We were invited by Father Andrew Gillies, Associate Pastor at the Cathedral in Antigonish, to bring some of our youth to see Father Stan Fortuna CFR, who was preaching a mission at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Halifax. So Sister Marguerite and I, another chaperone and 11 youth headed down with the crew from Antigonish on the bus after teaching catechism classes on Sunday, March 29th.
Father Fortuna preached dynamically to the young and not-so-young on a variety of topics, but the revolving theme of his talk was the crisis in education, based on a letter of Pope Benedict XVI (or as Father Stan calls him, his “Beautiful Bavarian Benedict”) to the Diocese of Rome on the subject of education from January 21, 2008.
Listen: Fr. Stan Fortuna “Crisis in Education” (note: we have edited out some of the sidetracking he did into other topics in order to condense it to the main topic)
Main Points (all very important):
1. There is a failure to transmit certainties and values.
2. “In reality, what is in question is … a growing atmosphere, a mentality and a form of culture that lead to doubting the value of the human person, the significance itself of truth and of the good, in the final analysis, the goodness of life. It becomes difficult, then, to hand on from one generation to the next, something valid and certain, rules of conduct, credible objectives around which to build one’s life.”
3. We should not be afraid! None of these difficulties are insurmountable. Especially Christians should not be without hope as we rely on God in his mercy to assist us.
4. The requirements of an authentic education, beginning with closeness and trust born of love.
5. We don’t just need information, but truth. There is a super-saturation of information that makes us become dulled and dumbed to the truth.
6. The “dumbing down” of truth occurs, even in the Church, in the form of watering down difficult truths, and it is tragic.
7. Suffering is also part of the truth of our life. So seeking to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk raising brittle and ungenerous people, despite our good intentions.
We are grateful to God for the gift of Our Holy Father who correctly diagnoses the evils of our day and gives us hope. And we thank God as well for Father Stan’s fearless exposition of the Pope’s comments on the “emergency in education”. May God give us all the grace to pray and work for the restoration of true education in truth.