Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pope to Notre Dame: Be uncompromising witnesses

Pope Francis on Thursday met with a delegation from the University of Notre Dame (USA) on the occasion of the inauguration of the University’s “Rome Center.”

In his address to the delegation, the Holy Father said he was “confident that the new Center will contribute to the University’s mission by exposing students to the unique historical, cultural and spiritual riches of the Eternal City, and by opening their minds and hearts to the impressive continuity between the faith of Saints Peter and Paul, and the confessors and martyrs of every age, and the Catholic faith passed down to them in their families, schools and parishes.”

Pope Francis spoke about the “outstanding contribution” Notre Dame has made to the Church in the United States “through its commitment to the religious education of the young and to serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue,” and thanked the University for its commitment “to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary school education throughout the United States.”

The Pope also spoke about the vision of Notre Dame’s founder, Father Edward Sorin, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, calling it “central to the University’s distinctive identity and its service to the Church and American society.” Referring to the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, he spoke about “the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship,” which “ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities.”

“Essential in this regard,” he continued, “is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.” 

Pope Francis said, “It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.”

Pope Francis asked the members of the delegation to pray for him in his ministry and assured them of his prayers. He concluded his address with his Apostolic Blessing.

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