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Do theology on your knees, Pope tells students at Gregorian University

April 10, 2014

The study of theology is “fruitful only if it is done with an open mind and on one’s knees,” Pope Francis said in an April 10 address to students at the Gregorian University in Rome.

In his talk the Pope reminded the students that the Gregorian University and its affiliates—the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute—were united by Pope Pius XI under the direction of the Jesuit order. Each student at these institutions, he added, is expected “to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the Cross.”

The Holy Father encouraged the students to make use of their time studying in Rome. “Here are the roots of the faith,” he remarked; “the memories of the apostles and of the martyrs. And here is the ecclesial ‘today.’” Yet the students, drawn from all over the world, also bring their own diversity to the educational experience, he said.

The purpose of studying philosophy and theology, the Pope said, is to develop a capacity for “transmitting transmitting the knowledge and offering a key for vital comprehension, not a heap of notions unconnected to one another.” In that context he said that this study “will be all the more fertile and efficacious as it is more fully animated by the love of Christ and of the Church.”

“The theologian who is satisfied with his complete and conclusive thought is mediocre,” the Pope said. A theologian should always seek to learn more about God and about the truths of faith. Therefore, the Pope said that “the theologian who does not pray and who does not worship God ends up sunk in the most disgusting narcissism”—which he described as “an ecclesiastical illness” that causes harm to the faithful.


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