2006-10-21 14:21:09

Pope says university should provide answers to man’s quest for meaning in life

(Oct. 21, 2006) The university should not delude new generations who expect serious answers to the perennial questions of life. Pope Benedict XVI made the remark in an address on Saturday at the inauguration of the new academic year of the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome. Speaking to the staff and students of the university, the Pope spoke of modern day’s dramatic crises of culture and of identity, and said the university is one such qualified place where a way out of these crises can be found. In the university are formed new generations who expect serious, committed and correct responses to the perennial question of the meaning of one's existence, the Pope said, adding, “this expectation must not be deluded.” He said that in today’s context, primacy is given to an artificial intelligence which is evermore subject to experimental technique, forgetting that every science must safeguard man and promote his search for authentic good. The preference for ‘doing’ trìrather than ‘being’ does not help in finding the fundamental equilibrium needed to give a solid base and true purpose to one’s existence, the Pope said. Letting oneself be overcome by the taste of discovery without safeguarding the criteria of a profound vision would easily lead to the drama similar to that of the Greek mythological figure, Icarus. Drunk by the taste of the freedom of flying, the young Icarus, disregarded the advice of his aged father, Dedalus, and flew too close to the sun on his wax-wings which melted. The Pope said, "He paid for his illusion with a ruinous fall and death." In fact, the Pope added, when one ignores the question of truth and the concrete possibility for all to reach it, life is reduced to a series of possibilities without certainty.

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