Catholic World News

Vatican Secretary of State underlines importances of liberal education

June 03, 2015

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, underlined the key role played by Catholic education in a June 3 address to a conference marking the 70th anniversary of UNESCO.

“Culture and education have never been considered by the Catholic Church merely as tools for evangelization, but rather as dimensions of humanity with high intrinsic value,” said the cardinal. He pointed out that the Second Vatican Council had explained the importance of education “aimed at laying the foundations for an inclusive and peaceful society open to dialogue.”

Liberal education is particularly important today in light of the “extreme fragmentation of knowledge and the worrying lack of communication between different disciplines,” the cardinal said. It must also “counteract the concept of the human being as a machine for production,” he added.

At the same time, investment in the education of young people is the best means of assuring future progress, Cardinal Parolin continued. This is particularly true, he said, “in the case of those peoples who are trying to escape the ravages of hunger, poverty, endemic disease and ignorance.”

Today, the Secretary of State said, the world appears to be entering an “epochal transition.” Periods of rapid change, he observed, often bring out “the intensification of sentiments of opposition and hatred.” Liberal education can provide an antidote by encouraging people to “share beauty” and “praise creation,” he suggested.

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