UPPSALA, Sweden, SEPT. 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The first Catholic university recognized in Sweden since 1477 was praised by a papal message encouraging the institute community to be dedicated with heart and mind to the pursuit of divine and human wisdom.
The Jesuit-run Newman Institute inaugurated the academic year on Saturday in Uppsala.
A message from the Pope, sent by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, affirmed the Holy Father’s hopes that this “center of Catholic excellence” will be characterized by “the illustrious tradition of study, the impartial pursuit of knowledge in all realms and a strong commitment, both with divine as well as with human reason.”
L’Osservatore Romano reported the Pontiff’s message today.
This Catholic institution of higher learning was actually founded by the Society of Jesus in 2001. However the Swedish government accredited it just last April.
Father Adolfo Nicolás, superior-general of the Society of Jesus, presided over Mass on Saturday morning in the parish church of St. Lawrence in Uppsala.
He explained in the homily that the university hopes to offer ways to “learn to live better.”
The Jesuit spoke about the entry of Catholic thought in public education as a sign of effective openness to plurality. And he pointed out that liberty of conscience is acquired through the pursuit of truth: “Newman was faithful to his conscience, something that is always difficult.”
Father Nicolás advocated a struggle against “common sense,” understood as the “spirit of the time, which does not always mean good sense, but prejudice and preconceived ideas.”
He pointed out that Cardinal John Henry Newman (who will be beatified by the Pope this month in England) had the courage to come out of “common sense” and to be faithful to his mission, seeking something more profound, “and this brings difficulties.”
Alluding to the spirituality of the Society of Jesus, the priest spoke of a “magic word for the Jesuits: ‘magis,’ [which means] more, that is, to dig deeply, to understand the question that is behind the question, to look for something even more profound.”
Father Nicolás called for prayer for the Newman Institute, that its “contribution to education will be total, not only for the mind but also for the heart, recovering the best philosophical tradition of educating the heart.”
“Plato would say: The objective of philosophy is to help to live. We want the institute to contribute to make the Swedish people live with joy, openness and truth,” he concluded.
The Vatican newspaper described the accreditation of this university as “the most significant event of the Catholic Church in Sweden since the Reformation excluded it from public life.”
Philosophy and theology are the primary faculties, with studies also on Scandinavian and European art and culture with a broad view on the reality of Swedish society.
L’Osservatore Romano classified the institute as “the most mature fruit of the commitment that the Jesuits, for decades, have lavished on Swedish life through the university and it is the beginning of a pact between the secularized society of Northern Europe and Catholic culture.”
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Newman Institute: http://www.newman.se/about.htm