Catholic Academy in Bavaria

Church needs debate: "Catholic" with a view to the whole -
and "academic", trusting in the power of arguments.

We live this. And organise discourses on the burning issues of the day: questions from the heart of life. Thinking at the highest scientific level. The communication is comprehensible and true to life. And not only that: methodological diversity, space for participation, church services and a hospitable setting with food and drink make reflection an intensive experience.

Our range of topics includes religion and politics, science and technology, history and philosophy, art and culture ...



The Catholic Academy in Bavaria is an independent ecclesiastical foundation under public law. The Bavarian bishops founded the Academy in 1957 as an independent think tank and continue to finance it today without exerting any influence on its work. Its statutes gave it the mandate, "to clarify and promote relations between the Church and the world"..


Our range of topics includes religion and politics, science and technology, history and philosophy, art and culture ... 

We strive to attract the best experts on every question. Because we want to prepare all the information and interpretations for you in such a way that you can form an informed opinion. That is our mission. Fulfilling it has not become boring for almost 70 years.

Social media

Two YouTube channels offer Videos and Audios of our lectures and now have over 3,500 subscribers. 

You can also use our Podcast "the debate which documents selected lectures and discussions from our events. 

Also on Facebook and Instagram around 1,000 people follow us at any one time and thus also receive news and views from the team and the location.

Founding history

The Academy was founded in 1957 as an "ecclesiastical foundation under public law". Its sponsors are the seven Bavarian (arch)dioceses. Here you can download the timetable of the founding history and the people involved.

Sir John Elliot Gardiner gives insights into his life and thinking, Evening Forum on 20.03.2023
Event on 13.02.2020 with Madeleine Albright and Joschka Fischer as side event to the MSC
Thinking workshop on 23.07.2019 on the topic "Return of the reform debate" on the future of the Church

Management and counselling

The three central bodies of the Academy correspond to the three objectives stated in the Statutes: the Scientific Council, the General Council and the Education Committee.

  • The Scientific Council bundles research trends from a wide range of subjects and vouches for the academic level.
    The Academic Council consists of 24 Catholic teachers from Bavarian universities. It supports the Academy in particular in its statutory task of scientifically deepening the Catholic understanding of the world. Its members are appointed for a period of five years.
  • The General advice tracks down issues that are driving our society and brings media, business and politics, courts, clinics, monasteries and museums to the table.
    The General Council is the largest advisory body and currently unites 48 Catholic personalities from different areas of society. Its members advise the Academy especially in fulfilling its mission to promote the encounter of faith and the world in mutual exchange. They are appointed for four years.
  • The Education Committee brings current trends and topics of the KEB into the academy and tries to make their work fruitful in the area.
    The Education Committee consists of 24 members who are appointed for a period of three years. Permanent members are the Episcopal Commissioners for Adult Education of the seven Bavarian (arch)dioceses. 
    The members are appointed for three years.

The supreme decision-making body is the Academy management. It determines the work programme, discharges the Director and approves the budget. Three members from each of the three councils are elected to the Academy Board. 

University circles

The Academy has established university circles at the universities of Augsburg, Bamberg, Bayreuth, Erlangen-Nuremberg (in conjunction with Eichstätt), Munich, Passau, Regensburg and Würzburg. They see themselves as interdisciplinary discussion forums for university teachers who are committed to the Christian faith.

The university circles determine their programme independently. They are led by the chairperson, who is elected for two years at a time. The Academy, which also supports their work financially, is available to them for management and organisation.

Below you will find the names of the chairpersons and their contact details. 

Arts Committee

In order to be able to present high-quality exhibitions, the Catholic Academy, under the leadership of former Academy Director Dr. Florian Schuller, has been assembling a small committee of proven experts since 2002. This committee meets regularly and advises the Academy on questions of the visual arts. The declared aim is to hold three to four exhibitions a year. The aim is to discover the park, the chapel and the Kardinal Wendel Haus for art and to deliberately cause irritation. Ultimately, the aim is to discover the essence of the works of art - possibly also an inkling of transcendence - in an exchange with the artists and the visitors to the academy. 

