Peter Kohlgraf Â© Harald Oppitz (KNA)
Press tour at the Catholic University in Mainz: Peter Kohlgraf, professor of pastoral theology there, meets with journalists at his former workplace. Soon he will be bishop of Mainz.
The rector of the Catholic University (KH) Mainz, Martin Klose, calls him a "very esteemed colleague" and speaks of an "outgoing, fun-loving and humorous person". He said it was a pity to lose him, although the reason was of course very gratifying. The reason is: the "very esteemed colleague" Peter Kohlgraf, professor of pastoral theology, was fired on 18. Appointed bishop of Mainz by Pope Francis on April 1 and is consecrated bishop and inducted into his episcopal office on the last Sunday in August in the cathedral there.
Much joy in the work at the KH
When Kohlgraf (50) introduced himself to the public on the day of his appointment at the cathedral, he also spoke of how much he had enjoyed working at the KH. And he added that he was sorry that he had to give his colleagues and students an unforeseeably quick farewell. Kohlgraf has been teaching and researching as a pastoral theologian at KH for just under five years, where he met with journalists for a press tour on Friday.
Last winter semester, he was elected dean of the Department of Practical Theology. He is now no longer. However, he is still a professor at the university until his episcopal ordination, but without teaching. For the future bishop, said KH Rector Klose, there was now so much to organize and various scheduling commitments that made it impossible for him to continue working at the university as before.
The press tour at the KH with the appointed successor to Cardinal Karl Lehmann, who will be president on 16. May last year and thus on his 80th birthday. The tour of Kohlgraf's office and the university chapel, among other places, leads to his resignation from his post as bishop of Mainz on his 60th birthday. This fits.
Combining science and pastoral work
For Kohlgraf, by his own admission, "it has always been significant to combine scholarship and pastoral activity". As it should be for a pastoral theologian. Its task is to reflect on the future of Christian church practice in its cultural and social contexts.
Speaking to the more than 20 journalists who came to the press tour, Kohlgraf says it is good for people to see that someone who is going to be a bishop has led a reasonably normal life.
Kohlgraf, who aptly describes his office as "not that exciting," taught 18 semester hours a week, mentored theology students in their internships and conducted research. A study on forgiveness behavior in couple relationships is to be published in book form in the foreseeable future.
No fear of contact
Pastoral theology, Kohlgraf explained, is a practically oriented science, trying to enter into conversation with people of other faiths and non-believers in order to reflect on how Christian faith can be implemented in today's world.
There must be no fear of contact after his capture. For me, the fact that someone is a Christian and practices as a Christian "does not mean that he is already the morally better person," says Kohlgraf.
By his own admission, Kohlgraf, a scientist, has never allowed himself to be deprived of his freedom of speech and thought. Whereby: A basic loyalty to the church must be there, he adds. Provided this is the case, he does not want to shy away from the open word even as a bishop. But perhaps, Kohlgraf admits, he will have to refrain from some flippant comments other than in a lecture.