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Open doors for Benedict XVI at Italian universities

· Beginning in Urbino, a series of conferences dedicated to "Jesus of Nazareth" ·

“How long ago those negative reactions to the Pope’s visit at the Sapienza University of Rome seem to us now!” said Giuseppe Costa, Director of the Vatican Publishing House, presenting a series of meetings on “Jesus of Nazareth at the University.”

“The volume,” continued Don Costa, “represents the crowning achievement of the study of a man who was almost always teaching. What could be more natural than to present it in a university environment? We made the suggestion to four universities which accepted with enthusiasm and so we have organized these conferences at the universities of Urbino, Messina, Parma and Sassari. As soon as the news spread, other universities also asked to participate.”

The first conference will take place on Wednesday, November 16 at the university Carlo Bo in Urbino, named after an intellectual who in his writings, went beyond the aesthetic intuition of Benedetto Croce or historical positivism and interrogated the text in the search for answers to life according to existentialism and Christianity.

In the Aula Magna of the university, the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, will present the book, and talks will be given by Stefano Pivato, Rector of the University, Giovanni Tani, Archbishop of Urbino, Urbania and Sant’Angelo in Vado, Giuseppe Costa, and Marco Cangiotti, President of the Faculty of Political Science.

“More than five centuries ago,” writes the Rector in his opening address, “Guidobaldo I re-organized the College of doctors of Urbino. A few months later, Pope Julius II, in a bull dated February 18, 1507 ( Ad Sanctam Beati Petri Sedem Divina Dispositione Sublimati ) perfected the original nucleus of the university of Urbino giving it the faculty of conferring doctorates and placing the seal on the origins of our university. Since then, and throughout five centuries, the exchange between secular and religious culture has found fertile ground in the meetings held at our university.”

The Pope’s book, continued the Rector of the university in the Le Marche region, is an occasion for “broadening reason,” to echo the terms of the lectio magistralis pronounced by the Pope in September 2006 in Regensburg. “The conference provides an occasion for reflection on Benedict XVI’s volume, Jesus of Nazareth, From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection. We know about its great editorial success but we are also aware of the high value of its content, which is highly stimulating for those, like in the university environment, who believe in the growth of knowledge.”

A conference that is particularly important in an era dominated by the “exhaustion of subordinates,” or the tendency to reduce reasoned arguments to slogans, as Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi recalled in his talk which concluded the conference, “Incomprehension, Catholic Church and Media,” organized by this paper on November 10.

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