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Aquino hails Pontifical University of Santo Tomas

Asia’s oldest university celebrates its 400th anniversary

UST’s Quattromondial Monument symbolizing 400 years of existence is unveiled UST’s Quattromondial Monument symbolizing 400 years of existence is unveiled
  • ucanews.com reporters, Manila
  • Philippines
  • January 28, 2011
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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III yesterday praised the role of the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (UST), in educating Filipinos during celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of Asia’s oldest university.

“UST not only educates students but also imparts principles, which is a noble mission of the institution,” Aquino told students and delegates attending the International Council of Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas (ICUSTA).

Pope Benedict XVI’s representative, Archbishop Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, was also attending the three-day celebration.

The ICUSTA meeting, called “The Role of Universities in Fostering Catholic Principles in Public Life,” attracted delegates from 50 countries.

The event was also the 10th biennial conference of the association of schools named after St. Thomas Aquinas since its inception in 1993 by the late educator Gerardo Rocha Vera of Chile.

During the conference, Father Guy Bedouelle, rector of Université Catholique de l’Ouest in France, told participants the search for knowledge in the realm of secular sciences still relies on religion.

In the face of human reason, knowledge derived from religion is to be valued, he told delegates.

He described culture as “everything whereby man develops and perfects his many bodily and spiritual qualities.”

Bedouelle also emphasized the role of universities in “upholding” research that stems from religion.

He cited the pope’s visits to France and Germany during the early years of his papacy as examples of how the pontiff recognized the values of connecting culture, religion and education within the context of a secularized society.


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