Pope Francis: Catholic education is vital in ‘an age awash in information’
Vatican City, Apr 21, 2022 / 03:05 am (CNA).
Pope Francis has said that Catholic education and formation are more important than ever in “an age awash in information often transmitted without wisdom or critical sense.”
“As educators, you are called to nurture the desire for truth, goodness and beauty that lies in the heart of each individual, so that all may learn how to love life and be open to the fullness of life,” Pope Francis wrote in a message delivered to a delegation from English-speaking Catholic universities on April 20.
“Catholic education is also evangelization: bearing witness to the joy of the Gospel and its power to renew our communities and provide hope and strength in facing wisely the challenges of the present time,” he said.
Pope Francis met with a delegation from the Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education (G.R.A.C.E.) at the Vatican’s apostolic palace on Wednesday morning.
The GRACE project is a collaboration between five Catholic universities in Europe, the United States, and Australia.
In written remarks prepared for the meeting and given to the delegation, the pope encouraged the Catholic university representatives to discern “innovative ways of uniting research with best practices so that teachers can serve the whole person in a process of integral human development.”
“In short, this means forming the head, hands and heart together: preserving and enhancing the link between learning, doing and feeling in the noblest sense. In this way, you will be able to offer not only an excellent academic curriculum, but also a coherent vision of life inspired by the teachings of Christ,” Pope Francis said.
“In this sense, the Church’s work of education aims not only ‘at developing the maturity of the human person … but is especially directed towards ensuring that those who have been baptized become daily more appreciative of the gift of faith which they have received’” (Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Gravissimum Educationis, 2).
Through the GRACE project, a long-term partnership has been formed between Boston College in the U.S., the University of Notre Dame in Australia, Mary Immaculate College Limerick in Ireland, Saint Mary’s University Twickenham in the U.K. and the International Office of Catholic Education in Rome.
The group organizes webinars and meetings, and supports doctoral students in research projects focused on Catholic education.
The pope opted to speak off the cuff to the group in Italian, apologizing for not speaking in English and noting that he “understood almost everything” that the delegation had said.
“I lived in Ireland, in Dublin, in Milltown Park, to study English. I studied English, but I forgot, excuse me!” he joked.
In his off the cuff remarks, the pope spoke about the relationship between tradition and progress.
He said: “Without roots, no progress can be made. Only with the roots do we become people: not museum statues, like some cold, starched, rigid traditionalists, with the thought that providing for life means living attached to the roots.”
“There is a need for this relationship with the roots, but also to move forward. And this is the true tradition: taking from the past to move forward. Tradition is not static: it is dynamic, aimed at moving forward.”
The pope met with the delegation ahead of his Wednesday general audience, where he spoke about the importance of honoring the elderly.
“May the joy of these days of Easter fill your hearts, and may your meeting here in the Eternal City strengthen you in fidelity to the Lord and his Church, and enrich your efforts to highlight the distinctiveness of our Catholic vision of education,” the pope’s written message to Catholic educators said.
“I trust that this study visit will inspire each of you to rededicate himself or herself with generous zeal to your vocation as educators, to your efforts to solidify the foundations of a more humane and solidary society, and thus the advancement Christ’s kingdom of truth, holiness, justice and peace,” he said.
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From a ‘self advancement’ seminar offered at my place of employment (Hewlett-Packard Manufacturing): “Anyone may become a unique & a world-class expert in a field that one choses, in as little as two to three years time”.
From the Apostle: “Whatever you do, do it for the love of Jesus-Christ”.
From those two simple commendations, comes the recipe of becoming as knowledgeable & as diligent in the science of God and as best & as holy as one is supposed to be at the loving service of Jesus-Christ.
In our time of deliberate degradation of institutionalized education, and organized confusion of catechism & insinuated heresies, a combination of humble prayer for holy guidance and a necessary constant self-education is the only solution. The example comes from the holy doctors (of the Church) who some having had just the rudiments of basic education, reached the highest degrees in sciences & knowledge while in the solitude of caves, desert places or penates. There is ‘no more to say’.
We are getting plenty of education about you Catholic’s thanks. Your time is short.
