Emilce Cuda, the feminine face of a Church “going out”.

Source: farodiroma.it

(from the Alphonsian Academy blog)

Let us begin by offering some information to get to know better this woman, who, in addition to her value, can be a sign of a way of responding as a Church to the signs of the times. Born in Buenos Aires – Argentina (26.12.1965), she was the first Argentinean lay woman to obtain a doctorate in moral theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (2010), specialising in social issues (she studied Political Science at Northwestern University in Chicago, Economics and Business at the University of Business and Social Sciences), and has recently been appointed as the new head of the office of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (2021)[1]. She is a woman, laywoman, wife and mother, married to Patrick Joseph Dunbar, her sons: Tomas and William.

In addition to her teaching and consultancy experience in national and international groups, she is characterised by her interest, dedication and dialogue with popular culture, trade unions and popular movements. Among his contributions, in which one can perceive his centres of interest, one could cite: Democracia y Catolicismo en Estados Unidos: 1792-1945 (2010); Democracia en el Magisterio Pontificio (2014); Para leer a Francisco. Teología, Ética y Política[2] (2016); ; Leggere Francesco. Teologia, etica e politica (2018); as editor: Nuevos estilos sindicales en América Latina y el Caribe (2016); Hacia una ética de la participación y la esperanza (2017).

Who wants to know something of her way of interpreting and interweaving theological and social levels, should read this paragraph, which is the conclusion of a contribution where he faced the following argument: “Theology and politics in the discourse of Pope Francis. Where is the people?”[3] :

“The relationship between theology and politics, in the theology of Pope Francis, cannot be fully identified with either of the two Argentinian currents of Liberation Theology. However, it can be seen that both the category of “unity”, coming from Pironio’s Pastoral Theology current, and the category of “people”, central to the Theology of the People, have always been present in his discourse. Even so, on the one hand, the category of the people as a unity does not prevent Francis from seeing the dimension of conflict as something to be made visible and not hidden. On the other hand, the category of people does not seem – neither in Bergoglio nor in Francis – to be defined as an antagonistic category, but as the eschatological place of liberation that begins in “today”, and this makes it a political category for justice. Where, then, is the people for Francis? Undoubtedly among the poor, which is why Francis is a liberation theologian? Poverty as a theological place is what identifies him with Liberation Theology, at least in three of its variants, but it differs in the way of resolving it, which, for the Bishop of Rome, is social and political dialogue, and in this way Francis’ discourse recovers the dignity of politics and in politics.”

We hope that this face – that of Emilce – will serve as an incentive for the study and commitment of so many women through moral theology and its service to concrete reality. In an interview, she gives an answer that can serve as a clear stimulus for a Church on the move that does not want to resign itself to being just a museum or a garden that must be “well preserved”:

What does it mean to be an ethical theologian specialising in politics? – Many people confuse theology with catechesis; they think that theologians are catechists. Theology is like medicine. There are specialities—biblical scholars, dogmatists, moralists. We deal with ethics. The study of politics is in the field of ethical theology. The theologian can talk about God in himself, or he can talk about God’s work, which is the world and man and his problems, and the latter is ethics. We are not interested in politics as a means of access to power. We are interested in all those acts of man and of human history which instead of favouring the liberation of man collaborate with his enslavement.“[4]

Fr. Antonio Gerardo Fidalgo, C.Ss.R.

(the original text in Spanish)


[1] Cf. https://www.flacso.org.ar/docentes/cuda-emilce/https://catholicethics.com/ethicists/emilce-cuda/

[2] Cf. Gerardo Cruz González, «Presentación del libro Para leer a Francisco, Teología, ética y política, Emilce Cuda», en Revista Digital A&H 11 (octubre 2019-abril 2020) 84-88, https://upaep.mx/revistaayh/numero-actual/5057-para-leer-a-francisco,-teolog%C3%ADa,-%C3%A9tica-y-pol%C3%ADtica,-emilce-cuda

[3] https://nuso.org/articulo/teologia-y-politica-en-el-discurso-del-papa-francisco-donde-esta-el-pueblo/ Este artículo es copia fiel del publicado en la revista Nueva Sociedad 248, Noviembre – Diciembre 2013. Ver además: http://dioseslocos.org/una-entrevista-con-la-teologa-emilce-cuda-una-dialogo-entre-el-peronismo-el-populismo-y-el-catolicismo/; Entrevista a Emilce Cuda: «La necesidad humana como centro de la teología de Francisco» (30.10.2018), en https://www.factorfrancisco.org/emilce-cuda-la-necesidad-humana-como-centro-de-la-teologia-de-francisco/

[4] Elena Llorente, Entrevista a la teóloga argentina Emilce Cuda: “El Papa tiene un discurso contemporáneo”(10.10.2021), en https://www.pagina12.com.ar/27968-el-papa-tiene-un-discurso-contemporaneo