Prof. dr. J.M. (Jan) Kerkhofs
Honorary supervisor Prof. Dr. J.A.M. Berghman - 1992 –Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen
Jan Kerkhofs (Hasselt, 1924–Heverlee, 2015) was a Belgian Jesuit who studied philosophy, theology, and political and social sciences after the minor seminary. From 1959 to 1989, he was Professor of Theology and Sociology at the Catholic University of Leuven.
Kerkhofs belonged to the progressive wing in theology. For example, he was in favor of married priests and was a co-founder of the Interdiocesaan Pastoraal Beraad (Interdiocesan Pastoral Council (IPB)), which set itself up as a consultative and participatory body of laypeople within the Church in Flanders.
In the 1970s, he took the initiative to establish the Foundation for the European Values Study, in which Tilburg professor Ruud de Moor also played an important role. The study—for which the honorary doctorate was awarded—was based on surveys that were representative of approximately 600 million adults. The results were not only reflected in some 70 books and hundreds of articles but also in colloquia for multinational companies, for the bishops' conferences of Europe and the United States, and for executives of the European Christian Democrats. The EVS study demonstrated the rapid decline of ecclesiology and religious practice in post-war Western Europe.
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