Education Is About Loving Truth, Says Pope

Defends Religious Education in Ecuador’s Schools

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2010 ( Education is about more than simply imparting knowledge; it’s about imparting a love for truth, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience Luis Dositeo Latorre Tapia, the new ambassador of Ecuador to the Holy See, who was presenting his letters of credence.

In his message to the envoy, the Holy Father defended the right to religious teaching in public schools in Ecuador, and called for respect for the identity and autonomy of Catholic educational institutions.
«Parents must count on liberty of education being promoted also in state educational institutions, where legislation will continue to ensure religious teaching in schools in the corresponding curricular framework to the ends proper to the school as such,» he said.
The Pontiff also pointed out that «the public authority must guarantee the right that helps parents, both to form their children according to their own religious convictions and ethical criteria, as well as to found and support educational institutions.»
«In this way,» he added, «it is also important that the public authority respect the specific identity and autonomy of educational institutions and of the Catholic University, in consonance with the ‘modus vivendi,’ subscribed, more than 70 years ago, between the Republic of Ecuador and the Holy See.»
Benedict XVI reminded the ambassador that «one of the great ends that your fellow citizens have proposed to themselves is to achieve a wide reform of the educational system.»
In this connection, he indicated that «the Church in Ecuador has a fruitful history in the area of instruction of children and youth.»
«It is a point of justice that this arduous ecclesial task not be ignored, example of healthy collaboration with the State,» the Pope affirmed. «Rather, the Christian community wishes to continue putting its long experience in this field at the service of all.
«That is why its hand is raised to agree to the raising of the cultural level, which constitutes a priority challenge for correct human progress, which at the same time calls for that liberty without which education would no longer be such.»
On the topic of education, the Pontiff also said that «the most profound identity of the school and the university is not exhausted in the mere transmission of useful data and information, but responds to the will to inculcate in students the love of the truth, which will lead them to that personal maturity with which they will have to exercise their role of protagonists in the social, economic and cultural development of the country.»
Promotion of Development
In a wider sense, the Holy Father referred to the «many benefits that the Catholic faith can contribute to the promotion of all those initiatives that dignify the person and perfect society.»
 <br>And he pointed out that the Church «in fulfilling her specific mission, seeks no privilege whatsoever; she only wishes to increase what contributes to the integral development of persons.»
He also indicated that the ecclesial community «seconds the effort that the Ecuadorian authorities have been carrying out in these last years to rediscover the foundations of their democratic coexistence, to strengthen the State of law and to give new impetus to solidarity and fraternity.»
Benedict XVI said he prays that «the common good will prevail over party or class interests, that the ethical imperative be an obligatory point of reference of every citizen, that wealth be equitably distributed, and that the sacrifices they equally share will not burden the neediest.»

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