Participating in the opening of the new academic year at the Lateran Pontifical University in Rome, former president of Poland, Lech Walesa, said it is urgent Europe rediscovers the concept of freedom.
In a brief but well-received discourse, Walesa recalled the role of Pope John Paul II in awakening the Polish people and how his famous phrase, “Be not afraid,” has echoed throughout his pontificate since the beginning.
Referring to the present-day situation in Europe, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said, “One of the challenges we are called to confront is the spread of a concept of freedom that is only understood as individual free will or as the opportunity for market expansion.”
A Europe without fears
The Rector of the Lateran University, Monsignor Rino Fisichella, said Walesa represents “the symbol of a Catholic in recent history who has dedicated his life to social and political work.”
Likewise, he mentioned the events that have placed the European cultural identity in the forefront of people’s minds, underscoring the importance of “reaffirming without any fear that Europe either rediscover its history and traditions, the roots of which are in Christianity, or it will have no future as a force for unity.”
During his discourse, Msgr. Fisichella underscored the role the Pontifical University should play in the renewal of culture. These centers of study are called “not only to interpret the urgencies of the contemporary world,” but also “to respond with wisdom to the questions that are posed,” “to reconcile the demands of science with the urgency of evangelization,” and “to give full and definitive meaning to the perennial question of man about the fullness of his life.”