Church Can Help Universities Resist Pressure of Market, Says Bishop

Schools’ Autonomy Seen at Risk

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ROME, JULY 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- To ignore the exchange of contributions between the Church and universities would severely impoverish growth toward unity, communion and solidarity of the European continent, says Bishop Cesare Nosiglia.

The bishop, who is delegate of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences for university pastoral care, and president of the Italian bishops’ commission on Catholic education and the university, was speaking at the end of the symposium on the «University and Church in Europe.»

Both organizations promoted the meetings which for four days gathered rectors of 56 universities and bishops of all European university cities, as well as professors, students and chaplains numbering more than 1,500 participants from 40 countries.

In the context of the dialogue between universities and the Church, «the lay sectors give much credibility to the presence of the Church,» Bishop Nosiglia said.

«I think that the university perceives that it can find in the Church its natural ally so as not to succumb today to the thrusts of the market,» he explained on Vatican Radio.

The force of the market tends to transform the university, «making it lose its autonomy for reflection, research and criticism proper to thought that goes beyond the immediacy of results,» the bishop said. «However, Christian thought has man at the center, research on the meaning of the human being and, therefore, also the ethic commitment, the moral commitment to the growth of this new humanism.»

The Church can also find in the university its natural ally «to incarnate the Gospel in the fabric of culture,» the bishop continued.

«Here, however, it is necessary that it really be the local churches at such that act, considering the university a place of mission, fundamental for human, Christian and spiritual growth, and, therefore, to interlace an organic and systematic dialogue,» he noted.

Lastly, the bishop referred to the need to build laboratories of faith and culture within universities «to increasingly humanize research, proper to the university and, through it, the whole of society.»

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