In keeping with a custom he created when he was a university professor, Pope Benedict XVI is gathering some of his former students for his annual "Ratzinger School Circle." The group will meet at Castel Gandolfo between August 27 and 30 to discuss issues of theological and cultural interest.
Before being elected Pontiff, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger held annual summer meetings with some of his former students from the theology departments of Tubingen and Ratisbona. Among the students convened by then Cardinal Ratzinger were important theologians, such as Cardinal Cristoph Schonborn of Vienna, who was also one of the editors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Since 2005, the Pope has kept the tradition of meeting with the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis,” with discussions in previous years focusing on issues such as evolution and Islam.
This year the group will focus on the “Mission of the Church,” a topic that is central in the reflections of Ratzinger the theologian.
The only former student of Joseph Ratzinger in the United States who regularly attends the meetings is Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, the editor of Ignatius Press. "I am planning to attend," Fr. Fessio told CNA.