German Version

June 23rd 1963 - Gundlach Gustav
† in Mönchengladbach

Father Gundlach came from Geisenheim in Rhinegau. There he was born on April 3rd 1892. He grew up in Frankfurt/Main, and visited there the Kaiser-Friedrich Secondary School. His outstanding mental gift became apparent already at that time. After the final examination he was allowed to give the farewell speech of the school. Its topic read: 'The influence of the Greek culture on the education of all peoples'.

During his university studies in Freiburg/Breisgau he met by Professor Heinrich Rickert that matter that should absorb him for his whole life. The so-called Baden School of Philosophy studied at that time the basic questions of the Value Philosophy. The problem of existence and value became crucially for Gundlach's thinking, not least for his social ethics.

On October 31st 1912 he entered the Society of Jesus. After the noviciate in Tisis/Vorarlberg he began the study of the scholastic philosophy in Valkenburg/Holland. During World War I he belonged (1915-18) to the Maltese base hospital 8 of the Third Army in Vonziers/Champagne. Further studies of philosophy and theology in Valkenburg followed. On August 24 1924 he was ordained priest.

After the tertianship in the Bonifatius House in 's-Heerenberg 1927/28 he was appointed successor of the Cologne social philosopher and political economists Heinrich Pesch SJ, who introduced him personally into his work in Berlin. Father Pesch died in Valkenburg on April 3rd 1926. One year later Father Gundlach took his degree by Werner Sombart about the topic: 'About the Sociology of the Catholic Ideas and the Jesuit Order'.

In Frankfurt, Sankt Georgen, the extremely instructive discussion circles with the alumni became famous. The numerous interspersed allusions to the Nazis were said by him occasionally in Latin language. That remained not hidden from the Gauleitung (district administration) of the NSDAP. The leadership of Sankt Georgen and others were concerned that the Nazi party would vent its anger on Sankt Georgen. Father Gundlach probably underestimated the danger for the university. After all, he was appointed professor at the Gregoriana in Rome. Now he read one term in Rome and one term in Frankfurt, and spent his holidays in Berlin. Thus it remained from 1934 to 1938. Then the arrest of Father Gundlach threatened. A friend of him, Prelate Schmitt, got wind of it and warned Father Gundlach just in time. Thus Father Gundlach did not visit Germany up to end of the war. Hence also his professorial activity in Sankt Georgen found its end.

Some articles in the 'Stimmen der Zeit' are owed to the literary activity of Father Gundlach, likewise his sensational articles in the State Encyclopaedia of the Görresgesellschaft. Also the term 'subsidiary principle' in the encyclical letter 'Quadragesimo anno' comes from Father Gundlach. How far that encyclical letter was co-designed by him can only be assumed, but not be proved by basic research.

In the post-war years the influence of Father Gundlach faded. He found various opposition, not only by Jesuits, but also nationwide and in the USA. Also the Dominicans of Walberberg belonged to his opponents.

Impressive were the many honours which he received at the completion of the seventieth year of his life. Professor Höffner came with a group of his former pupils to Rome to present to him an anniversary publication. Also the Federal President awarded him with a high distinction.

After his retirement in Rome Father Gundlach was appointed director of the new created Catholic-scientific Central Office in Mönchengladbach. He gave also guest lectures at the University Münster, when the chair for Christian social teachings was abandoned after Höffner was appointed bishop of Münster. So he had still a far-reaching activity, until a cardiac infarction ended his life unexpectedly at the age of seventy two.


[back to Otto Syre's SJ-Calendar]

Link to 'Public Con-Spiracy for the Poor'