Pope: Education Goes Beyond Knowledge and Skills

Encourages Mali in the Promotion of Wisdom, Values

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Education is a vital necessity, and those charged with the education of the youth should work to impart not only knowledge and skills, but also human, cultural and religious values, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope wrote this in a message he gave Thursday to Boubacar Sidiki Toure, the new ambassador from Mali to the Holy See, upon receiving in him and four other new envoys in audience, who presented their letters of credence. The Holy Father addressed the five ambassadors collectively — from Mali, Nepal, Zambia, Andorra and Seychelles — then gave each one a separate message.

«In a world characterized by the interdependence of peoples and the rapid spread of imitation of human behavior accompanied by growing individualism,» the Holy Father stated, «education constitutes a vital and existential necessity.»

The Pontiff noted that education is more than simply the «accumulation of intellectual knowledge or technical competence,» and stated that «abilities should go hand in hand with knowing how to live and how to be so that, based on human wisdom and spiritual resources, they reflect better the essential truth of human existence.»

«That is why,» he continued, «in the education of their children, Malian families are not content with the academic results achieved, to the neglect of human, cultural and religious virtues. They offer their children the reference values that will lead them to the truth about life, about the duty of solidarity and of dialogue, which are co-existential to human nature.»

Benedict XVI then urged the state to «state to support families in their task of education, and to watch over the intellectual and human quality of the educational personnel,» and then encourage the youth to not let themselves «be seduced by easy money that could incite them to pact with networks that lead to criminality or drug trafficking.»

Equal rights

Commenting on the Mali’s commitment to reducing «inequalities between persons and social groups,» the Pope mentioned in particular the Code of Persons and the Family, which he said will «contribute to social peace.»

The Code of Persons and the Family, which Parliament passed last year, seeks to grant women equal rights by setting the legal age for marriage at 18, stipulating that both parties must consent to divorce, and gives parental authority to both the mother and father.

The Pontiff also noted the Church’s contribution to education, which has formed several of the country’s leaders, and health care. «The Church’s commitment in formation and education,» the Holy Father noted, «as well as in the charitable, health and social realms, shows her willingness to collaborate with the state, preserving the particular nature of her structures.»

Noting that this year Mali marks its 50th anniversary as an independent nation, the Holy Father stated that for the nation to grow in peace and stability, it needs to safeguard and promote its intellectual, human and cultural values: «I want to encourage their preservation and transmission to the new generations, because a society served by persons gifted with a profound moral perspicacity, always promotes justice and peace. 

«The leaders of such a society are able to transcend their own interests to be virtuous governors totally dedicated to the common good. They are also able to cultivate human relations animated by trust and solidarity, mutual respect and sincere dialogue.»

Benedict XVI urged the leaders of Mali to «help their compatriots to be reconciled among themselves after the conflicts that have marked Mali’s recent history. I also invite them to struggle against discrimination between ethnic groups and religions.»

«In fact,» he added, «it is legitimate that the identity of each ethnic or religious community be expressed visibly, in mutual respect, fostering peaceful coexistence at all levels of the national community.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31292?l=english

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