--Vikas Pota is chief executive of the Varkey GEMS Foundation. The opinions expressed are his own.--
(Photo: Pope Benedict meets school children in London September 17, 2010/Steve Parsons)
Pope Benedict urged Catholic schoolchildren in London on Friday to strive to become saints and to aim for more than just just money or fame.
(Photo: Protest as Pope Benedict XVI arrives by car at St Mary's University College in London September 17, 2010/Peter Macdiarmid)
Pope Benedict reminded his Church on Friday that its first priority was to provide a safe environment for children as the pontiff was met by the first substantial protest of his delicate visit to Britain. Several hundred people whistled and shouted "Pope must resign" and "shame" as the papal motorcade entered a Catholic school complex in Twickenham, southwest London.
(Photo: Nuns waiting for Pope Benedict at a Catholic school in London, 17 Sept 2010/Kevin Coombs)
Visiting a Catholic school in London on Friday, Pope Benedict said teachers should give their pupils not only marketable skills but also wisdom, which he said was inseparable from knowledge of God. Catholic schools and Catholic religious teachers play an important part in transmitting this wisdom, he said. He also stressed the need to protect pupils from sexual predators.
Plenty of parents have tried it by falsely claiming they live in the school’s catchment area or by suddenly getting religion but the worst that happens up till now is that they get found out and their child is turned away.
A motion at the National Union of Teachers annual conference wants a campaign to stop all military “recruitment” in schools. It says the Ministry of Defence is luring youngsters, often from deprived areas, into the armed forces.