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Pope calls on historians to be experts in and servants of humanity

Pope Francis receives members of the Pontifical Committee for Social Sciences on the 70th anniversary of the Committee’s founding.

By Christopher Wells

Historians have “a specific contribution to make in the dialogue between the Church and the modern world,” Pope Francis said on Saturday, quoting his predecessor Paul VI.

In his address to members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences at their plenary meeting, the Holy Father emphasized their “international dimension and multicultural dynamism,” as well as their “commitment to the search for historical truth on a global scale.”

He said the Committee’s “enriching” approach can contribute to the “cultural diplomacy” needed in the face of the ongoing global conflict, and called on members to “open a horizon of dialogue where you can reflect on the light of can bring the hope of the Gospel. ”

Poep Francis greets members of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences

Poep Francis greets members of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences

Building a civilization of encounter

Pope Francis emphasized the “closeness” that exists between historians and the Church, a closeness based on the common search for the truth and service to the truth. Pope Francis once again quoted Paul VI: “The Church walks in history, with women and men of every age, and belongs to no culture, but longs to enliven the heart of every culture with the gentle and courageous witness of the Gospel , to build together the civilization of encounter.”

This attitude is contrary to the ‘rudeness of confrontation’ that is fueled by self-referentiality and ideology. The Pope warned against a Church focused on itself, recalling the Church’s mission to be “a truly humble and excellent intermediary between the Divine Savior and humanity.”

Recalling that the Committee is celebrating 70 this yeare On the anniversary of its founding, Pope Francis called on members “to conform your work to these words,” and expressed the hope that their studies in history will make them, like the Church, “experts in humanity and servants of humanity”.

Pope Francis with the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences

Pope Francis with the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences