The Spirit of the Reformation – Speakers



Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Agius

is the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Malta as well as Professor of Moral Theology and Philosophical Ethics. After finishing his studies at the University of Malta, pursued his doctoral studies at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium and his post-doctoral research in the field of bioethics at the University of Tubingen, Germany as a fellow of the Alexander-von-Humbolt Stiftung, at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. as a Fulbright scholar, and at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Agius is a member of the European Group of Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), a member of Malta’s National Bioethics Committee and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Centro di Ateneo di Bioetica at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy. He authored many books and articles in a number of international academic journals mainly on bioethical issues.


Dr Beate Bengard

studied Protestant Theology and French Literature in Leipzig, Lausanne, Paris and Strasbourg. She holds a Franco-German PhD from the theological faculties of Strasbourg and Leipzig. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the ecumenical hermeneutics of the French philosopher Paul Ricœur. After a postdoctoral scholarship at the “Fonds Ricœur” in Paris, Bengard has been working at the University of Basel since 2017. She also won the Dissertation Prize at the University of Strasbourg.


Rev. Dr John Anthony Berry

is Head of Department of Fundamental & Dogmatic Theology and the convenor of the International Theological Conference on “The Spirit of the Reformation: 500 Years On”. He studied at the University of Malta, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and at K.U. Leuven. In his licentiates and doctoral studies, Berry has studied the theologies of Hans Urs von Balthasar, Joseph Ratzinger and Yves Congar O.P. He has recently been appointed as a member on the international presidium that coordinates the actions of a European wide organization known as The European Society for Catholic Theology (ESCT) as well as a member of the standing committee of Societas Oecumenica, a European Society for Ecumenical Research. He was a guest lecturer in various universities including Dortmund, České Budějovice, Lviv and Toruń, and his recent articles are published in Melita Theologica, Biblica et Patristica, Roczniki Teologiczne and Scientia et fides.


Rev. Dr Charlò Camilleri

is Lecturer in Spiritual Theology and a member of the Moral Theology Department. After successfully completing a Licentiate in Pastoral Theology (S.Th.L.) with the dissertation on Carmel: A Spirituality of Beauty, in 2004 he obtained a Diploma in the Interdisciplinary Course for Formators (CIFS) at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Then in 2007, he obtained his Doctorate in Spiritual Theology (S.Th.D.) on Union with God as Transformation in Beauty. A Literary-Spiritual Analysis of the Colloquies of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi (1566-1607). Camilleri is the Archbishop’s Delegate for the Ordo Virginum, and holds the office of Executive Director of the Carmelite Institute Malta. Recently he was appointed Research Fellow at the Bloemfontain Free State University.


Rev. Dr René Camilleri

is Senior Lecturer of Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology as well as the Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation in the Archdiocese of Malta. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University on The “sensus fidei” of the whole Church and the Magisterium: From the time of Vatican I to Vatican Council II under the supervision of Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. in 1986. He was Delegate for Catechesis at the Archdiocese of Malta from 2007–2015 and a regular contributor on the Sunday Times of Malta.


Dr Pauline Dimech

earned her doctorate in Systematic Theology at Durham University, UK. She is a Lecturer within the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta. Her research interests include method in theology, evangelization and Catechesis, Religious Education in schools, the language of doctrine, St George Preca, the Society of Christian Doctrine, Hans Urs von Balthasar, ecclesial authority, and the saints as authoritative figures. Wipf and Stock have just published her book The Authority of the Saints. Drawing on the Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar.


Communio Sanctorum – Communio Bonorum: von Balthasar and Luther

The concept of the communio sanctorum is a problematic one, precisely because theologians within different Christian traditions have provided different renditions of it and of what it stands for. The Researcher provides a quick glance at a limited selection of the writings of Martin Luther and of Hans Urs von Balthasar regarding the communio sanctorum, emphasizing the importance of the concept of the communio sanctorum to the two theologians. She focuses on the logical aspect of communio, i.e., the conceptualization and designation of the Church as the communio sanctorum. The researcher will argue that, despite the problems which arise from the historical context within which the two theologians were writing, there are areas where Luther’s and von Balthasar’s theology of the communio sanctorum are commensurable. Furthermore, she will argue that some measure of understanding can be achieved when the concept is analysed systematically, and investigated ecumenically. The article is based on the following presuppostitions: firstly, that a reappropriation of the theological concept of the communio sanctorum is essential, secondly, that such a reappropriation requires a clarification of the what the communio sanctorum stands for, and, thirdly, that an ecumenical venture is required for a proper hermeneutic of the term.


