Romano Guardini

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Servant of God

Romano Guardini
Priest
Romano Guardini um 1920.JPG
Romano Guardini in 1920
Personal details
Born(1885-02-17)17 February 1885
Verona, Italy
Died1 October 1968(1968-10-01) (aged 83)
Munich, Germany
Sainthood
Feast dayOctober 01
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church

Romano Guardini (17 February 1885 – 1 October 1968) was an Italian-born German Catholic priest, author, and academic. He was one of the most important figures in Catholic intellectual life in the 20th century.

Contents

Life and work

Guardini was born in Verona, Italy, in 1885. His family moved to Mainz when he was one year old and he lived in Germany for the rest of his life. He attended the Rabanus-Maurus-Gymnasium. After studying chemistry in Tübingen for two semesters, and economics in Munich and Berlin for three, he decided to become a priest. After studying Theology in Freiburg im Breisgau and Tübingen, he was ordained in Mainz in 1910. He briefly worked in a pastoral position before returning to Freiburg to work on his doctorate in Theology under Engelbert Krebs. He received his doctorate in 1915 for a dissertation on Bonaventure. He completed his "Habilitation" in Dogmatic Theology at the University of Bonn in 1922, again with a dissertation on Bonaventure. Throughout this period he also worked as a chaplain to the Catholic youth movement.

Verona Comune in Veneto, Italy

Verona is a city on the Adige river in Veneto, Italy, with 258,108 inhabitants. It is one of the seven provincial capitals of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third largest in northeast Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona covers an area of 1,426 km2 (550.58 sq mi) and has a population of 714,274 inhabitants. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, because of its artistic heritage and several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheater built by the Romans.

Mainz Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Mainz is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The city is located on the Rhine river at its confluence with the Main river, opposite Wiesbaden on the border with Hesse. Mainz is an independent city with a population of 206,628 (2015) and forms part of the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region.

Rabanus-Maurus-Gymnasium school

The Rabanus-Maurus-Gymnasium is a classical gymnasium school in the Neustadt district of Mainz.

In 1923 he was appointed to a chair in Philosophy of Religion at the University of Berlin. In the 1935 essay "Der Heiland" (The Saviour) he criticized Nazi mythologizing of the person of Jesus and emphasized the Jewishness of Jesus. The Nazis forced him to resign from his Berlin position in 1939. From 1943 to 1945 he retired to Mooshausen, where his friend Josef Weiger had been parish priest since 1917.

In 1945 Guardini was appointed professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Tübingen and resumed lecturing on the Philosophy of Religion. In 1948, he became professor at the University of Munich, where he remained until retiring for health reasons in 1962.

University of Tübingen public research university located in the city of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The University of Tübingen, officially the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, is a public research university located in the city of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Guardini died in Munich, Bavaria on 1 October 1968. He was buried in the priests’ cemetery of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Munich. His estate was left to the Catholic Academy in Bavaria that he had co-founded.

Reputation and influence

Guardini's books were often powerful studies of traditional themes in the light of present-day challenges or examinations of current problems as approached from the Christian, and especially Catholic, tradition. He was able to get inside such different worldviews as those of Socrates, Plato, Augustine, Dante, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Dostojevski and Nietzsche, and make sense of them for modern readers.

Socrates classical Greek Athenian philosopher

Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher, of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he made no writings, and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers writing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos. Aristophanes, a playwright, is the only source to have written during his lifetime.

Plato Classical Greek philosopher

Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece and the founder of the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."

Augustine of Hippo early Christian theologian and philosopher

Saint Augustine of Hippo was a Roman African, early Christian theologian and philosopher from Numidia whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius in north Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Period. Among his most important works are The City of God, De doctrina Christiana and Confessions.

His first major work, Vom Geist der Liturgie (The Spirit of the Liturgy), published during the First World War, was a major influence on the Liturgical Movement in Germany and by extension on the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council. [1] He is generally regarded as the father of the liturgical movement in Germany, and in his "Open Letter" of April 1964 to Mgr. Johannes Wagner, the organizer of the Third German Liturgical Congress in Mainz, he "raises important questions regarding the nature of the liturgical act in the wake of individualism, asking whether it is possible for twentieth-century Christians really to engage in worship. Is it possible to 'relearn a forgotten way of doing things and recapture lost attitudes', so as to enter into the liturgical experience?." [2] It was his glad hope that after the call by the Second Vatican Council for liturgical reform, the Church might shift its focus from that of mere ceremonial (though important) to the broader idea of true liturgical action, an act which "embraced not only a spiritual inwardness, but the whole man, body as well as spirit." [3] He himself gave an example of his meaning: A parish priest of the late 19th century once said (according to Guardini's illustration), "We must organize the procession better; we must see to it that the praying and singing is done better." For Guardini, the parish priest had missed the point of what true liturgical action is. The questions he had asked should have been different. They should have been, "How can the act of walking become a religious act, a retinue for the Lord progressing through his land, so that an 'epiphany' may take place." [3] Pope Paul VI offered to make him a cardinal in 1965, but he declined.

