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Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass with former students at Vatican

Benedict XVI will not attend the annual gathering that his former students have organized for over 30 years now to debate on theology. This weekends event will take place at Castel Gandolfo, but on Sunday the Pope emeritus will celebrate Mass with them at the Vatican.   

FR. STEPHEN OTTO HORN 

Coordinator, Ratzinger Schí¼lerkreis 

"We are naturally sad that he will not be attending the theological discussions. But we are very happy to celebrate the Holy Mass with him at the Vatican. So he will not be entirely absent, but he will be at the Eucharist, where we'll have the chance to say 'good morning.' Each one of us can say 'good morning' to him.â? 

Benedict XVI's former students will meet from August 29 to September 2. After his resignation, their professor decided he would not longer assist these gatherings, and would remain under retirement at the Vatican. 

FR. STEPHEN OTTO HORN 

Coordinator, Ratzinger Schí¼lerkreis 

"Now that he has retired from the Papal office, he would like to live a contemplative life. FLASH He had already said, one, two, three years ago, 'maybe next time I will not be able to participate.' So he had already thought he might not always take part.â? 

At the beginning, the Circle of Former Students of Benedict XVI, the "Ratzinger Schí¼lerkreis,â? consisted of the people he directed his doctoral thesis to. He was an unforgettable teacher. 

Father Stephan Otto Horn became a close collaborators, and he cherishes valuable lessons about the Pope emeritus' way of teaching. 

FR. STEPHEN OTTO HORN 

Coordinator, Ratzinger Schí¼lerkreis

"He was always very simple, not detached, not above anyone. He would debate with us a lot, and we had true debates.â? 

About 30 theologians are expected to attend the gathering to debate this year's theme, "the question of God against the background of secularization.â? But the initial circle of former students has now expanded to other academics, which is why, even though Benedict XVI will not be there, the "Ratzinger Schí¼lerkreisâ? continues growing. 

JRB/RCarr 

MG/CTV 

-GdP 

-BR 

-Up:RCarr