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(ANS – Krakow) – On Friday 8 June in Krakow, Poland, the John Paul II Pontifical University awarded Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB, Vatican Secretary of State, a doctorate “honoris causa”.
The award ceremony took place in the Collegium Maius of the “Jagiellonica University” in Krakow, Cardinal Bertone receiving the honorary doctorate – the first to be awarded by this University – from the Rector, Fr Władysław Zuziak. According to the decision of the Academic Senate on 11 March 2012 this was “on account of his many achievements in scientific research in Canon Law, especially in the public law of the Church; his significant contribution to the promotion of the principles of the new Code of Canon Law in Italy, in the world and in Poland; the building of bridges of unity and collaboration between the Holy See and many countries in the world and also – for the great achievements in developing collaboration between the Holy See and Poland.”
Other reasons for honouring Cardinal Bertone were his activities in the defence and promotion of human dignity, in ecumenism, in peace among nations and his role in assisting in the work of the Popes, Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Taking part in the occasion were Cardinal Celestino Migliore, Nuncio Apostolic in Poland, the Archbishop of Gniezno, Józef Kowalczyk, Primate of Poland; Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow; Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Częstochowa, Mons. Wacław Depo, Mons. Wojciech Pylak, Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland, Mons. Wiktor Skworc, Metropolitan Archbishop of Katowice, and also representatives of Ministers, authorities of the city of Krakow and of the Region of “Małopolska” and Rectors of the Universities of Krakow. For the Salesians there was Fr Dariusz Bartocha, Provincial of Southern Poland (PLS).
After Cardinal Dziwisz’s introduction – in which he underlined the efforts made by Cardinal. Bertone so that the Pontifical Academy of Theology (PAT) in Krakow might become the John Paul II Pontifical University – Fr Jan Dyduch, former Rector of the PAT, gave the official “Laudatio”, in which he presented the bibliography and scientific output of Cardinal Bertone, tracing also the academic and diplomatic activity of Cardinal Bertone, his close links with the Polish people – who in a visit in 2007 he described as, “marked by the decisive influence of Christianity and the influence of holy men and women who have shaped its culture and development” – and his academic vision focused on mankind and its problems.
In response and expressing his thanks for the honour received Cardinal Bertone then gave his Lectio magistralis on “The role of the Catholic Universities in the work of the new evangelisation,” in which he said: “Catholic Universities and the new evangelisation are part of the prophetic mission of the Church. In his message for World Mission Day, John Paul II declared that ‘the Church directs towards the third millennium with renewed energiy its fundamental mission of evangelisation... that is to proclaim to the peoples so that they may discover who Jesus Christ is for us .’ Likewise the Catholic University will be faithful to its identity in the Church, if it too continues to be or begins once again to be a university that is essentially missionary.”