Needless to say, this whole situation is a complete disaster and an embarrassment for La Sapienza. Here's the situation: the pope was invited to speak at the Roman university to open the academic year 2008. A group of crazy, ultra-liberal faculty and students banned together to 'defend free speech' by stating that if the pope came they would make a scene. Their main beef with the pope has to do with some of the remarks he made about the age-old Galileo scandal in the early 1990's. In truth, the Pope discussed the Galileo 'scandal' in a very even-minded way. Most people do not understand that this great myth about the Church's so-called suppression of Galileo is rather silly, but I digress. In the end, Benedict defended Galileo, and the faculty and students at La Sapienza are treating the pope worse than they believe the Church treated Galileo!
Because, as a Vatican official stated, "the conditions for a dignified and peaceful welcome were lacking, it has been judged prudent to delay the scheduled visit in order to remove any pretext for demonstrations that would have been unpleasant for all."
The pope sent his remarks along anyway, and they were read aloud at the ceremony by enraged members of the faculty. A standing ovation was given by faculty and students present for the pope's wise remarks. The entire speech was about the relationship of the pope to the university, and it promoted academic freedom and an honest pursuit of the Truth. The irony is almost too painful to bear.
This whole debacle could be considered 'The Regensburg Address Part II', as the pope and the Church are the only real defenders of honest Truth in the modern age. It is crazy to think that one can defend free-speech by silencing others, and it is equally crazy to think that west civilization and specifically the university owe nothing to their Christian foundation.
One last final tidbit of irony: Pope Bonifice opened this university in 1303, and it was under the guidance of the Church until the 1870's when the fascist state wrenched it from the Church and forced it to become a secular university. La Sapienza means "wisdom".
-Old Books Club
"I do not come to impose my faith, but to call for courage on behalf of the truth"
-Pope Benedict's words originally intended to be read at La Sapienza
HERE IS A LINK TO THE POPE'S ADDRESS:
The University of Padua, where Galileo once taught, is considering inviting Pope Benedict to speak at their university!
The Catholic News Service story:
Galileo’s university considers inviting Pope to give conference
ROME, Jan 18, 2008 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- The governor of the region of Veneto in northern Italy, Giancarlo Galan, has proposed inviting Pope Benedict XVI to the historic University of Padua, one of the oldest in the world and where Galileo once taught.
“It would be a great tribute as part of the Galilean celebrations that are taking place this year,” Galan said. The governor’s proposal has received the support of the mayor of Padua, Flavio Zanonato, who said that the final decision should rest with the rector of the university, Professor Vincenzo Milanesi.
Meanwhile Professor Furio Honsell, rector of the University of Udine—also in northern Italy—has announced that in response to requests by students, he will invite Pope Benedict XVI to give a lecture. “I think it is a positive response by the young people to an unacceptable situation,” Honsell said in reference to the Pope’s cancelled speech at La Sapienza University in Rome.
For more on this situation, check the following links:
Fr. Z: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/01/what-is-going-on-in
Wall Street Journal: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/01/wsj-papal-inquisition/
The Galileo controversy: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/01/the-galileo-issue/