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    A soft-spoken Pope is forbiden to speak at La Sapienza

The Pope had prepared a speech and
a group of agitated Church-haters activists forbid him to speak.
The speech was then posted on line and
immediately thousands and thousands read it!

In his speech, he started by asking the very pertinent questions of "Who is the Pope and what is his responsibility? And what is the university's place and mission in today's society"? And he went on to lay out the building blocks of his answer, one at a time, from the historical foundation of La Sapienza by Pope Boniface VIII, to the search for knowledge in the contemporary secular (and state owned) university. If he, the Pope, as the guide of his community of believers, needs to keep it on the way toward God, he also acknowledged that his voice has become more and more the voice of the ethical reason of humanity. In the university, the development was, from medieval times to today, to search for the truth based on the 4 disciplines of the medical and legal branches and the twin branches of philosophy and theology and it represented the university's effort to bear fruits in every field of knowledge. Along the way, theory and practice need to be intertwined. If not, if the search for knowledge becomes separated from the search for the ethics of mankind, then the sad results will easily degenerate in a utilitarian worldview. With references to Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Ralls and Jürgen Habermas and more, Pope Benedict's exposé is fascinating and is all about the faith offered freely, the freedom brought by the truth and the progress made possible by reason!

And to think that they could not wait to shut him off…

Well, succeed they did not and his voice on his duty to keep the sensitivity to truth alive was clearly heard worldwide. In the process, we witnessed a very interesting exercise on the political limits of the freedom of expression understood by some and the immense facility of modern technological ways. Thus it is ironic that the (very) narrow understanding of science used by some to reject a man of the Church was in the end defeated by science itself.

The ability to exercise freedom of worship is key to all the other freedoms enjoyed in our Western nations: freedom of press and freedom of speech, access to education and libraries, the ability to work and to change jobs; it is also related to safety and security. They are all linked together in one seamless garnment because they are all part of the essential fabric of our lives


The Pope is first of all Bishop of Rome and as such, in virtue of succession to the Apostle Peter, has an episcopal responsibility in regard to the whole Catholic Church. He is the one who, from a higher vantage point, considers the whole, concerning himself with the right path and of the cohesion of the whole... The bishop -- the shepherd -- is the man who takes care of this community; he who maintains its unity and keeps it on the way toward God, indicated, according to the faith, by Jesus -- and not only indicated by Jesus: Jesus himself is the way for us.

The truth makes us good and goodness is true.This is the optimism that lives in Christian faith, because to it has been conceded the vision of the Logos, of creative Reason that, in the incarnation of God, has revealed himself as the Good, as Goodness Itself.

But man's journey can never suppose itself to be at an end and the danger of falling into inhumanity is never simply overcome.

If reason becomes deaf to the great message that comes from the Christian faith and its wisdom,
it will wither like a tree whose roots no longer reach the waters that give it life.

Is it Dry Branches or a Dead Tree?


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