Appeared in Summer 1997, Vol. XXIII, No. 2
Forty days after Easter, the time had come for our Lord to return to his Heavenly Father. Before he ascended to heaven, he commanded his disciples: “Go and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. and know that I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20). Filled then with the great, powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles did as our Lord had commanded, and they did indeed teach the faith they had received from him.
Our Roman Catholic Church has always considered teaching a priority, not just religious teaching but the discovery and imparting of knowledge in general. For this reason, the Church from the very beginning was intimately linked with the development of the university, a place dedicated to research, study, and teaching. We should be proud to know that almost all of the first universities were either founded directly by the Catholic Church and the initiative of the Holy Father, or at least benefited from their guidance and aid.
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