarity, Subsidiarity, and Sustainability
V2 N1 January 2006: Synthesis of Solidarity and Sustainability
V2 N2 February 2006: Sustainable Human Development
V2 N3 March 2006: Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
V2 N4 April 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions
V2 N5 May 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 2
V2 N6 June 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 3

|Back to SUMMARY| |Back to OUTLINE|
|Back to SECTION 1| |Back to SECTION 2| |Back to SECTION 3|
|Back to SECTION 4| |Back to SECTION 5| |Back to SECTION 6|
|Back to SECTION 7| |Back to SECTION 8| |Back to SECTION 9|
|Link to Ouriques' Article|

The Pelican Symbol


The pelican is a legendary symbol of commitment to generous service to others, especially those who are most vulnerable. Sources:

The Physiologus, circa 400 CE
Adoro Te Devote, 13th Century
Dante's Paradiso, 14th Century
Donna Hrynkiw, 1999
Rev. William Saunders, 2003
Rev. Silvia Roberts, 2004


Dr. Wendy C. Hamblet, Professor of Philosophy, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York: "I think your article analyzing church patriarchy in terms of Girard's theory of Mimetic Rivalry is a valid and compelling treatment. I also believe it is worth trying to publish offsite in a professional Religion and Philosophy journal. As I have said in my last letter, I do not myself greatly appreciate Girard's theory for the universal truth value that he claims for it. But certainly Freud would not have come up with these fascinating notions in the first place if there weren't substantial evidence for their existence in certain circumstances in the world. Your example is one of great ethical significance, so certainly needs to be more widely read!"

Jack Parsons, General Editor, Population Policy Press, UK: "I read your post with interest and you, in turn, may possibly be interested to learn that I have recently published (desk-top) a very strong critique of the authoritarian aspects of Vatican social control and its campaign against population concern and modern contraception. It is a monograph entitled The Vatican Body Count, of which, with David Willey, I am joint-author."

Lee Nason, University of Massachusetts Darmouth: "An interesting post. Are you really trying to dissuade The Church from their historic position? I propose a simpler way to make gender-discrimination a non-issue: convince women that they should not participate in The Church. If all women simply resigned from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox (and other gender-discriminatory) religions -- that is, most religions, such religions would either change or fall apart. Personally, I think a grassroots campaign would be much more effective than presenting the Pope (or the Patriarch) with polemics."

Leonard Dixon, Clark College: "This is food for contemplation. I can't think of any specific feedback to give, at the spur of the moment, except to say that these ideas feel like they are on the right track. In the past, groups of people were relatively insulated from one another – but now everyone's rubbing elbows with everyone else. Paradigms aren't worth 20 cents anymore! I will forward your message to some friends, and to a couple of listservers."

Call for Papers

This newsletter is now seeking scholars willing to write (pro-bono) short articles about the impacts of religious violence on human solidarity and ecological sustainability, as well as critical reviews of this work from the perspective of various religious traditions, i.e., Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc.

Articles should be 1000 words minimum and 2000 words maximum, with no images. They should include title, author's name and affiliation, abstract, and carefully validated references. Please submit only material that has not been already published elsewhere. The author's CV should be submitted with the paper. The newsletter is published monthly, but there are no specific deadlines. Papers can be submitted at any time. If approved by the editor, they will be added as an "invited paper" when time and space allows.

Could you kindly share this invitation with your friends and associates, to see if anyone is interested?

Send all correspondence to the editor, Luis T. Gutierrez.


CALL FOR PAPERS: A conference on Global Built Environment: Towards an Integrated Approach for Sustainability is to be held 11-12 September 2006, Preston, UK. Please submit abstracts by 15 February 2006 to Professor Monjur Mourshed, Senior Lecturer, Built Environment, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom.

CALL FOR PAPERS: The 14th international conference of the Society of Human Ecology (SHE) will take place 18-21 October 2006 at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. SHE welcomes proposals for sessions, multi-session symposia, as well as individual papers. Contact the Conference Committee, SHE XIV.

NEW WEBSITE: UNEP's Creative Gallery on Sustainability Communications, including a Resource Kit on Sustainable Consumption & Production. Free download of resource kits for: Advertising, Energy Savings , Eco-design, Lifestyles, Food & Hunger, Housing, Leisure, Mobility, New ICTs, Textiles, Tourism, Water.

NEW BOOK: Sustainable Development for Engineers: A Handbook and Resource Guide, edited by Karel Mulder, Delft University of Technology, Greenleaf Publishing, The Netherlands, April 2006.

DATABASE UPDATE: The Ecocosm Dynamics Ltd. Links Directory has been updated to include 1314 selected websites. The links are structured as a relational database. There a five columns of information for each link: discipline, sub-discipline, institutional source, content category, and website name/description.

United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The Millennium Development Goals are listed below:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

Interested in more information and data? Click the map below:


Millennium Project

Global Challenges
The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University is proposing the following 15 questions on the global challenges facing humanity.

1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all?
2. How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict?
3. How can population growth and resources be brought into balance?
4. How can genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes?
5. How can policymaking be made more sensitive to global long-term perspectives?
6. How can the global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone?
7. How can ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between rich and poor?
8. How can the threat of new and reemerging diseases and immune micro-organisms be reduced?
9. How can the capacity to decide be improved as the nature of work and institutions change?
10. How can shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction?
11. How can the changing status of women help improve the human condition?
12. How can transnational organized crime networks be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises?
13. How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently?
14. How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition?
15. How can ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?

For more information, visit the Global Challenges Facing Humanity web page. To submit your ideas on how to answer these critical questions, send them to AC/UNU with a copy to Jerome Clayton.

Global Change

Dr. Global Change

Ask Doctor Global Change

Got a question?

Visit Doctor Global Change, resident expert at the site of the Global Change Research Information Office (GCRIO).

Source: GCRIO

Gender Balance in Religion

Women in Roles of
Religious Authority

Katharine Jefferts Schori,
Presiding Bishop,
Episcopal Church USA
Source: ENS

Gender Balance in Society

Women in Roles of
Secular Authority

Joan of Arc, 1412-1431
National Heroine of France
Source: Wikipedia

Religious Patriarchies

The Patriarchs of the
Twelve Tribes of Israel

Before Common Era (BCE)

".... There is no longer male or female;
for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

1900 Years of
Christian Patriarchy

First Council of Nicea
First Council of Constantinople
Council of Ephesus
Council of Chalcedon
Second Council of Constantinople
Third Council of Constantinople
Council of Trullo
Second Council of Nicea
Fourth Council of Constantinople
Fifth Council of Constantinople
Council of Sutri
First Lateran Council
Second Lateran Council
Third Lateran Council
Fourth Lateran Council
First Council of Lyon
Second Council of Lyon
Council of Vienne
Council of Pisa
Council of Constance
Council of Siena
Council of Basel
Fifth Lateran Council
Council of Trent
First Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
Common Era (CE)

"Humankind is never the victim of God;
God is always the victim of humankind."

René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning,
Orbis Books, 1999, page 191


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