Feb. 9, 2016

South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, archbishop of Durban, will speak on racial reconciliation on Wednesday, Feb. 17, and will deliver the annual Cardinal Dearden Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Cardinal Napier's speech on racial reconciliation is titled " Pax et Bonum - a pious greeting or a life changing challenge?: The Challenge of Reconciliation in Southern Africa." He will draw on his experiences in South Africa, addressing how political processes were aided by seeking true reconciliation. It will cover topics of forgiveness, love of one's enemy, and the dignity of the human person.

"If people thought that the advances in racial reconciliation in the U.S. achieved in the 1960s solved our nation's racial tensions, recent events such as those in Ferguson and with the 'Black Lives Matter' movement should reveal that we are still in need of reconciliation," said William Mattison, associate professor of moral theology and interim dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies. "The no doubt painful, but also successful experience of South Africa and the wisdom of Cardinal Napier can offer guidance."

During the Cardinal Dearden Lecture the following day, Cardinal Napier will discuss his experiences of collegiality and synodality as a cardinal archbishop in South Africa and across the world.

Established in 1982 by several American bishops, the Cardinal Dearden Lecture honors its namesake who was known for his dedication to promulgating the teachings of Vatican II in the United States. The lecture series, hosted by the School of Theology and Religious Studies, is a testament to the late archbishop of Detroit's wisdom, dedication, and leadership in the Church.

"Cardinal Napier is a phenomenal person to deliver the Dearden lecture on Vatican II since he knows the Church from the inside out," said Mattison.

Cardinal Napier was appointed archbishop of Durban in 1992. He was elevated to cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. During political unrest in South Africa, Cardinal Napier was involved in the negotiation with national and Church leaders. He was present for the signing of the Peace Accord in 1991 and the subsequent 1994 elections. He is known for his active participation on the pontifical council for Health Care Workers and as co-president of the Ordinary Synod on the Family.

Pax et Bonum will take place in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, Great Room B, at 4:30 p.m. The Cardinal Dearden Lecture will be held in Caldwell Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information or to request accommodations for individuals with disabilities, please contact the School of Theology and Religious Studies at 202-319-5683.