Catholic church wants to relaunch pope’s global education pact in Lisbon

  • Lusa
  • 2 August 2023

The meeting that Pope Francis will have on Thursday morning with students at the Portuguese Catholic University, "a moment full of meaning for the whole world of education".

The Catholic Church wants to relaunch in Lisbon the global educational pact proposed by Pope Francis to involve all the protagonists in a debate on the future of the planet, said the undersecretary of the dicastery for culture and education on Wednesday.

“Our dicastery intends to relaunch here in Lisbon the global pact on education, following the intuition of his holiness the pope, who invited all those concerned with education issues, namely students, families, politicians, international organisations, private foundations, to dialogue on how we are going to form the future of our planet and employ the talents of all,” said Antonella Sciarrone, of the dicastery for culture and education, whose prefect is the Portuguese cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça.

Speaking at a press conference as part of the World Youth Day event (WYD), which runs until Sunday in Lisbon, she emphasised that “all change requires an educational process, with a view to developing universal solidarity and a more welcoming society”.

“It is one of the most effective ways to make our urban history more humane,” she emphasised.

“Education also means finding new ways of understanding economics and politics, and this line of Francis’ economics [which challenges the established economic paradigm], as well as new ways of safeguarding and cultivating our common home, the line of Laudato Sí [which aims to warn against climate change]”, said Antonella Sciarrone.

At the press conference, she previewed the meeting that Pope Francis will have on Thursday morning with students at the Portuguese Catholic University, “a moment full of meaning for the whole world of education”.

“Aligned with the idea that young people are not passive recipients of the learning process, but are true protagonists of educational relationships, the meeting will open with the testimonies of four young students, who will relate their own personal experience, presenting reflections on some of the issues that are very important to the pope”, namely ‘Laudato Si’, sustainability and harmony, Francis’ economy and the global pact on education, she said.

The Catholic University has been developing a series of initiatives, including debates on “how to feed this house”, from which concrete proposals have emerged that will be presented on Thursday to Pope Francis, she said.

Examples of these proposals include “major investment in research”, preserving green spaces on university campuses, replacing plastic and adopting more sober lifestyles.

Antonella Sciarrone said she was “very impressed by the presence here in Lisbon of young people interested in these causes and also in education”.

More than a million people are expected in Lisbon until Sunday for WYD, considered the biggest event of the Catholic Church, and which is attended by Pope Francis.

The Pope, the first pilgrim to register for WYD, arrived in Lisbon this Wednesday morning and is scheduled to make a two-hour visit to the Shrine of Fatima on Saturday to pray for peace and an end to the war in Ukraine.