Faith Isn't Opposed to Reason, Says John Paul II

Receives Honorary Doctorate From Copernicus University of Poland

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 23, 2004 ( John Paul II received an honorary doctorate from Nicholas Copernicus University of Torun, Poland, and said he hoped the gesture would promote dialogue between science and faith.

The honor was conferred today by Jan Kopcewicz, rector of the university, whom the Pope visited personally in June 1999. The rector came to Rome accompanied by members of the school’s academic senate.

In his brief address in Polish, the Holy Father advocated dialogue as the means to “overcome the contrast, made during the Enlightenment, of truth reached through reason and truth known through faith.”

“Today we understand ever more that it is the same truth and that it is necessary for men and women not to walk alone but to try to confirm their own intuition through dialogue with others when reaching the truth on their own,” he said.

“Only in this way will experts and men of culture be capable of assuming that special responsibility which I spoke about in Torun: ‘the responsibility of truth; to strive toward it, to defend it, and to live according to it,'” the Pope added.

For this reason, the Pontiff suggested that the Polish university might be able to have a school of theology.

Founded in 1945, Nicholas Copernicus University, with 11 faculties, is the largest in northern Poland. It has 1,368 professors and 34,000 registered students, including 508 doctoral candidates.

The university offers its contribution to scientific study with an Astronomy Center that houses a 32-meter radio telescope, the third largest in Europe.

Before taking leave of his guests, the Pope said: “There is no greater wealth in a nation than that of being made up of learned citizens.”

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