Pope Francis on Friday evening inaugurated the new Vatican office of the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, which promotes an interface of education, art and sport to create a “culture of encounter for peace”.
For the occasion, Pope Francis connected with young members of the group from 9 countries via a live feed. Those joining the Holy Father included students from Italy, Colombia, Haiti, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking to young people of the Scholas Occurrentes via a live video feed, Pope Francis warned against making education something only for the “elite”.
Elitism in education
“There is a great danger in the area of education for young people: that of elitism. Gradually, monetary support for education in some places is eroded and an elite is created which can afford to pay for education.”
The Pope said this attitude “excludes young boys and girls who have no education”.
Rather, he said, “Education is not about knowing things or taking lessons but about being able to use three lingos: those of the head, the heart, and the hands.”
He said this means “learning so that you can think about what you feel and do, can feel what you think and do, and can do what you feel and think. Unity within a person.”
Globalization like a polyhedron
Turning to the theme of globalization, Pope Francis said it is a good thing but that there is the danger of understanding it as “a billiard ball: A sphere in which every point is equidistant from the center and personal characteristics of a boy or girl are cancelled out. Either you conform to the system or you don’t exist!”
He said true globalization is like a polyhedron with many facets, where “we strive for unity but each person maintains their uniqueness and richness”.
In conclusion, the Pope told the young people that they have it within themselves to discover their own path, especially through solidarity with others.
“A life that is not shared with others: Do you know what purpose it serves? For the museum! And I don’t think any of you wants to end up in a museum!”
Scholas Occurrentes Foundation
Founded by Pope Francis on 13 August 2013, the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation is an international organization of Pontifical right whose primary objective is the promotion of a “culture of encounter for peace through education, technology, art, and sport”.
The new office inaugurated by the Pope on Friday evening is housed at the St. Callixtus Palace and will serve as the Foundation’s base for operations in Italy.
It is present in 190 countries with a network of nearly half a million schools of all religious confessions, as well as both public and private lay schools.
The movement got its start 20 years ago in Argentina when Jorge Mario Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.