Ratzinger Students to Focus on Ecumenism

Annual Meeting Starts This Week

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 27, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The annual meeting between Benedict XVI and his former students begins this year on Thursday. 

The students, known as the Ratzinger Schulerkreis, gather each summer for several days of discussions on a particular theme.

The theme of this year’s encounter is ecumenism. Among those present will be Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. 

It will be the 36th time that this annual encounter has taken place.

Ratzinger’s first meeting with his former pupils took place in March of 1977, when Pope Paul VI appointed him archbishop of Munich-Freising. The annual appointment was kept thereafter, though students were surprised in 2005 to receive a letter from the new Pope a few months after his election, to call them to Castel Gandolfo to continue the custom.

That year they reflected on Islam, in 2006 and 2007 on evolution and evolutionary theories, in 2008 on the historical Jesus and his passion, in 2009 on the mission and on dialogue with religions and cultures, and in 2010 on the appropriate interpretation of the Second Vatican Council. Last year they considered the new evangelization.

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