10/05/2021, 18.49
VATICAN
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Pope: an 'educational alliance' for a fraternal world against violence and discrimination

The meeting “Religions and Education: towards a Global Compact on Education” is open. “We are concerned,” the Pope said, “to ensure an integral formation that can be summed up in knowledge of ourselves, our brothers and sisters, creation and the Transcendent. We cannot fail to speak to young people about the truths that give meaning to life.” Patriarch Bartholomew also spoke about the contribution religious education can make to living together.

 

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke today at a meeting “Religions and Education: Towards a Global Compact on Education”, which is part of the global education pact he established on 12 September to educate new generations about fraternity, peace and justice.

Religions have always been committed to integral education, one that rejects all violence in the name of God, one that teaches to welcome others, one that refuses discrimination between men and women, one that leads to respect for creation and against waste.

On this day, UNESCO’s World Teachers' Day, the pontiff reminded those who work in the field of education that two years ago he called for “dialogue on how we are shaping the future of our planet”.

This entails uniting “our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity’.”

“We are concerned,” the Holy Father said, “to ensure an integral formation that can be summed up in knowledge of ourselves, our brothers and sisters, creation and the Transcendent. We cannot fail to speak to young people about the truths that give meaning to life.”

“As in the past, so also in our day, with the wisdom and humanity of our religious traditions, we want to be a stimulus for a renewed educational activity that can advance universal fraternity in our world.

“If in the past, our differences set us at odds, nowadays we see in them the richness of different ways of coming to God and of educating young people for peaceful coexistence in mutual respect. For this reason, education commits us never to use God’s name to justify violence and hatred towards other religious traditions, to condemn all forms of fanaticism and fundamentalism, and to defend the right of each individual to choose and act in accordance with his or her conscience.

“If in the past, also in the name of religion, discrimination was practiced against ethnic, cultural, political and other minorities, today we want to be defenders of the identity and dignity of every individual and to teach young people to accept everyone without discrimination. For this reason, education commits us to accept people as they are, not how we want them to be, without judging or condemning anyone.

“If in the past, the rights of women, children and the most vulnerable were not always respected, today we are committed firmly to defend those rights and to teach young people to be a voice for the voiceless.”

“[E]ducation,” he added, “impels us to reject and denounce every violation of the physical and moral integrity of each individual. Education must make us realize that men and women are equal in dignity; there is no room for discrimination.

“If in the past, we tolerated the exploitation and plundering of our common home, today, with greater awareness of our role as stewards of the creation entrusted to us by God, we want to give voice to the plea of nature for its survival, and to train ourselves and future generations in a more sober and ecologically sustainable lifestyle.

“[E]ducation commits us to love our mother Earth, to avoid the waste of food and resources, and to share more generously the goods that God has given us for the life of everyone.”

“Today we want to state that our religious traditions, which have always played a leading role in schooling, from teaching literacy to higher education, reaffirm their mission of integrally educating each individual: head, hands, heart and soul.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also talked about the contribution of religious education to different people living together in modern multicultural societies.

In this context, “children and young men or women will understand that the interest in developing their personal religious identity does not comprise an impediment for communicating with others, while also constituting the basis and prerequisite for openness toward others. Only those who have and appreciate a particular identity are able to demonstrate genuine interest for the identity of others as well, and are thereby capable of communicating and collaborating with others.

“The presence and proper organization of religious identity in the field of education is of crucial importance for the future of humankind. Young people must be taught about a religion:

- which stresses the spiritual identity and eternal destiny of all;

- which offers answers to the great existential questions and quest for meaning in life;

- which determines the identity of peoples and cultures; which has preserved inestimable spiritual traditions, as well as respect for creation;

- which resists trends leading to the diminishment of the sacredness of the human person;

- and which can contribute decisively to peace and reconciliation, as well as to the cultivation of a civilization of solidarity and fraternity.

“In light of the fact that religion is today frequently used by fundamentalist circles as a vehicle of division and conflict, proper religious education – as an education of peace – acquires special timeliness. It prepares children and young men or women to participate in the creation of a world of peace, where human beings can see in the face of their fellow human beings a brother and sister, rather than a threat or – worse – an enemy.”

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