Upon receiving the credentials of the new ambassador of the Republic of Paraguay, Marcos Martinez Mendieta, John Paul II called on Paraguayan authorities to bring education to the people.
The Pontiff recalled during his speech “the good relations between Paraguay and the Holy See, which are based on the deep Christian roots of the Paraguayan people.”
The Pope emphasized that Paraguay “is called to take an ever-more active part in the concert of nations, and in order to do so, must promote in a permanent way the greater and more adequate education of its citizens.”
In this sense, he expressed the desire that improvements in the educational system allow the “integral formation of the person to be available to everyone, preparing younger generations to fully assume their responsibilities as citizens capable of being protagonists in the nation’s development, while actively procuring the common good.”
After emphasizing “education in the true moral and spiritual values and promoting an authentic cultural movement that consolidates and spread these values,” the Holy Father referred to the need to propose again “these fundamental values, such as honesty, austerity, responsibility for the common good, solidarity, spirit of sacrifice and the culture of work, capacity for dialogue and the participation of everyone at all levels, which will ensure greater development for all members of the national community.”
The Holy Father said that “to promote the development of everyone in all fields” it is necessary to adopt “initiatives that truly increase the quality of life for all citizens, especially in the fields of health care, housing, and work conditions which are always inspired by ethical principles that take into account equality and the necessary contribution of everyone’s efforts and sacrifices.”
Paraguay used to have the highest literacy rate in South America at the beginning of the 20th Century. Nevertheless, a war with powerful neighbors Argentina and Brazil, and a sequence of corrupted governments has turned the once prosperous country in one of the poorest in the region.