Pope Francis listened to two testimonies during his meeting with representatives of the academic and cultural world.
Balázs Major, a professor of archaeology at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, spoke of the University’s responsibility “to promote dialogue and creative coexistence among religions and civilizations” especially through research and education. He talked about the University’s various international projects involving Middle Eastern countries, which include exchange programmes. “I am convinced”, he affirmed, “that our work must pay particular attention to those who most are in a situation of hardship and destitution”, and he explained that “because a significant part of our ancient Christian patrimony today is found in areas destabilized by conflicts and international politics, it is important for us to save it and help it survive”. That’s why the university is focusing on Syria, “a country affected by war and by other serious disasters”, but that is also “one of the cradles of Christianity”. Major stressed the urgent need to help people in situations of suffering in Syria. “As Catholic Christians”, he said, “we must never forget our neighbours, our Christian brothers and sisters in difficulty and our commitment to stand beside them.
The other testimonial was offered by Dorottya Kocsis, a PhD student in biology. Recounting her academic journey, she shared that in 2015, during an event celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life, she came across an idea that has remained with her since: “[God] creates through us. So live in the present, because in each moment you are part of the creative force in movement by which He writes His divine plan for the world”.
Kocsis explained that her vocation as a biologist is motivated by her wonder with Creation, and that in the discovery of new details, “we are immersed in the complexity of God’s work”.