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Friday, November 13, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 13 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the twenty-third general assembly of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (FIUC), on the theme: "The Catholic University in post-modern societies". The event is due to be held at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University from 16 to 20 November.

  Participating in today's press conference were: Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, under secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Msgr. Guy-Real Thivierge, secretary general of FIUC; Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda S.J., rector of the Gregorian University, and Pedro Nel Medina Varon, adjunct secretary general of FIUC.

  "This year", said Msgr. Zani, "marks the sixtieth anniversary of the canonical recognition of the statutes of FIUC by the Holy See". The organisation, he went on, "made a particularly significant contribution to the preparation of the Apostolic Constitution 'Ex corde Ecclesiae'", which was approved by John Paul II in 1990 and explains the essential characteristics a Catholic university must have "in order to guarantee a Christian presence in the academic world, in the face of the great problems of society and culture".

  For his part, Msgr. Thivierge outlined some of the themes due to be discussed during the forthcoming assembly: the Catholic University in dialogue with cultures and religions; the Catholic University and Christian intellectual tradition; the political and social responsibility of the Catholic University; and the Catholic University and the future.

  Fr. Ghirlanda highlighted how "the search for truth is a constituent element of man's nature, and of his dignity and vocation, and the Church must offer the means for the truth to be discovered by everyone who seeks it. ... This is why the mission of Catholic universities is not only aimed at the Catholic faithful - in many of them, in fact, Catholic students are a small minority - but to all men and women who wish to receive an integral education for the development of a free and responsible personality".

  Pedro Nel Medina Varon, recalled how, of the 1210 Catholic universities and institutions of higher education in the world, FIUC "brings together 207, from 56 countries".

  "We in the Federation consider Catholic Universities as having three main responsibilities: preserving the Catholic intellectual tradition"; in other words, "the reflection that the Christian community has been developing for the last two thousand years concerning the most profound questions about life and the human condition, as well as the beliefs and values transmitted by the Gospel".

  The second responsibility "is the integral education of the person", and the third is "service to the Church, ... and the preservation of the Catholic intellectual tradition through the integral education of the person".

  The adjunct secretary general of FIUC concluded his remarks with a question addressed to the Catholic universities of the world: "Can our universities be, apart from all this, privileged places where academics and intellectuals can meet with political leaders committed to the good of the world and to social justice? With this question I hope to offer food for thought to the Catholic universities that have still not joined our federation".
OP/CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES/...                    VIS 20091113 (530)

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