On 11th November 2019 during the opening of the 12th academic year the Sophia University Institute will grant the Argentine theologian and philosopher Juan Carlos Scannone a Doctorate honoris causa in Culture of Unity. He was one of the professors of Jorge Mario Bergoglio when the Holy Father was a young seminary student. Moreover, he is considered the greatest exponent of the “Theology of the people”.

«With the warm approval of the Congregation for Catholic Education, on 11th November we will grant the Argentinian philosopher and theologian Juan Carlos Scannone the Doctorate honoris causa». This is what the Dean of the Sophia University Institute Piero Coda stated. «The conferment of the Doctorate honoris causa is due to the distinguished scholar’s wide international recognition (in the interdisciplinary field of Philosophy, Theology, and Social Doctrine). It enhances the scholar’s untiring and enlightened performance in building bridges of dialogue between the different social and cultural expressions of Latin America and the Caribbean and between them and the cultural and social expressions of Europe».

This is the second Doctorate in Culture of Unity. The Senate of the Institute unanimously approved it. It recognizes Scannone’s intellectual research carried out with prophecy according to a “new thinking” on a global level. The doctorate also awards his commitment to supporting the “paradigm shift” that Pope Francis strongly hopes to achieve to get to a “new chapter of evangelism” through the “culture of the encounter between cultures”. Moreover, Scannone’s contribution to the charisma of unity and its cultural expressions of research and social engagement supports this approach. Over the last years, he also gave his contribution to the research Committee established in 2012 at the CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council) concerning Trinitarian anthropology. With great joy and gratitude, the doctorate also aims to praise what Juan Carlos Scannone gave and gives to the project “Sophia LAC” with his tangible and strong support and with his open-minded and farsighted vision. Sophia LAC is the Academic center of higher education and research of the Sophia University Institute in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Who is Juan Carlos Scannone? He is a teacher at the Jesuit Seminary of San Miguel in Argentina. He is also a professor at the University of Freiburg (Germany) and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Moreover, he is a member of numerous Latin American academic and ecclesiastical bodies. Over the last decades, he collaborated with the CELAM as a consultant. He was born in 1931 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1949, he joined the Society of Jesus and in 1957 he became professor of Greek and literature at the seminary of the barrio Villa Devoto. There, he met the young and promising seminary student with Piedmont origins Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is now Pope Francis. In 1973, Bergoglio became his Father Superior as Provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina. Six years later, the future Pope Francis became the Dean of the Maximum College of St. Joseph in San Miguel (a city in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires). There, Juan Carlos Scannone was teaching at the Jesuit Faculty of theology and philosophy. It is said that they are on first name terms and that Bergoglio calls him “Cacho”. In 2013, Bergoglio became the first Latin American Pope. Many journalists crossed the ocean and visited the seminary to know more about the Pope’s extremely human and evangelical pastoral approach. In the preface of his book “Pope Francis and the theology of the People,” Juan Carlos Scannone writes that precisely in that seminary many of these journalists learned about the Argentinian theology of the people and its relationship with the more popular Latin American liberation theology and the preferential option for the poor.

Scannone is considered the main living exponent of the “Argentine theology of the people and culture”. He defines it as a theology enculturation model that can become universal through the wisdom and the compassion of the people of God incarnated in the peoples of the earth.

(Flyer of the opening 2019/2020 – the program of the ceremony).

by Tamara Pastorelli

Spanish text of the Lectio Magistralis by professor Carlos Scannone S.J.Italian text of the Lectio Magistralis by professor Carlos Scannone S.J.


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