Pope Francis says Catholic identity should be 'clear' and 'uncompromising'
Addresses visiting delegation from Notre Dame University in the US
Catholic universities must give "uncompromising" and "unambiguous" witness to church teaching and defend themselves from all efforts to dilute their Catholic identity, Pope Francis said.
Catholic universities, "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," he said in an audience with members of the board of trustees of the University of Notre Dame and other officials.
The pope met on Thursday with some 130 people representing the Indiana-based Catholic university, who were in Rome for the inauguration of the university's new Rome center.
Speaking in Italian, Pope Francis praised the university, saying it "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."
He said the institution's original vision, guided by its religious founders of the Congregation of Holy Cross, "remains, in the changed circumstances of the 21st century, central to the university's distinctive identity and its service to the church and American society."
Catholic identity and missionary discipleship are critical, the pope said, and need to be evident in the way Catholics live and in the workings of all Catholic institutions.
Catholic universities play a special role in being faithful missionaries of the Gospel because of their commitment to showing the compatibility of faith and reason, and showing how the Christian message offers people a fuller, more authentic human life, he said.
"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," he said.
Source: Catholic News Service
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