Colloquium in memory of Klaus Demmer (1931–2014): April 17–18, 2015
Klaus Demmer, one of the most important and influential contemporary moral theologians, died on July 18, 2014. He was teaching Moral theology as first non Jesuit at the Gregoriana from 1970 to 2003. During these 33 years he lived at the Anima, the German college for priests in Rome. Therefore the rector of the Anima, Dr. Franz Xaver Brandmayr, Dr. Karl Hunstorfer, a former member of the Anima, and Prof. Hans Zollner SJ, Academic Vice Rector of the Gregoriana, organized together a colloquium in honour of Klaus Demmer, that was held at the Gregoriana in the noon of April 17 and at the Anima in the morning of April 18. The meeting at the Gregoriana (held in English and Italian) was opened by a very personal account of Mrs. Aldegonde Brenninkmeijer (INTAMS, Belgium) and afterwards dedicated to the specific ethical-theological approach of Prof. Demmer: “The dimension of the interdisciplinary dimension of moral theology”. The speakers where Roberto Dell’Oro, Los Angeles (“Moral truth and anthropological mediation in the theological ethics of Klaus Demmer”; response by Aristide Fumagalli, Milan), Antonio Autiero, Berlin (“Klaus Demmer between Theology and Medicine”, response by Carlo Casalone, Naples ), Gianni Cioli, Florence (“The moral compromise in the thought of Klaus Demmer”, response by Paolo Benanti, Romoe. The morning meeting at the Anima (held in German) was dedicated to the link between Moral theology and Spirituality in Klaus Demmer. The keynote speakers where Walter Schaupp, Graz (“Transzendenzerschlossene Subjektivität – Zum Verhältnis von Moral und Spiritualität bei K. Demmer”), Roman Globokar, Ljubljana (“Moraltheologische Reflexion dient besserer Lebenspraxis. Zur Bedeutung der Lebensentscheidung bei K. Demmer”) and Karl Hunstorfer, Vienna (“Spiritualität im Krankenhaus. Fundamentaltheologisch-ethische Aspekte bei K. Demmer als Anknüpfungspunkte einer praxisbezogenen Spiritualität”).
The colloquium revealed not only the important and very specific academic moral-theological approach and heritage of Klaus Demmer (as Schaupp said, most probably the widest and most extensive approach in contemporary Moral theology), but how he has left a significant mark on many generations of international students through his personal testimonial of a simple, humble and spiritual lifestyle. As typical Westphalian he was a sober, austere and calm person, but at the same time a personality with a deep humanity and a spiritual depth.
The publication of the papers will be provided by the Gregoriana and the Anima in a special issue in honour of Klaus Demmer. Already in 2011 a group of former students of Prof. Demmer have published a “Festschrift” (“Pensare l’agire morale : omaggio italiano a un maestro internazionale: Klaus Demmer”, ed. by V. Viva and A. Fumagalli, San Paolo Edizioni: Cinisello Balsamo 2011) in occasion of his 80th birthday. The presentation of this book on November 9, 2011, was the last time that Demmer visited the Gregoriana and gave a Lectio magistralis “La teologia morale contemporanea: sfide e prospettive”. The last book of Demmer was published posthumous, ed. by A. Autiero: “Selbstaufklärung theologischer Ethik. Themen – Thesen – Perspektiven”, Ferdinand-Schöningh-Verlag: Paderborn 2014.
Martin M. Lintner