Loading
Students of Benedict XVI gather for Mass, annual dialogue
Father Vincent Twomey, Benedict's former student at the Mariapoli Center in Castel Gandolfo, Italy on September 1, 2013. Credit: Estefania Aguirre/CNA.
Father Vincent Twomey, Benedict's former student at the Mariapoli Center in Castel Gandolfo, Italy on September 1, 2013. Credit: Estefania Aguirre/CNA.
By Estefania Aguirre
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Former students of Benedict XVI met for the first time without him this year for their annual “Schülerkreis” discussions, although they were able to see the former Pope briefly for Mass.

“He has a great sense of humor and we loved to be with him,” said Father Vincent Twomey told CNA on Sept. 1. “He has a great sense of joy and he loves to be with his students.”

The Schülerkreis is a circle of doctoral and post-doctoral students who had then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - who would later become Pope Benedict XVI - as their supervisor and professor at the University of Regensburg.

Since 1978, the group has been meeting annually with the former Pope to hold discussions, until this year. The results of the group’s yearly dialogues are sometimes published.

This event was the first time new Schülerkreis members – those who are studying Ratzinger’s theology – met alongside the old members, Ratzinger’s former students.

They met at the Focolare movement’s Mariapoli Center in the town of Castel Gandolfo from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 alongside guest speaker Remi Brague to discuss “the question of God in a secularized society.”

Although Benedict did not participate in the discussions with his former students, he met with them during the gathering. The former Pope celebrated Mass at the end of the meeting on Sept. 2 at the Mariapoli Center.

“He was in very good form and he seemed very relaxed,” said Fr. Twomey. “It was a wonderful experience to meet with him, and each year was the same feeling.”

Although Benedict seemed “slightly smaller” this year, he actually looked “much frailer last year when he was still Pope than he did this year,” the priest added.

Fr. Twomey described his student years under Ratzinger’s supervision at the University of Regensburg as “a wonderful experience.”

“There was a tremendous excitement,” he said. “He managed to create a kind of sense of excitement to theology.”

“He has the capacity to enable people to speak their mind, he listens very carefully and takes in what you say and then he leads the discussion onto a higher level,” Fr. Twomey explained.

The Irish priest said that Benedict had offered him an approach to theology that he had not received anywhere else.

He reflected on Ratzinger’s influential “courage in tackling the most difficult questions, his complete confidence in the fact that the truth has been entrusted to the Church and to us.”

“But our task is to discover it and to enter into dialogue with all those who are searching for the truth,” he added.

The priest explained that it was this dialogue that marked Benedict’s theology.

“For him, revelation is God’s dialogue with us and we’re part of that dialogue and it is still continuing,” he said.

“Theology is seeking understanding in a world that is no longer aware of God,” said Fr. Twomey. “But you can’t exclude God from reality.”

The former Pope, he said, was never judgmental, but tried to be objective and was capable of “tuning in with the world.”

“He once said, ‘we don’t have the truth, the truth has us, we don’t possess truth, the truth possesses us’,” the priest reflected.

He added that Benedict had criticized contemporary German theology, which is why he “never received the same openness” in Germany that “he would have received in the United States or France.”

“But there are many young theologians in the ‘New Schülerkreis’ who are enthusiastic about Ratzinger and have really enlivened greatly our discussions,” he said.

Tags: Theology, Benedict XVI

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
20

Liturgical Calendar

November 20, 2014

Thursday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 19:41-44

Gospel
Date
11/20/14
11/19/14
11/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 5: 1-10
Gospel:: Lk 19: 41-44

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/20/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:41-44

Homily
Date
11/20/14
11/19/14
11/18/14