It is very clear that the Holy Father has been victimized by extremist factions at Sapienza University in Rome. For that matter, Catholics that respect and believe in the authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church and the teaching authority of the Pope have also been victimized as well. Frequently as Catholics we are very tolerant of all opinions presented by all peoples. However, when the essential right of the Bishop of Rome to teach and academically speculate on the Christian desire for the pursuit of “truth” in our world…we need to unite in solidarity with our Holy Father. Radical positions of philosophical and theological reactionaries are nothing new to the Catholic Church. After all, such opposition has intrinsically been felt from our very ancient inception. Heresies have abounded, schism has occurred and the essential unity of Christendom was shattered many times from the Great Western Schism, to the Reformation, to the Modernist movement and so on. However throughout all of these events the Holy See and the person of the Bishop of Rome has always been a source of prayerful mediation and dialogue with all of the entwined and frustrated parties.

Since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has offered an updated perspective on its evangelization and catechetical policies, as well as deepening appreciation of our brothers and sisters in monotheistic faith, as well as all believers. The papal climate has substantially changed, and matured since the infamous days when…anathema sit….was the familiar and most likely promulgation. The Church is most prominent in the development of compatible and appropriate harmonies between faith and science. After all, one of the greatest sources of all educational and institutional facilities has been the Catholic Church since the onset of the so called “Dark Ages”.

What is most difficult to accept is the blatantly overt refusal for a secular university with one of the finest pedigrees in Europe to refuse to welcome the global leader of the world’s Catholics. Even more injurious to this demonstration is the fact that the university was founded in the 1300’s as a place of education under papal and ecclesiastical protection and jurisdiction. Successive Bishops of Rome, as well as the entire Church has been extremely generous and supportive of this institution up to the present day. The denial of the rights of freedom of expression offered by the teachings of the Holy Father is symptomatic of conditions in Italy and throughout a secularized Europe that might as well say …”Catholics need not apply!” In this global period of ecumenical dialogue and theological polarities between Christianity and Islam, political skirmishes between East and West, ancient and modern traditions the Catholic Church offers common humanitarian solutions to bring about resolution to world conflicts.

If in fact this particular affront were made to any other group of religious individuals, or institutions as a whole, there might be religious jihad in some parts of the civilized world. If this attack on the essential rights of the Catholic Church were waged on the West Bank, Israelite troops would most likely already have been mobilized. However in typical Catholic fashion, the response of the Holy See is to explore an opportunity to provide enlightenment on the worlds present socio-economic and political conditions and seek global dialogue aimed at an understanding of universal ideas of truth.

We as Catholics and global citizens defend the rights of all peoples to peacefully express their thoughts and opinions through peaceful dialog. Furthermore, we respect the rights of all peoples to express these rights that foster life and religious liberty.

Catholics today, throughout the world need to unite in a prayerful as well as a socio-political manner behind Benedict XVI. His theological and pastoral message resounds very clearly to a world that needs the message of truth in a complicated and confused global society.

 

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