Pope Francis sent a message to the Italian Catholic University Federation (FUCI), which is preparing to hold an extraordinary national conference in Arezzo, Italy, devoted to Pope Paul VI, who was the Central Assistant of the institution from 1925 and 1933, and who will be proclaimed blessed Sunday.
The Holy Father assures the participants of his spiritual closeness and accompanies them in their work with three words, the first of which is “studium”.
“The essence of university life is found in study, in the effort and patience of thought that reveals the importance to humanity of truth, goodness and beauty. … Do not be satisfied with partial truths or reassuring illusions, but welcome an increasingly full comprehension of reality in your study. Doing this requires the humility to listen, and a far-sighted vision”.
The second word is “research”, which along with dialogue is at the basis of the FUCI’s study method.
The Pope continues, “The FUCI must always experience the humility of research, that attitude of silently accepting the unknown, the other, and of showing openness and willingness to walk alongside all those who are inspired by a restless yearning for the Truth, believers and non-believers, outsiders and marginalised. Research challenges itself continually, becoming an encounter with mystery and opening up to faith: research makes the encounter between faith, reason and science possible, enabling a harmonious dialogue between them. … By this method of research it is possible to attain an ambitious objective: to repair the fracture between the Gospel and contemporary life through the style of cultural mediation, an itinerant mediation that, without denying cultural differences – instead, recognising their value – becomes the focus of positive planning”.
The third and final word is “frontier”.
“The university is a frontier that awaits you, a periphery where the existential poverty of humanity can be received and cured. Poverty in relations, in human growth, tend to fill minds without leading to the creation of a shared plan for society, a common aim, sincere fraternity. Always be sure to encounter the other, to be receptive to the ‘scent’ of the people of today, to be imbued with their joys and hopes, their sadness and their anguish. Do not set up barriers that, intended to defend the frontier, preclude an encounter with the Lord. … In today’s culture, in particular, we need to stand alongside everyone. You will be able to overcome the clash between peoples only if you succeed in nurturing a culture of encounter and fraternity”.