Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Father Louis Jean Bouyer (1913 - 2004)

This is a multi-part series on Father Louis Jean Bouyer (1913 - 2004) and his book Introduction to Spirituality. Part 2 will post soon.


Theologian: Father Louis Bouyer wrote on a variety of theological subjects. He is distinguished in the fields of Sacred Scripture, Christian & Catholic Spirituality, Mariology, Liturgy, Ecumenism, Systematics, and Monastic Spirituality.

Conversion: Raised Protestant and was a member of various Lutheran-Protestant congregations. He was first made a Lutheran pastor, until his later conversion. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1946 and became a member of the French oratory.

Education & Career: He studied at Strasbourg University 1932-1936 for his undergraduate degree. He received his doctorate in theology from the University of Paris 1940-1942. He later went on to teach at the Institut Catholique upon his conversion in 1946. He was a member of the theological faculty at the University of Notre Dame in the 1950s.

Importance: A significant European theologian that distinguished himself in the areas of spirituality and liturgical renewal at Vatican II.

Theological Perspective: His Protestant background put Sacred Scripture at the forefront of his outlook. The Bible was an essential component to be proclaimed in all Liturgies. He believed in a “returning to the sources” and the well-known French principle called, “ressourcement.”

In addition to his focus on Liturgy, Bouyer placed a great deal of emphasis on Ecclesiology and the unified Body of Christ in his writings.

Like many of the Vatican II Council Fathers, he was very supportive of the ideals of Vatican II. However, he later became less happy with the results implemented after the Council completed. According to research, Farther Bouyer cared more for cautious and pastorally wise changes in the liturgy — rooted in a grassroots sense of revision.

So much of his work in spirituality and liturgy is seen in Vatican II. Some believe he is best known for his works in Christian Spirituality.

His Companions in Christ: In his life, he was personal friends with then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and other great minds of that era.

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