New Hurley Book to be Launched

Denis Hurley: Truth to Power

Launch: Glenmore Pastoral Centre, Friday 16 November

The Hurley biography Denis Hurley: Truth to Power will have its Durban launch at the Glenmore Pastoral Centre on Friday 16 November.

The book launch will share the stage with the 2012 Archbishop Denis Hurley Lecture, organised by the Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Durban in association with the Denis Hurley Centre Trust.

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, a ground-breaking event for the Catholic Church (1962 – 1965). Archbishop Hurley regarded the Council as “the most exciting experience of my whole life”. He played a significant role in the Council and implemented its vision with great vigour right up to his death in 2004. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, the Archbishop Denis Hurley Lecture will this year focus on one of the important themes of the Council: reaching out to people of other faiths.

Denis Hurley was a courageous opponent of South Africa’s apartheid regime for 50 years, dubbed ‘an ecclesiastical Che Guevara’ by a South African official and ‘guardian of the light’ by Alan Paton. He was a champion of the reforms and ‘spirit’ of Vatican II, who was controversial for his views on birth control, married priests, and women’s ordination.

This new, abridged version of the original biography Guardian of the Light by Paddy Kearney, tells the story of how Hurley became the youngest Catholic bishop in the world in 1947 at 31 and archbishop of Durban in 1952.

His career as an outspoken opponent of apartheid began in 1951 when, as chair of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Hurley drafted the first of the ground-breaking pastoral letters in which the bishops denounced apartheid as ‘blasphemy’ and ‘intrinsically evil’. Along with four other church leaders (including Desmond Tutu), he was regarded as one of the South African state’s ‘most wanted’ political opponents. He was charged with ‘telling lies’ in 1984, but the prosecutor dropped the charges when it became clear that Hurley would be able to prove the truth of his statements. He continued to work as a parish priest well into his eighties.

Truth to Power is published by the University of KwaZulu-Natal and will be sold at the special launch price of R200 per copy. Members of the public are welcome to attend this event. Refreshments will be available.

LECTURE TOPIC:  “The Challenge of Inter-Faith Relations 50 years after Vatican II”


Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM. Chairperson of the KZN Inter-Religious Council

Ms Ela Gandhi, International Vice-President of the World Council of Religions for Peace

Rev Simangaliso Kumalo, Director of the Ujamaa Centre for Biblical and Theological Community Development and Research, UKZN

VENUE: Glenmore Pastoral Centre, 10 Donlene Crescent (off Sphiwo Zuma Avenue, formerly Queen Mary Avenue)

DATE: Friday 16 November 2012

TIME:  Supper: 6.00pm;  Lecture: 7.00pm.