"An important element is also the ability to take a critical stance and examine the underlying assumptions, philosophies and ideologies in society today and especially those underlying the very disciplines that higher education pursues."
He encouraged the St. Andrew's Foundation to be a place for "critical engagement" with the philosophies underpinning education, suggesting that many academic disciplines are value-laden, contrary to popular belief.
Archbishop Mueller said that education has a "central place" in proclaiming the dignity of the human person. He lauded the vision of Blessed John Henry Newman, whom he said was "firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach" to education.
"He sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together," reflected the archbishop.
This holistic approach must take into account the communal aspects of the person, as well as his overall dignity, he explained.
"The Church is almost alone, it seems, in being prepared to assert the dignity the human person as bearing the image of God – a vision available to reason, and once deep at the heart of western culture, but which is now so generally denied," he said.
He lamented that the youth are growing up in a culture of relativism, individualism, utilitarianism and "a lack of interest in the fundamental truths of human life."
In such an atmosphere which denies the dignity of the human person, "freedom is reduced to mere arbitrary whim, and the pursuit of true value is reduced to a consumerism that never satisfies," he said.
"The Church must give back to young people the true understanding of their own value that has been taken from them," through communication of the faith and our destiny in Christ in Catholic education.
"This re-proclamation and defense of humanity and its true worth lies at the center of the Church's Mission," Archbishop Mueller said.
He added that he hopes the St. Andrew Foundation will study this vision, form teachers according to it, and support the schools "in which this vision becomes realized."
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During his visit to Scotland, the congregation head also visited a primary school, addressed clergy at the cathedral of the Motherwell diocese, and delivered a message from Pope Francis to the Catholics of Scotland.
Pope Francis, said the message, hopes the St. Andrew Foundation "will help promote and improve the quality of instruction … given to future educators in the country's Catholic schools."