VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning, Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Benedict XVI received the 300 people who yesterday participated in the annual public session of the pontifical academies.
The event was attended by representatives from the following institutions: the Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Theological Academy, the Academy of Mary Immaculate, the International Marian Academy, the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature "dei Virtuosi al Pantheon", the Roman Academy of Archaeology and the "Cultorum Martyrum" Academy.
Having praised the "glorious past" of these institutions, the Pope noted how at the present time "contemporary culture, and even more so believers themselves, continually petition the Church to concentrate her reflections and actions in those fields in which new problems emerge. These", he told his listeners, "are also sectors in which you operate".
"You are called", the Holy Father went on, "to make your qualified, competent and enthusiastic contribution to ensure that all the Church, and particularly the Holy See, is able to exploit the appropriate opportunities, languages and means necessary to enter into dialogue with modern cultures, and provide an effective answer to the questions and challenges which face her in the various areas of human knowledge and experience.
"As I have said before", he added, "modern culture is deeply marked, both by relativism and subjectivism, and by methods and approaches that are sometimes superficial, even banal. These harm the seriousness of research and reflection and, as a consequence, also of dialogue, exchange and interpersonal communication. It is, then, urgently necessary to recreate the conditions essential for ... deeper study and research, so as to make dialogue and exchange on the various problems more reasonable and effective, with a view to shared growth and a formation that promotes man in his entirety and completeness".
"This task is particularly urgent in the field of forming candidates for Holy Orders, as prescribed by the Year for Priests and confirmed by the happy decision to dedicate your annual public session to" the formation of the clergy.
"The philosophy and witness of St. Thomas Aquinas encourage us to dedicate careful study to emerging problems, in order to find appropriate and creative answers. Trusting in the possibilities of 'human reason', and with complete fidelity to the immutable 'depositum fidei', we must ... always draw from the richness of Tradition in a constant search for the 'truth of things'. To this end it is important that pontifical academies, today more than ever, become living and vivacious institutions, capable of acute perception, both as regards the demands of society and culture, and the needs and expectations of the Church. They must do so in order to offer an appropriate and valid contribution and so promote, with all the energies and means at their disposal, an authentic Christian humanism".
AC/PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES/... VIS 20100128 (480)