Pope Francis receives Catholic Education plenary participants

Pope Francis received the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for […]

1_0_772889Pope Francis received the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Catholic Education on Thursday. Members are gathered for three days this week to discuss a series of issues, including the reform of the Apostolic Constitution, Sapientia Christiana, which governs the Pontifical university system, the recovery and strengthening of Catholic identity in Catholic institutions of higher learning, and the preparation of two major anniversaries: the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution, Ex corde Ecclesiae, on the nature and mission of Catholic universities, and the 50th anniversary of the II Vatican Council’s declaration, Gravissimum educationis, which called for a renewal of Catholic instruction and formation at all levels.

One major focus of the Holy Father’s remarks was the need for those who work in Catholic schools, colleges and universities, “To be involved in educational itineraries of encounter and of dialogue, with a courageous and innovative faithfulness that is capable of bringing the different ‘souls’ of a multicultural society together with Catholic identity.”

Pope Francis also spoke of the need for those responsible for faith formation to be themselves well-formed in the faith and attuned to the exigencies of teaching the faith in social contexts ever more characterized by the presence and participation of people coming from of a plurality of cultural backgrounds. “The educator in Catholic schools,” said Pope Francis, “must first be very competent, qualified, and at the same time full of humanity, capable of being among the young people with [his] pedagogical style, to promote their human and spiritual growth.”

A priest and professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University, Fr. Philip Larrey, told Vatican Radio his work always involves careful attention to and balancing of the increasing cultural richness of the student body and the legitimate demands of academic programs, in light of the mission of the university. “We have students from over ninety nationalities,” he said, “which poses a challenge to us and also to them.” He went on to say, “One of the central characteristics of the Jesuit education that Pope Francis has received and is [now] in charge of, is engaging with culture: going out, and not hiding in a ‘bunker mentality’, but actually seeking out the challenges of the culture that is around us – and I think that, at the Lateran [University], we try to do that.”



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