Pope Benedict says education must lead to faith, not just work
Pope Benedict warned on Friday that education was more than training for work and said it ought to also lead the young to ‘love, reason and faith’. On the second day of his trip to Spain for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day celebrations, Benedict spoke to young academics at the San Lorenzo monastery in El Escorial, northwest of Madrid.
‘At times one has the idea that the mission of a university professor nowadays is exclusively that of forming competent and efficient professionals capable of satisfying the demand for labour at any time,’ he said in a speech inside the Basilica. ‘This sort of utilitarian approach to education is in fact becoming more widespread, even at the university level, promoted especially by sectors outside the university,’ Benedict told 1,500 academics from Catholic universities across the globe.
‘Young people need authentic teachers. Persons open to the fullness of truth in the various branches of knowledge … persons who, above all, are convinced of our human capacity to advance along the path of truth,’ he said. ‘The path to the fullness of truth calls for complete commitment: it is a path of understanding and love, of reason and faith.’
Earlier, he greeted 1,600 young nuns from mainly Spanish congregations and institutions, who lined the patio of the monastery singing hymns to welcome the pontiff in the full glare of the baking Spanish sun.
Before leaving for El Escorial on Friday morning, the pope paid a courtesy visit to King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. He was due to return to Madrid this afternoon for a meeting with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
Zapatero’s Socialist government is expected to unveil on Friday another round of austerity measures as Spain struggles to escape a recession which has left one in five unemployed, of which a large proportion are young people. The costs of 84-year-old Benedict’s trip to Spain at a time of economic hardship has reignited criticism by Los Indignados (The Indignant), a group whose mainly young members occupied Madrid’s Puerta del Sol in May to protest against spending cuts.
Gay and lesbian groups, and even some Spanish priests, have joined demonstrations against the visit, which turned violent on Wednesday evening..
The culmination of Friday’s events will be the Way of the Cross which the pope will lead with the young people in Madrid’s central Cibeles square. The highlight of his trip will be a mass on Sunday at the Cuatro Vientos aerodrome near Madrid which is expected to draw over two million people.
By Jose Elias Rodriguez in El Escorial, Spain. From our Spanish service: El Papa advierte contra el uso de la educación como un medio.