Early Friday morning, September 22, 2017, Monsignor Brunero Gherardini breathed his last. The universally renowned theologian was 92 years old.
As a Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica and Apostolic Pronotary, he greatly contributed to the theological debate in university circles on several disputed points of the Second Vatican Council.
Ordained a priest in 1948, this student of Cardinal Pietro Parente and Fr. Cornelio Fabro earned his doctorate in theology (summa cum laude) in 1952 at the Pontifical Lateran University. The title of his thesis was The Word of God in the Theology of Karl Barth (Rome, Studium 1955).
The young Fr. Gherardini began his ministry in the parish of Prato before becoming a professor in his diocesan seminary; he was also made diocesan assistant for Catholic Action. In 1959, he was called to serve the Holy See in the Congregation for Catholic Education, and was placed in charge of the diocesan seminaries in Italy.
In 1968, he became professor of ecclesiology and ecumenism at the Pontifical Lateran University where he would later become the dean. He also occupied the chairs of these two subjects at the Mater Ecclesiae Institute of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.
He succeeded Monsignor Antonio Piolanti as postulator for the process of beatification of Pope Pius IX; his efforts bore the desired fruit and the pope was indeed beatified.
He regularly collaborated with many international theological journals, including Divinitas, and distinguished himself in the last couple years by his participation in the theological debate around the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, becoming the spokesman for Catholic Tradition in the world of the Roman universities. His book “Vatican II: An Open Discussion” is a reference on the matter.
Monsignor Gherardini’s funeral took place on Monday, September 25, at 11:00 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica; the following day, Tuesday the 26th, he was buried in Prato in the family crypt, for he renounced his privilege as canon that would have allowed him to be laid to rest in the crypt of the Vatican basilica, until the resurrection of the body.