The theologian inspired both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis

The beatification process for a theologian who inspired both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis will open on December 16.

The cause of Romano Guardini will begin officially with Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Munich, alongside that of Nazi resistance fighter Fritz Michael Gerlich.

Guardini, who died in 1968, is considered one of the most important theologians of the 20th Century. His work ‘The Spirit of the Liturgy’ was a major influence on the Liturgical Movement, and he became a key thinker for the council fathers at the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis has previously said he is “convinced that Guardini is a thinker who has much to say to the people of our time, and not only to Christians”.

In the 1980s the future Pope began a doctoral dissertation on Guardini in Germany, but later abandoned it.

Benedict XVI has referred to Guardini as “a great figure, a Christian interpreter of the world and of his own time”. In 2000, he wrote his own book entitled The Spirit of the Liturgy, inspired by the theologian.