Guardini Panel of Experts

Romano Guardini's literary estate and his authorial rights are administered by the Catholic Academy in Bavaria, which has also built up an archive of his writings that is accessible for research. A panel of experts accompanies the work scientifically.

With the awarding of various prizes and awards, we set very special accents within the framework of our statutory mission. 

Romano Guardini Prize

In memory of Romano Guardini (1885 - 1968), the prize named after this religious philosopher, theologian and educator was founded in 1970. It includes prize money of 10,000 €.

The Academy awards the prize to personalities who, in Guardini's sense, have rendered outstanding services to the interpretation of time and the world in various fields of life.

Ecumenical Award

Since 1995 we have been awarding the "Ecumenical Prize at the Catholic Academy in Bavaria from the Wilhelm and Antonie Gierlichs Foundation" for special commitment to the ecumenism of the Catholic Church with the churches of the Reformation. The prize money is € 10,000.

Prize for Young Theology

On the occasion of the retirement of Friedrich Cardinal Wetter, this prize was endowed in 2008 to honour outstanding theological dissertations or post-doctoral theses. 

It is endowed with € 1,500. We award this prize annually in consultation and together with the Catholic theological faculties and institutes in Bavaria.

Friendly Sign of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria

With the Friends of the Academy Award, we honour personalities who have rendered outstanding services to the Academy and who are closely associated with us. This award has been presented since 1971.

Cardinal Döpfner Medal

Cardinal Julius Döpfner (1913-1976) was the Archbishop of Munich and Freising and Chairman of the Bavarian Bishops' Conference and protector of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria (1961-1976). He had a decisive influence on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) as one of the four moderators. As Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference (1965-1976), he was President of the Würzburg Synod of Dioceses in the Federal Republic of Germany (1971-1975).

In memory of the life's work of this courageous and energetic bishop and cardinal, the Academy management, the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria, decided on 5 December 1994 to endow a "Cardinal Döpfner Medal". It is awarded to personalities who have rendered outstanding services to the faith and the Church in the sense of the Second Vatican Council and the Würzburg Synod. The silver medal was designed by the Munich sculptor Max Faller.

Duke Franz of Bavaria is the 2022 Guardini Laureate
Duke Franz of Bavaria is the 2022 Guardini Laureate
Dr Annemarie Frank, PD Dr Achim Budde (Director of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria), Prof. Dr Matthias Remenyi (Dean of the Catholic Theological Faculty Würzburg)
The Friendly Sign of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria

Romano Guardini - Short portrait

Romano Guardini (1885-1968) was one of the most important Catholic philosophers of religion and theologians of the 20th century. As a critical observer of his time, he sought to provide orientation, questioning and yet pointing out clear standards. His concern was the mutual illumination of faith and the world in the service of truth and the interpretation of existence. He dealt with all the fundamental questions of the Christian faith as well as with questions of time and culture, and not least with important figures of European poetry and philosophy.

Guardini was born in Verona on 17 February 1885 and grew up in Germany. He attended grammar school in Mainz. After graduating from high school, he first studied chemistry in Tübingen, national economics in Munich and Berlin, then theology in Freiburg and again in Tübingen. In 1910 he was ordained a priest and then worked in pastoral care for several years. In 1920 he went to Bonn and habilitated in theology there in 1922. A year later he was appointed to the newly established chair of philosophy of religion and Catholic worldview at the University of Berlin. From 1924 he was a pioneer and inspirer of the Quickborn Catholic youth movement and a leader in the German liturgical movement. With his writings he exerted a strong influence on the educated strata of German Catholicism.

