Jubilee of University Professors


Jubilee of University Professors Address to University Professors of all Nations Pope John Paul II September 9, 2000 Dear University Teachers, 1. I am happy to meet you in this year of grace, when Christ powerfully calls us to a stronger faith and a deep renewal of life. I thank you especially for the commitment you have shown in the spiritual and cultural gatherings which have marked these days. Looking out at you, my thoughts turn to university teachers of all Nations as well as to the students entrusted to their guidance on the path of research, a path both arduous and joyful, and I send them cordial greetings. I greet also Senator Ortensio Zecchino, Minister for Universities, who is here representing the Italian Government. The distinguished Professors who have just spoken have allowed me to see how rich and articulate your reflection has been. I thank them most sincerely. This Jubilee gathering has been for each of you a timely moment to consider just how well the great event which we are celebrating, the Incarnation of the Word of God, has been accepted as a life-giving principle informing and transforming the whole of life. Yes, for Christ is not a symbol of some vague religious reality, rather he is the concrete point where, in the person of the Son, God makes our humanity completely his own. With Christ, the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, God takes on a human face (Fides et Ratio, 12). This self-emptying of God, even to the scandal of the Cross (cf. Phil 2:7), can seem foolishness to that reason which is enamoured of itself. In fact, this self-emptying is the power and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-24) for those who are open to the unexpectedness of his love. You are here to give witness to that. 2. The basic theme which you have considered-The University for a New Humanism-fits well with the Jubilee’s rediscovery of the centrality of Christ. In fact, the event of the Incarnation touches the very depths of humanity, it illuminates our origin and destiny and it opens us to the hope which does not disappoint. As men and women of learning, you never cease to enquire into the value of the human person. Each of you could say, with the ancient philosopher: I am searching for man! Among the many responses given to this fundamental quest, you have accepted that given by Christ, a response which emerges from his words but which is seen even before shining brightly on his face. Ecce homo: Behold the man! (Jn 19:5) In showing Christ’s battered face to the frenzied crowd, Pilate did not imagine that he would, in a sense, speak a word of revelation. Unwittingly, he pointed out to the world the One in whom all human beings can recognize their origin, and in whom all can hope to find their salvation. Redemptor hominis: this is the image o

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