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from issue no. 12 - 2007

The university environment was my world for many years

An excerpt from the Angelus of the Pope on 20 January

I would now like first of all to greet the young university students who are many - thank you for your presence -, teachers and all of you who have come today in such great numbers to St Peter’s Square in order to take part in the prayer of the Angelus and to express your solidarity to me; it is wonderful to see a communal solidarity of faith: thank you for this. I also extend a greeting to the many others who are united to us in spirit; I thank the Cardinal Vicar who promoted this meeting. As you know, I very willingly accepted the courteous invitation extended to me to speak last Thursday at the inauguration of the academic year of “La Sapienza-University of Rome”, and I worked joyfully on my Address. I am well acquainted with this Athenaeum, I think highly of it and am fond of the students who attend it: every year, on various occasions, many of them come to meet me at the Vatican, together with their colleagues from other universities. Unfortunately, the atmosphere that had been built up made my presence at the ceremony inappropriate, as is well known. I postponed the Visit in spite of my wishes, but desired nevertheless to send the Text I had prepared for this occasion in the days after Christmas. I am attached to the university environment, which was my own world for many years, by love for the search for the truth, by comparison, by the frank and respectful dialogue between reciprocal positions. All this is also the mission of the Church, which is committed to faithfully following Jesus, Teacher of life, truth and love. As an emeritus professor, so to speak, who has met so many students in his life, I encourage you all, dear university students and teachers, always to show respect for the opinions of others and to seek goodness and truth in a free and responsible spirit. I renew the expression of my gratitude to each and every one, assuring you of my affection and prayers.

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