On Saturday Pope Benedict met with a large group of Italian Religion teachers in the Paul VI audience hall.
After a brief moment of prayer he spoke to them of the role Catholic education plays in Italian society, underlining it's contribution to modern culture.
He told the men and women , their "daily work stands out because at the heart of [their ]teaching is the dignity of every human person made in the image and likeness of God".
Echoing his October 2006 address to the Verona Convention on the theme of education, Pope Benedict once again reaffirmed that the religious dimension of education is “intrinsic to the culture of education” because it adds to the “global formation of the person transforming consciousness into knowledge of life”.
Moreover he told the religion teachers that their work now stands at an important crossroads; “There, the universal tension regarding Truth and the bi-millennial witness offered by believers meet, without confusion or clash of roles. There too meet, the extraordinary heights of awareness and of art attained by human spirit and the richness of the Christian message which is so imbedded in the life and culture of the Italian people”.
Pope Benedict remarked that their main task is to communicate the beauty and truth of the Word of God. Knowledge of the bible is an essential element of Catholic education.
But he added, “there must always be a nexus between the scholastic teaching of religion and the deepening of students awareness of their faith”.
In this he concluded “you as teachers of the Faith must show that the God you teach in the classrooms, is the reference point for your own lives. Your example must be a valid witness of that constructive civil coexistence and loyal dialogue which every nation needs”.
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