Pope to launch global educational pact next year
Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. (Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini.)
ROME - Pope Francis is inviting world leaders and young people to come together at the Vatican on May 14, 2020, for a an event called “Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance.”
“Never before has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity,” Francis wrote in the message announcing the initiative, released by the Vatican’s press office on Thursday.
According to Francis, education today clashes with a process of “rapidification” that traps human existence in a “whirlwind of high-speed technology and computerization, continually altering our points of reference.”
As a result, human identity loses “its solidity,” he wrote.
According to an African proverb, Francis wrote, “it takes a whole village to educate a child.” When it comes to education, that village still needs to be created, beginning by clearing the ground of “discrimination,” and fraternity “must be allowed to flourish.”
According to the pope, this not only includes teachers, students and their families, but wider civil society, including science, sports, politics, and charitable organizations.
“An alliance, in other words, between the earth’s inhabitants and our ‘common home’, which we are bound to care for and respect,” Francis wrote. “An alliance that generates peace, justice and hospitality among all peoples of the human family, as well as dialogue between religions.”
In addition to the May 14 meeting in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall, Francis said that a number of seminars on related topics will take place in other locations to prepare for the event.
“I invite everyone to work for this alliance and to be committed, individually and within our communities, to nurturing the dream of a humanism rooted in solidarity and responsive both to humanity’s aspirations and to God’s plan,” Francis wrote.
According to a statement from the Congregation for Catholic Education, the initiative is a response to a request that came during several meetings Francis had with different personalities of “various cultures and religious affiliations.”
The statement said the fifth anniversary of the environmental encyclical Laudato Si’ was an “ideal platform” to launch the event.
“The most significant personalities in the world are invited to take part in the proposed initiative, political, cultural and religious, and in particular the young people to whom the future belongs,” the Vatican statement says. “The goal is to arouse an awareness and a wave of responsibility for the common good of humanity, starting from the young and reaching all people of good will.”
The statement from the Congregation also said that the new educational pact will aim to heal three “fractures” affecting the world.
The first is that which separates reality from transcendence. According to the Vatican, children should be introduced to “total reality,” including openness to the transcendent, healing a “vertical rift between man and the Absolute.”
The second fracture the pact should heal is “horizontal,” between generations, cultures, and within the family, with people who bring different cultural visions and religions, and with those who face financial, social and moral difficulties.
The third fracture is that between humanity and the environment, with an urgent need to “create the conditions for ‘ecological citizenship’” that educates in “responsible austerity, grateful contemplation of the world, and care for the fragility of the poor and the environment.”