New Dean Says Study of Theology Is for All

ROME, DEC. 6, 2005 ( Even in monastic environments, theology isn’t just the concern of religious, says a new dean at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm.

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Trappist Father Daniël Hombergen, the new dean of theology, is a monk from the Maria Toevlucht Monastery, in the Netherlands. He succeeds Benedictine Father Mark Sheridan, who became rector of the university center in Rome.

«Although the environment of our education is monastic,» Father Hombergen told ZENIT, «more profound reflection on theological questions is not, and must not be, the exclusive task of religious.»

The new dean described how pontifical schools in Rome are evolving.

«In our school, we have been collaborating with lay men and women professors for many years now,» he said. «Among the students there are not only religious and clergy, although our three-year bachelor’s program is also valid as preparation for the priesthood.»

«With all the demands implied in an academic education in the 21st century, we also try, insofar as possible, to offer theological education in a broader context of spiritual life,» the Trappist added. «This is our ideal of integration of the different aspects of human existence, based on a long monastic tradition.»

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