Benedict XVI is emphasizing the importance of books in the history of the Church of Rome, and that the library is a place for all who seek truth.
The Pope affirmed this in a letter sent Thursday to the Vatican archivist and librarian, Cardinal Raffaele Farina, on the occasion of the reopening of the Apostolic Vatican Library.
“At first it was those of the sacred Scriptures, then the theological and those relative to the discipline and governance of the Church,” the Pontiff stated.
He continued, “This historical awareness induces me to underline how the Apostolic Library, like the neighboring Secret Archive, is an integral part of the instruments necessary for the development of the Petrine Ministry and like it is rooted in the exigencies of the governance of the Church.”
“Far from being simply the fruit of the accumulation of a refined bibliophile and of a hobby of collecting many possibilities,” the Holy Father affirmed, “the Vatican Library is a precious means — which the Bishop of Rome cannot and does not intend to give up — that gives, in the consideration of problems, that look capable of gathering, in a perspective of long duration, the remote roots of situations and their evolution in time.”
Benedict XVI said, “Eminent place of the historical memory of the universal Church, in which are kept venerable testimonies of the handwritten tradition of the Bible, the Vatican Library is but another reason to be the object of the care and concern of the Popes.”
“From its origins it conserves the unmistakable, truly ‘catholic,’ universal openness to everything that humanity has produced in the course of the centuries that is beautiful, good, noble, worthy,” he affirmed, “the breadth of mind with which in time it gathered the loftiest fruits of human thought and culture, from antiquity to the Medieval age, from the modern era to the 20th century.”
The Pope noted that “nothing of all that is truly human is foreign to the Church, which because of this has always sought, gathered, conserved, with a continuity that few equal, the best results of men of rising above the purely material toward the search, aware or unaware, of the Truth.”
“In the Vatican Library,” he said, “all researchers of the truth have always been received with attention and care, without confessional or ideological discrimination; required of them only is the good faith of serious research, unselfish and qualified.”
“In this research the Church and my predecessors have always wished to recognize and value a motive, often, unwittingly, religious, because every partial truth participates in the Supreme Truth of God and every profound and rigorous research, to ascertain it is a path to reach it,” the Pontiff said.
He added, “The Vatican Library is hence the place in which the loftiest human words are collected and kept, mirror and reflection of the Word, of the Word that illumines every man.”
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