.- During his visit to Bavaria Pope Benedict XVI will be giving a conference at the University of Regensburg (Ratisbona), where he was once a professor and today is honorary professor.
From 1969 to 1977, Joseph Ratzinger was professor of dogma and history of dogma at the University of Regensburg. This afternoon the Pope is scheduled to give a conference on the contribution of Catholic theology to the world of science.
The organizer of the Pope’s visit to the university, Jörg Wiesner, who knew the Pope when he was professor there, said, “All of the preparations have been made.” Although he is Protestant, Wiesner says he has admired Benedict XVI since the time when he was Pro-rector, especially for his “calm and simple manner” and for the “rational way in which he always gets at a result or conclusion.”
Theology professor Father Wolfgang Beinert, who was Ratzinger’s assistant at the University of Regensburg and later became professor of dogma, has known the Pope since his days at Tübingen. “I received my training from him, and I concelebrated with him each morning at the students’ residence,” he recalled.
Father Beinert also remembers the Pope for his brilliant spirit. “His classes were always overflowing,” the 73 year-old priest said. “And despite that he was always intensely dedicated to all the students from around the world that he advised. When they felt depressed, he helped them by encouraging and consoling them, and once he become someone’s advisor he was even concerned with their posterior academic work. Even today the Pope meets once a year with some of his former students,” Father Beinert said.
Another former colleague of the Pope, Professor Dieter Heinrich, who was rector of the university the last year that Benedict XVI was there, vividly recalls his conversations with Professor Ratzinger. He said that while the Holy Father was a man of brief words, when it was his turn to speak he always led discussions in an appropriate direction. “He has the ability to get to the point in a precise way,” Heinrich said.