On Saturday, the Holy Father traveled to the town of Madaba, Jordan where he blessed the cornerstone of the University of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Madaba is a town famous for the "Map of Madaba," a floor mosaic of a sixth-century Byzantine church, discovered in 1896. It shows a map of the Holy Land along with travel suggestions to reach Jerusalem by passing through 150 localities, as well as a detailed description of the city.
The Pope traveled through the Christian quarter of the town by popemobile to the site where the University of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem is being constructed. After blessing the cornerstone of the building, he addressed those present commending those promoting the institution for "their courageous confidence in good education as a stepping-stone for personal development and for peace and progress in the region."
"While assimilating their own heritage, young Jordanians and other students from the region will be led to a deeper knowledge of human cultural achievements, will be enriched by other viewpoints, and formed in comprehension, tolerance and peace," he said.
"This 'broader' education is what one expects from institutions of higher learning and from their cultural milieu, be it secular or religious," the Pope continued. "In fact, belief in God does not suppress the search for truth; on the contrary it encourages it."
"Religion, of course, like science and technology, philosophy and all expressions of our search for truth, can be corrupted," the Holy Father said. "Religion is disfigured when pressed into the service of ignorance or prejudice, contempt, violence and abuse. In this case we see not only a perversion of religion but also a corruption of human freedom, a narrowing and blindness of the mind."
And yet, he proceeded, "every person is also called to wisdom and integrity, to the basic and all-important choice of good over evil, truth over dishonesty, and can be assisted in this task.
"The call to moral integrity," he added, "is perceived by the genuinely religious person, since the God of truth and love and beauty cannot be served in any other way. Mature belief in God serves greatly to guide the acquisition and proper application of knowledge. Science and technology offer extraordinary benefits to society and have greatly improved the quality of life of many human beings. ... At the same time the sciences have their limitations. They cannot answer all the questions about man and his existence."
He went on: "The use of scientific knowledge needs the guiding light of ethical wisdom. Such is the wisdom that inspired the Hippocratic Oath, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention and other laudable international codes of conduct."
Benedict XVI concluded by addressing some words to the young Christian students of Jordan: "You are called to be builders of a just and peaceful society composed of peoples of various religious and ethnic backgrounds. These realities - I wish to stress once more - must lead, not to division, but to mutual enrichment."