In 1939, his Berlin chair was abolished by the Nazis. At first Guardini continued to work as a private scholar in the Allgäu. In autumn 1945, he was then appointed to the chair of Philosophy of Religion and Christian Worldview at the University of Tübingen. From 1948 to 1962, he held the chair of the same name at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Munich. At the University Church of St. Ludwig there, he also worked as a pastor and university preacher. In 1952, he was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, and in the years that followed he received numerous other high awards at home and abroad. In 1961 he was appointed a member of the liturgical preparatory commission for the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). He died in Munich on 1 October 1968.

His literary estate and author's rights are administered by the Catholic Academy in Bavaria, which has also built up an archive of his writings accessible for research.

Curriculum vitae in data

Below you will find a list of the most important stations in Romano Guardini's life.

Romano Guardini Work Concordance

The "Romano Guardini Werkskonkordanz" was created on the basis of an idea by Prof. Dr. Hans Mercker (member of the panel of experts for Romano Guardini's literary estate at the Catholic Academy of Bavaria and editor of the first bibliography of Romano Guardini) in collaboration with Wolfgang Mercker, who is responsible for the technical implementation and programming of this online service.

The online concordance offers you a KWIC search (KWIC = Keyword in context) of Romano Guardini's most important writings (essentially "Romano Guardini Werke" and "Topos Taschenbücher"). The text corpus currently consists of 66 publications.

The following (external) link will take you to the concordance:

Romano Guardini Study Library

The Catholic Academy in Bavaria has set up a study library on Romano Guardini's writings. Archival materials, such as original manuscripts, are not part of this, which are now stored in the Archdiocesan Archives of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising under perfect conservation conditions and are accessible under the conditions there.

Our study library is open during the regular opening hours of the reception desk. andIf the library is not otherwise occupied, it is open to the public. The opening hours and occupancy must be requested in writing or verbally at the reception before the visit. Exceptions are not foreseen.

Romano Guardini
Romano Guardini Library at the Catholic Academy in Bavaria

Unobtrusive spirituality

At the Catholic Academy in Bavaria, a short 7-minute prayer is celebrated every working day at "10 to 10". The entire staff team and hotel guests, who are made aware of this offer at the reception, are invited to the house chapel. In addition to Catholic and Protestant members of the team, a Romanian woman of Greek Orthodox faith also regularly participates; on average, five to ten staff members gather daily. 

The time and duration were chosen in such a way that most of the staff in the house - from housekeeping/kitchen to administration to the directors of studies - could easily take part as a pleasant break from their daily work.

The Liturgy of the Hours consists of a sung opening, an ecumenical hymn from the Divine Praise (for 31 days of the month, all songs are set according to the respective day), the reading of the day's Gospel, a good minute of silence, praying the Lord's Prayer together and a sung blessing. Loosely alternating, one staff member does the singing at the opening and blessing and another team member does the respective Gospel reading. It is nice that one of the study leaders is a passionate organist and can often accompany the prayer on the organ.

According to some feedback, the Liturgy of the Hours is seen as a valuable individual as well as communal way of getting into the mood for the day with a common request for blessing.

Daily short hourly prayer "10 to 10" in the house chapel

Cooperation with the
Protestant Academy Tutzing

Ever since the beginnings of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria at the end of the 1950s, there has been an annual cooperation conference with the Protestant Academy in Tutzing, which takes place alternately in Schwabing or at Lake Starnberg.

Over the decades, current ecumenical topics have been and are still being taken up today, which also go beyond the Catholic-Protestant perspective and deal, for example, with Orthodoxy or Judaism. Through the advertising on both Academy distribution lists, there have been and continue to be stimulating and enriching ecumenical encounters, both among the audience and among the speakers.


Member "Ökumenisches Stundengebet e.V." (Ecumenical Liturgy of the Hours)

The "Ökumenisches Stundengebet e. V." (ÖS) is a network for liturgical spirituality. It draws on the common tradition of the denominations and opens it up to new forms of language and singing. The network emerged from a joint action at the Munich Ecumenical Church Congress in 2010 and was formed in autumn 2014 as an association based at Rothenfels Castle. The non-profit association now has over 50 personal and around 20 institutional members. Donations and membership fees are tax deductible.

