Dear colleagues, dear doctoral students,

as the Vice-President of the Association, thank you for registering to the Congress. I look forward to our collective reflections, exchanges and warm collegiality that characterize our Society.

With kind regards,

Prof. ThLic. Mgr. Miloš Lichner SJ, D.Th.

Vice president of ESCT



In our times hope is called into question. The disintegration of economic systems, of states and societies, families, friendships, distrust in political structures, forces us to ask if hope has disappeared from the experience of today's men and women. In an aging Europe where euthanasia is becoming a more acceptable prospect, what could hope mean? If we have a hope only for this present life, can we still have hope in any meaningful sense after death?

Scepticism about the project of a united Europe also invite us to reflect on what is the hope of a common Europe. Multiple conflicts among members of different religions, force us to think about whether we can believe in mutual co-existence. What is the hope of Christians who are persecuted in some countries? What is the hope of an immigrant, who comes and believes in a better future? Does youth have faith in the Church? Does the Church have faith in youth? Education is also closely linked with hope for a better future. How can we cooperate with others in the process of education and training?

Human life and relationships are built on trust and hope. Hope is one of the basic attitudes of biblical men and women, and thus one of the pillars of Christian theology. Hope is an important part not only of human society but also of human experience itself. Hope generally refers to meaning - it is related to the meaning of what is happening or what we expect to be happening, but a meaning that we do not yet possess, which is partly unknown, mysterious. It is our basic choice in which we interpret the last meaning of our existence. Therefore, while we may speak as believers in hope as a theological virtue, it can also be found in the hearts of believers and non-believers. Everyone has hope, but in what or in who do we place our hope?

All three monotheistic religions are essentially eschatological, and our hope is eschatological, not utopian. Hope is the universal quality of a dynamic human experience, which moves us forward to the eschatological future. We better understand a human person when we uncover the moment of hope in the dynamics of their motivation.

By choosing the theme of hope and looking for that in which we put our hope, the Bratislava international congress does not only offer a theme, but it also offers a search for what connects us. It offers hope: for each and all, for the world and for the Church and for the religions.

Significant world experts from several continents will present the concept of hope in an interdisciplinary perspective. The central axis of the plenary lectures will be supplemented with conference sections and workshops, which will provide a space for thinking about the central theme of hope in relation to philosophy, politics, pedagogy, social work, charity, interreligious dialogue and ecumenism.

Read in: Croatian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Slovak, Spanish

Printing version: poster.pdf



The European Society for Catholic Theology (ESCT)/Europäische Gesellschaft für Katholische Theologie (EGKT)/ Association européenne de Théologie Catholique (AETC), founded in 1989, brings together many theologians from among the different countries of Europe. Its members work at theological institutes, universities, academies, seminaries, and within both Church and society. Accordingly, this European society is an international membership organisation in which both national and regional sections also exist, from Lithuania to Malta, and from Ireland to Slovakia.

The aim of the European Society for Catholic Theology is to promote the academic discipline of Catholic theology primarily at the intersection where Church and society meet. As a systematic reflection on ‘faith seeking understanding’, Catholic theology engages in interdisciplinary research and education which is loyal and yet constructively critical vis-à-vis the Church, while at the same time meeting the highest academic standards of the academy. The Society offers itself as a service both to the Church and to society across Europe by supporting its members, both lay and cleric, in engaging with the many questions which challenge Christian faith as well as contemporary European culture.

The organization aims to encourage the communication, promotion and support of theological education, research, and services. ESCT publishes a bi-annual journal in which the diverse problems that challenge contemporary theological debate in Europe are explored and discussed. Every two years, the society also organizes an international congress.

The international presidium coordinates the actions of the European wide organization. For 2017-2019, the president is Prof. Dr. Marie-Jo Thiel (Strasbourg, France) with Prof. Dr. Milos Lichner (Bratislava, Slovakia) as the vice-president (and president-elect). Three board-members take care of regional representation of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe: Maureen Junker-Kenny (Dublin, Ireland), John Berry(Valletta, Malta) and Roman Zavijskyj (Lviv, Ukraine). The presidium also includes two ex officio-members: Dries Bosschaert (Leuven, Belgium) serving as the secretary-general in charge of the general secretariat, and Gerhard Kruip (Mainz, Germany) serving as the editor-in-chief of the society’s journal ET Studies.



European Society for Catholic Theology

Faculty of Theology, Trnava University

Priatelia Alojsiana

Slovak Bishops´ Conference


LIT Verlag, Germany

TV Lux, Slovakia


Miloš Lichner SJ, Petra Žuffová, 

Vlastimil Dufka SJ, Anton Ziolkovský, Martin Kramara


Renovabis - Solidarity Initiative of the German Catholics with the people in Central and Eastern Europe

European Society For Catholic Theology

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

SWAN - Slovak telecommunications service provider

Slovak Bishops´ Conference  

Communicantes Foundation

KAAD-Stiftung Peter Hünermann

Monika and Karol Klobušický