Pope praises work of archaeologists' institute

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This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received the members of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology along with their grand chancellor, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski.

In his address the Pope praised the "precious and fruitful cultural, literary, and academic work that the Institute carries out in the service of the Church and of culture in general", affirming that "in the traditional sphere of archaeology, the ordinary and specialized courses your Institute gives have great scientific importance, offering knowledge of paleo-Christian monuments, above all in Rome with wider references to other regions of the 'Orbis christianus antiquus', ".

"The Institute's admirable objective is precisely the study of the traces of ecclesial life through the centuries. You offer the opportunity, for those who choose this discipline, of being immersed in a complex reality, that of the first centuries of the Church, in order to 'understand' the past, making it present to people today".

"When this means describing the history of the Church", the Pope stated, "... the archaeologist's patient investigation cannot be separated from also penetrating into supernatural reality, without however, renouncing the rigorous analysis of archaeological finds".

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