Prof. Dominic Fenech

is Professor of modern and contemporary history. He is the Head of Department of History and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. In 1974 he was elected Rhodes Scholar and continued his studies at the University of Oxford, where he completed his D.Phil in 1977 with a dissertation on modern Anglo-Vatican diplomatic relations. He joined the University of Malta as a lecturer in 1979 and in 1986/87, he was elected fellow of the Centre for International Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He later launched and for a number of years directed Contemporary Mediterranean Studies at the University of Malta. His recent publications include Endemic Democracy, the first volume of a study of Maltese political history in the inter-war years. Besides his academic interests, Dominic Fenech is a regular contributor to public discussion and has a long-standing interest in journalism and the media.


Prof. Dr Ute Gause

is Professor of Reformation and Modern Ecclesiastical History at the Ruhr-University Bochum. Her main areas of research include Historical-Theological Women’s and Gender Studies since the Reformation period, studies on Paracelsus, Paracelsismus and Contemporary Ecclesiastical History. She is the main editor of the scientific book series Historical-Theological Gender Studies and Co-editor of the scientific journal Protestant Theology.


From Reform to Reformation – Luther’s Concept of Renewal

First of all, the lecture describes the present state of research in order to show in what way actual attempts from various parties have been made to deconstruct the “Reformation” as an era. This demonstrates that these reflections are fruits of a particular historical picture of a “triumphalist Luther and his Reformation” which now definitively has to be dismissed. On the other hand, the lecture is presenting Luther’s concept of a concentration of theology to an updated interpretation of the scripture adapted to today’s requirements and intensive pastoral care, illustrating the core and concerns of the message of the Reformation. The purpose is to show which theological impulses of renewal Luther pursued and that a “Theology of Reformation” was born which cannot be understood as a mere reform among reforms.


Rev. Prof. George Grima

is Professor of Moral Theology and former Dean of the Faculty of Theology. He studied literature, philosophy and theology at the University of Malta from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Licentiate in Theology. He studied for an M.A. in philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and wrote a dissertation on “Conversion and Responsibility: The Evolution of H. Richard Niebuhr’s View of Christian Ethics” for the Doctorate in theology at the Faculty of Theology of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Between 1981 and 1982 he was doing research in Catholic social ethics on a Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung. He is former Dean (1992-2007) and currently professor of moral theology, teaching fundamental moral theology and Christian social ethics. He has published several articles on Catholic social teaching, bioethics, business ethics and theology and human rights.


Rev. Dr Oleh Kindiy

is Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology of Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) and Associate Professor of patristic theology at UCU. He gained his PhD in Historical Theology at the Catholic University of America (CUA), Washington, DC in 2007. His main research interests include Late Antiquity, Patristics and Medieval Studies, Byzantine Studies, Religious Education, Ecumenism, Translation of Historical, Theological and Philosophical Literature, and Catholic Social Doctrine.


The Impact of Eschatological Differences in Catholic and Lutheran Traditions on Modern Understanding of God’s Creation

In this presentation, I would like to look at the differences in Catholic and Lutheran theology, or even more specifically eschatology, and how those differences are reflected in attitudes towards the environment. The Catholic and Lutheran authors often use an apocalyptic rhetoric to interpret the ecological crisis as a definite sign of the Second Coming of Christ. However, the destiny of the world doomed for annihilation is not the only Christian perspective. It is more characteristic of Protestant, or to be more precise, Lutheran theology, as Jürgen Moltmann pointed out, since the idea of total annihilation derived from the theology of the sixteenth century Lutheran preacher and scholastic theologian, Johann Gerhard. The Catholic eschatological perspective, in contrast to the Lutheran one, is more of the transformative nature. Unlike the perspective of annihilation, which seems to discount the physical world and opts for the salvation of human persons and not their bodies, the perspective of transformation presents a gradual positive growth of human civilization into the Kingdom of Heaven. This transformation implies a certain moment of change of society from the old quality to a new one at a certain historical moment in time, which is called the Second Coming of Christ.


Prof. Anne Kull

is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Tartu since 2005. She earned her doctorate in 2000 and had earlier studied at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, USA. She is currently the President of the Society Women in Theology and a member on various boards including the international advisory board of the Copenhagen Network of Science and Religion; Nordic Network for Philosophy of Religion and the Estonian Society of Academic Theology.


Baptizatus sum: Consequences and Possibilities for the Ecclesia Semper Reformanda

The sacraments were pivotal in Martin Luther’s theological and pastoral life. This paper seeks to analyse the consequences of Luther’s understanding of baptism, including the priesthood of all believers. This shall be related to girls’ education and women’s ordination. Reference will be made to the creation of an educated believer and a sophisticated contemporary critical and contextual reading/interpretation of Scripture. The paper will then touch on other topics as examples where the continuing reformation is happening or should happen (climate change, loving one’s enemy, etc.)