The Liturgical Movement began as a 19th-century movement of scholarship for the reform of worship within the Roman Catholic Church. It has developed over the last century and a half and has affected many other Christian churches, including the Church of England and other churches of the Anglican Communion, and some Protestant churches. A similar reform in the Church of England and Anglican Communion, known as the Oxford Movement, began to change theology and liturgy in the United Kingdom and United States in the mid-nineteenth century. The Liturgical Movement has been one of the major influences on the process of the Ecumenical Movement, in favor of reversing the divisions which began at the Reformation.

Second Vatican Council Roman Catholic ecumenical council held in Vatican City from 1962 to 1965

The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. The council, through the Holy See, was formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and was closed under Pope Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965.

Pope Paul VI Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1963 to 1978

Pope Paul VI was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his death in 1978. Succeeding John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements. Montini served in the Holy See's Secretariat of State from 1922 to 1954. While in the Secretariat of State, Montini and Domenico Tardini were considered as the closest and most influential advisors of Pius XII, who in 1954 named him Archbishop of Milan, the largest Italian diocese. Montini later became the Secretary of the Italian Bishops' Conference. John XXIII elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 1958, and after the death of John XXIII, Montini was considered one of his most likely successors.

As a philosopher he founded no "school", but his intellectual disciples could in some sense be said to include Josef Pieper, Luigi Giussani, Felix Messerschmid, Heinrich Getzeny, Rudolf Schwarz, Jean Gebser, Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), and Jorge Mario Bergoglio (later Pope Francis). In the 1980s Bergoglio began work on a doctoral dissertation on Guardini, though he never completed it. Pope Francis cited Guardini's The End of the Modern World eight times in his 2015 encyclical Laudato si' , more often than any other modern thinker who was not pope. Hannah Arendt and Iring Fetscher were favourably impressed by Guardini's work. He had a strong influence in Central Europe; in Slovenia, for example, an influential group of Christian socialists, among whom Edvard Kocbek, Pino Mlakar, Vekoslav Grmič and Boris Pahor, incorporated Guardini's views in their agenda. Slovak philosopher and theologian Ladislav Hanus was strongly influenced in his works by Guardini, whom he met personally, and promoted his ideas in Slovakia, writing a short monograph. [4] In 1952, Guardini won the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

The 1990s saw something of a revival of interest in his works and person. Several of his books were reissued in the original German and in English translation. In 1997 his remains were moved to the Sankt Ludwig Kirche , the University church in Munich, where he had often preached.

Guardini's book The Lord , published in English translation in the late 1940s, remained in print for decades [5] and, according to publisher Henry Regnery, was "one of the most successful books I have ever published." [6] The novelist Flannery O'Connor thought it "very fine" and recommended it to a number of her friends. [7]

Selected bibliography

Major works translated in English

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References

  1. Robert Anthony Krieg, Romano Guardini: A Precursor of Vatican II. University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. ISBN   978-0-268-01661-6
  2. Bradshaw & Melloh (2007). Foundations in Ritual Studies: A Reader for Students of Christian Worship. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. p. 3. ISBN   0-8010-3499-X.
  3. 1 2 Guardini, Romano. "Open Letter".
  4. Hanus, Ladislav. Romano Guardini: Mysliteľ a pedagóg storočia. LÚČ, Bratislava, 1994. ISBN   80-7114-124-0
  5. It was still in print as of 2012, with an Introduction by Pope Benedict XVI. ISBN   978-0-89526-714-6
  6. Regnery, Henry S. (1985). Memoirs of a Dissident Publisher (PDF). Lake Bluff, Illinois: Regnery Gateway Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
  7. Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being. Letters, edited by Sally Fitzgerald. Vintage Books, 1980. ISBN   0-394-74259-1 [ page needed ]