Vatican City, (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received in audience six new ambassadors and non-resident ambassadors accredited to the Holy See: Bizwayo Newton Nkunika of Zambia, Chalermpol Thanchitt of Thailand, Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha of Sri Lanka, Wafic Rida Said of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Aminatou Batoure Gaoh of Niger and Ibrahima Sory Sow of Guinea.
In his address to the diplomats, the Pope focused on the theme of education, one of the principal challenges of our times and which today is located "in a context in which the evolution of ways of life and forms of knowledge create human, cultural, social and spiritual ruptures hitherto unknown in the history of humanity".
In this regard, he also mentioned that social networks "tend to substitute natural social and communicative spaces, often becoming the only point of reference for information and knowledge. The family and schools no longer appear to be the primary or most natural fertile ground where younger generations receive the lifeblood of their existence. ... Schools and universities seem to have become incapable of creative projects leading to a transcendental teleology able to attract young people in the very depths of their being. ... Today's world and its responsible adults are not able to provide them with the necessary points of reference".
The Holy Father asked whether the dysfunction of certain institutions and services, both public and private, can be explained "by an inadequately provided and received education", and went on to invite the governments of the nations represented by the ambassadors "to contribute courageously to the advancement of humanity, favouring the education of the new generations through the promotion of a healthy anthropology, the essential basis for all true education, and consonant with our common natural heritage. This task must take as its starting point a sober review of the various problems that exist within your respective countries, where certain political and economic policies may risk a gradual erosion of your anthropological and spiritual heritages, which have been refined through the centuries and patiently constructed on foundations that respect the essence of the human person in all its variety and in perfect harmony with the cosmos". The Pope continued, "I again urge your governments to have the courage to strengthen and consolidate the moral authority - the call to a coherent way of life - necessary for a genuine and healthy education for the younger generations".
"The right to an education in correct values can be neither denied nor neglected. The duty to educate in these values must never be limited or weakened by any form of national or supranational political interest. Therefore it is essential to educate in and about the truth: ... the truth about mankind, about creation, about institutions, and so on. Alongside education in the righteousness of the heart and mind, the young also need, now more than ever, to be educated in the meaning of effort and perseverance in the face of difficulty. They need to recognise that all human action must be responsible and coherent with the desire for the infinite, and that this action should form a part of their growth, with a view to developing a humanity that is increasingly fraternal and free from the temptations of individualism and materialism".
Benedict XVI concluded by greeting, through the ambassadors, the Catholic communities present in their countries. "The Church accomplishes her mission in faith to the Lord and with the ardent desire to make a special contribution to the advancement of your compatriots, especially in relation to the education of children and young people. She participates every day in the common effort to facilitate spiritual and human growth through her structures in the fields of education, charity and health, always seeking to promote mutual respect and responsibility. I therefore encourage your governments to continue to allow the Church to operate freely in her traditional fields of activity where, as you know, she makes an important contribution to the development of your countries and to the common good".