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Dec 14, 2017


The impact of the University on the political and socio-economic stability of any country cannot be controverted; hence there is need for a synergy for collaboration between the State and the University; Francis Cardinal Arinze has admonished.

The Cardinal’s contention is this respect was contained in his presentation as the Guest Lecturer at the 10th  anniversary and sixth Convocation ceremony of Veritas University (Catholic University of Nigeria), lecture for the year 2017,  held recently at the National University Commission Auditorium, Abuja. The theme of the lecture was The University Today.

Noting that what the university leaders say or write influence the society, Cardinal Arinze remarked: “Relations between the University and the State are predicated on the consideration that the university is an important institution of studies and research. It is a community of high level thinkers for the formation of citizens who are likely to assume leadership positions in their later life in their homeland.”

The Emeritus Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican, pointed out that “while the State has the right to expect from the university excellent performance in the formation of students who will be a credit to the country and contribute to its progress, the university is expected to listen to the expressed needs of the State and see what it can do to meet them, without losing its identity or allowing itself to be recruited as an intellectual mouthpiece of the State or of a political party”

Speaking on the expectations of the society from the University, the cardinal outlined, among other things; formation that motivates the fundamental rights of the human person in terms of choice of religion, political life and social responsibilities. According to Cardinal Arinze, “The University renders good service to society by highlighting this right, teaching it to students and defending it in word and print.” He added: “Respect for this fundamental right will promote greater harmony in the land and help restrain iconoclasts and fundamentalists from trying to throw this precious patrimony into the waste-paper basket.”

Other services identified by the lecturer included: healthy pluralism; honesty and nobility of character in private and public; facilitating the possibility of a clean and far sighted exercise of political power leading to the emergence of impeccable statesmen and stateswomen ; raising the level of life of all professions, promoting religious tolerance and mobilizing the people for profitable and beneficial entrepreneurship. He also identified the challenges faced by the university in the process of moulding the people.  These include secret societies or cultim.

Cardinal Arinze also enumerated the qualities of an ideal Catholic University noting that these are primarily premised on the doctrine and social teachings of the Church which holds sacrosanct, faith in God, the dignity of the human person, justice, equity, truth, high value on objective truth, moral rectitude, healthy humanism, integral education and love.

The ceremony was attended by dignitaries from all walks of life, including some members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the academia and members of family of the graduating students.

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