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+Father Maurice Borrmans, 92

December 29, 2017

Father Maurice Borrmans, a French missionary who became a leading figure in Catholic-Muslim dialogue, died on December 26 at the age of 92.

Moved by the example of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, Borrmans entered the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) and was ordained to the priesthood in Tunisia in 1949. He later taught at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies and founded its journal Islamochristiana, serving as editor from 1975 to 2004.

In 1981, Father Borrmans wrote the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue’s revised Guidelines for Dialogue between Christians and Muslims. The work, written in French, was later translated into English and published by Paulist Press in 1990.

In 2006, Father Borrmans told a Vatican conference that Christian minorities in Muslim nations “run the risk of becoming ‘scapegoats’ as a result of facile generalizations and mixtures that revive old prejudices and dreams of crusades or jihad.”

The priest’s decades-old correspondence with the Trappist prior of Our Lady of Atlas in Tibhirine, Algeria, was published in 2015. (The prior and six other monks were kidnapped and murdered in 1996 by the insurgent Armed Islamic Group of Algeria.) The Pontifical Urban University also paid tribute to Father Borrmans in 2015 by granting him an honorary degree.


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