A second & pertinent comment about the statement of the pontiff seems adequate. Education by itself is similar to a paved route, which is in between two ditches. The ditches are useless distractions. The said paved road has cross roads, which may present apparent better fare: free-way type, or scenic road, etc. Those may or may not be distraction from the final destination which is our home: heaven. Detours or straight routes may of may not be beneficial. We do not know that, so instead of relying upon desires or what feels like instinct, pray for guidance. Wait a little, and then when it feels that the right route is here, go. God won’t deceive you.
Education is a tool to achieve the best performances to reach heaven. The rest is vanity. Look at Solomon, the most educated man of humankind, who also came to his fall. The examples of great men who fell are many in the history of the Church. The example of the fall of the great Tertullian is repeated through the old books written in an outdated verb. Those falls do not affect us in our modern time, so modernize the view, take the example of some modern savants such as Madame Curie through a word from Jesus to Maria Valtorta -said on August 24, 1943: “Those humanly perfect creatures. In them everything has attained perfection, except for their spirit which has regressed as to become embryos of spirit…… Their virtue is a flamme which brings no heat. It is a little cold. It has no value for Me (J.C.O.L.). I prefer an…
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…. I prefer an imperfect spirituality to a perfect humanity.” Those words are an indication to what Our Lord wants from us, which is a balancing of both humanity & spirituality, which while encouraging research & sciences tell to simultaneously increase the spirituality. Something that is very possible, even in our modern times.
This typing hand may speak of the example of the late Professor Luc Montaigne through a woman (my own mother) who worked by his side at the occasion of testing’s on measuring equipment. The savant was a believer in God. It was obvious by his humble behavior (He had already won the Nobel).
Education is just a tool. A tool which leads to convenience and ease of life. I’ll give you and other example of right next door to where we live. The Chartreux produce an elixir of renown. Through CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) -yes brothers! the monks know computing! they may produce with the minimum of their own (manufacturing) time, which allows the monks more quality (monastique) time, such as payers, meditation & study, psalm chanting’s…
This comment should continue and tell of prayers for holy guidance. Prayers have to be humble wishes, expressed as holy desires. Otherwise, it is satanical, for it is only the unclean spirits which may obey to some demands, which demands always come with a price to pay at an other time. God knows our needs, even before we even though of them. The prayers for guidance may be…
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… The prayers for guidance may be inspired through holy readings from doctors or saints. God however, in His infinite mercy and goodness does not only helps the contemplatives and theologians. He also help the little ones and the busy ones active in life. It then becomes a simple guidance, which may be seemingly more profane, such as simple anecdotes in the life of saints, which I am about to tell, me a nullity.
Under mysterious circumstances that I’ll keep to myself, I briefly and quietly met a ‘saint’. She is in heaven obviously by private revelation, as well as by popular opinion, but since she passed away in 1959, she’ll have to wait for the restoration of the RCC to be regularized as legitimate ‘Blessed or Saint’ into the calendar of saints. She is Charlene Marie Richard, a Cajun girl from Richard, Louisiana, better known locally as the “The Little Louisiana Saint”. Here is her story. ‘After reading the Story of a Soul, by St. Teresa, Charlene-Marie declared to her Grand-Mother; “I want to be a saint!”. Unmoved by this grand and holy ambition, the Grand-Mother told: “You have to pray, but you have to pray well”. To learn how to pray was the key into that little Louisiana village, looking more like an outpost, but where prayers seemed abundant. Outpost of dry land a short distance of about 50 miles from the bayou.’ This recommendation, came as a flame straight into my heart, I took it at heart at trying to ‘pray well’…
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… This recommendation, came as a flame straight into my heart, I took it at heart at trying to ‘pray well’ ever since.
This anecdote is a lesson that I must share to all the brothers for the simple rules I took: Ask God through your favorite saint. The answer may not be from ‘your saint’, but from a totally unknown saint who wishes to help. Saints, just as Our Lord who had a ‘preferred one’ in St. John, also may have their own ‘preference’. I had never hear of the ‘Little Louisiana Saint’, but there it is: ‘I have a little friend in heaven’. Solid gold value, as well as solid gold value for every single one of you my dear brothers! Be them a great saint of an unknown ‘saintly man or woman of God’, or an angel of God, you have one to help you in all matters concerning your eternal salvation, including all good works and good Catholic education.