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WYD 2011: “University - A ‘House’ Where Truth Proper to Human Person Sought”: Pope

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MADRID, Spain, Aug.alt 20 (HDS):  Pope Benedict XVI addressing the university professors said, "the University has always been, and is always called to be, the 'house' where one seeks the truth proper to the human person”.

Addressing a large group of professors at Madrid's historical Basilica of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the Pope recalled his being with them reminded him "of my own first steps as a professor at the University of Bonn."

Speaking on the university experience, which he described as "professors and students who together seek the truth in all fields of knowledge," aided students in understanding the "importance, and even the definition, of the University."

"At times," the Pontiff stated, "one has the idea that the mission of a university professor nowadays is exclusively that of forming competent and efficient professionals capable of satisfying the demand for labor at any given time. One also hears it said that the only thing that matters at the present moment is pure technical ability”.

"This sort of utilitarian approach to education is in fact becoming more widespread, even at the university level, promoted especially by sectors outside the University”, the Pontiff observed.

“The authentic idea of the university, on the other hand, is precisely what saves us from the this reductionist and curtailed vision of humanity”, noted the Holy Father.

"All the same, you who, like myself, have had an experience of the University, and now are members of the teaching staff, surely are looking for something more lofty and capable of embracing the full measure of what it is to be human", declared the Pontiff.

The Pope insisted “it was not by accident that the Church promoted the universities, for Christian faith speaks to us of Christ as the Word through whom all things were made and of men and women as made in the image and likeness of God."

Urging the universities not to “compromise”, the Pope declared that a University "embodies an ideal which must not be attenuated or compromised, whether by ideologies closed to reasoned dialogue or by truckling to a purely utilitarian and economic conception which would view man solely as a consumer."

Pope Benedict urged the university professors to take on the "honor and responsibility of transmitting the ideal of the University: an ideal which you have received from your predecessors, many of whom were humble followers of the Gospel and, as such, became spiritual giants."

Encouraging the young professors to “embody their faith”, the Holy Father said, "We do this not simply by our teaching, but by the way we live our faith and embody it, just as the Word took flesh and dwelt among us. Young people need authentic teachers: persons open to the fullness of truth in the various branches of knowledge…above all, are convinced of our human capacity to advance along the path of truth."

Aug. 19, the Pope also addressed over 1,600 young women religious at the same Basilica of the monastery, which has been recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1984. "The Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ...Thank you for your generous, total and perpetual 'yes' to the call of the Loved One", declared the Holy Father.

The Pope met the Spain's royal family and the Spanish prime minister during the day.

Later in the evening, the Holy Father presided over the Way of the Cross at Madrid’s down town square Plaza de Cibeles. Youth from different countries carried a large cross in turns while the different stations of the way of the cross were powerfully presented through floats.

In his message to the youth, the Holy Father urged youth “to ask him (Jesus) to teach us this mysterious wisdom of the Cross”, which is “the icon of supreme love, which teaches us to love what God loves and in the way he loves”.

Commenting on Pope’s diverse activities during the day, President of CCBI Cardinal Telesphore Toppo said, “It only is a testimony to the universal appeal of the Holy Father and his ability to reach out to various sections of the youth, powerfully and effectively”.

 

 
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