The Pope to Catholic educators: Beware of ideological colonization

It is important “to have good and wise educators in the formative years.” This is the Pope’s recommendation to the World Union of Catholic Educators, which he asks to continually cultivate and increase “the art of education.” Francis also warns that “ideological colonization destroys the human personality.”

Amedeo Lomonaco – Vatican City

We must ensure that educators understand “what is a novelty that makes us grow and what is an ideologization, an ideological colonization.” “Today the ideological colonizations destroy the human personality and when they enter education they carry out massacres”. This was highlighted by Pope Francis when he met with the participants in the General Assembly of the World Union of Catholic Teachers (Umec-Wuct), “a network of professional colleagues and brothers in the faith that -explains the Pontiff- with a spirit and style of friendship, welcome, mutual understanding and common spiritual growth, is placed at the service of all Catholic teachers so that they preserve their identity and carry out their mission”.

I would say that in this task you are “collaborators of the Pope”: in fact, the mission of the Successor of Peter is precisely that of confirming and sustaining the brothers in the faith (cf. Lk 22,32). And so, in the world of schools, you make present the service of the Church to support Catholic teachers in the faith, so that they can carry out their work and their witness in the best possible way, in situations often complex at the relational and institutional level.

bear witness to the faith

“The presence of Christian educators in the school world is of vital importance. And decisive is the style that they adopt. Indeed, the Christian educator is called to be both fully human and fully Christian.” “He must not be spiritualistic and out of touch with the world.” “There is no humanism without Christianity. And there is no Christianity without humanism.” The Christian educator must therefore be “rooted in the present, in his time, in his culture.” It is important that his personality is rich, open, able to establish sincere relationships with students, to understand their deepest needs, their questions, their fears, their dreams “.

And may he also be able to testify – first of all with his life and also with his words – that the Christian faith embraces the whole human being, that it brings light and truth to all spheres of existence, without excluding anything, without clipping the wings of the dreams of young people, without impoverishing their aspirations.

Pope Francis in his words to the Catholic educators of the UMEC

Pope Francis in his words to the Catholic educators of the UMEC

leave a sign

The World Union of Catholic Teachers, Francis recalls, has experienced difficult times in its recent history, “even with moments of doubt and discouragement.” But even “in these stormy times”, the commitment “in the spirit of faith and Christian hope” has not been lacking. UMEC is called today to “support teachers of all ages and in all working conditions: both those with long experience – rich in satisfaction but also in difficulties – and the new generations, teachers encouraged by the enthusiasm and the desire to do, but with the weaknesses and uncertainties that often mark the first years of teaching”.

All these teachers – if we look at them from a Christian perspective, of which they themselves are sometimes not fully aware – are in a position to leave a mark, for better or for worse, on the lives of children, adolescents and young people, who they are entrusted to them for a long time. What responsibility! And what an opportunity, to introduce them, with wisdom and respect, to the paths of the world and of life, accompanying their minds so that they open up to what is true, to what is beautiful, to what is good. We know from personal experience how important it is to have good teachers and wise educators in the formative years.

To the members of the World Union of Catholic Educators, the Pope finally addresses an invitation: “An invitation -says the Pontiff- very close to my heart” and linked to the Global Pact for Education, an initiative that aims to join efforts “in a broad educational alliance to form mature people, capable of overcoming fragmentation and contrasts and rebuilding the fabric of relationships for a more fraternal humanity”. “I am confident in your commitment to involve the UMEC member teachers in this project, which wants to put the person in the center in their dignity and beauty, and families as primary educational subjects.”

History and identity of Umec

The origins of the World Union of Catholic Teachers go back to 1908. In that year, the presidents of the Catholic teachers’ associations of Austria, Holland, Switzerland and Germany, in a meeting organized to discuss educational issues, launched the idea of ​​bringing together Catholic teachers internationally. In 1912, the Weltverband katholischer Pädagogen, a worldwide association of Catholic educators, was created. The activities of this organization, interrupted by the two world wars, were resumed in 1951 with the founding of the World Union of Catholic Educators in Rome, at the initiative of the leaders of the national associations of 17 countries. The objective was to put itself at the service of the national associations of Catholic teachers by coordinating their study and research activities to make known the teachings of the Church in the field of education.

The Pope to Catholic educators: Beware of ideological colonization – Vatican News