Pope Francis urges Catholic educators to teach inclusive integral ecology

Pope Francis addresses participants in the plenary of the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall, Feb. 20, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media.

Pope Francis called for an educational revolution today, telling the Congregation for Catholic Education that more effort needs to be made to accelerate the inclusiveness of education.

Ecology and fraternity are an integral part of education, Pope Francis told the Catholic education leaders ahead of the pope’s Global Compact on Education taking place May 14.

“The educational pact must not be a simple order, it must not be a rehash of the positivisms we have received from an Enlightenment education. It must be revolutionary,” Pope Francis said today.

The pope said that the purpose of an “education that focuses on the person in his integral reality” is “above all” oriented “to the discovery of fraternity that produces the multicultural composition of humanity.”

Pope Francis called for educators capable of resetting their teaching methods to form young people in an “ecological ethic.” He said education is a “dynamic reality,” which is “never a repetitive action.”

“Education is called with its pacifying force to form people capable of understanding that diversity does not hinder unity, rather they are indispensable for the richness of one’s own identity and that of everyone,” Francis said.

“As for the method, education is an inclusive movement. An inclusion that goes towards all the excluded: those for poverty, for vulnerability due to wars, famines and natural disasters, for social selectivity, for family and existential difficulties,” he said.

Educational intiativies for migrants and refugees should be put into action “without any distinction of sex, religion, or ethnicity,” the pope told the congregation.

Pope Francis said a “peace-making educational movement” is needed in light of the fractures between cultures masking a “fear of diversity and difference.”

“Inclusion is not a modern invention, but is an integral part of the Christian salvific message,” Pope Francis said.

The pope addressed the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The congregation oversees 216,000 Catholic schools attended by over 60 million pupils, and 1,750 Catholic universities with over 11 million students.

The congregation devotes particular attention to institutions of Catholic higher education, which exist “by their nature aim to secure that the Christian outlook should acquire a public, stable and universal influence in the whole process of the promotion of higher culture,” according to St. John Paul II’s 1979 apostolic constitution on ecclesiastical universities and faculties, Sapientia Christiana.

Ex corde Ecclesiae, St. John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution on Catholic universities, states that “A Catholic university’s privileged task is to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth.”

“Every human reality, both individual and social has been liberated by Christ: persons, as well as the activities of men and women, of which culture is the highest and incarnate expression…. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, offers his light and his hope to all those who promote the sciences, the arts, letters and the numerous fields developed by modern culture,” it states. “Therefore, all the sons and daughters of the Church should become aware of their mission and discover how the strength of the Gospel can penetrate and regenerate the mentalities and dominant values that inspire individual cultures, as well as the opinions and mental attitudes that are derived from it.”

Pope Francis has tasked the Congregation for Catholic Education with organizing his Global Educational Summit.

When the educational pact was first announced in September, “the most significant personalities of the political, cultural and religious world” were invited to attend.

The foundation of the pact is “openness to others,” according to the instrumentum laboris for the education summit.

The aim of the Global Education Pact is to “renew the passion for a more open and inclusive education, capable of patient listening, constructive dialogue, and mutual understanding,” Pope Francis told the congregation.

Source: CNA