Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pope Benedict's Address to Catholic Educators at Catholic University of America (CUA)

What's Happening Today: Thursday, April 17
5:00 p.m. - Address to Catholic Educators at The Catholic University of America (CUA)
NOTE: This post will be updated as more information becomes available on this topic.

The Catholic University of America is the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States. It is the only papally chartered university in the United States and the only institution of higher learning sponsored by the nation’s bishops. Pope John Paul II came to CUA on October 7, 1979, a year after he had become pontiff.

  • 5:00 p.m. - Arrival and welcome via motorcade at east side of Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center. Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the CUA board of trustees, Father David O’Connell, CM, president of CUA will welcome the Pope. Approximately, 4,000 CUA students, faculty and staff will greet the Holy Father outside.
  • 5:15 p.m. - Pope Benedict XVI enters the hall. In the hall: 200 presidents of Catholic universities and colleges in the U.S., 195 directors or superintendents responsible for Catholic education (elementary and secondary schools) in each of the archdioceses or dioceses of the U.S., Board of trustees of CUA and selected administrators and representatives of CUA will greet Pope Benedict XVI. Father O’Connell will introduce 10 individuals to the Pope and then the Pope will give an address.
  • 6:15 p.m. - Departure - The Pope will enter the popemobile on the east (lower) side of the Przbyla Center and move through the campus of the Catholic University of America.

Catholic University of America's report:

Before a packed audience of more than 400 Catholic educators gathered at The Catholic University of America, Pope Benedict XVI greeted his audience as “bearers of wisdom,” invoking the prophet Isaiah’s words as the opening for his speech: “How beautiful are the footsteps of those who bring good news.”

Indeed, the Holy Father stressed education’s integral place in the Church’s mission to proclaim the Good News, making the link between reason and faith an integral part of his address. Stressing the high expectations society places on Catholic educators, Pope Benedict XVI told the audience that such expectation “places upon you a responsibility and offers an opportunity.”


The pope spoke of “the difficulty or reluctance many people have today in entrusting themselves to God,” especially the younger generation. Thus, he told the audience, “A particular responsibility for each of you, and your colleagues, is to evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith.”

At the center of this act of faith, he said, is the knowledge that “the truths of faith and reason never contradict one another.” This balance between faith and reason served as a central theme of the Holy Father’s address, which he directed toward societies where “secularist ideology drives a wedge between truth and faith.”

The pope emphasized the crucial role of educational institutions in the Church’s primary mission of evangelization. He also made several appeals toward continued outreach by Catholic educators in inner cities and poorer areas — a petition that prompted a burst of applause from the audience — “where there are many hollow promises which lure young people away from the path of truth and genuine freedom.”

Full text of Remarks by Pope Benedict XVI to The Catholic University of America


  • Catholic University students are praying throughout the night in adoration for the pope’s visit to the university tomorrow. The Pope at CUA has video.

  • 3,000 CUA students "rock the Pope" (CUA Public Affairs April 17, 2008):
    Beginning at 10 a.m., the students began gathering on the grass to watch a live broadcast of the pope’s Washington, D.C., Mass at Nationals Park on a 23-foot-wide JumboTron, mingle with friends and eagerly await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI.

    The students, many wearing sports jerseys emblazoned with the name Benedict and the number 16, took part in a seven-hour papal pep rally as they waited for the pontiff’s arrival at 5 p.m.

    In addition to the screening of the papal Mass at Nationals Park, the day also included several organized and impromptu activities accompanied by both prayer and rock music. ...

    At just before 5 p.m. the rumble of motorcycles could be heard and students crowded to barriers along the edge of the lawn, eager to see the pope. A cheer went up as the motorcade arrived. The cheers grew louder as the Holy Father emerged from a limousine and students waved Vatican flags beneath trees that had budded yellow just the day before.

    Students chanted “Benedict! Benedict!” as the pontiff walked up the stairs to the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center. At the top of the steps, Benedict, wearing white robes, turned and faced the students. Students cheered and continued to shout his name.

  • New York Times' Colleen Carroll Campbell calls it a "A Catholic Identity Overhaul":
    Any Catholic college or university presidents bracing for a scolding from Pope Benedict probably breathed a sigh of relief after hearing his remarks at the Catholic University of America today. Benedict made no mention of pro-choice commencement speakers or performances of “The Vagina Monologues.” He said that a school’s Catholic identity “is not simply a question of the number of Catholic students” and cannot “be equated simply with orthodoxy of course content” — remarks that surely came as good news to leaders of the many Catholic schools that fall short on both counts.

    Yet the pope’s decision to avoid a nuts-and-bolts discussion of the controversies dominating headlines in Catholic higher education should not be construed as a confirmation of the status quo. In his speech, Benedict called for nothing less than a fundamental shift in the way Catholic educators view their mission and serve their students. ...

  • Quotable Benedict: On Academic Freedom, and Heterodox Teaching, by Thomas Peters (American Papist):
    "In Pope Benedict's address to Catholic educators delivered yesterday, he succintly framed the questions about (and implied the answers to) some basic issues which seem to continually escape the erudite academic community here in the United States. In the grand spirit of recent academic scholarship, let me provide some Cliffs Notes ...