Pope Says Ideologies Must Not Halt Dialogue Between Faith and Reason

Addresses His Appeal to Universities and Centers of Higher Studies

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed to universities, academies and centers of higher studies to do everything possible so that no ideology interrupts the dialogue between faith and reason.



The Pope made his appeal today when he received representatives of Polish academic communities of Wroclaw and Opole, who came to the Vatican accompanied by Cardinal Henryk Roman Gulbinowicz, archbishop of Wroclaw.

The Holy Father's Paul II's compatriots bestowed on him the Academic Golden Laurel for the 50th anniversary of the defense of his thesis in order to become a professor in the School of Theology at the Jagiellonian University.

The Pope recalled that he was the last professor to join the faculty before the Communist authorities shut it down.

"It was an act meant to divide the institutions, as well as to pit reason and faith against each other," he said. "I am not speaking about that distinction that was born in the late Middle Ages on the basis of the autonomy of the sciences, but of the separation that was imposed violently on the spiritual heritage of the nation."

"Nevertheless, I never abandoned the conviction that those efforts would not achieve their goal," the Pope added. "This conviction grew strong in me thanks to personal interaction with men of science, professors from diverse disciplines who bore witness to the profound desire for dialogue and the common search for truth."

The Holy Father referred to his encyclical "Faith and Reason," in which he affirms: "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth."

"Your presence here, inspires in me the hope that this lively dialogue will last and that none of the current ideologies will be able to interrupt it," he concluded. "With this hope, I direct my gaze toward all universities, academies and high schools."