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Polish university offering degree in Pope Studies

A newly opened Catholic university in Poland is offering a postgraduate degree on the study of Pope John Paul II's contributions "to modern Poland, the Roman Catholic Church and the world".

The courses will be offered beginning in October at the Father Jozef Tischner University just below the hilltop Wawel Castle, where the future pope said his first Mass in 1946.

The 180 hours of course work will cover the young Karol Wojtyla's early religious life and focus on his influence as pope awakening in Poles the courage to confront communism during his first papal visit in 1979, Tischner University Rector Jaroslaw Gowin said.

Ten years later, Poland became the first Soviet bloc country to throw off communism, setting off an irreversible chain reaction throughout the region.

"The intellectual contribution of Karol Wojtyla and John Paul II is one of the most important elements of the Polish culture, something which should interest not only Catholics, but all intellectual circles," Gowin said.

Gowin said he designed the program because Poles "great love and esteem of the pope is not accompanied by the knowledge of papal teachings."

The courses will cover papal views on theology, church, philosophy, social teaching and his literary works, with enrollment costing $A683.85. The university, which opened in February with a degree program in European integration, also plans to set up a research institute into papal teachings.


13 Aug 2003