ROME – Catholic schools and universities are being asked by the Vatican to take the lead in pioneering education networks that value individual identity and talent, but also help students see how their gifts can contribute to the common good.
The Congregation for Catholic Education presented broad guidelines in the document, “Educating to Fraternal Humanism,” which was released at the Vatican Sept. 22.
“The document underlines how urgent and necessary it is to humanize education, favoring a culture of encounter and dialogue,” Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, prefect of the congregation, told reporters. Firmly convinced Christ’s offer of salvation is open to all people, Catholic schools should be agents for “globalizing hope,” educating young people to promote solidarity, brotherhood and care for the environment.
Currently, there are more than 216,000 Catholic schools “with a student population that exceeds 60 million pupils from every faith and ethnic group,” the cardinal said. In addition, there are some 1,800 Catholic universities around the world.
The new document describes “the need to look after the good of others as if it were one’s own” as “a clear priority for the political agenda of our civil systems,” and something Catholic schools are well-equipped to help foster by educating students with Christian values.
For the congregation, “humanizing education” means helping each student develop his or her talents and discover his or her vocation while understanding that those talents and vocations are designed to be at the service of the community and, in fact, of the common good of all.
Promoting a culture of dialogue in which each person is free to express his or her identity and thoughts while respecting the rights of others to do the same is another key aim, the congregation said.