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Thursday, September 25, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received participants in a seminar entitled: "Beyond the Educational Emergency. Catholic schools at the service of young people". The seminar has been promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference's Study Centre for Catholic Schools to mark the tenth anniversary of its foundation.

  Highlighting the importance of the mission of Catholic schools, the Pope quoted from a document of the Italian Episcopal Conference entitled "Catholic Schools in Italy Today", where it is written that "Catholic schools are an expression of the right of all citizens to freedom of education, and of their corresponding duty of solidarity in the construction of civil coexistence".

  "In order to be selected and appreciated, Catholic schools must be understood in their educational aims", said the Holy Father. To this end a "mature awareness" is necessary, "not only of their ecclesial identity and cultural programme, but also of their civil importance which should be considered not as a defence of special interests but as a precious contribution to creating the common good of all Italian society".

  Thanks to the collaboration of various Italian educational institutions and organisations, noted Benedict XVI, over these ten years the Study Centre for Catholic Schools has "been able to undertake a careful monitoring of the situation of Catholic schools in Italy, dedicating particular attention to the question of parity and reform. ... In this context, it has been noted that attendance in Catholic schools in some regions of Italy has grown with respect to the preceding decade, although serious - and sometimes even critical - situations persist.

  "It is", the Holy Father added in conclusion, "precisely in the context of the renewal wished for by all people who have the good of the young and the country to heart that we must favour real equality between State schools and private schools, so as to grant parents appropriate liberty of choice on the schools their children attend".
AC/STUDY CENTRE CATHOLIC SCHOOLS/...            VIS 20080925 (340)

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