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Title: Archbishop Denis Hurley's Strange Silence on Apartheid at Vatican II
Author(s): DENIS, Philippe
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 89    Issue: 4   Date: 2013   
Pages: 411-424
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.89.4.3011227

Abstract :
By the time of the Council the reputation of Denis Hurley, archbishop of Durban, as a staunch opponent of apartheid, was already well established. He made several interventions in aula and played a prominent role topics including such as English in the liturgy and seminary training. Yet, unlike the American bishops for example, he never campaigned for a conciliar condemnation of racial discrimination and apartheid. The paper discusses this 'strange omission' (Ian Linden). There is evidence that Hurley would in fact have liked to raise the issue at the Council. He did so at a press conference in Rome and in private conversations. But the lack of support from his fellow bishops, who feared a backlash from the South African government, prevented him from mentioning apartheid at the Council. As a man attached to collegiality, he did not think that an individual initiative would help. The effect of Vatican II on the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s response to apartheid must be seen in the long term. After the Council the South African bishops gradually became more assertive. Hurley lost the battle but not the war.

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