BY SARAH KICK
Every year, St. Norbert College prepares to celebrate its Norbertine history with an annual Heritage Week Celebration. Founded in 1898 by the Rev. Bernard Pennings, O. Praem., SNC is the only Norbertine college in the world today.
In this celebration of SNC’s history, the college holds a lecture; hosts a breakfast at which Founder’s Day awards are given to students, faculty and staff who have contributed to the Norbertine tradition and spirit on campus; and provides a night of fallFEST activities for students.
This year’s Heritage Week lecture was given by Dr. Massimo Faggioli on Oct. 13, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fort Howard Theater, and was entitled “From Vatican II to Francis, from Gaudium et Spes to Evangeli Gaudium.”
Dr. Faggioli is currently an associate professor of theology and Director of the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. He has had much experience in his field, traveling and studying around Europe.
Dr. Faggioli presented his lecture with the use of humor, keeping the audience’s attention by cracking jokes throughout. He opened the lecture by thanking the attendees for “overcoming a cultural enemy by allowing someone from Minnesota to step into the land of the Packers,” which got many laughs from the crowd.
Dr. Faggioli focused mainly on Pope Francis and how different he is compared to other Popes, as well as his intense interest in Vatican II.
In describing the Pope, Faggioli said, “Many theologians have accused Pope Francis of being a very radical pope because he is acting very differently than how people think the pope should act. However, the Pope does not necessarily see it that way: his decision to not live in the papal apartments was purely personal, not ideological.”
Pope Francis has also been asked if he would call a Vatican III based on his focus on Vatican II. His response has been plainly that the community needs to digest Vatican II first, not call a Vatican III.
Pope Francis has stated, “Vatican II is not a moment, it is a new pair of glasses to look at the whole tradition.”
Pope Francis, however, wants to update Vatican II because of key issues that are talked about today, issues that were not talked about 50 years ago. These issues include women in the church, homosexuality and other issues that were known but not freely discussed.
Dr. Faggioli highlighted this situation with another quotation from Pope Francis: “It’s not escapement, it’s silence.” Pope Francis said this to point out the issue of the Catholic Church knowing about these ideas but again not freely talking about them.
Dr. Faggioli also pointed out that Pope Francis was the first Pope to fail at getting his Doctorate degree and joked that it should now become a requirement. Since Pope Francis has not gotten his Doctorate, he focuses more on “what came from Vatican II and less about the academic interpretation.”
“We have to start learning how to talk about things without ex-communicating others,” Faggioli said, quoting the Pope again.Pope Francis has addressed the issue of cardinals disagreeing in public for the first time in 50 years.
Pope Francis is the first non-European Pope and has brought a completely different view that was, as Dr. Faggioli said, a “very necessary reality check.”
“Theologians have to stay critical and stay objective,” stated Faggioli. “With Francis this is difficult; he is a very attractive pope.”
As Faggioli closed his speech, he explained his view of Pope Francis.
“My definition of Francis is that he is the first ‘born-again pope,’” he said. “With Francis there is something new that has changed the church.”
SNC’s Heritage Week Celebration continued with the Founder’s Day Prayer Breakfast and presentation of the Founder’s Awards on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 7:45-9:00 a.m. in Michels Ballroom. For a full list of the 2015 Founder’s Awards recipients, visit www.snc.edu/mission/heritagedays/foundersaward.html. The week’s celebrations ended with the annual fallFest, which took place on Friday, Oct. 16, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. in the Campus Center.