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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, following a Eucharistic concelebration presided by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, to mark the beginning of the academic year at Roman Pontifical Universities, the Holy Father entered the Vatican Basilica to greet the students and professors gathered there.

  In his talk, the Holy Father emphasized how the community of teachers and students, coming from many different nationalities and cultures, "eloquently expresses the universality and unity of the Catholic Church. A community that is all the more attractive because it prevalently addresses the young, giving them the opportunity to enter into contact with institutions of great theological and cultural value and, at the same time, offering them access to rewarding ecclesial and pastoral experiences."

  Benedict XVI highlighted "the primary importance of spiritual life," and of concern for "cultural development, balanced human maturity and a profound ascetic and religious formation." He also stressed the need for "silence and contemplation," because we must be able "to listen with the heart to God Who speaks."

  He went on: "Thought always needs purification in order to be able to enter the dimension in which God pronounces His creating and redeeming Word. ... Only if they arise from the silence of contemplation can our words have some measure of value and utility, and not subside into ... worldly discourse which seeks the consensus of public opinion.

  "People who study in ecclesiastical institutes must, then, prepare themselves to be obedient to truth," he added, "and cultivate a particular form of ascesis of thought and word."

  "Your apostolate will be rich and fruitful," he concluded, "in the measure to which you prepare yourselves over these years, studying seriously and, above all, nourishing your personal relationship with Him, tending towards sanctity and having as the only goal of your lives the realization of the Kingdom of God."
AC/.../PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITIES                        VIS 20061024 (320)

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