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Tuesday, 23 November 2004


Your Eminence,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Distinguished Members of the Senate and the Academic Staff,
Honourable Authorities,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I cordially greet you all. I am pleased to be able to welcome so distinguished a representation of the Mikołaj Kopernik University in Torun. I thank the Rector Magnificent for his courteous words and the Academic Senate for having conferred upon me the title of doctor honoris causa. I accept it with gratitude as a sign of the dialogue between science and faith that is continuously developing.

2. As I welcome you to the Vatican, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I recall that day in June 1999 when I was granted to cross the threshold of your Athenaeum. I also remember speaking precisely of this dialogue, whose purpose is to overcome the illuminist opposition between truth reached by reason and truth understood through faith. Today, we understand better and better that it is a question of the same truth and that people who reach it in their own different ways are not journeying alone but also seek confirmation of their own intuitions in the encounter with others. Only then will scholars and people of culture be truly able to assume that special responsibility which I mentioned at Torun: the "responsibility for truth: to strive for it, to defend it and to live in accordance with it" (Address to the Rectors of Academic Institutions, Torun, Poland, 7 June 1999, n. 5; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 16 June 1999, p. 8).

3. I am delighted that the Mikołaj Kopernik University is developing dynamically and offering to an increasing number of young people the possibility of acquiring knowledge. It is good that the Faculty of Theology can also participate in this development. As I am aware, it has been given an impetus by the support that the local Authorities are giving to the city, which certainly has every right to be called the "university city". May this joint effort be useful to the city and region of Torun and to the whole of Poland. No nation can possess a greater treasure than to be made up of learned citizens.

4. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, once again I thank you for your visit. Please take back my greeting to all the teachers and students at your University, and also to all the inhabitants of the city of Torun. May God's blessing be with you always! May God favour you!

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