Rev. Dr Piotr Roszak

is an adjunct professor of Fundamental Theology at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland; associated professor of Systematic Theology at University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. Member of Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas; editor-in-Chief of the journal “Scientia et Fides” and director of the series “Scholastica Thoruniensia”, where the polish translations of medieval biblical commentaries are published. He published recently: Reading Sacred Scripture with Thomas Aquinas. Hermeneutical Tools, Theological Questions and New Perspectives (Brepols: Turnhout 2015).


Mr Damian Dorocki

is PhD student in the Department of Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology at the Faculty of Theology of Nicolaus Copernicus University. He was raised in a conservative protestant community, known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Dorocki popularizes the thought of the protestant theologian Jacob Arminius in Poland. His actual doctoral dissertation is titled “A Relation of God to the World in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas and Open Theism”. His scientific interests revolve around following topics: historical theology (especially theology of Arminius), doctrine of God, “free will-grace” relation, predestination and protestant-catholic theological dialogue.


Rev. Prof. Hector Scerri

is Vice-Dean and Associate Professor of Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology. His main areas of interest are Christology, Mariology, Sacramental Theology and Eschatology. After his university studies in Malta (1984–93), he defended his doctoral thesis at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome in 1998. He has published articles in Melita Theologica, Omnis Terra, Seminarium, Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum, Teresa, Studia Patristica and Nicolaus. He has delivered academic papers at the Augustinianum, Rome and at the University of Oxford.


Aspects of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue on Ministry

The paper will focus on the common understandings of ministry in Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue with emphasis on the common priesthood of all the baptized, the ministry of word and sacrament and the exercise of service to the community. The paper will also treat aspects of the differences in the understanding of ministry between the two Churches.


Rev. Dr Paul Sciberras

is Head of Department of Sacred Scripture, Hebrew and Greek. He lectures mainly in the New Testament areas (Synoptic Gospels, Pauline Letters and Acts of the Apostles, Language and Text of the NT, NT Exegesis) at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Sciberras obtained his Doctorate in Sacred Theology with a thesis summa cum laude on Mgr Prof. P. P. Saydon’s version of 1 Thessalonians: An exegetical and translation-critical study. He is member of the Interdiocesan Theological Commission and the Commission for the Revision of the Bible in Maltese.


Justification by Faith in Romans: What Centre for Paul’s Theology? Martin Luther’s take on Paul

In Martin Luther’s introspective reading of Paul, justification by faith alone does constitute the pointe of Paul’s theology. The prevalently negatively expressed reasoning concerning justification in Romans emphasises justification as not taking place by means of the Law or its works. But if Romans deals with justification primarily by exclusion, it is because it is not the climax of the theology of Romans, but rather a means to prove the equality of believers, Jewish or non-Jewish. Justification vocabulary aims to underline absolute gratuitousness of God’s salvific way of acting. Most manifestly seen in Romans 11:28-32, its formulation is eminently paradoxical and compels exegete and theologian alike to reflect not only upon the Mosaic system (and its purpose), but also upon the Pauline theological paradoxes. Therefore, Pauline doctrine of justification sola fide is to be seen as essential – inasmuch as it expresses relationships that others cannot enunciate, but insufficient – inasmuch as it is unambiguous and does not include in itself the means chosen by God to justify man.


Prof. Alfred J. Vella

is the Rector of the University of Malta and Professor of Chemistry since 1987. His expertise includes environmental Chemistry; general and organic Chemistry as well as Chemistry of natural products. Professor Vella served for many years as Head of Department of Chemistry and between 1997 and 2007 was also Dean of the Faculty of Science. Since July 2006, he served as Pro-Rector for Academic Affairs and in this capacity heads several Senate Sub-Committees including the PhD Committee and the Programme Validation Committee, the latter body being responsible for ensuring internal quality assurance processes at the University in accordance with the Bologna Process and associated standards and guidelines. Prof Vella was chairman of the Institute of Earth Systems and the Institute for Islands and Small States.


Rev. Dr Roman Zaviyyskyy

is currently Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology at the Ukrainian Catholic University. He was born and grew up in Lviv, Ukraine where he earned an engineering degree. After graduating from the Lviv Theological Academy (now UCU) in 1999, Rev. Zaviyskyy obtained his Master’s degree and Licentiate at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. He holds a PhD from the University of Oxford. His research interests converge on issues of Systematic theology and social ethics, patristics and modern philosophy, Christian spirituality and culture. Rev. Roman Zaviyskyy is currently President-Delegate from Europe of the COCTI (Conference of Catholic Theological Institutions) as well as President of the Ukrainian branch of the ESCT (European Society for Catholic Theology).