“Catholic schools and universities make a great contribution to the mission of the Church when they serve growth in humanity, dialogue and hope.”
Francis stressed this in his address today to the plenary session of the Congregation for Catholic Education (of Seminaries and Institutes of Study) in the Vatican.
This dicastery has authority in three diverse sectors: over all seminaries (except those falling within the jurisdiction of the Congregations for the Evangelization of Peoples and for Oriental Churches) and houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; over all universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; over all schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.
In his address, the Pontiff stressed, ‘Catholic schools are a most valuable resource for the evangelization of culture, even in those countries and cities where hostile situations challenge us to greater creativity in our search for suitable methods.”
Catholic universities, he also underscored, “are outstanding environments for articulating and developing [the] evangelizing commitment.”
While speaking to the dicastery members, Francis laid out some of his expectations.
“Firstly, faced with an intrusive individualism, which makes us humanly poor and culturally barren, it is necessary to humanize education,” Francis insisted, noting the full meaning of schools and universities is found in their proper formation of the person.
“Furthermore,” he stressed, Catholic educational institutions have the mission of offering horizons open to transcendence.”
Another expectation, he highlighted, is the growth of the culture of dialogue.
“Our world has become a global village with multiple processes of interaction, where every person belongs to humanity and shares in the hope of a better future with the entire family of peoples.” At the same time, he lamented, there are many forms of violence, poverty, exploitation, discrimination, marginalization, and approaches that restrict fundamental freedoms, creating a throwaway culture.
In such a context, Francis stressed, Catholic educational institutes are called first to put into “practice the grammar of dialogue.”
Francis’ final expectation was education contributing in sowing hope. “Man cannot live without hope, and education is a generator of hope.
“I am convinced that the young of today need above all this life that builds the future. Therefore, the true educator is like a father and a mother who transmits a life capable of having a future.”
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