Gregory Hartnell to Larry Wartel on Father Joseph Fessio + then Father Josef Ratzinger: “Father Fessio studied under Father Ratzinger at Regensburg, and Tubingen, I think.” … September 2, 2011

Hi Larry:
I will check out all of your links and get back to you with comments after I do…
It’s interesting to me that you studied in Santa Barbara, a beautiful city my wife Dawn and I discovered to our delight last fall.
Father Fessio studied under Father Ratzinger at Regensburg, and Tubingen, I think.
Gregory Hartnell

Joseph Fessio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joseph Fessio, (born January 10, 1941) is a Roman Catholic priest of the Jesuit order and the founder and editor of Ignatius Press. He was the founding provost of Ave Maria University until March 2007.

Joseph Fessio attended high school at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California, from 1954 to 1958. Before entering the Jesuit novitiate in 1961, he completed undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering at the University of Santa Clara, California. He entered the novitiate on September 7, 1961. Before his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest, he earned a B.A (in 1966) and an M.A. (in 1967) in Philosophy from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest on June 10, 1972. By that time, he had also earned an M.A in Theology from his studies in Lyons, France.


In 1975, he earned his doctorate in Theology from the University of Regensburg, West Germany. His thesis director was Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. The subject of his thesis was “The Ecclesiology of Hans Urs von Balthasar“.

Teaching and administrative experience

This biographical article is written like a résumé. Please help improve it by revising it to be neutral and encyclopedic(December 2007)
  • 1966 – 1967 Taught Philosophy at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
  • 1967 – 1969 Taught Philosophy at University of Santa Clara, California. Co-founder Director of Project 50.
  • 1974 – Taught Systematic and Spiritual Theology, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • 1976 – Founded the St. Ignatius Institute, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • 1978 – Founder and Editor, Ignatius Press
  • 1979 – Director, Religious Books on Tape, Audio Division of Ignatius Press
  • 1987 – Fired from his position as Director, St. Ignatius Institute, the University of San Francisco, by Father President, John LoSchiavo, S.J., in a dispute over management of a $1,000,000 donation.[1]
  • 1987 – Peritus at Seventh Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops, at the Vatican, and delivers paper arguing that girls and women be excluded from the offices of Altar Server and Lector at Mass in the Catholic Church[2]
  • 1988 – 1991 Editor, 30 Days, In the Church and the World
  • 1991 – Publisher, The Catholic World Report
  • 1995 – Publisher, Catholic Dossier, Catholic Faith, Homiletic & Pastoral Review
  • 1995 – Co-Founder, Adoremus: Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
  • 1998 – Founded the Catholic Radio Network
  • 2002 – Founded Campion College of San Francisco and ‘exiled’ from San Francisco by Jesuit Order, although retains leadership of Ignatius Press [3]
  • 2002 – Chancellor, later provost, Ave Maria University
  • 2007 – Fired from his position as provost of Ave Maria University. The reason given publicly was “irreconcilable differences over administrative policies and practices”. He was reinstated as a theologian in residence the next day and remained an ardent supporter of the university.[4]
  • 2009 – Fired from his faculty position at Ave Maria University after expressing concern regarding the university’s financial situation, which was taken as criticism of the administration’s policies.[5]


  1. ^ Don Lattin, “Pope’s help sought in theology class at USF/School protests over orthodox institute”San Francisco Chronicle (Mar. 28, 2001)
  2. ^ J. Fessio, S.J., “Admittance of Women to Service at the Altar as Acolytes and Lectors,” in Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Newsletter 11:2 (March 1988) pp. 14-16
  3. ^ Christopher Zehnder, “Fessio Exiled: Jesuits Shun Invitation to Support New College”San Francisco Faith, 2002
  4. ^ [1] “Interview with Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J.” Sober Inebriation, February 2008]
  5. ^ Fr. Joseph Fessio, “Breaking: Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., dismissed from Ave Maria University”Ignatius Insight Scoop, 2009

External links

The Ratzinger Report

An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church

Cardinal Ratzinger speaks candidly and forcefully about the state of the Church in the Post-Vatican II era.

Here is the complete text of a meeting many have called a “historical turnabout” in the Church. The roots of the crisis that has troubled Catholics in the twenty years since the Council are analyzed with forthright clarity by one of the most authoritative voices in the Vatican. Here is a clear and uncompromising report on the dangers that threaten the Faith, from one who every day receives the most reliable information from every continent. Yet Ratzinger’s observations are as hopeful and balanced as they are clear-sighted, forcefully re-affirming the immense and positive work of Vatican II, whose genuine fruits this book provides a guideline for achieving.

Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was for over two decades The Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II. He is the author of Spirit of the Liturgy, Salt of the Earth, Introduction to Christianity, God and the World, Milestones, Called to Communion, God Is Near Us, and many other works published by Ignatius Press.

Learn more about Pope Benedict! Visit the Works of Benedict XVI


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