Pope Speaks at Catholic Education Symposium

During a European symposium of an Episcopal commission for Catholic education at the Vatican on Saturday, July 3, Pope John Paul II urged all Christian communities and their members to teach men and women about the importance of "being" rather than "having."

Addressing 34 European bishops, who are responsible for education and catechesis, the Pope said that wherever students live, "education should enable them to become ever more men and women of 'being' and not simply of 'having' more.”

John Paul II explained that unity in educational endeavors will lead to greater unity in the personalities and lives of youth.

He said, "It is necessary that all mobilize and work together for young people: parents, teachers, educators, chaplaincy teams.”

He continued, "They must remember that teaching must be supported by the testimony of life. In fact, young people are sensitive to the testimony of adults, who are models for them. The family continues to be the primary place of education.”

Expressing his concern over today’s young people, John Paul said the problem lies in thier "lack of hope" and thier "attempt to make prevail anthropology without God and without Christ, which attributes God's place to man."

Said the Pontiff: "forgetfulness of God has led to the abandonment of man. True education should begin with the truth about man, with the affirmation of his dignity and transcendent vocation.

"To see every youth through this anthropological prism is to want to help him develop the best in him so that he will fulfill, in the exercise of all his capacities, that to which God calls him.

"May Christians not be afraid to proclaim Christ to the new generations, source of hope and light on their path! May they be able to receive adolescents and their families, listen to them and help them, even if this is often demanding!

"The education of young people is the concern of all Christian communities and of the whole of society," the Pope said. "It corresponds to us to propose the essential values to them so that they themselves will be responsible and assume their part in social construction."