In an address to an audience of trustees and officials of the University of Notre Dame who were present in the Vatican yesterday to inaugurate the school's Rome Center, Pope Francis called on Notre Dame to maintain a Catholic witness that is clear and unambiguous in very a very murky moral and social climate. “It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness,” the Holy Father said in an address which included the school's president, Father John Jenkins, CSC.
Of the school's Rome Center, Pope Francis expressed a hope that it would expose students to the cultural, historical, and spiritual riches of the Eternal City, and that it might “opentheir minds and hearts to the impressive continuity between the faith of Saints Peter and Paul, and the confessors and martyrs of every age of the Catholic Church, including in the world today." The Pope called on the president and trustees of the school to preserve, defend, and advance the Catholic identity of Notre Dame "as it was intended from the beginning."
“Notre Dame University has made an outstanding contribution to the Church” in the United States through its commitment to religious education as well as its serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue,” the Holy Father said. The Pope made clear that the most essential witness of Notre Dame and all Catholic universities “is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching as well as the defense of her freedom." The best way to accomplish this is to “uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.”