Jesuit Bernd Hagenkord RIP

The death has been announced of Jesuit Bernd Hagenkord following an illness. Last October, Bernd was the ACP Zoom guest on the Synodal process underway in Germany – What Can the Irish Church Learn from Germany?

May he rest in peace.

Vatican News report:


Link to the Audio of Bernd’s ACP Zoom presentation:

Following the presentation Bernd asked that his stipend for the presentation be forwarded to assist the work of the Irish Jesuit Refugee Service.

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One Comment

  1. George Reilly says:

    It is very sad that such a talented priest like Fr. Hagenkord should pass away at such a young age. A national newspaper here (“Sueddeutsche Zeitung”) has published a short obituary in its today’s edition. Here is a translation of it.

    Farewell to Fr. Bernd Hagenkord

    Bernd Hagenkord was head of the German-language editorial office of Radio Vatican and was spiritual director of the so-called Synodal Path. (Photo: Radio Vatican/DPA)

    As a journalist, he reported directly from the Vatican, often with subtle irony. As a clergyman, he accompanied the reform debate between laity and clergy of the Catholic Church. Now the Jesuit priest Bernd Hagenkord has died at the age of only 52.

    With microphone and priest’s collar, a quiet smile around the corners of his mouth, St Peter’s Basilica in the background – that’s how many people in Germany knew Father Bernd Hagenkord. As head of the German-language editorial department of Radio Vatican, the Jesuit priest and journalist explained, analysed and commented on the Pope’s ministry. Always reliable, sometimes thoughtful and often with his own fine irony. After ten years in Rome, Hagenkord returned to Germany in September 2019 and took over the leadership of the “Berchmanskolleg” in Munich. There are currently 40 Jesuits living in this community.

    Together with Maria Boxberg of the Community of Christian Life (CLC) Bernd Hagenkord became a chaplain of the Synodal Path, the reform debate between clergy and laity in the Catholic Church. It was always important to him that the Synodal Path should not be understood as a kind of collective bargaining, but as a spiritual process. In church services, prayers and spiritual impulses, he decisively shaped its respectful atmosphere.

    Just last Friday he had resigned from his office for health reasons. Hagenkord had been a “mediator in complex situations, sometimes also in situations of conflict” and had “contributed to defusing the situation and to mutual understanding”, said the President of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing (Limburg).

    The Jesuit priest came from Hamm and entered the order at the age of 24. In 2002 he was ordained a priest in Cologne by Bishop Felix Genn, and in 2010 he took his final vows. Hagenkord studied journalism, history, philosophy and theology in Giessen, Hamburg, Munich and London. After his studies, he worked as a youth chaplain in Hamburg and from 2002 to 2012 in the editorial department of the “Jesuiten” magazine. Like no other, he understood how to make even complex theological questions understandable, say companions.

    He commented thoughtfully – and could sometimes be snappy.

    In his private life, Bernd Hagenkord was a passionate photographer, his favourite subject being Rome. In his blog he commented thoughtfully and could sometimes be snappy on events in the Catholic Church.

    In March, he wrote about the Synodal Process: “There is a lot of talk, even intentional talk. Only the consequences are not wanted. One remains in appeals, in wishes, in visions, one fears the unrest of trying things out and implementing them, one prefers to warn against it. But you can’t want something and not want it at the same time. You think something is good and warn against its implementation. Hold up the ideal and fear the reality of it. Change has consequences. Conversion of the church has consequences. You have to try it out and make it real with the help of the Spirit of God. Not everything will always be good and perfect, but without trying, it remains just prose. And trying, with all its problems, is what the Synodal Path wants.”

    Father Bernd Hagenkord SJ died on Monday in Munich at the age of 52 from his severe cancer illness.

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