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Pope Benedict XVI surprises conference attendees at Franciscan University with personal letter



Zoe Romanowsky - published on 10/21/22

The pope emeritus wrote that he is honored that an international symposium is dealing with his ecclesiology. 

When theologians from around the world gathered with over 350 attendees at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio this past week for an International Symposium focused on the ecclesiology of Benedict XVI, they received a delightful surprise. The pope emeritus had sent them a letter for the occasion.

The personal four page letter was sent to university president Fr. Dave Pivonka and read aloud by Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, president of the Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation.

“It is a great honor and joy for me that in the United States of America, at Franciscan University of Steubenville, an International Symposium is dealing with my ecclesiology,” wrote Benedict. His letter includes an insightful personal summary of the direction of his thought and how, in Vatican II, “the question of the Church in the world finally became the real central problem.”

Professor at Duke Divinity School and speaker at the conference, Peter Casarella, PhD, said Benedict’s letter is very significant. “Later scholars will come and look at this Steubenville document to see how he is always reflecting, even at the age of 95, on continuity and change in the whole of Catholic Tradition.”

The conference focused on “Joseph Ratzinger’s vision of the Church and its relevance for contemporary challenges” and its themes included culture, church and state, history, eschatology, synodality, the liturgy, petrine primacy, Scripture, ecumenism, secularism, pastoral care, evangelization, the role of women, and more.

You can read the letter in full at Franciscan University’s web site

Pope Benedict XVI
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