The Catholic Academy in Bavaria was founded in 1957 as an "Ecclesiastical Foundation under Public Law". The responsible authority is the Bavarian Conference of Bishops with the archdioceses of Munich-Freising and Bamberg and the dioceses of Augsburg, Eichstätt, Passau, Regensburg and Würzburg. According to its statutes, it has the task of "clarifying and promoting relations between the Church and the world".
Its main tasks are the organization of scientific, interdisciplinary weekend conferences, all-day forums and study courses, as well as evening lectures and seminars. Main emphasis is placed on fundamental social, political, ecclesiastical, scientific, media and art issues. The events of the Academy take place in Munich and other major cities in Bavaria and abroad.
The target groups are mainly persons with an academic background, multipliers and the holders of important functions from all walks of life.
The Academy is the publisher of several series (well over 200 volumes) and the documentation magazine "zur debatte" (Open to Debate) and is responsible for the “Works of Romano Guardini”.
The Academy’s conference buildings in Munich-Schwabing are the Kardinal Wendel Haus, the “Viereckhof” and Castle Suresnes.
Founded in 1957, the Catholic Academy in Bavaria regards itself as an open forum for spiritual discussion and scientific dialogue into which it introduces the position of the Christian faith. This objective allows a lot of freedom in the choice of topics and lecturers, thus enabling the Academy to engage in the mandated dialogue of the Christian faith with the world and conduct it in the context of the Church.
This concept of fundamental openness with a simultaneous obligation towards the right of belief was established by the Academy’s founder generation – in particular Joseph Cardinal Wendel (1901-1960) – against the background of people’s need for orientation in the years after World War 2, and implemented with the decisive involvement of various lay initiatives. The concept was safeguarded institutionally by selecting the legal form of an "Ecclesiastical Foundation under Public Law". This openness also means that the Academy is not located in tranquil seclusion but in the city of Munich.
One of the most important tasks is involvement with political, economical and social issues. The Academy strives to make its contribution to the public discussion of socio-political problems at as early a stage as possible within their foreseeable development and make the discussion more objective by involving renowned experts from various disciplines.
This applies in particular to the topics of faith, theology and the Church. In view of the divergent tendencies in theology and the Church, the Academy makes efforts to balance off the discussion by presenting different positions, intensifying religious knowledge and introducing the religious point of view into discussions on important questions in everyday life and fundamental and new problems.
Another important focal point of the Academy’s catalogue of topics is made up by the areas of literature, theatre, film, art and the media, along with the natural sciences medicine and jurisprudence. The art exhibitions held in the rooms of the Academy are particularly highly regarded by the general public.
Ecumenicity and Inter-Religious Dialogue
The Academy in Bavaria continues to search for common theological roots and perspectives in its regular conferences with the Academy of the Protestant Church in Tutzing and joint events with representatives of the other major religions of the world, in particular Judaism and Islam.
People with responsibility in all walks of life, multipliers and members of the academic professions are among our target group. The Academy strives to encourage this group to hold critical discussions on the latest issues of our times, which are dealt with on a scientific level with plenty of controversy, thus reflecting the different points of view of the various disciplines.