More than 60 professors signed a letter to the campus’s leadership saying that Pope Benedict XVI’s forthcoming appearance would be an insult to scientists and the “secular” nature of the institution, and students commenced “anti-cleric week.”
The protest had to do primarily with the church’s position today on stem-cell research, evolution, and genetic engineering – regarding which “LSU” faculty do not tolerate opposing views.
After the Pope declined to appear, university students showed up at his audience, shouting “Freedom!” (New York Post, “Students rally ‘round pope,” January 17)
The Pope had intended to address the role of popes and universities, no doubt to include one of his main themes, as stated in The Wall Street Journal, “that European civilization derives from the rapprochement between Greek philosophy and religious belief.” It is a duty of a pope, he has written, to “’maintain high the sensibility for the truth, to always invite reason to put itself anew at the service of the search for the true, the good, for God.’” (Editorial, “Papal Inquisition,” January 17)
U.S. Catholic colleges should immediately offer the pope a forum in which to elaborate on this message.