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POPE-SCHULERKREIS Jul-16-2012 (240 words) xxxi

Pope's former students to discuss relations with Anglicans, Lutherans

(CNS/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's former doctoral students will meet in late August to discuss ecumenical relations involving Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans, the Vatican press office confirmed.

Each year the scholars choose a topic to discuss in-depth, and they invite speakers to make presentations at the closed-door meetings, usually held in Castel Gandolfo, a hilltop village where the pope spends his summer vacation.

One of this year's speakers will be German Cardinal Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Vatican said July 16.

The summer's meeting was expected to touch on "Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue," a book compiled by Cardinal Kasper and published in 2009.

The book summarized the results of 40 years of official Catholic dialogues with the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

The three dozen students who did their doctoral dissertations in Germany under the direction of then-Father Joseph Ratzinger have met regularly since the late 1970s in an annual gathering known as the "Ratzinger Schulerkreis" (Ratzinger student circle).

Previous meetings have also had had an ecumenical focus. The group discussed Christian mission from an ecumenical perspective in 2009, and two Protestant professors from Germany offered their reflections in 2008 on the historicity of the New Testament and on Christ's own understanding of his passion and death.


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