Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J, quotes Popes Benedict XVI and Paul VI in his Keynote Address at the Ateneo de Manila University
July 23, 2009 1 Comment
Last 13 July 2009, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., the Jesuit Superior General, made a keynote address on the Challenges and Issues in Jesuit Education held at the Ateneo de Manila University. The full text is available at the Philippine Jesuits website here.
My interest is only on the paragraphs where the Father Superior General quotes Pope Benedict XVI. It is heartwarming to know that the Father General is doing his best to lead the Jesuit army under the banner of the Pope, as St. Ignatius envisioned the Society of Jesus. Here are my excerpts:
(9) I think the key to understanding the word “Frontiers” is to return to what the Holy Father said when he addressed us Jesuits during the recent 35th General Congregation. Many of you are very familiar with this wonderful speech, when Pope Benedict XVI said to us, and by extension, to all of you: “The Church needs you, counts on you, and continues to turn to you with confidence, particularly to reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach.” (Allocution, No. 2) “The geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach”: these places are our “frontiers.”
(37) Perhaps I can best explain by referring to some concrete ideas taken from the recent and very rich new encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate.
(38) First, the Holy Father, reflecting on Pope Paul VI’s teaching in Populorum Progressio in the light of our present globalized world of inter-connection, makes this striking statement: “As the society grows ever more globalized, it makes us neighbors but it does not make us brothers. ” (CiV, 19). Reason, he says, can grasp “the essential of equality” of people, our disciplines and technologies can help us control our “civic coexistence,” but the felt sense and conviction that others are really my family, my brothers and sisters, for whom I am responsible, can only come with an experience in the heart of God’s fatherly love for all. How deeply do we reach the young people entrusted to us, so that as we give them rigorous intellectual and professional training, we go further and touch them “at the level of the heart,” to use the Holy Father’s words? (CiV, 20)
(39) Second, Pope Benedict quotes Paul VI, who said very truly: “the world is in trouble because of the lack of thinking.” (CiV53). This is one of the convictions of the Holy Father throughout his encyclical: the present world economic crisis and the continued suffering of millions reveals to us that many of our old solutions do not work, and require new solutions based on deeper, more adequate, more creative ways of understanding the many complex realities of human life and the world: business, finance, culture, the role of the State and politics, the environment, the family, migration, international relations and cooperation, human rights and duties, the very meaning of what it means to be human. Here is a clear call to depth: How can our universities, with all the gifted and highly trained intellectuals, teachers and researchers in them, promote still deeper reflection and research into these crucial areas on which the creation of a better future for the world depends?
(40) Finally, in this encyclical in which the Holy Father memorably describes globalization as the “explosion of worldwide interdependence,” (CiV 33), it is not surprising that he calls for a similar kind of inter-dependence and cooperation in the search for truth in love. “In view of the complexity of the issues,” he writes, “it is obvious that the various disciplines have to work together through an orderly interdisciplinary exchange. . . in a collaborative effort to serve humanity.” (CiV 30, 31) How can our Jesuit universities—the word “university” itself shares the same root as “universal”—heed this practical call to universality, breaking out of parochial enclaves of disciplines, departments, universities, and even countries to engage in the kind of collaborative work that is a service of the future of our people and our world? How can the Jesuit universities in the Philippines, for example, deepen their commitment to the very promising, but still fragile collaborative efforts, for example, of AJCU-EAO?
(41) If our universities can deepen formation and intellectual work, and make more truly collaborative and universal our work together, our universities will truly serve the Church’s mission of integral human development, and at the same time, give a convincing witness in today’s secularized world of the presence of the life-giving love and truth at work in the Church.