96 – Youth today are in need of three fundamental pillars: education, sport and culture

In the calendar of Catholic Saints there are numerous saints who excelled in the formation of youth. Saints who, in the most varied junctures in history were called to support and sanctify this age-group, so often neglected…but which God never abandons. Among them, perhaps no one is as renowned for the vastness of his work as Saint John Bosco. His life, full of miracles, and his particular charism for carrying out his mission make of the father of the Salesian family the authority par excellence in the area of youth education. His work, born in the midst of adverse circumstances, has today spread throughout the world.

juan_boscoOur Lady Help of Christians and her Divine Son prepared St. John Bosco with an abundance of gifts so as to deeply understand the hearts of the young, be able to interpret their most noble aspirations, and indicate the sure way for a multitude of abandoned children to be transformed in exemplary Christians. One could truly say that Saint John Bosco dealt with all aspects of the so-called ‘integral formation’ of the individual. In this regard, many of his teachings come to mind, but one important piece will suffice: ‘The first step to educate young people well consists in striving to bring them to confess and receive Communion with proper dispositions. These Sacraments are the strongest supports for youth. Frequent confession and Communion and daily Mass are the columns which should support an educational edifice.’

Yes, for Saint John Bosco, the main purpose of education was to prepare young people to go to Heaven, and so guarantee that they live well even on Earth. Nowadays, contrary to what one would expect, new theories in Catholic milieu are bringing up doubts, confusion…and more confusion.

manofrancisco

Recently Francis has founded a network called Scholas Ocurrentes which aspires to become a worldwide point of reference for youth education. Anyone, hearing about an educational movement founded by the pope, would think that the most urgent needs of youth, among which the same needs that Saint John Bosco pointed out more than a century ago, would be the most prominent. So it’s surprising that this entity would highlight as its mission: ‘technology, arts and sports to foment social integration and the culture of encounter’ based on an education that ‘recuperate an anthropological vision and essential human values, and which embraces the entire reality that young people experience. That is to say, a vision that is holistic and of social integration.’ (Scholas Ocurrentes). There are no religious symbols, nor even a measly mention of God to be found on this page. But rather, an abundance of recurrent clichéd references to integration and encounter….and of course, to the famous ‘values’ that are never defined, but that everyone ‘grabs on to’ – which in itself makes them as dubious as they are mysterious. Indeed, a motley crew – everything from soccer clubs to an assortment of politicians – huddles under the cover of such ethereal values.

But what are these ‘values’ worth if they are not based on the only objective moral basis that exists, which is Catholic morality? And this leads us to other questions: what do young people really need? Of what value are values without God? How should youth formation be as Christians? These, and many other topics, will be thoroughly defined by the Magisterium, and by Mamma Margherita’s son himself.

 

Francis

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors
I – Is there such a thing as education without God?
II – How can we educate youth in a Christian way?
III – What are games and physical education useful for?
IV – What God expects of youth is sanctity
V – The Church is called to evangelize culture


I – Is there such a thing as education without God?


John XXIII

The essence of education consists in the collaboration with divine grace

Pius XI

The wrong way to educate: becoming attached exclusively to passing things of earth

Paul VI

To reduce the Church’s mission to the dimensions of a simply temporal project is to lose her fundamental meaning
Evangelization cannot be contained in the restricted dimension of social or cultural life; it must envisage the whole man

Pius X

Christians who live rashly and imprudently with regard to religion

Benedict XVI

It is absurd to think that we can truly live by removing God, the source of life, from the picture!

Pius XII

Oppose the pernicious efforts which seek to form schools and education on a purely naturalistic foundation

Saint John Bosco

One of the vices of modern pedagogy is to reduce religion to a mere sentiment
Without religion there is no fruit to be had among youth

Saint Thomas Aquinas

God alone can satisfy the will of man

Benedict XVI

The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work: to help people establish and nurture a living relationship with Christ

II – How can we educate youth in a Christian way?


Sacred Scripture

Education is like a chain of gold
Into a soul that plots evil wisdom does not enter
The way chosen at the time of youth is what determines what happens later
Scripture gives wisdom and leads to salvation
God educates us so we may share His holiness

Pius XI

Young people should be forewarned against the seductions of the world

Saint John Bosco

Confession and Communion are the strongest supports for youth
The supreme end of the educator: saving eternally
A Christian educator is he who directs souls to the path of sanctity
Form the heart to the zeal for the glory of God
Instruction should begin by the knowledge of man’s final end
Almost all educators completely neglect the sovereign faculty: the will
The child, overexcited by an intense culture, is a toy of the evil spirit
Everything should converge toward the formation of the conscience
Morality: this is what is most important!

Pius XI

The true Christian is the supernatural man who thinks, judges and acts constantly with right reason illumined by the example and teaching of Christ
Education must be directed to man’s last end

Pius XII

Counter the scarcity of principles with an education which capacitates to discern between good and evil

John XXIII

The overall comportment in life of youth needs to be oriented according to the Christian message

Benedict XVI

Without discipline, youth cannot be prepared to face the trials of the future

Pius XII

Develop the hierarchical spirit to dissipate the atmosphere of excessive liberty

Pius XI

Pedagogic naturalism is false. From tender childhood, the mind and the will must be educated with supernatural means
Educators spend their lives in searching for a universal moral code of education, as if there existed no Decalogue, or no Gospel law
The priceless educational treasures are property of the Church

III – What are games and physical education useful for?


Pius XI

The natural faculties are to be developed by coordinating them with the supernatural

Saint John Bosco

Physical education: to make the body a worthy collaborator of the spirit for the glory of God and the good of neighbor
Games which inflame with the desire for material interests are not recommendable
During the time of youth, one should be accustomed to work

Pius XII

The Church approves of physical culture when it does not lead to the worship of the body

Saint John Chrysostom

Christians are called to conflict and fight – not to be laughing and sporting, dissolute and luxurious, and always taking things easily
Life is not a plaything. Spending all our diligence on earthly things is to betray our own salvation

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

The time of life is short; we should then prepare for death

IV – What God expects of youth is sanctity


Paul VI

Be generous, pure, respectful and sincere – youth should give free expansion to faith

John Paul II

Without God, the whole world of created values remains suspended in an absolute vacuum
Christ calls you to commit yourselves in favor of the good
Search for sanctity in study and work! Your task can be summarized in a word: sanctity

Saint John Bosco

On the holy fear of God depends all temporal and eternal good
Virtues are the best ornament of a youth
Begin when little to walk valiantly along the path of virtue
Christians should seek to know the divine will
Detach yourselves form earthly things to rise toward heaven
The world is most ungrateful. Do not expect recompense form the world, but only from God

Saint Ambrose of Milan

There is no danger more hidden than the sweet pleasures of the world

Saint John Chrysostom

The things of this life are like smoke

Benedict XVI

What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy

V – The Church is called to evangelize culture


Paul VI

Cultures are to be regenerated by an encounter with the Gospel

Vatican Council II

The Church has used the discoveries of different cultures to spread the message of Christ to all nations
A contribution that elevates the human family to a more sublime understanding of truth, goodness, and beauty

Pius XI

It is the inalienable right of the Church to watch over the education of her children