The concern of the ÖS is to revive the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. Everyday life with God lives from prayer: from healing interruption, reassurance, gathering... Prayer in community strengthens. The traditional form connects with the world and the millennia. Public worship fills the churches with life. In times of deconstruction, the OES wants to promote the basic liturgy of the people of God. The concept is to find a good form for each assembly. There is no patent remedy; people are far too different for that. But there is experience of how to adapt the tradition to local circumstances, e.g. by using appropriate materials. A pool of liturgical building blocks is continually being expanded and made available to interested parties. The trademark is the specially developed liturgy booklets, which make it easy to celebrate with text and notes, stage directions and short explanations.

Event on 07 - 08.02.2020 on the topic "Ukraine: The Orthodox Church facing a schism?" in cooperation with the Evangelical Academy Tutzing
Annual Conference 2019 "Ecumenical Liturgy of the Hours e.V.

Fine Arts at the Academy

The sentence comes from Markus Lüpertz, whom the Academy invited to Schweinfurt to the Museum Georg Schäfer in 2017 for a discussion with Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann on the occasion of the anniversary "60 Years of the Catholic Academy of Bavaria", "that the church is not only a social aid organisation replacing the psychologist, but that it has a great, gigantic cultural responsibility".

Since its foundation, the Academy has felt particularly committed to this responsibility towards the fine arts and has repeatedly addressed questions about art. For example, one of its very first conferences in November 1957 was entitled "Where does art stand today? One of the speakers at that time was Georg Meistermann, who also received the Romano Guardini Prize of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria in 1984.

In addition, more than 120 exhibitions have been held in the Kardinal Wendel Haus, including - a special concern of the Academy - sensational exhibitions with students from the Academy classes of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and Nuremberg. Here are just a few examples: the Jerry Zeniuk class - who, incidentally, painted the altarpiece in the chapel - the Stephan Huber class, the Magdalena Jetelová class and the Jorinde Voigt class. And an exhibition with the class of Anke Doberauer is planned for 2024.

In order to be able to maintain a clear level of exhibitions, the Catholic Academy of Bavaria has assembled a committee of proven experts since 2002. The declared aim is to hold one or two exhibitions per year. The park, chapel (to a reduced extent), and above all the rooms and foyers of the Kardinal Wendel Haus are to be temporarily conquered by art, while at the same time proving to be integrable into the normal conference business due to practical requirements and constraints, without irritations being faded out. 

Apart from high quality, the selection criteria are above all those works in which - as difficult as this may be to justify rationally - the emergence of spirituality, a sense of transcendence, radical openness or even direct religious impulses can be experienced.

In addition to the regular presentation of works by contemporary artists, a not inconsiderable number of artworks have found their way permanently into the Academy, whether they have been acquired, donated or loaned to it. Only the smaller part of these have a permanent place and are exhibited. 

One work is worth mentioning, as it was given to the Academy as a birth gift, so to speak, with the construction of the Kardinal Wendel Haus in 1962: On the north façade of the Cardinal Wendel House, the visitor is greeted by the almost 25-metre-long monumental relief "Vom Chaos zur Ordnung" (From Chaos to Order) by the artist Blasius Gerg (1927 - 2007), who came from Glonn. Gerg always held back on interpreting his work. "Everything that needs to be said is expressed in the title," he told the Academy in a telephone conversation in 1995. And indeed, the relief is self-explanatory: just as man moves from disorder to order by building and joining jumbled stones, so he moves from chaos to the cross by being far or near it. From chaos to order - a demanding but apt motif for academy work. 

Vernissage for the exhibition "Death and Life. Power and Powerlessness" by Herlinde Koelbel
The monumental relief "From Chaos to Order" by Blasius Gerg at the Cardinal Wendel House

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