Pope Francis: The power of education for a more fraternal humanity

Pope greets participants of Plenary of the Congregation for Catholic Education

“Education is a dynamic reality; it is a movement that brings people to light.” Those were the words of Pope Francis to participants of the Plenary of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Speaking to those gathered in the Vatican on Thursday, the Pope stated that education “is a peculiar kind of movement, with characteristics that make it a dynamism of growth, oriented to the full development of the person in their individual and social dimension.”

Ecological movement

He went on to say, that one aspect of education “is that it is an ecological movement.”

The Pope said that “education that has at its centre the person in his or her integral reality has the purpose of bringing him or her to the knowledge of himself or herself, of the common home in which he or she lives, and above all to the discovery of fraternity as a relationship that produces the multicultural composition of humanity, a source of mutual enrichment.”

This educational movement, Pope Francis underlined “requires, of course, educators capable of resetting the pedagogical itineraries of an ecological ethic, so that they may effectively help towards a growth in solidarity, responsibility and care based on compassion”.

Inclusive movement

The Pontiff went on to describe education as a “an inclusive movement.” – an inclusion, he said, that works for the excluded and “takes the form of educational actions in favour of refugees, victims of human trafficking, migrants, without any distinction of sex, religion or ethnicity.”

Inclusion is not a modern invention, he added, “but an integral part of the Christian saving message.”

The Pope highlighted that education “is a peacemaking movement, a bearer of peace.” He also noted that another typical element of education is that is it “a team movement.”

He pointed out, however that “this team movement has long been in crisis for various reasons.”

Global Educational Pact

With that in mind, Pope Francis told those present that he felt the need to promote a day for the global educational pact to be marked on May 14 next, which will be entrusted to the Congregation for Catholic Education.

The Pope described it as “an appeal to all those who have political, administrative, religious and educational responsibilities to rebuild the ‘village of education’.” The aim, he said, was to “to revive the commitment for and with the younger generations, renewing the passion for a more open and inclusive education, capable of patient listening, constructive dialogue and mutual understanding.” The educational pact, he underlined needed to be “revolutionary”.

“Never before, he continued, has there been such a need to unite efforts in a broad educational alliance to form mature people, capable of overcoming fragmentation and opposition and rebuild the fabric of relationships for a more fraternal humanity”.

To achieve these goals takes courage, Pope Francis stressed, “the courage to put the person at the centre.”

In this broad horizon of education, the Pope encouraged those gathered to continue to make strides in the implementation of the pact for the coming years, in particular in the drafting of a Directory, and in the establishment of a World Observatory.

These are all commitments, he concluded, “which can contribute effectively to consolidating the pact, in the way taught to us by the Word of God”.