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Two important talks today from Pope Francis – one to the Pontifical Academy of Life, a body whose membership and statutes the Pope has restructured over the past year, and a second talk to the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation which he founded in October 2015.
POPE FRANCIS: “RESPECT FOR THE WORLD BEGINS WITH RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN BODY”
Pope Francis addresses the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Life on Monday focusing his remarks on the theme of the two-day workshop: situating human life within the wider context of the globalized world.
Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews.va)
The Pontifical Academy of Life is holding a two-day workshop June 25 and 26.. Pope Francis met with the participants on Monday and shared his thoughts with them regarding the theme: “Equal Beginnings. But then? A global responsibility.”
Science at the service of life
Pope Francis began saying that “human ecology” needs to be encouraged to consider “the ethical and spiritual quality of life in all of its phases”. Scientific studies on the human person are important, but need to be integrated within the broader realization of the person’s origins. Human life “burst on the world scene with the wonder of word and thought, of affections and spirit”, the Pope said.
The “dirty work” of death
When babies are exposed to privation and war; when the old are abandoned—“we instead perform the ‘dirty’ work of death”, Pope Francis continued. Christians must be strong in their inspiration and commit themselves ever more vigorously to work against such works sustained by sin, he said.
Dignity of the human person
Christian bioethics must not define the value of a person beginning from illness. It must begin with the “profound conviction of the irrevocable dignity of the human person, just as God loves each person” through every phase and in every condition of life, Pope Francis said.
A holistic vision should situate the person within the context of both the connections and differences we live, beginning with the human body. “It is through our body that the human person is in relationship with the environment and other living beings”, the Pope said, quoting Laudato Si’. Those who understand the world as God’s gift have first accepted their bodies as God’s gift, he said.
Relying on purely legal regulations or technical assistance in the bioethics field will never guarantee the dignity of the human person. That can only come from the “adequate support of a responsible human proximity”, Pope Francis said.
Life’s ultimate destination
A culture of life always looks toward life’s ultimate destination, Pope Francis concluded. Christian wisdom must passionately contribute to the thought that “humankind is destined to share in God’s life” after death where we will remain in eternal awe before all things “ ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’, hidden in the Creator’s womb”.
POPE: “CATHOLIC EDUCATION GIVES SOUL TO WORLD”
Inviting the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation to offer hope, Pope Francis says Catholic education gives soul to our globalized world and radiates the promise of Christian salvation.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews.va)
Pope Francis on Monday spoke to participants in the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation’s conference entitled, “To Educate is to Transform”. He encouraged the group in their efforts to coordinate between Catholic educational institutions, and offered them three suggestions.
Pope Francis first urged the Foundation to network among institutions, so as to make them more effective by drawing on each one’s intellectual and cultural strong points.
He said networking means uniting fields of study, creating spaces for cultural encounter and dialogue, and making schools “educating communities”. This, he said, means uniting students and teachers in mutual sharing through “a curriculum of life and experience.”
Given the global challenges facing the human family, Pope Francis said Catholic education “recognizes that humankind’s moral responsibility today does not just extend through space, but also through time, and that present choices have repercussions for future generations.”
Face social change optimistically
Secondly, Pope Francis invited the Foundation’s members to teach people to face social change optimistically. The goal, he said, is for men and women to “immerse themselves in reality with the light that radiates from the promise of Christian salvation.”
The Pope said Catholic educators must not lose hope but offer it to today’s world.
“We need to give a soul to the global world through an intellectual and moral formation that can support the good things that globalization brings and correct the harmful ones,” he said.
Focus on: identity, quality, common good
Finally, Pope Francis offered the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation three criteria in order to be effective. Identity, quality, and care for the common good, he said, are essential to the Catholic educator’s task.
Schools and universities need to be consistent and show continuity between their foundational mission and the Church’s mission of evangelization, the Pope said. By focusing on the quality of their education and the common good, he said educators can help all understand that “we belong to one human family”.
“To fulfill your mission, therefore, you must lay its foundations in a way consistent with our Christian identity; establish means appropriate for the quality of study and research; and pursue goals in harmony with service to the common good.”
About Gravissimum Educationis Foundation
Pope Francis established the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation at the request of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education in October 2015. Its purpose is to renew the Church’s commitment to Catholic education in step with the historical transformations of our time.