Pope and his former students to gather at Castel Gandolfo

VATICAN CITY — The Swiss archbishop chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to be the new head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will be the featured speaker at a gathering with the pope and about three dozen of his former students.

The annual meeting of the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis” (Ratzinger student circle) begins tomorrow at Castel Gandolfo and will bring together about three dozen scholars who did their doctoral dissertations under the direction of the former Professor Father Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. The “schulerkreis” has met regularly since the late 1970s and the practice continued even after the former professor became pope.

L’Osservatore Romano reported that discussions at this year’s meeting will focus on understanding the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the balance it tried to strike between reform and maintaining tradition.

Father Joseph Ratzinger, right, talks with an unidentified prelate in this photo taken in 1962 during the Second Vatican Council. The future pope attended all four sessions of the council as a theological adviser. (CNS/KNA)

The Vatican newspaper said the “schulerkreis” presented Pope Benedict with a list of possible speakers and the pope chose Archbishop Kurt Koch, the former bishop of Basel, Switzerland. The archbishop is the new head of the Vatican’s ecumenism office. Archbishop Koch will give one lecture on “The Second Vatican Council Between Tradition and Innovation,” and another on the council’s document on the liturgy and on the liturgical reforms it launched.

Archbishop Koch’s talks will be followed by discussion among the participants, including the pope, the Vatican newspaper said. The pope will celebrate Mass for his former students Sunday morning and have breakfast with them. Then the group will participate in the pope’s recitation of the Angelus.

The pope’s annual meetings with his former students are held behind closed doors, although participants have begun organizing the publication of each session’s papers. They will present the pope with the book containing the 2008 presentations by two Protestant theologians from Germany who were asked to offer their reflections on the historicity of the New Testament and on Christ’s own understanding of his passion and death.

7 Responses

  1. Theological advisor.What is that? Paul said that he professes to know nothing but christ and him crucified. What else is there?

  2. . . .uh-huh, and what do you think Paul meant by that? As soon as you begin to reply you’re doing theology. . .it’s unavoidable.

  3. Sometimes you can’t make the difference between a priest and a devil. Just think about this. By the way great article.

  4. Boy, that Pope sure does live delishously. Castle retreat, guards, cooks. Are you guys sure hes Christs rep here on earth? Jesus said that the son of man has no where to lay his head. Oh, nevermind , i get it. Great scam. Better than bernie maddoc. Rake in the cash being gods second hand man. Why didnt i think of that. I could be selling indulgences. No way to find out if they dont work. Much better than a ponzi scheme.

  5. Yeah Wayne, you can tell the Pope, bishops, and priests are all about this for their own comfort because they impose celibacy on themselves and quite often get arrested, and occasionally executed, because of what they do.

    Seriously man, perhaps a little charity? You don’t have to believe what Catholics believe, but you should accept that Catholics, the Pope included, do. Especially when someone like Pope Benedict gets as much crap as he does over defending the teachings of the church; you have no idea how popular he could be or how much money he could bring in simply by softening his stance on something like gay marriage.

  6. Friend Jacob, The imposed celibacy is a ruse, which everyone knows now. Ok , maybe i was wrong about the high life of the Pope and bishops. They probably sleep on hard cots and eat hot dogs and canned beans. But to keep up the holy factor, they have to agree that gay marrige is wrong. Even some god haters believe its wrong. What strikes me as funny is, CC is down on homosexuals while the priesthood is at least 80% homosexual. Thats the pot calling the skillet black

  7. Wayne, you’re completely and totally wrong. Might I suggest you get your information on Catholics from people who don’t hate Catholicism? Consider: if celibacy was a ruse, why would it annoy so many anti-Catholics? And your 80% thing falls under the whole 68% of all statistics are made up on the spot rule.

    Also, recall that even if there were a thousand news stories on priests being retarded, there’s about half a million priests. Any number is too high, but it’d have to be a lot higher for you to be able to generalize to all, most, or even a noticeable fragment of priests.

    I’m done now though, this really isn’t a logical place to discuss this (unless you’re just in the habit of spewing ignorance wherever you go).

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