Pope Francis during his audience with members of Pontifical Roman universities Pope Francis during his audience with members of Pontifical Roman universities  (ANSA)

Pope to Pontifical Universities: Work together harmoniously

Pope Francis addresses members of Pontifical Roman institutions and universities and urges them to work together, forming a choir of harmonies, as they follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

By Francesca Merlo

Addressing members of Pontifical Roman Institutions and Universities in the Paul VI Hall on Saturday, Pope Francis stressed to each member that they each belong "to a vast and pluriform system of ecclesiastical studies, which has flourished over the centuries thanks to the wisdom of the People of God, scattered throughout the world and closely linked to the evangelizing mission of the whole Church". 

University is a choir

The Pope noted that through their dedication to study, whether for a few years or for a lifetime, the members form a choir. St John Henry Newman said this choir is university and it is where "different knowledge and perspectives express themselves in harmony, complement, correct and balance each other".

Pope Francis went on to note that this harmony demands to be cultivated first of all within yourselves, among the three intelligences that vibrate in the human soul: that of the mind, that of the heart, and that of the hands, each with its own timbre and character, and all necessary".

The intelligence of hands

He drew his attention to the last of these three: the intelligence of the hands, noting that "it is the most sensory, but not the least important". To support this, Pope Francis quoted Aristotle, who said that the hands are like the soul because of the power they have, thanks to their sensitivity, to distinguish and explore. 

With this in mind, Pope Francis turned to think of the hands of Christ. He explained that Jesus' hands touch the bread and wine, the body and blood, life itself, and give thanks, because they feel that everything is a gift from the Father. "It is not by chance that the Evangelists, to indicate their action, use the verb lambano, which indicates both 'taking' and 'receiving'", stressed the Pope. 

May all communities and institutions be united

Pope Francis then urged all those present to form this same kind of "choir" in all of their various communities and institutions. "Especially after the Covid 19 pandemic, there is an urgent need to initiate a process that will lead to an effective, stable, and organic synergy between academic institutions, in order to better honour the specific purposes of each and to foster the universal mission of the Church", said the Pope

Bringing his discourse to a close, Pope Francis stressed that "Hope is a choral reality" and that the hands of the Risen One make it known to us that it is "your turn". Finally, Pope Francis asked that we renew our commitment to "make a choir", in the harmony and accord of voices, "docile to the living action of the Spirit". 

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25 February 2023, 12:20