While addressing the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education yesterday, Pope Francis called Catholic education “one of the most important challenges for the Church, currently committed to new evangelization in an historical and cultural context that is undergoing constant transformation,” according to Catholic World Report.
On the value of dialogue in Catholic education, Pope Francis reportedly said:
Effectively, Catholic schools and universities are attended by many students who are not Christian or do not believe. Catholic educational institutions offer to all an approach to education that has as its aim the full development of the person, which responds to the right of every person to access to knowledge. However, they are also called upon to offer, with full respect for the freedom of each person and using the methods appropriate to the scholastic environment, the Christian belief, that is, to present Jesus Christ as the meaning of life, the cosmos and history. Jesus began to proclaim the good news of the 'Galilee of the people', a crossroads of people, diverse in terms of race, culture and religion. This context resembles today's world, in certain respects. The profound changes that have led to the ever wider diffusion of multicultural societies require those who work in the school or university sector to be involved in educational itineraries involving comparison and dialogue, with a courageous and innovative fidelity that enables Catholic identity to encounter the various 'souls' of multicultural society.
The Pope also said that educators must speak to be understood by the younger generation. “Every educator – and the Church as a whole is an educating mother – is required to change, in the sense of knowing how to communicate with the young,” he reportedly said.
He laid the responsibility of expressing “the living presence of the Gospel in the field of education, science and culture” on Catholic education institutions, adding they must “know how to enter, with courage, into the Areopagus of contemporary cultures and to initiate dialogue, aware of the gift they are able to offer to all.”
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