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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Exhorts Notre Dame Representatives that church must be 'uncompromising, unambiguous'

Meeting with representatives from the University of Notre Dame, Pope Francis made it clear that Catholic universities must give "uncompromising" and "unambiguous" witness to church teaching. The pontiff was firm that such institutions of higher learning must take arms from efforts to dilute their Catholic identity.

Meeting with a delegation from the University of Notre Dame, Pope Francis said that Catholic universities 'by their very nature, are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life,'

Meeting with a delegation from the University of Notre Dame, Pope Francis said that Catholic universities "by their very nature, are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life,"


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

1/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: university of Notre Dame, Pope Francis, discipleship, identity

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Catholic universities, "by their very nature, are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life," Francis said in a special audience that included members of the board of trustees.

The pope met with around 130 people who represented the Indiana-based Catholic university, who were in Rome for the inauguration of the university's new Rome center.

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Missionary discipleship is critical, the pope said. It needs to be evident in the way Catholics live and in the workings of all Catholic institutions. Pope Francis also noted that Catholic universities play a special role because of their commitment to showing the compatibility of faith and reason. These universities, demonstrate how the Christian message offers people a fuller, more authentic human life, he said.

"Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the church's moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors," he said.

"It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness," he said.

Departing from his notes, the pose said in Italian, "This is important: Your own identity -- as it was intended from the beginning -- to defend it, preserve it, carry it forward," he said.

The University of Notre Dame had recently reignited a heated debate about maintaining the Catholic identity of U.S. Catholic institutions of higher education when it invited President Barack Obama to deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary law degree in 2009.

Several U.S. bishops and other critics said Obama's support of legal abortion and embryonic stem-cell research made him a highly inappropriate choice to be commencement speaker at a Catholic university.

In addition, Notre Dame professor Gary Gutting wrote an editorial piece in the New York Times on January 23 calling on Pope Francis to rethink the church's absolute opposition to abortion.

In many cases, abortions are immoral, Gutting said, but "this by no means implies that most abortions actually performed are immoral," particularly in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape or when the life of the mother is in danger.

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