Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reflections on the identity of Catholic Universities in the 21st century

Important intellectuals and heads of various European athenaeums have gathered at the University Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid to reflect on the identity of the University, with the theme: "Catholic University, Nostalgia, mimicry or new humanism?" Participants raised new challenges for this institution in the twenty-first century.

Cardinal Poupard, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, opened the discussion by insisting that the University can not yield to the demands of the market and become a mere factory for graduates . More specifically, he emphasized that at the Catholic University, integrated formation must take precedence, bringing together the various types of knowledge and seeking the growth of the individual.

"The university should be the place where you not only learn more, acquire more knowledge, but especially where one is more, where one becomes a man, the best man; a place where his humanity grows."

The Cardinal also noted that the University's mission is not complete if it does not aspire to evangelization.

"The University will be what its professors are, not only for their scientific and professional competence, but above all by the clear testimony of their faith, by their full humanity and by existentially uniting the true, the good and the beautiful."

Poupard concluded by assuring that the future of humanity lies in knowing how to communicate to future generations the reasons for living and the reason for hope.

Participants at the meeting stressed the need to create a network of Catholic universities to develop cooperative work.

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