A Master’s degree to understand Joseph Ratzinger’s theology


Vatican City 15th February 2016 – To know the figure, the doctrine and the spirituality of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger through his works and his teachings. These are the objectives of the Master’s degree entitled: “Joseph Ratzinger. Studies and spirituality”, organized by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation and the Augustinian Patristic Institute of Rome. It will start tomorrow and the director, father Mauricio Saavedra, Augustinian priest, told us about it.


Why did you choose this master’s degree and who is it addressed to?

Joseph Ratzinger has always had a great success because of his theological severity and the scientific value of his works. Debates about doctrine and exegesis have been influenced by his studies. The Pope’s thoughts will be studied and analysed through a contemporary perspective in the context of a Church that is both young and deep-rooted.

It is addressed to graduated or baccalaureate students in Philosophy or Theology. Other equivalent qualifications satisfy the requirements.

Which are the main objectives of the master’s degree?

The objectives are to know the figure, the doctrine and the spirituality of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger through his works and his teachings.

How is it organized?

The master’s degree will be held in two semesters during the school period (February 2016- January 2017). Students will attend the courses and write a thesis with the support of their teachers. They will also have a period of personalized tutoring.

The programme is in eight thematic modules of three lessons each. It will be offered in Italian and English language, depending on the requests.

Could you tell us about the modules of the course?

The courses will be about Joseph Ratzinger’s doctrine and spirituality, starting from the analysis of his exegetic works, and the study of the Revelation and the Exegesis of the Fathers of old and medieval Church. The social, historical and cultural context of Christianity and the debate with Jews and Gentle Christians will be discussed, along with the essential aspects of Christianity and the Pope’s thoughts: holy communion, primacy, ecclesiology, ecumenism, liturgy. The lessons will help students understand the complex elements of the theology and the theological method of Ratzinger by his experience during the Second Vatican Council and the past century. They will then go into his fundamental Theology and Christology.

The last three lessons of the master’s degree will be dedicated to Saint Augustine and his thoughts, in order to make a link between Joseph Ratzinger and the great patristic thinker Augustine of Hippo.

Who are the teachers and how did you call them?

The teachers are scholars of world renown, who specialized in theological and biblical subjects. We have called them for their deep knowledge of the works, the doctrine and the thoughts of Joseph Ratzinger.

How many students are there?

More than seventy-five.

Are registrations open?

They were opened on 1st December 2015 and they are still available.

Luca Caruso