Oct. 15th-17th, 2015: International Conference “Pope Francis and the Revolution of Tender Love”

The conference was organised by the department of Fundamental Theology. Around 30 theologians from 14 different nations from all around the world participated in the conference organised by the Department of Fundamental Theology. The main lecture with the title “The Mysticism of Fraternity” was held by Christoph Theobald. The point of departure for the conference was the observation that the pontificate of Pope Francis has triggered major changes in the Catholic world which have brought about repercussions in the European and global discourse landscape, but have barely been reflected upon in their theological dimension. The common reference point of all contributions to the conference was the Apostolic Writing “Evangelii Gaudium”, in which Pope Francis has expressed his vision of a new social order. A key quote of this text is the expression “revolution of tender love”.

The speakers examines the backgrounds of Pope Francis's theology in Latin American thought as well as the Second Vatican Council, the incitations for the quest for a new humanism or a new symbolic order, the ethical and ecclesiological, the personal and political, the ecumenical and inter-religious, the symbolical and linguistic-philosophical implications of his theology. Recurring key concepts were charity, fraternity and tenderness. The challenges that virtualisation, globalisation, migration, urbanisation, the loss of tradition and ecological catastrophes represent and that are mooted by the abandonment of a certain metaphysical tradition constituted the background of many lectures.

We especially wish to emphasize the inner dynamics of the conference which was indeed shaped by a sense of togetherness: Almost all speakers were present all of the time, furthermore the audience participated constantly. After each lecture a lively discussion, which always had to be broken off prematurely because of the time limit, developed at once. The contributions to the conference will be published in 2016 in German at the Herder-Verlag and in Italian at Edizioni Dehoniane (Bologna).

(Conference report by Dr. Jakob Deibl)