· Why it is important that Catholic universities are involved in the new evangelization ·
On Friday afternoon 8 June in Krakow, at the Collegium Maius of the Pontifical John Paul University, a doctorate honoris causa will be conferred upon the Secretary of State. On this occasion Tarcisio Bertone will give a Lectio Magistralis from which lengthy excerpts will be published by L'Osservatore Romano.
In his Lectio the Cardinal Secretary of State illustrates the basic role that Catholic universities are called to carry out in the new evangelization. This task corresponds with what was a fundamental intuition of Paul VI, and John Paul II followed in his wake, as does Benedict XVI: if it is to be embodied, faith must pass through culture.
Among the reasons that make the involvement of Catholic universities in the work of the new evangelization urgently necessary today is the need, for them “to create among the wealthy a realization that the time has arrived for them to become true brothers and sisters of the poor through the conversion of all to an 'integral development' open to the Absolute” (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, n. 59). In fact, one of the fundamental purposes of the Catholic institutions of higher education is the service of society: “The basic mission of a university is a continuous quest for truth through its research, and the preservation and communication of knowledge for the good of society” ( Ex Corde Ecclesiae, n. 30). Paul VI noted that “the world is in trouble because of the lack of thinking” ( Populorum Progressio, n. 85). Mustn't universities, especially Catholic ones, be those places of thinking of which the world stands in such great need?
Catholic universities and new evangelization are part of the Church's prophetic mission. In his Message for World Mission Day 1986, John Paul II said that “the Church... is projected toward the third millennium, and assumes with renewed energy her fundamental mission to 'evangelize'... that is, the proclamation to the peoples, which allows them to discover who Jesus Christ is for us”. Likewise, the Catholic university will be faithful to its ecclesial identity if it too continues to be, or to become anew, an “essentially missionary” university.
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