What is DHPI?
The Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) is named after the South African Catholic Archbishop Denis Eugene Hurley, a critical voice of the church during Apartheid. DHPI would like to be associated with his stance that the church (its people and organizations) must become a community serving humanity. The Institute hopes to do this by serving people in conflict situations ensuring that building peace addresses the root causes of conflict and the processes by which the peace is achieved, respects the human rights of people.
Who is Denis Hurley?
Denis Eugene Hurley (9 November 1915 – 13 February 2004) was the South African Roman Catholic Vicar Apostolic of Natal and Bishop, and later Archbishop of Durban, from 1946 until 1992. He was born in Cape Town and spent his early years on Robben Island, where his father was the lighthouse keeper. In 1951, Hurley was appointed Archbishop of Durban and the youngest archbishop in the world at that time.
Early on in his ministry as bishop, as he went about the parishes, he heard how much suffering there was as a result of South Africa’s racial policies. He began to talk strongly about these issues in the Bishops’ Conference. Hurley played a leading role in the Natal Convention, a significant meeting of people of all races which produced an impressive vision for a South Africa free of racial divisions. In the long run, however, Vatican II would have a huge impact on the way the Catholic Church in South Africa would begin to really face up to the injustice of apartheid
Hurley is perhaps best known for his opposition to apartheid and his stand for justice. This was initially a rather academic and cerebral rejection of what he called the inherently evil policy of apartheid, but during the late 1960s, and throughout the 1970s, and even more so in the 1980s, he became known for his prophetic and often also very practical leadership, especially in relation to worker rights, trade unions, consumer boycotts, the active promotion of the open schools policy, and support for detainees and their families as well as for conscientious objectors.