The dissertation of 761 pages takes its bearing from the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte (NMI) in which John Paul II outlined the path the Church is to adopt in the newest epoch. At stake is the “necessity to rediscover the full practical significance of Chapter 5 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, dedicated to the universal call to holiness (NMI 30). To meet this challenge, John Paul II stressed that a concrete “pedagogy of holiness” is required, which above all must include a “spiritual path” without which “external structures … will serve very little purpose (NMI 43).” The Polish Pontiff invited all ecclesial movements to present their original pedagogy of holiness (cf. NMI 31). The author of this dissertation responds to this challenge by highlighting the task of the Blessed Virgin Mary as educator in a pedagogy of holiness both in the teachings of John Paul II and of Father Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Movement.
The dissertation consists of two parts with a concluding chapter comparing John Paul II’s considerations with those of Father Kentenich. Part I focuses on Pope John Paul II’s concept of holiness and the task of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the process of education towards human perfection. The topic is developed in six chapters: (1) Pope John Paul II’s notion of the Human Person’s call to Human Fulfillment and Holiness; (2) Wojtyla’s Philosophical Anthropology in “The Acting Person;” (3) the Pope’s Theological Anthropology; (4) his concept of Holiness; (5) his Marian Teaching and (6) John Paul II’s Contribution to a Pedagogy of Holiness. Part II concentrates on Father Joseph Kentenich’ quest for the New Person called to holiness. Parallel to part I the topic is structured in six chapters: (1) Father J. Kentenich as a Pioneer of a Pedagogy of Sanctity; (2) his Theological Anthropology in view of his Pedagogy of Holiness; (3) his Concept of Holiness; (4) his Mariology; (5) his notion of Mary as Educator and (6) Mary as Educator of Holiness in the Schoenstatt Tradition.
The final chapter highlights in 3 steps the commonalities and distinctive accents of Paul II’s pastoral vision for the third millennium and the spiritual thrust on which Father J. Kentenich founded the Schoenstatt Work: (1) Anthropological Foundations for a Pedagogy of Holiness; (2) Holiness - Fulfillment of the Human Person; (3) Mary - Model and Mother of the Human Person called to Holiness. The thesis concludes by addressing perspectives of further development in the pastoral field.