Reverend Friedrich Bechina, F.S.O. is the undersecretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Congregation for Catholic Education. It has had many names and forms in the past, with the “Congregatio pro universitate studii romani” being founded in 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. In it’s current form, The Congregation for Catholic Education is the Pontifical congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for: universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or non-ecclesiastical dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.

Rev. Bechina will being giving the 2016 Keeley Vatican Lecture titled “The Holy See’s Higher Education Policy from St. John Paul II to Pope Francis” at the University of Notre Dame on April 6th. Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, president of the University will begin by introducing him. “I have been working for the Congregation for Catholic Education for more than 12 years. Next to the daily work in the office, I have gotten to know the world of higher education and universities through a hundred “business trips” and many contacts. Now I am jointly responsible for the management and the organization of the internal work and the contacts with more than 2500 Catholic institutions of higher education.” Said Rev. Bechina.

Friedrich Bechina is a native of Vienna in Austria. He has served as an officer in the Austrian army, and studied economics, philosophy, and theology first in Vienna, following that with an education at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, where he earned a doctorate in 1997 for his doctoral thesis “The Church as the Family of God.”, for which had received much acclaim and awards. He also received the sacrament of ordination in the same year. He served in the Austrian Archdiocese of Feldkirch for many years before being appointed to the Congregation for Catholic Education and was then later appointed undersecretary. He is a former elected member of the Bologna Process Follow Up Group (BFUG, 2008/2009) and is currently elected member of the Bureau of the Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR) at the Council of Europe.

The University of Notre Dame has said that he will not be the only visitor, but will also give the community and the school the opportunity to interact with other distinguished representatives from the Holy See and from significant dioceses in Europe. They are clearly thrilled to have his involvement and visit to the Notre Dame campus.

To get an idea for his speaking, you can view Father Bechina interviewed by students for the campus news program at Cabrini College about human trafficking: