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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.34 n.2 Pretoria Dec. 2008


Advocate HJB Vieyra (1902 - 1965) and his contribution to the Roman Catholic Church's stance on apartheid



Mark James

School of Religion and Theology, University of KwaZulu Natal, Scottsville, South Africa




Advocate Herbert Joseph Bernard Vieyra (1902-1965) was a prominent Roman Catholic lay leader who contributed to the Church's response to apartheid. He was prominent in assisting the Catholic bishops in formulating their responses to apartheid legislation and was greatly involved in the Joint Catholic Council for Africans and Europeans (JCCAE). Vieyra strongly believed that lay Catholics needed to be involved in the social and political arena of their faith. He advocated that the dignity of every human being had to be upheld, especially in the face of government legislation that denied that black people shared this God-given dignity. The limitations of Vieyra's leadership were evident in the JCCAE's response to the Defiance Campaign. But despite his shortcomings, Vieyra remains a pioneering lay Catholic who involved himself in social issues of South Africa at a time when most white Catholics implicitly supported the Nationalist government's apartheid policies.



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