In an address this morning to the 100 participants of the European education symposium entitled “The Challenges of Education: Recovery, Promises, Commitments,” the Holy Father said that “students must be helped to ‘be more’ not just ‘to have more.’
In his address in French, the Pope expressed his delight at the attention being given “to questions concerning education, especially important today in Europe where so many young people seem disoriented. The educational policies of states take pains to find new perspectives to face the difficulties of young people in their personal life and in the social framework.”
“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,” said the Pope.
He emphasized that the Christian roots of Europe are the foundations of it’s “spiritual and moral traditions,” and he undescored the need for unity among all the aspects of education. Teachers parents and educators “must remember that what they teach must be supported by the witness of their lives.”
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!”