Thursday, March 14, 2013

Subject of Pope's unfinished doctoral thesis

The young Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio came to Germany in the eighties to work on his thesis. In fact, the Argentine Pope still has old friends.

As a Catholic from Germany these days you're already satisfied with little. Until recently, we were finally Pope - now satisfaction is made up again in that while the newly elected pontiff indeed comes from Argentina, he still has a close relationship to Germany.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio has even lived for a time in Germany. In 1985, the then-Father journeyed from Argentina to study, he did not land on one of the great theological faculties - but at the quietly contemplative philosophy and theology Sankt Georgen Graduate School . 368 students are enrolled in the winter semester 2012/2013.

They are pleased about the choice of Bergoglio as the head of the Catholic Church, it was announced in the morning after the election of a Pope on the website of the private university operated by the Jesuits in Frankfurt. They are particularly connected with Francis, "because when he studied in Germany during the mid-eighties he spent a few months in Sankt Georgen, to consult with individual professors about a possible dissertation topic." It did not then unfortunately come to conclusion. And Bergoglio had not studied fulltime in Sankt Georgen also adds as a spokeswoman.

One who was here in 1985, is Michael Sievernich. The Honorary Professor of Pastoral Theology remembers well his time with the Argentinian who he had met earlier during a visit to South America. At Sankt Georgen, Sievernich says Bergoglio was interested in the figure of the Catholic theologian Romano Guardini - about him he wanted to write his dissertation. And Saint Georgen was to the right place: In the library of the Frankfurt academy, according to Sievernich was a particularly large literature on the Munich religious philosopher who died in 1968.

"Early on the road"

"At that time I had several meetings with Bergoglio and to know him as a very open-minded people," says Sievernich. "I had just become a professor and talked with him on matters of substance." Does the Pope then actually speak German? "He really does," says Sievernich. "But then we had a chat in Spanish." And not just about theology, adds the professor. "We're both members of the same order," he says. "So there are also personal issues."

Wendelin Köster, the former rector of the seminary, recalls Bergoglio's stay in Sankt Georgen.

Today's college rector told the "Bayerischer Rundfunk" that the future Pope had then lived in one of the rooms of the university. He was also determined to "travel around the area". Francis still retains and cherishes "sympathy for Germany."

His former companion, Sievernich does not know why Father Bergoglio had not completed his dissertation at the University of Frankfurt. The two Jesuits have lost with each other over the years: "It's all water under the bridge now," he says.

Pope saying Mass in Germany

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