Rivista di etica e scienze sociali / Journal of Ethics & Social Sciences



R.P. Roger Berthouzoz was dean and professor of ethics and moral theology in the Theological Faculty of the Universitypdf of Fribourg (Switzerland). He resigned from the post of dean due to the cancer from which he suffered. He died on the 24th September 2004.

R.P. Roger Berthouzoz was born on the 24th May 1945 in Conthey in the canton of Valais (Switzerland). After his secondary school studies in the St. Maurice College (VS) and the Gymnasia de La Cité (Lausanne), he entered the Order of Preachers (Swiss Province) in 1964. He spent his novitiate in La Sarte, Huy in Belgium, and made his first vows on 29th September 1965. After a study period in Rwanda (Butare and Kaduha) between 1968-1969 and his ordination to the priesthood on June 21st 1970, he continued his studies in theology, philosophy and history at the University of Fribourg. In 1972, having obtained his licence in theology, he continued his studies in Paris and Rome; in 1979 he returned to Fribourg to defend his doctorate thesis in theology, entitled «Liberty and Grace according to the theology of St Irenaeus of Lyon. The debate with the gnostics in the origins of Christian Theology» (Fribourg-Paris 1980).

Assigned to Geneva (1978-1993), he was the Catholic chaplain of the university and Director of the Catholic University Centre of Geneva (1980-1987). At the same time, he was a member and then the person in charge of the Department of Formation of the Catholic Church in Geneva (1980-1993), member of the Community of Ecumenical Work «Church and Environment» (COTE). He had many responsibilities including that of librarian in the Dominican community in Geneva, of which he was also prior (1990-1993).

In 1993 he succeeded R.P. Pinto de Oliveira O.P. as ordinary professor, and thus became the holder of the Chair of Ethics and Specialised Morals.

R.P. Roger Berthouzoz was the author of many scientific articles and books. He was known for his reflections on, and his commitment to, the realms of the social doctrine of the Church, bioethics, ecology, political ethics and ecumenism. He allowed himself to be constantly challenged by current questions and always sought to put ethical demands into effect: during the debate on stem cells, for example, he insisted on the importance of recognising the dignity of the human embryo and on its legal protection. In the same vein, we saw him intervene on the themes of handicapped people, human rights, the right to food, of the integration of ethical and spiritual values in management and economy, ethics and the migration of families, the ethical and theological dimensions in the rights and the duties of minorities, and environmental ethics. He supported the demands for social justice in African societies. He knew how to take a position and express total disagreement, as, for example with the ideas of Charlene Spretnak on the subject of deep ecology (cf. Charlene Spretnak, Les dimensions spirituelles de la politique écologique, with contributions by R. Bertouzoz, J. Grinevald, R. Longet et al., Grand Lancy, Geneva, 1993, pp 79-80).

In 1994 R.P. Roger Berthouzoz, founded and became the first director of the International Centre of Documentation and Research on Christian Social Ethics (CIDRESOC) at the University of Fribourg, of which the principal objective is to collect and analyse the major interventions by the catholic bishops from the whole world, and from all the Christian Churches. He was convinced of the importance of the contribution of the local Churches to social ethics. Under the direction of R. Berthouzoz, R. Papini, C.J. Pinto de Oliviera, R. Sugranyes de Franch, the Centre produced a catalogue bringing together information on about 1500 documents by bishops and bishop's conferences from all over the world, which had been published over a centur. These documents concern economic and development ethics (Economie et Développement. Répertoire des documents épiscopaux des cinq continents, 1891-1991, Fribourg-Paris, 1995, 808p.). The Collection underlines the vitality and the topicality of these interventions. Indeed the responsibility of the local Churches demands a testimony when justice is at stake, and in connection to socio-economical and cultural situations that are specific to them.

After the publication of this catalogue, the CIDRESOC continued collecting and analysing documents concerning social ethics. So as to make these documents more accessible, in January 2000 the first number of the quarterly Bulletin appeared under the title Economie sociale & développement. An interfaculty course on Christian social teaching was also set up. In July 1999, the Centre organised an International Colloquium on the right to food.

In 1999, Fr Berthouzoz was named by the Conseil d'Etat of Fribourg, member of the intercantonal committee of ethics and research in the field of health for the Cantons of Fribourg, Neuchâtel and the Jura. He collaborated also with the Ethical and Human Rights Institut (Institut d'éthique et de droits de l'homme) (University of Fribourg), the Jacques Maritain International Institut (Italy), the International Forum on Management, ethics and spirituality (FIMES) and the HEC of Montreal (Canada). He was the co-director and director of the collection Etudes d'éthique et la Théologie morale (Studies of Ethics and Moral Theology) (Fribourg-Paris). He was involved in the Study Centre, for the research and documentation on Africa in Fribourg (CERDAF) as well as the ENGELBERG FORUM. From 2002, R.P. Roger was responsible as Regent of Studies for the Swiss Province.


Le Père, le Fils et le Saint-Esprit d'après les Lettres d'Ignace d'Antioche, Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 18 (1971) 3, 397-418.

Les chrétiens dans le monde à l'aube des grandes persécutions. Le témoignage de l'Epître à Diognète (IIIe siècle), Sources 2 (1976), 243-251.

