Catholic Education in an increasingly secular world


Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, on September 24, took part in the Executive Symposium on Education organized by the Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Rome.

In his discourse on Catholic education in a secular world Cardinal said that today's culture can be categorized into two levels: at the level of the ability to know the truth and with regard to the field of action, that is, the field of moral reflection.

According to him, faced with these challenges, the attitude of the Church and of those who work in its name must avoid two opposite risks. As Cardinal Carlo M. Martini emphasized since 2000, we must avoid both the attitude of resignation of those who say that we are going towards the moral catastrophe, and so, all that remains is to confine ourselves in defence waiting for the storm to pass; we must avoid as well the attitude of those who think they still have time to "overturn the course of things" by returning to the past and by simply reaffirming abstract principles and traditional attitudes. The Cardinal indicated instead a third way that does not deny what is good in the two previous attitudes, but that asks questions about the opportunities that modern culture also offers for the Gospel message.

The Prefect, subsequently, focused on the method, with which one can address this issue in dialogue with those who support varying ideas and who seek to bring about an anthropological revolution in schools, as scientific progress. The method of dialogue is articulated in three steps: listening, reasoning and proposing.

Listening is the first step in a serious dialogue. Leaving aside the presumption of knowing already what others think, it is necessary that we prepare ourselves to welcome people who think differently, with a positive spirit and without prejudice.

Reasoning is the next step in which all are called to render account of our ideas by overcoming the simple proposition of ideas through unverified slogans or abstractions.

Proposing is the third step to be taken. Whatever the outcome of the rational confrontation (positive or negative), it is the right and duty of the Church and of our university institutions to propose their own vision of man and of the world, with due respect to those who think differently. To propose, therefore, but not to impose.

The speech by Card. Giuseppe Versaldi, Catholic Education in an increasingly secular world, Rome 24 September 2019

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