Vatican City, 29 January 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon in the Great Hall of the St. Pius X Palace the Pontifical Academies celebrated their 18th Public Session, the theme of which was “Occulata Fides. Reading Truth with the eyes of Christ”. The work of the Session was introduced by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Council for Co-ordination between the Pontifical Academies.
During the session, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, read a message from Pope Francis to the participants, recalling that this year's theme is drawn from a phrase of St. Thomas Aquinas, cited in the encyclical Lumen Fidei and which the Pontifical Academies debate in this document and the recent Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”.
“In both documents, I invite reflection on the 'enlightening' dimension of faith and on the connection between faith and truth, to be investigated not only with the mind's eye, but also that of the heart, that is, from the perspective of love”, writes the Pope. Faith knows because it is tied to love, because love itself brings light. The comprehension of faith is that which is born when we receive God's great love which transforms us within and gives us new eyes through which we see reality. … This has important consequences both in terms of how believers act, and for the way theologians work. 'Truth nowadays is often reduced to the subjective authenticity of the individual. A common truth intimidates us, for we identify it with the intransigent demands of totalitarian systems. But if truth is a truth of love, if it is a truth disclosed in personal encounter with the Other and with others, then it can be set free from its enclosure in individuals and become part of the common good. … Far from making us inflexible, the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all”.
“This vision – of a journeying missionary Church – is that which is developed in the Apostolic Exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today's world. The 'dream of a … missionary impulse capable of transforming everything' relates to the entire Church and every part of her. The Pontifical Academies are also called to this transformation, so that the contribution of this ecclesiastical Body is not lacking. This is not a matter of external operations, of a 'facade', however. It is, rather, also for you, a question of concentrating increasingly on the the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary'”.
The Holy Father concluded his message by announcing that this year's Pontifical Academies Prize, dedicated this year to theological research, will be awarded to two young scholars for their contribution to the promotion of a new Christian humanism: Rev. Professor Alessandro Clemenzia, for his work “In the Trinity as Church. In dialogue with Heribert Muhlen”, and Professor Maria Silvia Vaccarezza for the work “The reasons of the contingent. Practical wisdom from Aristotle to St. Thomas Aquinas”.