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Schools showing the way to a peaceful world

VATICAN CITY (Zenit): Catholic schools are playing a key role around the world, even to the extent of helping to resolve conflicts and aiding in inter-religious dialogue, a Vatican official said.

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Monsignor Angelo Vincenzo Zani, respectively prefect and under-secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, presented the Vatican a 26-page document published by that dicastery titled “Educating Together in Catholic Schools: A Shared Mission Between Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful” on November 20.

Cardinal Grocholewski said “a profound malady is affecting the educational world, especially in the West”.

Professors “feel a lack of motivation and have to witness the frustration of their educational duties”, he said.

“Among the worrying signs are the increase of violence in schools and among adolescents, and the difficulties faced by families which, it is good to recall, have the prime responsibility for the education of their children” and must play “an active part in the school community”.

Msgr Zani provided a number of statistics showing how Catholic schools have helped in areas plagued by conflict.

“In the world today,” he said, “there are some 250,000 Catholic educational institutes frequented by slightly fewer than 42 million pupils, distributed over the continents as follows: 10 million in Africa, 12 million in the Americas, 10 million in Asia, 9 million in Europe, and 800,000 in Oceania.

Teachers in Catholic schools number around 3.5 million.”

Msgr Zani said Catholic schools operate even where religious liberty is not guaranteed, and they have “an amazing capacity to respond to emergencies and to formative needs”.

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