Pope Francis: Education Is ‘an Ecological Movement’

National Education Association (Alex Wong / Getty)
Alex Wong / Getty

ROME — Education is a “dynamic reality” and an “ecological movement,” Pope Francis told a gathering of Catholic educators in the Vatican Thursday.

Education “is a peculiar kind of movement, with characteristics that make it a dynamism of growth, oriented to the full development of the person in his individual and social dimension,” the pontiff told members of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

The pope went on to say education is “an ecological movement,” whose aim is to bring the person “to knowledge of himself, of the common home in which he is placed to live, and above all to the discovery of brotherhood.”

This educational movement helps recover the different levels of “ecological balance,” he continued, an inner level with oneself, a social level in solidarity with others, a natural level with all living beings, and a spiritual level with God.

This requires educators capable of “resetting the pedagogical itineraries of an ecological ethic, so that they actually help to grow in solidarity, responsibility, and care based on compassion,” he added.

Not only is education an ecological movement, however, the pope insisted. It is also an “inclusive movement,” a “pacifying movement,” and a “team movement.”

As an inclusive movement, education seeks out those who are excluded, he continued: the poor, refugees, victims of human trafficking, and migrants, “without any distinction of sex, religion or ethnicity.”

“Inclusiveness is not a modern invention but is an integral part of the Christian salvific message,” he said.

As a pacifying movement, education seeks to heal “the fractures between generations, between peoples, between cultures, between rich and poor populations, between male and female, between economics and ethics, between humanity and the environment,” Francis said.

In this broad horizon of education, we must pursue the consolidation of the covenant, he said: “the covenant between God and men, the covenant between generations, the covenant between peoples and cultures, the covenant — in school — between teachers and students and also parents, the pact between man, animals, plants and even the inanimate realities that make our common home beautiful and colorful.”

“Everything is relationship with everything, everything is created to be a living icon of God who is the Trinity of Love!” he concluded.

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