The Great Hall of Sophia University Institute, on the morning of October 8, was filled and festive, as on great occasions. Don Stefano Mazzer, a Salesian, who had been working as Assistant on the staff of the Turin Section of the faculty of Theology of the Salesian Pontifical University of Rome, on that morning, presented the dissertation on his doctoral thesis: “He loved them until the end”. For a theological phenomenology of the non-being of love: historical pathways and systematic perspectives. The commission, presided by Judith Povilus, was composed by Piero Coda, ordinary of Systematic Theology at the IUS of which he is also rector, by Nicola Ciola, ordinary of Christology at the Faculty of Theology of the Lateran Pontifical University, of which he is also dean, and by Gérard Rossé, ordinary of Biblical Theology at the IUS.
It was about the first combined doctorate in Theology, in virtue of which, Mazzer, has contemporaneously obtained doctorates in Theology conferred by the Lateran, and in the Culture of Unity conferred by the IUS. Underlining the singular academic value of this event was the presence of the Co-president of the Focolare Movement, Giancarlo Faletti, Mons. Brendan Leahy, professor of Ecclesiology at the IUS and Bishop of Limerick, in Ireland, as a few months ago, and Andrea Bozzolo, rector of the Turin section of the Faculty of Theology of the UPS, together with Don Stefano’s parents as well as numerous friends and students of Sophia, along with many others.
After a long and involved presentation by the candidate, and a rich dialogue with the Commission’s professors, the thesis was approved with a maximum of votes in recognition of its scientific pertinence, for its significant contents and as the carrier of an important stimulus for today’s theological research in order of its general re-configuration at the level of the signs of the times.
Through a rigorous and engaging historical overview re-proposing the outline of the Western philosophical thought from Parmenides to Schelling and that of Christian mysticism from Frances of Assisi to Chiara Lubich, Mazzer, in fact, was able to illustrate the novelty of the love lived by Jesus in His abandonment on the Cross as the opening of a new relational space between the I and his other, in God and in the world. He argues that – it is – about that “trinitization” (as defined by Chiara Lubich) of ties, which is at one and the same time. «gift, coming from the trinity in virtue of the incarnation of the Son and of his death and resurrection» and «real experience of the participation in the life of God himself» in the living out of interpersonal relationships.
As the rector of the IUS underlined, the weight of the research and its existential and interdisciplinary, as well as the theological quality, make Mazzer’s thesis, which will soon be published, the happiest and most appropriate debut for doctorates in theology, in synergy between the IUS and the Pontifical Faculty of Theology such as the Lateran’s.
Similar agreements of combined doctorates are already in effect, with the Theologic Faculty of Central Italy (Florence), the Pugliese Theologic Faculty (Bari), and the Faculty of Theology of San Miguel (Buenos Aires, Argentina).