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Meeting of the student groups in Castel Gandolfo 2018

Church and State - Church and Society


This year there was a small anniversary to celebrate in Castel Gandolfo. After the initiative of Pope Benedict XVI. In 2008, for the first time, a small group of young theologians had been invited to the mountain town on the edge of Lake Albano to take part in the annual meeting of the former professor and cardinal's student circle, this year's conference from September 7th to 9th, 2018 was already the place to be look back on ten years of gathering together. Since then, a lot has undoubtedly happened and developed in the encounters of the student groups. For example, the Pope Emeritus has not taken part in the meetings since his resignation (2013), but sets the main theme of the conference for each year and is in close contact with the members of the two student groups with great interest in the progress of the work. In addition, last year the New Student Circle was constituted as a registered association at Benedikt's request in order to continue to penetrate his theology on a good legal basis in the future and to present its characteristics through symposia, publications and other scientific formats, but above all in the To promote one's own theological thinking and work and, on this basis, to seek dialogue with outstanding contemporary scholars.
The anniversary went almost unnoticed and was celebrated entirely in the style of the theology and spirituality of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict. One may think of the well-known Benedictine principle of the ora et labora. Framed by the spiritual program of the church prayer of the hours, the daily celebration of Mass and the opportunity to remain silent in the chapel of the conference house, alongside the numerous discussion units that are related to the current theological questions and their own work and projects as well as the exchange of personal and church experiences, the Saturday as the actual conference day at the center of the gathering. It was dedicated to the topic "Church and State - Church and Society". 
The day, which was celebrated with the church as the feast day of the Nativity of Mary, opened after the morning prayer with the celebration of the Eucharist, celebrated by Cardinal Kurt Koch, protector of the New Student Circle. In his remarkable sermon, he developed a small theology of the birthday, which experienced a relativization from the point of view of faith and only received its actual and final meaning on the day of death as the "birthday of eternal life". This is also made clear by the fact that the Church celebrates only three birthdays in its liturgical church year (in addition to the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas, the birth of John the Baptist and Mary, the Mother of God), since they are already looking at entering this world the light of eternity shines on the mystery of the Incarnation. Otherwise, the understanding of the day of their death as entry into the light of eternal glory plays the decisive role for the saints.
The morning was then devoted to the detailed lecture by Professor Dr. dr Udo Di Fabio (born 1954), long-serving judge of the Federal Constitutional Court (1999-2011) in
the successor to Paul Kirchhof and is currently a professor at the Institute for Public Law (department of constitutional law) at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn. Under the title "Limits of Law: On the Metaphysical Relationship of Necessary Orders", the lawyer, who is known far beyond the borders of jurisprudence and winner of numerous awards (including "Reformer of the Year 2005" by the FAZ, Hanns Martin Schleyer Prize, Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic Germany) his perspective of jurisprudence based on faith and reason. 
Addressing the hosts, he remarked that Benedict XVI. as a person stands for what he represents as a theologian, the unity of faith and reason. Di Fabio developed his hermeneutics on the basis of this unity: "If faith and reason form a unity of what is different, then it must be possible to look at the world from faith and theological content from secular science, with respect for the intrinsic value of the other Order". This view opened up the speaker's basic thesis of the "metaphysical deficit" of today's jurisprudence in the context of a demonstrable partial dysfunctionality of the law for the participants. Secular science has departed from the realm of the transcendent and law has left the procedural character of its development that has long prevailed. Here, Di Fabio pursued a system-theoretical approach. Law is being revised, changed, expanded and thus becoming more and more complex. It is precisely this differentiation of the law, which ultimately leads to non-observance in quite a few areas (eg EU stability rules; the Schengen and Dublin systems, ...), which makes the metaphysical deficit recognizable. However, every differentiated science needs a counterpoint to its necessary limitation. The law therefore requires a renewed view of the sources of its knowledge, which give it claim and effectiveness. 
With the consent of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI. In particular, the relationship between faith and reason and their differing interrelationships, also described in his Regensburg speech (2006), Di Fabio therefore pleaded for greater visualization of the supporting fundamentals of law, which result both from faith and from the intellectual power of man and thus from the Develop responsibility for the freedom you have been given. As examples he cited the reference to God in the preamble to the Bonn Basic Law and the constitutional structure of state power. The Basic Law, with its reference to human dignity, was an attempt to go back to before the Enlightenment, when Renaissance humanism formulated the image of man on the basis of being made in the image of God. On the basis of an interconnected relationship between Hellenistic philosophy and revelation, metaphysics was to be included in jurisprudence. According to Di Fabio, faith and religion are not outside the world, but neither are they congruent with it. In order to avoid endangering its faith, the church must always maintain a reasonable distance from the world and politics, while at the same time trying to penetrate them. The speaker's considerations were met with great approval after the lecture, but at the same time were subjected to a critical view in a long-lasting and constructive discussion.
In the afternoon, the work focused on short presentations and statements, which continued the thematic guidelines from the morning. This is how Prof. Dr. Christoph Ohly, 1st Chairman of the New Student Circle eV, under the title Healthy Lai
city. Dimensions of a key concept in the thinking of Joseph Ratzinger / Benedikt XVI. essential guidelines of this ecclesiastical vision of the relationship between church and state in today's time. He emphasized in particular the effects of the rightly understood separation of church and state and their meaningful cooperation (Gaudium et Spes, 76) for the individual believer and for the church community. Finally, among others, P. Prof. Dr. Vincent Twomey SVD, member of the student group, on the relationship between church and politics in the context of Joseph Ratzinger's statements, not least against the background of the situation in his home country Ireland -136bad5cf58d_ 
Also this year, a small group from each of the two student groups was able to experience the encounter with the Pope Emeritus in the Monastero Mater Ecclesiae. As always, he was very interested in the results of the conference and also in the personal life situations and work of the members of both student groups. We can now look forward to the meeting next year with joy and anticipation!
dr Josef Zöhrer School group Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Ohly / Father Dr. Sven Conrad FSSP New Student Circle Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI. registered association

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