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Pope says education is about being more, not having more

Pope John Paul II has told participants of a European education symposium that schools must find new perspectives to face the difficulties of young people in their personal life and in the social framework.

He stressed that education is more important than ever in an era when so many young people seem disoriented.

The Holy Father told the 100 participants of an event with the title The Challenges of Education: Recovery, Promises, Commitments, that "students must be helped to 'be more' not just 'to have more.'"

"To give young people a future, education must be seen as the search for the integral and harmonious development of the person, of the maturing of the moral conscience to be able to discern good and to act in accordance, and also as an attention to the spiritual dimension of the growing youth," he said.

Teachers parents and educators "must remember that what they teach must be supported by the witness of their lives."

With particular reference to the European context, John Paul II underscored the great "lack of hope in today's youth. ... In the Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Europe', I noted that 'at the root of this loss of hope is an attempt to promote a vision of man apart from God and apart from Christ', giving God's place to man. 'Forgetfulness of God led to the abandonment of man'. True education must depart from the truth about man, the affirmation of his dignity and his transcendent vocation."

He closed his remarks by noting that "the Christian community also has a role in education. ... May Christians not be afraid to announce Christ to the new generations, Christ, the source of hope and light on their path! May they know how to welcome adolescents and their families, listen to and help them, even if that often is demanding!"

Education must help in "being more" rather than "having more," Pope says (Catholic News Agency 5/7/04)

Education: a search for integral, harmonious development (Vatican Information Service 3/7/04)
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6 Jul 2004