Education Should Emphasize "Being" Over "Having," Says Pope

School Formation Is Just a Part of the Work, He Contends

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ROME, JULY 5, 2004 ( John Paul II says the challenge of education today is to teach men and women the importance of «being,» not of «having.»

This objective is a task for all Christian communities and all their members, the Pope said Saturday when he received in the Vatican the participants in a European symposium of an episcopal commission for Catholic education.

Wherever students live, «education should enable them to become ever more men and women of ‘being’ and not simply of ‘having’ more,» the Holy Father said in his address to those responsible for education and catechesis in the 34 European bishops’ conferences.

«School formation is one of the aspects of education, but cannot be reduced to it,» he said. «The essential link among all the aspects of education must be reinforced ceaselessly. The unity of the educational endeavor will lead to ever greater unity in the personality and life of adolescents.»

«It is necessary that all mobilize and work together for young people: parents, teachers, educators, chaplaincy teams,» John Paul II exhorted.

«They must remember that teaching must be supported by the testimony of life. In fact, young people are sensitive to the testimony of adults, who are models for them. The family continues to be the primary place of education,» he said.

The Pope said that one of his principal concerns when meeting with young people is their «lack of hope,» at whose root is the «attempt to make prevail anthropology without God and without Christ, which attributes God’s place to man.»

The «forgetfulness of God has led to the abandonment of man. True education should begin with the truth about man, with the affirmation of his dignity and transcendent vocation,» the Holy Father said.

«To see every youth through this anthropological prism is to want to help him develop the best in him so that he will fulfill, in the exercise of all his capacities, that to which God calls him,» he stressed.

«The Christian community also has a role in the educational endeavor,» the Pope continued. «It has the task to transmit the Christian values and to make the person of Christ known, who calls each one to a more beautiful life and to the discovery of salvation and the happiness he offers us.»

He added: «May Christians not be afraid to proclaim Christ to the new generations, source of hope and light on their path! May they be able to receive adolescents and their families, listen to them and help them, even if this is often demanding!»

«The education of young people is the concern of all Christian communities and of the whole of society,» the Pope said. «It corresponds to us to propose the essential values to them so that they themselves will be responsible and assume their part in social construction.»

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