Pope Francis met Saturday with the Association of Catholic School Parents on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of its foundation.
He encouraged participants to promote education focused on the fullness of humanity, on what it means to be human and an authentic humanism.
Listen to Alexander MacDonald's report:
In his prepared remarks Pope Francis reiterated a call he made recently to the World Congress of Educators. Catholic education must make room for everyone, he said, and must not select recipients in an elitist manner.
“There is no challenge more noble!” said the Holy Father, than when bridges are built between school and country, school and family and school and civil institutions. He encouraged parents to build union where division advances and to generate harmony in preference to exclusion.
Pope Francis also emphasized the role of parents as primary educators. “As parents,” he said, “you are custodians with the duty and primary and indispensable right to educate children.” Parents thus help in a positive and constant manner the work of the school. It is the duty of parents to ensure that schools live up to this task, especially when education is intended to be Catholic. “I pray to the Lord,” he said, “that a Catholic school does not take for granted the meaning of this adjective!”
Pope Francis also asked that parents and educators never sell off the human and Christian values which testify as to the value of the family, the school and society.
He concluded with a reference to the gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verse 52: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”