UNIVERSITIES' TASK: ENCOURAGE TRUE HUMANISM
VATICAN, Sept. 11 (CWNews.com) -- As the Jubilee for Universities came to a close on
September 10, Pope John Paul II renewed his encouragement for the development of "true humanism"
in the world of higher education.
About 30,000 people attended Mass in St. Peter's Square as the Pope presided at the closing of the
week-long Jubilee observance. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Holy Father presented an
iconic mosaic to the universities of the world. The mosaic, depicting the Virgin Mary as the Seat of
Wisdom, will travel from one university center to another, beginning first with the University of Athens
and traveling next to Moscow.
On the evening before the final ceremony, Pope John Paul had addressed 7,000 professors and
students in the Paul VI auditorium, urging them to help develop a "new humanism." He said: "It is
urgent to work for something that can safeguard the true sense of democracy, and the authentic
conquest of culture."
Democracy, the Pope explained, is in danger of being reduced "to a purely procedural matter," and a
belief that the will of the majority must always reign supreme. The Pope argued that: "Only objective
moral law, the natural law inscribed in the heart of man, can be the point of reference for civil law."
In order for institutions of higher education to promote a spirit of true humanism, the Pontiff continued,
learning and research must be oriented toward the benefit of the human person, rather than toward
merely pragmatic goals on the one hand, or abstract erudition on the other. The ultimate goal of all
research must be the pursuit of truth, he continued. And he noted that this goal must be upheld
especially today, when "a relativistic climate is insidiously penetrating our culture."