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WELCOMING REMARKS OF THE RECTOR
ON THE OCCASION OF THE VISIT OF
HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI TO
THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA

April 17, 2008

Your Holiness,

We greet you with great joy and welcome you to The Catholic University of America.  Established by Pope Leo XIII and sponsored by the Bishops of the United States, this national university of the Catholic Church in our country provides a most fitting platform for you to address the leaders of Catholic educational institutions here from every level of their service to the Church in the United States: Catholic universities and colleges as well as Catholic primary and secondary schools.  We are profoundly humbled and deeply grateful that you have asked to spend some time with us during your historic, apostolic visit to our country.

Your own experiences as a university professor create a special bond between us, Your Holiness.  It is not, however, simply a matter of a shared academic profession that joins us today but, rather, it is a shared vision of truth, a shared conviction of faith, and a shared sense of hope that leads us once more, as Catholic educators, to an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ who is the Truth, who calls us to faith, who strengthens us in hope and, finally, redeems us in love.

Now, more than ever, Catholic education must be a light for our contemporary culture, bringing the light of Christ's Gospel to a world so often falsely illumined by lights contrary to his own. Catholic education embraces and presents the common good as the foundation of an enlightened society. Catholic education enables the young to combat the moral relativism that has, unfortunately, given rise to selfishness, unbridled individualism and a humanity of isolation where Catholic education is lacking.

Faith, reason and service are the hallmarks of true Catholic education. What is believed in the heart must be accessible and intelligible to the mind so that both faith and reason can lead to the witness of a life lived in true charity. This trinity of faith, reason and service can then be, as it were, an authentic mirror of the Triune God and his intentions for humankind.

And, so, Your Holiness, we offer you the love and support of the Catholic institutions and academic communities we lead.  And we pledge our fidelity to the Church and to you in the sacred trust that is ours as the leaders of Catholic education throughout these United States.  Welcome, Your Holiness, to The Catholic University of America.


     Very Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., J.C.D.
     President and Rector



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