Fr. Renczes is a highly respected professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He is considered one of the foremost experts on the thought of Joseph Ratzinger. As the person in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith for 24 years, and the Roman Catholic Pontiff since 2005, few people have impacted the Catholic Church in the last quarter century more than Joseph Ratzinger. Few will have as much influence in the next 25 years as well.
Although the current Pope is often characterized in different ways, Fr. Renczes will demonstrate that Joseph Ratzinger is actually a very complicated thinker who believes the church must both dialogue and confront the contemporary world. Consequently, he is often misunderstood on the right and the left. This lecture is an opportunity to get a clearer understanding about how the current Pope really thinks, and how his ideas might impact the future of Catholicism.
More on Fr. Renczes, below! Graduate Credit available! For information on credit, or:if you have questions about becoming a student at SU STM,contact Colette Casavant:firstname.lastname@example.org | 206.296.5333
"For more than 10 years I have been teaching dogmatic and patristic theology at the Gregorian University and at the Patristic Institute Augustinianum (both Pontifical Roman Institutions) in Rome. Teaching is mission that I have embraced wholeheartedly and with passion. My family background is what one may call typical to a German / Academic / Protestant, andteaching my “class of stuffed animals”is a part of my early childhood memories. The two distinct disciplinary focuses that I am currently engaged in - Maximus the Confessor (Greek Patristics) and “Theology of Grace”(Theological Anthropology) - spurred me to develop a special interest in the intersection of “historical” (in particular “patristic”)and “systematic” theology. When patristic theology is often treated as a mere representative of the “pre-modern”,“uncritical” period of theology, useful (at best!) to prepare post enlightenment theology, I have discovered the process of a surprising and dynamic “discernment” and “subtle creativity” to be at work in the thought of the Church Fathers. There is a closeness to biblical thought and an openness to Greek rational argumentation there, providing valuable methodological toolsfor present day’s theology--which certainly led to my interest in Joseph Ratzinger’s work. In my own attempts to formulate theological answers to anthropological questions, I find particular inspiration in the constructive“comparison” between the Western and Eastern “towers” of Patristic Grace Theology, Augustine and Maximus the Confessor.
I was lucky to have befriended several cultures and languages during my formative years as Jesuit and student: philosophical studies in Munich (3 years), theological studies in Rome (5years), doctoral studies in Paris (4 years; my thesis at the Sorbonne in French was awarded a prize), Tertianship in Chile (10 months). Surprisingly, this all culminated in a particular love of Israeli culture that I happened to get to know firsthand in numerous visits to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, beginning with my studies in Paris where I made a lot of contacts in the local Jewish community. It is with great enthusiasm that for now almost a year I have been directing – next to my teaching assignments - the Cardinal Bea Centre of the Gregorian University, dedicated to the promotion of a theological knowledge and understanding of Judaism – from both a Jewish and a Christian perspective. I strongly believe that a keener awareness not only of the Old Testament but of the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament will have an enormously beneficial impact on Christian Theology, contributing to a better Christian self-understanding at the backdrop of God’s project with humanity and the Church.
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