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New Vatican document promotes intercultural education

Catholic World News - December 19, 2013

Intercultural dialogue “does not mean a vague solidarity, but rather and expression of Christ’s charity.” With that observation, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, introduced a new document on the importance of education in promoting peaceful coexistence.

“Education is the only solution,” Cardinal Grocholewski told a December 19 press conference, quoting Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani woman who has gained international renown for her appeals for peace after she was assaulted by the Taliban for promoting women’s education. The cardinal said that the new Vatican document issued by his dicastery is designed to provide guidance in “building a civilization of love.”

Education remains a critical need for the developing world, the Polish cardinal said. He cited UNICEF statistics suggesting that over 70 million children in the world do not receive even elementary education, while in poor countries 75% of all students remain unable to read and write.

Catholic religious orders have a special expertise in education involving students from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, Cardinal Grocholewski said, because “for years they have worked in multicultural and multi-religious contexts, with laudable experience of education and training.” That expertise is needed today, he said, as widespread migration has heightened for education that crosses ethnic and religious lines. Archbishop Vincenzo Zani, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, pointed out the experiences of the “Schools for Europe” that were established in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, to ease ethnic tensions after the Balkan war. He also mentioned the 45 Catholic schools operated by the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where students of different backgrounds “discover how to build relationships of respect and friendship.”

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  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 20, 2013 1:21 AM ET USA

    “Education is the only solution.” I would agree with Cardinal Grocholewski, but not quite as far as he states. Look how terrible Catholic education is in America and elsewhere. Students and their parents know so little of the Faith that's it's no wonder so many leave the Church. Until the Church recommits to Catholic schools for all Catholic children, it will only get worse. BTW, most students attending Catholic schools in the Arab areas are Muslim and aren't taught our Catechism.

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