Modern World Pope's Warning
The text of a magnificent allocution to Catholic college and University students, made by the Pope recently, has now reached us. It constitutes a veritable charter for all engaged in university and secondary education, whether as masters or students.
In his address, which was given to college students in Rome, members of Catholic Action, Pius XII demands an altogether more serious attitude towards the difficulties raised by the Contemporary world against the Faith.
"Faith through habit lasts only up to the day when, in the face of more serious difficulties, doubt arises. . . . You must imitate the Apostle St. Paul, who said of himself that when he was a child, he had the tastes of a child, he thought as a child. But when he became a man he put away the things of a child."
Only through " a more thorough and more personal religious culture," only through " scientific competency, extent of knowledge and professional ability" will Catholics to-day get a hearing.
" The present divorce and antagonism between science and religion cannot dim truth or fling it aside from the throne of light," said the Holy Father, defending the history of Catholic education and learning and deploring the divorce between men of learning and Christian thought.
Reminding his hearers that " minds of the first degree arc to be found even among simple workmen who sat only on the benches of elementary schools," the Pope said th'at he was addressing in particular those university students and graduates who form a class apart.
" These readily find common ground with este another in the bond of intellectual trainffig received in institutions of higher learning," the Pope said.
" There, if intellectual activities are united with goodwill, they acquire a vast complex of knowledge, varied but precise; but more important, they develop that capacity for personal judgment efiich is the fruit of tong study and observation—that ability methodically and impartially to criticise facts and Ideas and to master the most delicate and complicated problems, which is otherwise known as the scientific spirit.
BANNER OF CHRISTIAN IDEAS " In most painful conttast with the light of manifold learning and experience which ghiaes from the well-directed university or college, is rising that darkness which presses upon the woild as one of the principal causes of the moral abyss in which it is now
struggling. We refer to the divorce that separates a large portion of our men of learning from Christian thought.
" Universities and colleges are neither of to-day nor of yesterday; they were born in the Middle Ages from the bosom and under the protection of the Church. Even then there were sometimes errors, heresies and anti-social theories; but at least in those times, so often disparaged in our universities to-day, the banner of Christian ideas was held aloft and the splendour of that faith which does not humiliate the talented shone forth. If that faith placed them on their knees, it made them great in the presence of the divine Truth Who spoke, and, in the admirable accord of tational with divine science, rendered the human intellect angelic.
" The present divorce and antagonism between science and religion cannot dim truth or fling it aside front its throne of light." the Holy, Father said. " You, to whom divine Providence has given the means to participate widely in higher in tellectual training, have — especially through ardent participation in Catholic Action—the duty of smoothing the way In many hearts and putting an end to that pernicious divorce, of re-establishing contacts. reuniting bonds, and assuring mutual penetration of those two worlds of knowledge, the higher learning of the universities and the light revealed by Christ.
THE ARDUOUS AND MAGNIFICENT TASK
" That which the Fathers of the Church once achieved in the face of the pagan culture of Gtecee and Rome; that which they undertook from the very passing of apostolic times with Justin and Origen ; that which shone forth so splendidly in the form of an Augustine; all that from which arose the Christian thought and :civilisation of the Middle Ages and of the believing nations; this, beloved sons and daughters, is the supreme goal, the arduous anal magniAcent task, that offers itself to your real.
" Therefore, will you not make yourselves the heralds of the Catholic truth? Will you not be the new apostles of the Gospel in the very midst of learned society and of the modern savants? Yes, this will be your apostolate, at the side of, and in dependence on, the ecclesiastical Hierarchy. But to carry out such a mission without danger to yourselves and yet with efficacy among others, it is necessary above all that there he no lack of equilibrium in your own minds and souls between your religious culture and your university culture, general and special.
" Your knowledge of dogmas, in so far AS " it is permitted to illustrate them by reason, your knowledge of morals, of worship, and of the interior Catholic life--must they not perhaps be raised to a level proportionate to your scientific knowledge in law, historya-letters or biology?
HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THE CATECHISM?
" And would it not be a formidable danger for you at the very outset in this maturing of your judgment. critical acumen and personal thought, if you should be content in matters of faith to remain, as it were, children, with only the ideas and proofs which your were taught in the course of your elementary studies?
"Faith through habit lasts only up to the day when, in the face of more serious difficulties doubt arises: and in the struggle of a mind accustomed to the problems imposed by superior culture, the child in matters of faith has at hand only arms of inferior value —reasons and explanations insufficient to respond to and to defeat the assaults of temptation and to tranquillise the intellect.
You must imitate the great Apostle Paul, who said of himself that when he was a child, hc spoke as a child, he had the tastes of a child, he thought as a child. But when he became a man he put away the things of a child.
" Already you may have given up or forgotten the catechism, the supreme code of Christian faith and morals; but for your mission as a mature man in Catholic Action, a religious culture more thorough and more personal becomes indispensable. In profane university circles your Catholic convictions will receive a hearing only il you make yourselves competent to present them and defend them frankly on the same grounds on which the thought of your interlocutors usually moves.
MAKE YOURSELVES THE BEST " Do not consent, university students and Catholic graduates, to be inferior to others in the palestra of scientific competency, of extent of. knowledge, and of ability in the exercise of your profession."
"For the honour of Catholic Action, to which you belong, endeavour force yourselves—in whatever direction your talent and ardour impel you, to make yourselves the best—the hest students, the best professors, the best jurists, men of letters, doctors, engineers, naturalists, physiologists, and the best investigators of the matter and spirit of real individual and social welfare. This is required for the glory of the Master whom you serve.
" Deus scientiarum Dominus, God omniscient, so that you may be worthy of Him in all things. This is required by the love that -you must bring to your vocation, to your profession to those who are your companions in the way which divine Providence has marked out for you."