Cardinal Gracias calls for Catholic education to help counter violence

“Education must not only enlighten the minds and develop critical thinking but also touch the hearts of people.” he said.





Education in Catholic institutions must help in nation-building, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai has said. Education should focus on “a moral revolution with a renewed ethic of justice, responsibility and community,” he said.

Speaking at a recent Unesco Conference on ‘role of education in fostering religious harmony’ at St. Andrew’s College in Mumbai, he said education should help in uniting the nation.

“Education should help people realize that national unity and integrity of the nation should be placed high above any divisive forces and sectarian interests,” the cardinal said. 

Education means “learning to dialogue with people with whom they have conflicting interests.” Noting the unique “multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-linguistic” heritage of India, the cardinal said education has an important role to play in building the bonds in the country.

“Education must not only enlighten the minds and develop critical thinking but also touch the hearts of people. It must enable people to attain maturity on personal, social, emotional, spiritual and moral aspects of their lives,” he said.

Cardinal Gracias quoted the All India Catholic Education Policy, published in 2007, which affirmed that education to peace does not mean merely holding some peace-seminars: “It means earnestly working on the various forms of prejudice-reduction: Prejudices against persons of other castes, tribes, languages, political affiliations, ideologies and theological points of view, regions and religions…Education for peace includes teaching youth to deal respectfully with people of other convictions, cultures and civilizations.”

Cardinal Gracias said teachers and students of every religion in Catholic schools must be encouraged to join the quest for peace “by examining our own readiness to forgive others and to be reconciled, and by making gestures of forgiveness and reconciliation.”

“Without peace between religions, peace in the world is not possible,” the cardinal said.

“Today, there is an urgent need, through our educational system, to foster the universal human virtues of reconciliation and mercy in order to dialogue with various cultures and religions and work together with them to bring peace in the world,” he said.

Even though Catholics make up less than 2 percent of the population, there are around 15,000 Catholic institutions of learning - including primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and technical schools - in India, and the majority of the students are not Christian.

Source: Crux