The Pope's former doctoral students were addressed by Archbishop Koch

Pope Benedict XVI met his former doctoral students last weekend to discuss how best to interpret the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

The yearly closed-door seminar, dubbed the “Ratzinger-Schülekreis”, or “Ratzinger Student-Circle”, was addressed by Archbishop Kurt Koch.

Archbishop Koch’s talk was entitled “The Second Vatican Council, Between Tradition and Innovation”. He also spoke on the Vatican Council’s document on the liturgy and the liturgical reforms following the Council.

Archbishop Koch, a former bishop of Basel in Switzerland, is set to be the next head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The talks was followed by a discussion by the participants, the Pope included. The Holy Father celebrated Mass for the group on Sunday morning, before having breakfast with them. The group then joined the Pope in his recitation of the Angelus.

The Schülerkreis has met annually since the 1970s, when the Pope was professor of theology at Regensburg University, and has continued to meet since Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope.

This year’s meeting brought together over 30 scholars, and preparations have already begun for publishing the papers to be presented. The seminar was held at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence.

One of the students attending this year was Cardinal Cristoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna. Also at the meeting were several “New Schülerkreises”, young postgraduates considering the academic work of Pope Benedict XVI.