Hello everybody! We do welcome all our visitors on our new blog. Who are we, though? We, that’s simply us André-Frédéric and Frank. Two German guys who happen to disembark on the French coast just south of Le Touquet. Till now, we did run a blog called where we did publish our personal internet journal as well as some articles on 16th century theology, history and philosophy, especially concerning the German cardinal John Gropper (1503-1559), the Catholic Reform and the Council of Trent as well as some French 17th century literature, in particular some works of French libertine authors such as Théophile de Viau, Denis Sanguin de Saint-Pavain, Belleau et Cyrano de Bergerac. Anyway, you should be able to find there a collection of what you might regard as mere sketches of our thoughts and ideas on what ever we think to be of some importance or at least of some interest to be discussed at all. Moreover, we have been running for some years a site, gropperforschung.de, consecrated to John Gropper, his life, works and his theology that subsequently was removed after having canceled the contract with our provider following our expatriation. However, you might find a safety copy of this site at Now we are actually reviewing and rearranging all our sites to make them accessible from our new site called villa-anemone.fr. Besides our editorial and translating work we shall offer bad & breakfast in our Villa Anémone in the near future and organizing seminars and courses.
All right, let’s tell something about our lives. On the first picture on the right, that’s actually me. My name is André-Frédéric. I was born in Düssledorf in may1965. As my mother’s father being of French origins, I always felt a very strong inclination to France, the more as some of my father’s ancestors had to flee Prussia during the “Kulturkampf” the so-called “Culture Struggle” of Bismarck and finally found refuge in France. Anyway, my father’s family, the Alberts, having Italian roots had moved to France in the early 14th century before one of my ancestors had to leave France during the Revolution and happened to settle in Hungry. So you might imagine that Europe for my father wasn’t at all a mere political idea but was in fact a simple reality. After all, some members of his family had to exile to South Africa during World War II being forced to let my father and his mother behind as it turned out to be impossible for them to follow because events in 1938/1939 were developing too quickly. What I might say about me is that I am catholic, theologian and gay…. and not to forget, I am proud to be. After passing a-levels, I begun to study History and Slavish Philology at Cologne University before I made up my mind to enter the episcopal seminary in Bonn in order to study thenceforth theology and philosophy at Bonn University. Finally, it was here in Bonn too that I should have met Frank. However, I left Bonn and the seminary in 1990 returning to Cologne where I relaunched my studies in History. After all, I decided not to continue studying the languages but, instead, to attend some lectures in musicology and courses in singing. Unfortunately, my asthma that was turning into a real respiratory disease by then never allowed me to practice a lot and at the end I was constrained to abandon it at all. The same time I did then get an introduction to the rudiments of psychology by Professor Heigl-Evers one of the mots brilliant German psychologist, a pioneer of group therapy, teaching in Göttingen. After this, I did manage an apartment house in Düsseldorf and started writing specialized articles in Theology before launched launched our first website in order to publish the results of our research work about John Gropper and his relationship to Matrin Bucer in particular as well as about the reformation and catholic reform in general.
Frank was born in Düren in 1965. As I told above, we met first in the seminary at Bonn in 1987 on the last Sunday in September. At that time, we actually did not know where our friendship should lead us at the end. Short after knowing each other, we formed a so called “spiritual group”in order to make an approach to live a more appropriate spirituality than it was in fact possible in such a confined place that turned out to be utterly unsuitable for any kind of spirituality and that presented such unfavourable conditions for any kind of academical teaching. I am afraid you might be surprised to learn that the director didn’t even like to encourage praying the canonical hours. As I never served as an altar boy and did only knew protestant vicars, despite being a catholic though, the experience of the post Vatican church was absolutely deceiving. Subsequently, we have been committed to a true catholic reform following the example of John Gropper that we think is only possible throughout a revival of monastic live.
Frank left Bonn in 1990 to move to Freiburg where he made his so called “free terms”, i.e. two or three semester a student of Theology is supposed to spend outside the seminary and, of course, at another university, originally thought to be a time to think over somebodies decision for priesthood. As said above, I left Bonn earlier so that Frank and I lost sight of each other. After all, we should have met again by chance in Cologne at the Christopher Street Day in June 1992. However, Frank invited me to visit him in Bonn on the occasion of both the director’s as well as the director spiritual’s the farewell party who were leaving the seminary. Actually, we have been living together ever since. Yet the same year, Frank realized the first public exhibition of his photographs in Bonn. In 1993 Frank left the seminary and abandoned his studies to make an apprenticeship as a stonemason and sculptor in Düsseldorf. As I was still living in Cologne, we took the opportunity to move together in a flat in Düsseldorf. In 1998, I continued my theological studies in Bonn and passed an exam in Philosophy before Frank joined me in 2000.
When in 2001 the law about the “Lebenspartnerschaft” was being promulgated, admitting a civil union for homosexual couples, we at first were firmly against this this imitation of the hypocrite heterosexual marriage. Nevertheless, we changed our opinion shortly after. I am afraid, you might call us fairly inconstant but after Frank had a sever attack of migraine showing all symptoms of even more severe disease like aphasia, we started to think about finding a suitable legal form for our partnership. Anyway, after some interviews with friends who decided to close a civil union and having consulted some lawyers, it was soon clear that this form of a union was by far the most simple way. Subsequently, we got married on February 28th 2002. Moreover, I ought to admit that we we thought it should be necessary to give a sign against religious ignorance and intolerance. Of course, we just got positive reactions our friends among the priests in fact had been soliciting us to receive a formal blessing in a church. But, honestly, at that time we were not ready to go as far. Nevertheless, we think today that some more offensive action should have been taken as we see all attainments of society since the age of Enlightenment being gambled with by governments that deliberately risk our democracies by giving in large parts of social sovereignty on behalf of some pretended economic requirements, simulating that the so called exigences and developments, such as globalization, were some sort of natural law. The same way the Catholic Church does hazard those attainments invoking some ghastly shades of the past when they reject communion to homosexuals inviting to chase homosexuals out of the churches like they burnt witches and anybody whom they thought to be a danger for their temporal power. And that is exactly what all our politicians and clerics do indeed fear for, to loose their power to oppress freedom. But neither is the Church a body to practice power nor is a democracy an enterprise that was in any way accountable to a group of bankers who are at the end nowadays themselves nothing else than ordinary employees of an enterprise. Both are betraying the public dissimulating the fact that they got their authority granted by society itself. (To be continued)