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The Church needs beacons of light

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The Cologne University of Catholic Theology (Kölner Hochschule für Katholische Theologie – KHKT) is already one of the young beacons in the Catholic Church in Germany. It is to be further developed into one of the leading Catholic universities that will play a decisivie role in the mission of the Church in Germany and possibly beyond.

The KHKT is officially recognized by the Church and by the German state as a university with faculty status and the right to confer doctorates. It serves a growing number of students; currently around 100, some 30% of whom come from countries outside of Europe. Enrolments are stable and exceed those of most other state faculties in Germany in the master's degree program in Catholic Theology. Among the German students, more and more are coming from outside the Archdiocese of Cologne.

The KHKT in brief

Die KHKT grew out of the nearly 100-year old tradition of the University of Philosophy and Theology operated by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD, a.k.a. the “Steyler Missionaries”) in the German town of Sankt Augustin near Bonn. Since 2021 it has been located in the metropolis of Cologne, very close to the medieval “Krieler Dömchen”, the Church of St Albert the Great, and the University of Cologne.

Church-approved (and state-recognised) programs are offered to laypeople, candidates for the priesthood, and members of religious orders:

  1. Master’s Degree in Theology (Mag. theol.)
  2. Licentiate in Theology (Lic. theol.)
  3. Doctorate in Theology (Dr. theol.)
  4. Studium generale orientation year
  5. Additional qualification in theology and social pedagogy

Additional programs planned:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Missionary Catechesis and Dialogical Social Work
  2. Certificate in Leadership Ethics for Professionals and Executives

The KHKT’s range of programs is already attracting an unexpected level of interest. It is therefore important that we continue working for the future of the Church in Germany. And for that we require your help and support!

The KHKT – a beacon in Germany

Under the changed conditions of the secularised present, the KHKT performs the inner-scientific, social and ecclesiastical functions of Catholic theology as a science. In its principles and methods, it is oriented towards the interdisciplinary diversity of theology and strives for innovative, self-responsible and creative learning and teaching, among other things through the targeted promotion of international exchange in strong research, effective publication and fascinating teaching and study.

The KHKT is committed to Catholic theology as a true academic pursuit. In its foundations and methodology it is oriented towards interdisciplinary diversity and strives for an innovative, autonomous, and creative approach to learning and instruction, including through its focus on promoting international cooperation in robust scholarship, impactful publications, and compelling instruction and curriculum. Its diverse range of studies aims to educate theologians who, in fidelity to the message of the Gospel and the Church, are capable of taking an independent and scholarship-based approach to analyzing and working on new areas of study, questions, and challenges and contributing to solutions, both in the Church and in their own careers outside of their service to the Church.

The KHKT belongs to the same tradition of scholarship and instruction in missionary theology of as the former University of Philosophy and Theology in Sankt Augustin, as exemplified by its distinguished master’s program in Missionary Theology, Religious Studies, and Ethnology.  This unique course of study emphasizes the missionary dimension of the Catholic faith and Catholic theology: to enter into dialogue on matters of faith and religion with people from the most diverse backgrounds and thus to become capable and articulate proclaimers of the Catholic faith. This is the goal of the KHKT as an educational institution.

At its core, the KHKT conceives of itself as an institution based on the dialogue of Theology and Church with Science, Politics, Society, and Culture. It is for this reason that Cologne was selected as the school’s location. Being situated in the heart of a European metropolitan region allows the Church to strengthen its contact with scientific and cultural institutions in Europe. At the same time the KHKT connects the Archdiocese of Cologne and its tradition of great theologians including Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, and Duns Scotus with the missionary Church universal. 

The KHKT sees itself as part of the community that makes up the universal Church. In Cologne, professors—a majority of whom are Catholic priests—students, and staff come together to form a university community. This also means that the opportunity to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist is part of the offers and that the institution is permeated by a culture of familial fellowship. The interaction between classmates and fellow students and scholarly reflection in the context of the programs offered provide the opportunity to practice critical engagement with one’s own spirituality, and in the process of questioning and searching as a community enables a maturation and deepening of one’s spiritual life. The presence of international students likewise allows for the integration of and reflection on experiences from other parts of the world.

How will the KHKT be funded?

The KHKT is a theological university that is independent of state funding. Up to now, the KHKT has been financed entirely by the Archdiocese of Cologne. However, for various reasons including the current disputes about the course of the Catholic Church in Germany overall, this financial support is now being called into question. For this reason, donors have come forth who are willing to help support the KHKT via private means alongside the German “church tax” system. And last but not least, it should be noted that Pope Benedict XVI supported the development of the KHKT with great sympathy and accompanied it in prayer.

How do I become part of this new beacon of the Church?

The beacons that will light the way for the Church of tomorrow rely on prayer to develop their potential and let them bear fruit. They also require the material support of the faithful, which means:

  • Please contribute to the financing of a future “Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)” professorship, or scholarships for students and doctoral candidates.
  • Please encourage bishops to send students and seminarians to study at the KHKT in the city of Saints Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great, and Edith Stein.
  • Please contribute to the financing of international seminarians, priests, and members of religious orders from Asia, Africa, and Latin America who wish to study or earn a doctorate at the KHKT.
  • Please make it possible with your support to offer courses in English and establish a summer school for the global Church.

Would you like to know more about the KHKT? Rector Dr. Christoph Ohly (rektor@khkt.de) would be happy to answer any questions you may have about cooperation and conditions of study, and executive director Christoph Konopka (christoph.konopka@khkt.de) would be glad to answer those regarding funding and financial support. And most importantly: Please pray for the KHKT and the Church in Germany overall. 

Contact us

Prof. Dr. theol. Lic. iur. can. Christoph Ohly

Prof. Dr. theol. Lic. iur. can. Christoph Ohly

Rektor / Lehrstuhlinhaber Kirchenrecht, Religionsrecht und kirchliche Rechtsgeschichte
rektor@khkt.de
Christoph Konopka

Christoph Konopka

Geschäftsführer / Executive Director