Pope calls for educational approach that ‘brings people into the light’

Pope Francis is pushing for a “revolutionary” shakeup in education, calling on teachers to help reform pupils within an “ecological ethic.” 

Speaking to leading Catholic educators, Pope Francis called education a “dynamic reality” that “brings people into the light.”

“It is a peculiar kind of movement, with characteristics that make it a dynamism of growth, intent on the full development of the person in his individual and social dimension,” he told participants in the Plenary of the Congregation for Catholic Education on Feb. 20.

The pope focused on education as an “ecological movement,” calling it a “driving force” whose aim is the complete formation of the individual. 

“Education that has at its center the person as a whole has the purpose of bringing him to the knowledge of himself, of the common house in which he is placed to live, and above all to the discovery of fraternity as a relationship that produces the multicultural composition of humanity, a source of mutual enrichment,” Pope Francis said.

He added that education in this light could not just be a rehash of Enlightenment “positivisms,” but must be “revolutionary” in nature.

The pope further stressed the inclusive nature of education, saying that all of those who have been left out on account of poverty, war, famine, sex, race, ethnicity, or other “existential difficulties” must be brought back into the fold. 

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

“Nowadays it is necessary to accelerate this inclusive movement of education to counter the throwaway culture, which originates from the denial of fraternity as a constitutive element of humanity.”

According to the Catholic News Agency, the Congregation for Catholic Education oversees 216,000 Catholic schools attended by over 60 million pupils, and 1,750 Catholic universities with over 11 million students.

The congregation is particularly devoted to institutes of Catholic higher education. 

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