Sunday, December 21, 2008

Benedict XVI Urges Research of Christian Roots

Says Society Needs More Openness to Spirituality

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2008 ( Benedict XVI urged the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology to advance research into society's Christian roots because society needs a culture more open to spiritual realities.

In the Pope's address Saturday to the delegation of professors and students, which was led by the institute's grand chancellor, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the Pontiff wished to show "living appreciation" for the institute’s "precious and fruitful cultural, literary, and academic activity."

The institute, the Pontiff noted, has as its principal objective "the study of the vestiges of ecclesial life throughout the centuries," and offers the opportunity of penetrating into the complex reality of the Church of the first centuries, "to understand the past, making it present to the men of today."

In describing the Church’s history, the Holy Father said, "the patient research of archaeology cannot prescind from also studying supernatural realities, without, however, abandoning the rigorous analysis of archaeological discoveries."

"A complete vision of the reality of a Christian community, whether ancient or recent" is not possible if it does not take account of the fact that "the Church is composed of a human and a divine element," continued Benedict XVI.

"Christ, her Lord, lives in her and willed her as a community of faith, hope, love, as a visible organism, through which to spread truth and grace to all," the Pope added, citing the Vatican II document "Lumen Gentium."

Truth conquers

"In this theological pre-comprehension," he said, "the basic criterion can only be that of letting oneself be conquered by the truth pursued in its authentic sources, with a soul free of passions and prejudices, Christian archaeology being an historical science, and as such based on methodical study of sources."


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