Pope Benedict XVI was to have delivered an address marking the beginning of the academic year at Rome's "La Sapienza" University, a public institution, on Thursday, January 17. A letter from 67 professors and students, however, including the entire physics faculty, called for the event to be cancelled on thre grounds of statements from the pope regarded as hostile to modern science. Student groups had also threatened sit-ins and put up banners protesting the pope's visit. In light of these developments, the Vatican today announced that the event will be "delayed," without indicating when, or if, it might be rescheduled. The following is the statement released this morning by the Holy See Press Office, in a translation by NCR. Coverage of the controversy, including the full text of the 1990 remarks by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the Galileo case cited in the protest letter, can be found in this section under "daily updates."
Following the well-known events of these days with regard to the visit of the Holy Father to the University of Studies “La Sapienza,” which was to have taken place upon the invitation of the Rector Magnifico on Thursday, January 17, it seems opportune to delay the event. The Holy Father will nevertheless send the address he was to have delivered.