Magazine article Momentum

We Need Catholic Schools!

Magazine article Momentum

We Need Catholic Schools!

Article excerpt

Vatican prefect makes the case for Catholic schools during a U.S. visit

Last May, Fordham University presented the Catholic School Leadership Award to Cardinal Zenon Grocholweski, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Education, during the university's 14th annual Catholic School Executive Leadership celebration. During his visit to New York City, the cardinal noted that after his more than eight years of experience as head of the office, he was "well aware of the important role that Catholic schools play: for the good of the church, for the good of young people, for the good of the country and for the good of humanity." Here are the cardinal's remarks from the presentation ceremony.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS have a fantastic history in all continents. They are even more necessary today, when we consider the manifold crises that education is currently going through.

Thus, for example, while cultural globalization, in the sense of a meeting and exchange of cultures, is certainly a good thing, in practice this phenomenon (of globalization) often takes the form of a kind of colonization by one culture; as an imposed levelling out of cultures; a unification, on the world level, of a culture devoid of values.

Therefore, we need Catholic schools that turn globalization toward a spirit of solidarity, of real help for the needy, of respect toward every culture. Schools that teach solidarity, indeed love of neighbour, in our everyday lives. Only a globalization realized on such a basis will truly build up the good of all humanity. Yes, we need Catholic schools!

The weakest area of education today is the crisis of values. This is at the root of all education's problems. The cause of this crisis is diffused moral relativism, as well as relativism concerning the essential truths of the lives of men and women. With that goes subjectivism and, sometimes, also nihilism. If moral truths are presented as relative, the basis of education is destroyed- education, for which the principal question is: to educate for what? According to what ideal? Without a clear answer to these questions, one cannot speak of true education. Thus teachers become ever more confused and demotivated, and consequently their work becomes little effective.

Therefore, we need Catholic schools that build on values; on solid, firm values; values that can renew the face of the earth. Indeed, the Second Vatican Council, followed by Pope John Paul II, insisted that Christ is the key to understanding the fundamental truths about the human person: his dignity, vocation and destiny. In Christ, we have the most perfect ideal of the human person and, at the same time, the answer to the question: to educate for what? How must the student turn out? I think that only Christian anthropology has seriously taken this question into consideration, and only it gives a coherent answer. This is extremely important in view of education. Therefore, we need Catholic schools!

A secular education only takes into consideration life in this world, the deceptive happiness here on earth. Yet, we know that life does not finish with physical death, but that it goes on. We are destined for eternal life; we are called to eternal happiness.

Therefore, we need Catholic schools that situate us within the full truth of our existence, and prepare us for beatitude in the eternal dimension.

One of the crucial problems of education today is, without doubt, the crisis of the family, which ought to carry out a primary and essential role in education. Sometimes, one hears of children who, although they have both parents and live with them, are "orphans" in the sense that within the family they do not find an educational atmosphere. …

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