Below, please find the complete English text of Pope Francis’ address to the delegation from the University of Notre Dame (delivered in Italian):
am pleased to greet the Trustees of Notre Dame University on the
occasion of your meeting in Rome, which coincides with the inauguration
of the University’s Rome Center.
I am 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.
From its founding, Notre Dame
University has made an outstanding contribution to the Church in your
country 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.
Conscious of the
critical importance of this apostolate for the new evangelization, I
express my gratitude for the commitment which Notre Dame University has
shown over the years to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary
and secondary school education throughout the United States.
vision which guided Father Edward Sorin and the first religious of the
Congregation of Holy Cross in establishing the University of Notre Dame
du Lac remains, in the changed circumstances of the twenty-first
century, central to the University’s distinctive identity and its
service to the Church and American society.
In my Exhortation on the Joy
of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian
discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and
in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions. This commitment
to “missionary discipleship” ought to be reflected in a special way in
Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by
their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith
and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and
authentically human life.
Essential in this regard 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. 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.
And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the
beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!
friends, I ask you to pray for me as I strive to carry out the ministry
which I have received in service to the Gospel, and I assure you of my
prayers for you and for all associated with the educational mission of
Notre Dame University. Upon you and your families, and in a particular
way, upon the students, faculty and staff of this beloved University, I
invoke the Lord’s gifts of wisdom, joy and peace, and cordially impart