(Photo: Giulio ORIGLIA Getty Images)

Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio)
Bishop of Rome
The Institute for Advanced Dialectical Research is proud to announce that the Dialectic Medal for 2023 has been awarded to Pope Francis.


“For his uncompromising humanitarianism, sense of social justice and commitment to dialectical thinking, with which he tirelessly advocates for world peace, human equality and the protection of the environment, the 2023 Dialectic Medal is awarded to Pope Francis.”

Vatican Undersecretary for Culture and Education, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, has known Francis for many years, and says, in a word, “The Pope is volcanic; he likes to enter into dialogue, to open doors and windows, do an abrupt turn, but above all enter into a dialectic... He doesn’t engage in dialogue without referring to some sort of concrete experience... His type of reasoning isn’t based on abstract concepts, but is a reflection and an exchange about real life.” (My Door Is Always Open, p. 2)

In one of these dialogues, the Pope explained to Fr. Spadaro: “Opposition opens up a path, a road to travel down... Speaking more generally, I must say that I love oppositions... Oppositions help. Human life is structured in oppositional form.” (Open to God: Open to the World, p. 60)


"Francis is known for seeking out opposition, difference, polarity, tension, and so on,” says Institute Director, Justin Burke, “not in order to eradicate or cancel them out, but, in true dialectical fashion, to maintain and preserve them on what he describes as ‘a higher plane’.”
“Differences are creative,” Francis says, “they create tension, and in the resolution of tension lies humanity’s progress.” (Fratelli Tutti, § 203)
“Once we become aware of Francis’s dialectical framework,” says Dr. Burke, “we begin to see examples of it throughout his writing, speeches, homilies and even in his impromptu remarks: it’s clear that he’s always thinking in terms of the dialectics of parts and whole, the individual and the collective, humanity and nature, local and global—concepts he’s not trying to bring together (in a 'synthesis'), but, instead, to show how attempting to separate them leads to one-sided thinking.”
Dr. Burke describes the Pope as: “an unpretentious, thoughtful man who generally eschews awards and distinctions, so we feel it is significant that he chose not only to accept the Institute's Dialectic Medal, but also to receive it in person at the Vatican (LEFT)—showing his personal commitment to dialectical thinking.”


"Jorge Mario Bergoglio's dialectical thought essentially depends on his youthful reading of Gaston Fessard, the Jesuit who had listened to Alexandre Kojève's lectures on Hegel in Paris, and on his doctoral work on Romano Guardini's polar anthropology. These are authors who come from the great protagonist of the Tübingen School, Adam Möhler, the author for whom Catholicism appeared as a coincidence of opposites. From here comes a dialectical conception of the world that [...] is an antinomian, polar thought, in which the synthesis appears precarious, continually evolving, never resolved. This idea is at the center of Pope Francis' anthropological, social, political and ecclesiological thought."

The Dialectic Medal was established in 2020 to recognize and foster dialectical thinking in diverse fields of theory and practice worldwide. Its inaugural recipient was the German philosopher, Jürgen Habermas. The 2023 award was announced on the 17th of Dec., Pope Francis’s 87th birthday and awarded at the Vatican in Feb. 2024.




"The Dialectics of Pope Francis"
Remarks by Dr. Justin Burke on the presentation of the Institute's Dialectic Medal to Pope Francis at the Vatican in Feb. 2024.