ZENIT reports that the Pope expressed this conviction on 25th Septmber 2008 during an address in the apostolic palace at Castel Gandolfo to representatives of Italian Catholic educational centres, who are taking part in a meeting organized by the Italian episcopal conference’s Center of Studies for Catholic Schools.
“The Catholic school is an expression of the right of all citizens to freedom of education, and the corresponding duty of solidarity in the building of civil society,” said the Pope, quoting a document of the Italian episcopate.
“To be chosen and appreciated, it is necessary that the Catholic school be recognized for its pedagogical purpose; it is necessary to have a full awareness not only of its ecclesial identity and cultural endeavor, but also of its civil significance,” he explained. This “must not be considered as the defense of a particular interest, but as a precious contribution to the building of the common good of the whole society.”
The Catholic school has an important role, Benedict XVI concluded, as it is the instrument of the “Church’s salvific mission” in which “the close union is achieved between the proclamation of the faith and the promotion of man.”