Liberté grecque et théologie de la liberté selon St. Paul, in : Autonomie. Dimensions éthiques de la liberté, C.-J. Pinto de Oliveira (ed.), Ed. Universitaires/Ed. du Cerf, Fribourg-Paris 1978, pp. 19-70 (Etudes d'Ethique Chrétienne, 4).

Herméneutique de la foi. Tâche du théologien et démarches philosophiques en perspective catholique, RThPh 111 (1979), 389-407.

Liberté et Grâce suivant la théologie d'Irénée de Lyon. Le débat avec la gnose aux origines de la théologie chrétienne, Éditions Universitaires/Editions du Cerf, Fribourg-Paris 1980, 287 p. (Etudes d'Ethique Chrétienne, 8).

Science et foi. Vers un nouveau dialogue, R. Berthouzoz (ed.), Genève: Ed. du Tricorne, 1983, 70 p.

Grâce et liberté, in : Initiation à la pratique de la théologie, B. Lauret - F. Refoulé (ed.), Ed. du Cerf, Paris 1983, t. IV, pp. 161-199.

Implications éthiques des modèles actuels d'individualisme, Lumière et Vie, n. 184, 1987, 83-96.

Pour une éthique de l'environnement. La responsabilité des chrétiens dans la sauvegarde de la création, Revue d'éthique et de théologie morale, « Le Supplément », n. 169 (1989), 43-87.

Intervention dans un colloque (Lyon 15 et 16 mai 1987), in : Le statut de l’embryon humain, Lyon : Collection Fondation Meyrieux, 1988, pp. 141-147.

Les valeurs morales, in : Les valeurs des Suisses, A. Melich (ed.), Berne: P. Lang, 1991, pp. 139-179.

Religion et croyances, in : Les valeurs des Suisses, A. Melich (ed.), Berne : P. Lang, 1991, pp. 181-242.

Chronique « Ethique et Nature », Lumière et Vie, n. 214, 1993, 99-107.

Prise de position, in : Charlene Spretnak, Les dimensions spirituelles de la politique écologique, avec des prises de position de Roger Berthouzoz, Jacques Grinevald, René Longet, James Lovelock, Sara Parkin et Laurent Rebeaud, Grand-Lancy, Genève: Ed. Jouvence, 1993, pp. 79-80.

Les familles de migration et l’éthique. La situation en Suisse, in: Familles dans le choc des cultures, ed. SKAF, Lucerne, mai-juin 1994, pp. 16-35.

Dimensions éthiques et théologiques des droits et devoirs des minorités, Revue d'éthique et de théologie morale, « Le Supplément », n. 195 (1995), 75-89.

Ethique, économie et développement. L'enseignement des évêques des cinq continents (1891-1991), R. Berthouzoz - Roberto Papini (ed.), Ed. Universitaires/Ed. du Cerf, Fribourg-Paris 1995, 270 p. (Etudes d'éthique chrétienne, 62).

Economie et développement. Répertoire des documents épiscopaux des cinq continents (1891-1991), R. Berthouzoz, R. Papini, C.-J. Pinto de Oliveira, R. Sugranyes de Franch (ed.), Ed. Universitaires/Ed. du Cerf, Fribourg-Paris 1995, 808 p. (Etudes d'éthique chrétienne, 69).

Actualité, méthode et démarches de l’enseignement social chrétien, Civitas – Revue mensuelle politique et culturelle 51 (1996)12, 309-312.

L'intérêt et l'urgence d'une réflexion chrétienne pour la formation de la pensée sociale en Europe, in : J. F. Groen (ed.), Pensée sociale-chrétienne et Europe, Bruxelles 1998, p. 49-53.

L'Église dans le dialogue social. L'intervention des épiscopats catholiques en matière d'économie et de développement, Cahiers du Cidresoc 1, Fribourg 1998, pp. 3-10.

Efficacité économique, base éthique et valeurs spirituelles dans le management d’entreprise, in : Thierry C. Pauchant (ed.), Pour un management éthique et spirituel. Défis, cas, outils et questions, Fides-Presses HEC, Montréal 2000, pp. 245-260.

Lieux et enjeux du questionnement éthique sur le droit à l’alimentation, in : R. Berthouzoz (ed.), Faim de vivre. La multidimensionnalité du droit à l’alimentation, éd. Unesco, Berne 2000, pp. 29-39.pdf

Economic Efficiency, Ethical Foundations, and Spiritual Values in the Management of Organizations, in: Thierry C. Pauchant (ed.), Ethics and Spirituality at Work. Hopes and Pitfalls on the Search for Meaning in Organizations, Quorum Books, Westport, Connecticut, London 2002, p. 147-157.

Le légal et le moral, Sources 29 (2003) 5, 255-262.


Courses in the moral theology programme:

La décision chrétienne, Université de Fribourg 2000, 207 p.
La grâce de Dieu, Université de Fribourg 2001, 161 p.
La foi, Université de Fribourg 2001, 163 p.
L’espérance, Université de Fribourg 2002, 164 p.
La justice, Université de Fribourg 2003, 150 p.
La charité, Université de Fribourg 2003, 183 p. 


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