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Pope urges loyalty from Jesuit-run university

    Pope John Paul II has told 2000 staff and students of the Gregorian University in Rome that he would like them to rekindle the loyalty to the Church's magisterium which motivated its founder St Ignatius of Loyola.
    He was speaking on Friday on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of its foundation at the Roman College. The Holy Father said the anniversary celebration inspires two feelings: gratitude for the good achieved, and the need to renew the institution.
    "Given the challenges of present-day society, this is the time for a courageous relaunching of your institution," the Holy Father said. "It is the time to confirm a total fidelity to Ignatius' intuition and make a courageous renewal so that the memory of the past will not be exhausted in the contemplation of what has been accomplished, but be turned into a present commitment and prophecy for the future."
    "[Ignatius] entrusted to the then Roman College the task of promoting reasoned and systematic reflection on the faith, to foster the correct preaching of the Gospel and the cause of Catholic unity, in a social context characterized by serious divisions and worrying germs of disintegration," the Pope added.
    The university has 3378 students from 130 countries; 22% of the students are lay, 21% are women, generally nuns. More than half the students, 52%, are studying for a licentiate or doctorate. Last year, the Gregorian had 400 professors, including guests and assistants.
    The Holy Father also encouraged the University to maintain its commitment to Christian unity, interreligious dialogue, and the study of contemporary atheism.