.- In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Rome’s LUMSA university (Libera Universita Maria Santissma Assunta,) the Holy Father received 7,000 members of the institution today. Acknowledging the university's well-defined Catholic identity, he called them on to a further “dialogue between faith and reason, in an ideal attempt to integrate knowledge and values.”
The Pope noted that the university came into being as a result of Pope Pius XI's Encyclical “Divini illius Magistri” and began its activities in the climate of commitment to education inspired by the encyclical. He told his audience that their university began “with a well-defined Catholic identity, also with the encouragement of the Holy See with which it maintains very close ties.”
Pope Benedict also told the members of the university that the LUMSA’s dual focus, that of “remaining faithful to the original idea of [foundress] Mother Tincani and, at the same time, responding to the new challenges of society” is still necessary today. The Pontiff added that the task of teaching is of critical importance, since “any profession can become an occasion to bear witness to values that were absorbed during the academic period, and to translate them into practice."
Then Pope Benedict emphasized the transcendent nature of universities and their studies, which don’t have their end simply in the acquisition of knowledge. “Today, as yesterday, the university needs true masters capable of transmitting, alongside academic information and knowledge, rigorous research methods and profound motivations.”
Commending the university itself for its dedication to the ideals upon which it was founded, The Holy Father said, “LUMSA is a Catholic university which has this Christian inspiration as a specific element of its identity… it aims to undertake academic activity oriented towards the search for truth, in a dialogue between faith and reason, in an ideal attempt to integrate knowledge and values.”
The Holy Father concluded by calling on the students to maintain their “hearts and minds open to the truth” in order to become “builders of a more just and united society.”