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.

Christoph Spätner / Wikimedia Commons
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

Academy management

The highest decision-making body is the Academy Board. 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. The committee meets several times a year to help shape the work of the Academy.

Georg Fahrenschon, Chairman

Former Minister of State

Daniela Philippi M.A., Deputy Chairperson

Journalist, former government spokesperson

Dirk Reinhard

Deputy Managing Director of the Munich Re Foundation

Dr Paul Siebertz

Former member of the Executive Board of HypoVereinsbank

PD Dr Achim Budde, Managing Director

Director of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria

Extract from the Statutes of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria:


"§ 2 Purpose of the Foundation

The Catholic Academy in Bavaria has the task of clarifying and promoting relations between the Church and the world. This task includes:

1. the scientific deepening of the Catholic understanding of the world,
2. the encounter of faith and the world in mutual exchange,
3. the promotion of Catholic educational work."

The three central bodies of the Academy correspond to the three objectives stated in the statutes:

1. the Scientific Council,
2. the General Council; and
3. the Education Committee:

Scientific advice

The Academic Council bundles research trends from a wide range of subjects and guarantees the high academic standard of the Academy. It consists of 24 lecturers from Bavarian universities and 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 by the President of the Freising Bishops' Conference.

General Council

The General Council seeks out the issues that are driving our society and brings together the media, business and politics, courts, clinics, monasteries and museums. It is the largest advisory body and brings together up to 50 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.

The members are appointed for four years.

Education Committee

The education committee brings current trends and topics of the KEB into the academy and tries to make its 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 bishop's commissioners for adult education of the seven Bavarian (arch)dioceses as well as the respective incumbent state board of the CEF. In addition, there are individual personalities who are connected to adult education in a special way.

Other bodies of the Academy:

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.

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. The work of the Academy is financed by the seven Bavarian (arch)dioceses, among others, without them having any influence on the work.

Diocese of Augsburg

Bishop Bertam Meier

Archdiocese of Bamberg

Bishop Herwig Gössl

Diocese of Eichstätt

Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke

Archdiocese of Munich and Freising

Cardinal Reinhard Marx

Diocese of Passau

Bishop Stefan Oster

Diocese of Regensburg

Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer

Diocese of Würzburg

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.