For the first time since 1978, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did not publicly meet with his students, but he did celebrate Holy Mass for them, Catholic News Agency reported.
Known as the “Schuelerkreis,” or “students' circle,” according to CNA, the group is made up of about 50 individuals who pursued their doctorate and post-doctoral studies under the guidance of Joseph Ratzinger at the University of Regensburg in Germany. This year, the group also met with the newest members of the circle – students who are studying Benedict XVI’s theology, CNA reports.
Benedict XVI invited the philosopher Rémi Brague as the guest speaker for this year’s gathering and chose the topic of “the question of God against the background of secularization.”
Then-Cardinal Ratzinger met with his students even after being appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and continued the tradition as Pope Benedict XVI.
A former student of Benedict, Fr. Vincent Twomey, told CNA he has fond memories of their interactions:
“He has a great sense of humor and we loved to be with him… He has a great sense of joy and he loves to be with his students…
“He has the capacity to enable people to speak their mind, he listens very carefully and takes in what you say and then he leads the discussion onto a higher level.”
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