Last events, seminars or sessions of the ”Accademia Balthasar”

Three Masters of Our Time

Balthasar and John Paul II

Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI considered Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Adrienne von Speyr to be spiritual teachers, masters well-suited to illuminate Christian life with a profoundly Catholic doctrine.

In the fall of 1949, Alfred Läpple had given me Catholicism, perhaps Henri de Lubac’s most significant work, in the masterful translation by Hans Urs von Balthasar. This book was for me a key reading event. It gave me not only a new and deeper connection with the thought of the Fathers but also a new way of looking at theology and faith as such. Faith had here become an interior contemplation and, precisely by thinking with the Fathers, a present reality. In this book one could detect a quiet debate going on with both liberalism and Marxism, the dramatic struggle of French Catholicism for a new penetration of the faith into the intellectual life of our time. De Lubac was leading his readers out of a narrowly individualistic and moralist mode of faith and into the freedom of an essentially social faith, conceived and lived as a we – a faith that, precisely as such and according to its nature, was also hope, affecting history as a whole, and not only the promise of a private blissfulness to individuals.

Joseph Ratzinger, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977

The Church itself, in its official responsibility, tells us that Balthasar is right in what he teaches of the Faith, that he points the way to the sources of living water – a witness to the Word which teaches us Christ and which teaches us how to live.

Joseph Ratzinger, Balthasar’s Funeral, Lucern, July 1, 1988

Pope Benedict XVI

I consider that [Balthasar’s] theological reflection keeps its deep actuality intact to this day and still stirs many to penetrate ever further into the depths of the mystery of faith, holding the hand of this most authoritative guide. […] I can testify that von Balthasar’s life was a genuine quest for the truth, which he understood as a search for true Life. He sought everywhere for traces of God’s presence and truth: in philosophy, in literature, in the religions, always managing to break those circuits that make reason a prisoner of itself and opening it to the spaces of the infinite. Hans Urs von Balthasar was a theologian who put his research at the service of the Church, since he was convinced that theology could not but have ecclesial connotations. Theology, as he conceived it, had to be married to spirituality; only in this way, in fact, can it be profound and effective. […] The example that von Balthasar has bequeathed to us is that of a true theologian who had discovered in contemplation coherent action for Christian witness in the world. Let us remember him on this significant occasion as a man of faith, a priest who in obedience and concealment, never sought his own personal affirmation, but in a truly Ignatian spirit always desired the greatest glory of God.

Benedict XVI, Message for the centenary of the birth of
Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar
, Rome, October 6, 2005


library balthasarEndowed with nearly 10.000 books and journals, the library of the Casa Balthasar is open to students, professionals and professors. It hopes to make living and accessible in Rome the theological, literary and cultural milieu of Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 12.30 pm

Library Contents

Works in multiple languages and secondary literature on

  • Henri de Lubac
  • Hans Urs von Balthasar
  • Adrienne von Speyr
  • Works edited by Balthasar (Johannes Verlag, Klosterberg series…)
  • “Communio” Journal (various editions)

Works of authors closely connected to Balthasar and Lubac, particularly

  • Joseph Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI
  • Ignatius of Loyola
  • Ferdinand Ulrich

In the translation of all that I thought needed to be known and assimilated by Christians today from the great theological tradition, I tried to render as concrete as possible the sense of Catholicity. I began with the Apostolic Fathers, through the Middle-Ages, finally coming to our age. It seemed to be in the spirit of John, the one called simply, “the theologian”, to make known those among our brothers and sisters who are the greatest and most spiritual.

Hans Urs von Balthasar

The study center: Accademia Balthasar

In the seat of the Casa Balthasar there is a specialized library and a center of studies named Accademia Balthasar which is open especially to university students or researchers.

The Accademia Balthasar, founded 1992 by the Lubac-Balthasar-Speyr Association under the patronage of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, has as its objective to make known the figure and the thought of Henri de Lubac, of Hans Urs von Balthasar and of Adrienne von Speyr. It intend to lead who attends towards the spirit of greater faith and love of the Lord which distinguishes these autors.

More in general, the Accademia’s aim is to help its students to know and to live the bimillenial faith of the Church and to foster a renewal of evangelical life and knowledge within the Church. In the spirit of the three autors of reference, the teaching tries to meet with the questions of the contemporary world, by placing itself, as much as possible, at the middle of Christian life understood in its organic totality.

By the study of great authors, of yesterday and today, the Accademia seeks to develop its students’ capacity to “judge everything” (1 Cor 2:15) in a secularized world. It seeks to integrate faith and life, cultural and spiritual formation, professional competence and santity and thus make a Christian capable of living in his ecclesial existence the unity of docility and personal responsibility.

Christian humanities

The Accademia organizes seminars which aim to guide to an understanding of these authors in relation to the world with whom they entered especially in dialogue: the pagan antiquity, the patristic tradition, the Ignatian spirituality, the ancient and modern philosophy, the modern and contemporary literature both Christian and non-Christian.

The teaching, which is organized according to the European University schedule, addresses in particular young men and women who are seeking to integrate their own studies with a broader formation along the lines of a Christian humanities. The program is structured to develop in each student, whatever be his background or the direction of previous University studies, a sense for the realities of the world both positiv and critical, along with a deepening of his faith.

A focal point of attention is the mission of the lay faithful in the world, including their state of life and responsibility, as well as the question on the relationship between faith and culture, personal sanctity and professional commitment.

The activity of the Accademia includes regular courses and seminars, study sessions, conferences, public debates, and summer programs, always with the intention to bring to the fore the doctrinal and existential, as well as the practical application of these theological works.

Method and Program

The method used, inspired by that found in certain universities especially in the United States, consists in reading, in an objective and existential way, a text of a grand author, first alone, then in a group, always under the guide of a qualified teacher.
The program includes seminars in various areas: Sacred Scripture, Fathers of the Church, Theology, Philosophy and Culture, covered by our three autors of reference.

–> Current program


A specialized library collects the works, in various languages, of the three mentioned authors as well as the books and publications able to let their thought and cultural circle be understood.
–> Details, opening time, and conditions to attend

Christmas 2013: “God went out of His way for me”

gherardo delle notti adorazione del bambinoAn anthology of readings from Charles Péguy
Rome, Church of the Gesù, 27th to 31st December 2013

Five days of meditation and reflection on the anxious heart of a God that nurtures hope in the return of His lost child.

Never has a Christian poet penetrated so deeply the mysteries of God’s tender heart, a heart that – more intimate to the human heart than the human heart is to itself – is the most pure agape.
H. U. von Balthasar

Read more

Programme 2013-2014


1° semester (Roma)

  • St. Irenaeus: “God in flesh and blood”, texts from the anthology of the Adversus Haereses edited by H. U von Balthasar (A. Brutto)
  • The task of the Catholic philosophy (J. Servais – A. Brutto)
  • The confession in contemporary literature (A. Savoldi)
  • The “evangelical counsels”, living in the world today (J. Servais)
  • The discernment of spirits in the Letters of St. Ignatius (J. Servais)

2° semester (Roma)

  • Joseph Ratzinger – “Jesus of Nazareth” (A. Brutto)
  • Engagement of the Christian into the world (J. Servais)
  • Theo-Drama, vol . 1 – Introduction to the drama (A. Brutto)
  • Saints and heavenly mission (A. Savoldi)

 Annual course

  • Discernment of the spirits in St Ignatius’ letters (J. Servais)