Zagreb, (IKA) – A celebration of the Catholic Faculty of Theology of the University of Zagreb was held on Friday, March 11, in the auditorium of the Interdiocesan Seminary in Zagreb. The celebration was attended by professors and students of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, representatives of the University of Zagreb and other faculties, Catholic institutions of higher education, and the cultural and public life of the city. Also present were the Grand Chancellor of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, Archbishop Josip Cardinal Bozanić of Zagreb; the Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Croatia, Archbishop Alessandro D’Errico; and representatives of other Christian communities, including Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan Porfirije Perić of Zagreb-Ljubljana, Archpriest Kirko Velinski of the Macedonian Orthodox Church; and the General Secretary of the Union of Baptist Churches in Croatia, Željko Mraz.
All of them were welcomed by Cardinal Bozanić, who pointed out that this meeting is the news of a new era, of which the students are a sign. Dear students, you are a sign and bearer of the news that we are witnessing today and which did not exist here thirty of forty years ago. With this news, you are giving the society what the study of theology provides you with, the spiritual vertical dimension that you are called to bring to our society, said Cardinal Bozanić.
The Rector of the University of Zagreb, Prof. Dr. Damir Boras, emphasized that the Catholic Faculty of Theology is “a historical truth, a truth that cannot change Moreover, the quality of the Catholic Faculty of Theology has been confirmed by all the procedures for accreditation and reaccreditation. Ultimately, the Catholic Faculty of Theology is a major scientific institution that through proven scientific methodology examines all the themes given to us in the mission. In addition, the Catholic Faculty of Theology signifies a community with all who seek the truth and this community signifies the promotion of forbearance and tolerance.”
The Rector of the Catholic University of Croatia, Prof. Dr. Željko Tanjić, offered his congratulations on the celebration of “his” faculty. I want our faculty to be on good foundations, and for those who have grown during the past twenty years to grow even more within a strong and beautiful faculty community that enriches the University of Zagreb and forms all of us in the wake of God’s word, scientific thinking and research, said Prof. Tanjić.
The Deputy Director of the Agency for Science and Higher Education, Dr. Vesna Dodiković Jurković, emphasized that generations of Croatian intellectuals came of age at the Croatian Faculty of Theology, and in the continuity of its operations a set of values has been preserved, including quality, professional work, scientific and educational processes, relationships among teachers, professors and students; teaching and learning.
The Dean of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Split, Prof. Dr. Anđelko Domazet, conveyed greetings on behalf of all the deans of the institutions of higher education in the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He noted that during the past twenty years, the Catholic Faculty of Theology has proved to be a relevant scientific and educational institution that offers a specific Christian contribution to the formation of the overall culture of the Croatian society. May this anniversary provide stimulus to the increasing interconnectedness of schools of theology in order to demonstrate with joined forces the relevance of theological responses to the signs of the times in which we live, he concluded.
The Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs of the Faculty of Theology, University of Ljubljana, Assistant Prof. Dr. Tadej Stegu, expressed the hope for intensified joint activity in the future in the areas of academic, scientific and pastoral work.
The Assistant Dean of the Orthodox Faculty of Theology, University of Belgrade, Assistant Prof. Dr. Vladan Tatalović, congratulated the faculty community, including the students, their professors and families. The gathering was thus addressed on behalf of the components of the University of Zagreb by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Prof. Dr. Dubravka Hrabar. Without the Catholic Faculty of Theology, our science and University would be truncated. It would be missed as a diamond that shines with eternal splendor because the theology taught at the Catholic Faculty of Theology explains the secrets of our spiritual being and opens the path for fellowship and the teaching of what is good, she said.
A report on the life and work of the Catholic Faculty of Theology during the past academic year was presented by the Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Dr. Tonči Matulić. He said that at the Faculty, including its branch in Rijeka, there were a total of 831 full-time undergraduate students, 410 women and 421 men. Of this total, 503 are lay persons (208 men and 385 women) and 238 are candidates for the priesthood or religious life (99 diocesan seminarians, 114 monks and 25 nuns). A total of 23 postgraduate students are currently enrolled in the licentiate and doctoral programs. During the past year, three doctoral dissertations and five licentiate’s or master’s theses were defended. He also mentioned that the extracurricular activities of the students, mainly organized and conducted by the Student Council of the Catholic Faculty of Theology, had been numerous and interesting, including charitable-humanitarian, sports, academic, theatrical and pastoral events.
He also mentioned that at the initiative and under the expert guidance of the Faculty-affiliated Franciscan School of Theology in Sarajevo, the Bologna reforms had finally been implemented and the new Bologna philosophical and theological curriculum had been introduced. During the 2013/2014 academic year, the Faculty underwent the procedure of reaccreditation, which was conducted by the Agency for Science and Higher Education. For the purpose of obtaining a positive final opinion, i.e., a license for carrying out scientific and educational activities, in May 2015 the Faculty adopted the Plan of Action for Quality Improvement, and in September 2015 the Strategic Program of Scientific Research.
Dean Matulić also stressed that the international scientific research project European Values Study is currently the only active project at the Faculty, which involves researchers from the Faculty and several other scientific institutions. It is also important to mention publishing activities, especially the scientific theological journals published by the Faculty: Bogoslovska smotra [Theological Review], Croatica christiana periodica, Riječki teološki časopis [The Rijeka Theological Journal], and the professional journals Biblija [Bible], Sveta Cecilija [St. Cecilia] and the student journal Spectrum. In the area of international cooperation, the cooperation and mobility of teachers and students has intensified within the Erasmus+ Program and CEEPUS network at foreign partner faculties. The Faculty currently has 106 employees, of whom 32 are employed in professional-administrative and support-technical services, 74 in scientific-teaching, artistic-teaching, teaching and research associate positions, of whom 57 are at the Faculty in Zagreb and 17 at the branch in Rijeka.