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Fr. Michal Paluch at the Rome Life Forum, May 17, 2018.Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews

ROME, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The rector of the Angelicum, site of this year’s Rome Life Forum, urged the international gathering of pro-life leaders to protect life and, in so doing, to evangelize.

Fr. Michal Paluch, who heads the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas — popularly known as the Angelicum — explained why the university is the perfect spot for the distinguished group of Forum participants to meet. The event took place May 17-18. 

“As many of you probably know, the most famous and most outstanding student of the Angelicum was Karol Wojtyla, St. John Paul II,” said Paluch.  “If you remember how important it was always for him – the author of the Evangelium Vitae, the cause of the protection of life, we understand that the Angelicum is the right place to start your preparation for the March for Life.” 

“Our pontifical university — one of the seven pontifical universities in Rome — has at this moment has about a thousand students,” said Fr. Paluch, who talked about the multicultural character of the school.  

“The other important element of our situation is that our students are carefully selected and sent to Rome in order to become future teachers, leaders, Bishops in their local communities,” said the Angelicum head.  “Among our alumni we have about 140 bishops, archbishops and cardinals living in the different parts of the world.” 

Fr. Paluch offered two ‘reflections’ to the Rome Life Forum participants..

“We are living today in a complicated world, in which we often feel lost and insecure,” said Paluch.  “In such a world, the clear and consistent teaching of the Church is a very important value.  Rome is the best place to experience it and to make it life-giving for all of us.”   

Fr. Paluch also spoke of the proper framework for evangelizing the world, enthralling the audience with a short exegesis on Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).   

“As many of you probably know, there are good reasons to understand this scene as a very symbolic one.  The Samaritan woman may be seen as a representative of a deeply wounded and lost humanity.  Christ reveals himself in his conversation with her for the first time in John’s Gospel as the expected messiah. And the woman at the end of the story will become a missionary, ready to go to her village and to be a witness of Christ.”

“So if we look for some hint on how to be successful in our efforts of evangelization, it would probably be for us the perfect story to keep in mind,” said Paluch. “It tells us how to transform a morally lost heretic into a preacher of Christ, and all that, within a short conversation.”  

The Angelicum rector explained that evangelization of the Samaritan woman has four distinct stages.

The first part of the conversation is something like ‘flirting.’ The woman doesn’t understand that the man who has asked her for water is not like all the partners she met before.  Jesus uses this moment to help her to realize that she bears in herself a deep  desire for fulfillment that cannot be satisfied on earth.  

But it is only when Jesus broaches the second stage, when he confronts the woman with the truth about her life, that the woman discovers that this meeting is radically different from the other meetings with the men she has had in her life. 

The confrontation with the truth opens the way to the third stage, the catechesis.  Which is to say to be part of the conversation with Jesus’ instruction about the true worship of God.   And only after all these stages does the Samaritan woman become able––let’s see it as the last phase––to become a witness of the Messiah in her village.

“Why am I reminding us all of this model of evangelization today?” asked Paluch.  “Well, I think that we should recognize that only if we take into account all those elements, can we really win for Christ those who are lost today.  Our common mistakes, too often repeated in our evangelization, are to propose to  humanity–that has not been engaged in flirting–the confrontation with truth.  Or, to be satisfied with the flirting without being able to enter into the confrontation with truth.”  

“Only by taking into account the whole evangelical model proposed ot us in the fourth chapter of the Gospel by St. John will we be able to help each other find the way to the true Messiah of God,” he said.  “Do not forget during the next days about this complete description about the way we need to go in order to win others for Christ.”

Not only did the leader of the Angelicum welcome the pro-life movement to its venerable hallowed halls, the university provided one of its distinguished professors, Dr. Isobel Camp, to speak about the “crisis of truth” in the Church today.