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Pope Speaks Clearly to Educators

By John-Henry Westen
April 19th, 2008
LifeSiteNews (www.lifesitenews.com)

Appeals to 'Academic Freedom' Cannot Justify Positions Contrary to the Faith.

WASHINGTON, DC (LifeSiteNews) - "Any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission," Pope Benedict XVI told Catholic school and university administrators from across the nation gathered yesterday at the Catholic University of America.

The Pope drew special attention to what he called "harmful developments" in Catholic education regarding human sexuality. "Particularly disturbing," he said, "is the reduction of the precious and delicate area of education in sexuality to management of 'risk', bereft of any reference to the beauty of conjugal love."

The Pope suggested that in nations such as America where the State provides generously for free public education, the need for Catholic education is questioned. Therefore, he said, Catholic education is about bearing witness to the truth of Christ and the Christian faith.

He asked the educators: "Do we accept the truth Christ reveals? Is the faith tangible in our universities and schools?" He concluded the point noting, "Fostering personal intimacy with Jesus Christ and communal witness to his loving truth is indispensable in Catholic institutions of learning."

"Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice," he said.

"This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church's Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution's life, both inside and outside the classroom.

Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity and, far from advancing freedom, inevitably leads to confusion, whether moral, intellectual or spiritual."

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