Pope's Vicar for Rome Given Honorary Doctorate

Recognized for Work in Communication and Culture

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ROME, APRIL 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's vicar for the Diocese of Rome was awarded an honorary doctorate in institutional social communications from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.



Cardinal Camillo Ruini, along with Professor Alfonso Nieto, received their degrees Wednesday in a ceremony presided over by Bishop Javier Echevarría, prelate of Opus Dei.

A communiqué from the university explained why Cardinal Ruini was selected, mentioning his role in launching a "cultural project given a Christian bearing" that he presented in 1994 to the Italian episcopal conference, of which he was then president.

At the heart of this project, the cardinal himself affirmed, is "an ample and anthropological acceptance of culture itself: Understood in this way, this extends from the deepest convictions regarding the meaning and destiny of our life and all its reality to the most concrete and frequent activities."

"Culture is then the fundamental ground for growth, in place of alienation or deviation of the person, and also the privileged space for the incarnation of the Gospel in life and in history and for its confrontation with other, different concepts, choices or behaviors."

Orientations

In his teaching, Cardinal Ruini has often affirmed that social communications are dominated by "orientations unfavorable to the Church."

In this context, the prelate explained that in the last 20 years, the Church has tried to respond to the challenges presented by communication. He recalled the progress made in Italy, ranging from the establishment of the SIR news agency to diocesan papers to the daily Avvenire.

The cardinal also highlighted that "social communication is ever more important for evangelization and the communication of the faith, but it is not enough in itself and is not even the most efficient path, which continues being that of personal, direct contact and relationships within the believing community."

At the same time, he said, one has to be "prepared to understand the deep movements that pass through society and culture, to introduce our message into them, capitalizing on them and directing toward the good the energies derived from them."

Christians who work in the media, Cardinal Ruini added, should seek their sanctification through work, as St. Josemaria Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, always taught.

Professor Norberto González Gaitano, author of the "laudatio" of Cardinal Ruini, described the prelate as having "an extraordinary communicative sensitivity that expresses a true respect for public opinion. Such a communicative sensitivity is born from the understanding of the relationship that links culture and communication."

During the same ceremony, Alfonso Nieto also received an honorary doctorate. He was rector of Spain's University of Navarre for 12 years, and the degree recognized him as "a pioneer in the recognition of communication studies at the university level in Europe."