EU Bishops Stress Integration in Universities

Discuss Pastoral Initiatives in Education

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MUNICH, Germany, FEB. 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Europe are underlining the need for integration within the various disciplines in the university, to unite efforts to seek the truth.

This was one of the topics discussed in a four-day congress in Munich on "Formation, Education and the Gospel: Perspectives for University Pastoral Work in Europe," which ended Sunday.

The congress, organized by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE), brought together 60 delegates from various countries as well as representatives from the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

In his address, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of CCEE Commission on Catechesis, Schools and Universities, spoke about Blessed John Henry Newman's vision of education.

The prelate noted that Newman, concerned with the fragmentation of thought within the university, underlined the need for integration, a common search for truth among all disciplines.

The archbishop added that this point was also emphasized by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, "who pointed out the crisis of truth and alienation that the university is going through," a CCEE press release reported.

New humanism

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, highlighted the need of promoting a new humanism through pastoral work in universities.

The CCEE communiqué noted, "To this end, the Church should have a global vision of science, promoting a thorough pedagogical formation based on trust, helping people cope with the plurality marking the future of our cities and going back to the original task of universities: growth of mankind, spiritual development and interest in common good."

The meeting participants focused on three areas of study: university students today; the experience of faith in universities; and dialogue between faith, science and culture.

They discussed various pastoral initiatives being promoted by the various bishops' conferences throughout Europe.

In particular, the German bishops presented a project named "ora et labora" aimed at helping students manage their time and place priorities on education, prayer and rest.

On Saturday, the participants visited a monument to members of the White Rose Group, an organization of German Christian students who opposed the Nazi regime in a nonviolent way.

The meeting ended with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Marx in the cathedral of Munich.