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The Seven Pillars of Education according to J. M. Bergoglio

Antonio Spadaro, SJ - La Civiltà Cattolica - Thu, Aug 6th 2020


The challenge associated with education has always been close to the heart of the current pontiff. As he himself revealed in our 2016 interview, he was involved in youth pastoral ministry and education when he was a parish priest in San Miguel. On a daily basis he hosted the local children in the very large spaces of the attached college: “I used to say Mass for the children and on Saturdays I taught catechism.”[1] Among his activities he also organized shows and games, which he describes in detail in the interview. This is where his spontaneous ability to be with children originates.

While a Jesuit student in training, Bergoglio had a scholastic experience that left an indelible mark. His superiors sent him to teach literature at two Jesuit high schools. However, his role did not stop at lectures. On the contrary, he pushed his students toward creative composition – even involving the great Jorge Luis Borges in his activities – and also toward theater and music.[2]

This educational engagement was linked to artistic and creative experiences, and precisely through this did Bergoglio succeed in bringing out the most profound human and spiritual dimensions. To help understand this approach more concisely, here follows an unpublished example: José Hernán Cibils, who is today a musician in Germany, was a school student of the 28-year-old Bergoglio. He recalls a comment made to him by his teacher during his studies of the La hora undécima by the Argentine writer, María Esther de Miguel. The pupil believed that the concluding message of the work was that denial of the self and mortification lead to God. Bergoglio commented by praising his student’s work, but proposing a change in the formulation of the final message that seemed too negative. Bergoglio noted: “Dedication is the fruit of love,” not of mortification. In parenthesis, he concluded with a personal message to José: “It is clear that you are going through a period of negativity.” An exposure to the creative experience and its exercise generate a dynamic that involves the person psychologically and spiritually.[3]

This experience as a Jesuit scholastic and subsequently as a priest contributed to the formation of Bergoglio as a pastor and as bishop in Buenos Aires. Considering this episcopal period and reading the complete collection of his pastoral interventions that were recently collected in a single volume,[4] we realize that a third of them – including homilies, letters and messages – are dedicated to educators, teachers, catechists and those involved in extracurricular activities. This topic has not yet been adequately explored, and to really fathom the sources and inspirations that Bergoglio has taken into consideration in developing his approach, additional research is needed.[5]

Here follows a presentation – not intended to be exhaustive – of the seven sides of this polyhedron that represents education for Francis, as they have matured during his episcopal ministry.

Educating is integrating

Prior to commencing, it is important to understand that Bergoglio as an archbishop framed education within a broad vision of society as a vital context for meeting and making shared commitments for the construction of a civil community. To educate, therefore, means to build a nation: “Our educational task must awaken the feeling of the world and of society as a home. Education ‘to live.’”[6] The nation and the world for Bergoglio are above all “home,” a place to live, a domestic dimension.[7]

Education does not exclusively involve the individual, but is a public fact. In a meeting with some of his former high school students in 2006, he said, “I hope your lives make history beyond each one’s personal history; that they will be remembered for what they have achieved together, and that they will be an inspiration for other children on the path of creativity.”[8]

Bergoglio has always considered school as an important means of social and national integration, one of the main pillars for building a sense of community, of living together. We find evidence of this in his 2002 reflection on the internal migrants in Argentina: “The internal migrants who arrived in the city, and even the foreigner who landed in this country, found in basic education the necessary elements to transcend the particularity of their origin to look for a place in the common construction of a project. Even today, in the enriching plurality of educational proposals, we must go back and wager everything on education.”[9]

The task of education is not only aimed at empowering oneself, but also at helping people to build a future together, a shared history. The persons who migrate and arrive in a new country find in education the instrument and the fundamental context to transcend themselves and their personal history, and insert themselves into their new home.

A central element of this social construction is therefore integration. “The State must take on the task of integrating.” wrote Bergoglio in 2001 on the occasion of the Archdiocesan Days of Social Pastoral Care. He has subsequently repeated this many times. “Integrating,” moreover, is one of the important keys for understanding the pontificate of Francis.[10]

Welcoming and celebrating diversity

Another central element for social construction is the acceptance of diversity. Speaking to Catholic teachers, Bergoglio in 2012 stated: “As Christian teachers, I propose to you to open your mind and heart to diversity, which is an increasingly recurring feature of the societies of this new century.”[11]

What does this mean exactly? Bergoglio explained this to the diocesan educational communities: “Dialogue and love imply that in the recognition of the other as other there is an acceptance of diversity. Only in this way is it possible to establish the value of the community: not claiming that the other submits to my criteria and priorities, not ‘absorbing’ the other, but recognizing as valid what the other is, and celebrating that diversity which enriches everyone. Otherwise it is only a matter of narcissism, of mere imperialism, of foolishness.”[12]

Differences must be considered as “challenges,” but positive challenges, resources, not problems. And this has as its immediate consequence the fight against all forms of discrimination. “We fight against all forms of discrimination and prejudice in our schools. We learn and teach to give, albeit with the scarce resources of our institutions and our families. And this must manifest itself in every decision, in every word, in every project. So we will begin to put in place a very clear sign – even controversial and conflictual if necessary – of the different society we want to create.”[13]

Therefore, the educational task is linked to the construction of a society and a future together as a people. And this implies working for integration and for the recognition of diversity as wealth not to be reduced to a sameness or flattened, but to be valued for the good of all.

 Facing anthropological change

The great backdrop on which the educational task is projected is anthropological change. Bergoglio is constantly aware that men and women are interpreting themselves differently today than how they did in the past, with different categories from those most familiar to them. The anthropology to which the Church has traditionally referred and the language the Church uses to express it are a solid foundation and the fruit of wisdom and secular experience. However, it seems that the men and women the Church seeks to address can no longer understand them as before.

The Church is therefore called upon to confront this enormous anthropological challenge. Paul VI, who is so highly esteemed by Francis, wrote that to evangelize means “bringing the Good News to all the strata of humanity that are transformed”[14]; otherwise, he continued, evangelization risks turning into a mere decoration, a thin veneer.[15]

Francis confirmed this approach in his conversation with the superiors general of religious orders, later published in La Civiltà Cattolica.[16] At that question and answer session he said that the educator “must question himself about how to announce Jesus Christ to a changing generation.”[17] This is the point: “The educational task today is the key, key, key mission!”[18]

To ensure his message was clear, Francis gave examples from his experiences as bishop in Buenos Aires on the preparation required to welcome into educational contexts children and young people who were living in complicated family contexts. In particular, he gave this example: “I remember the case of a very unhappy child who finally confided to her teacher the reason for her sadness: ‘My mother’s girlfriend does not love me.’ The percentage of school-aged students whose parents are separated is very high.”[19] The two situations are different: children of divorced parents, and children living in the domestic context of two people of the same sex. But both clearly pose complex challenges.

Francis knows all too well that the educational challenges today are no longer the same as those of the past. He knows that – here I quote him directly – “the situations we are experiencing today present new challenges, which are sometimes even difficult to understand.”[20] We need to announce the Gospel to a generation subject to rapid changes, sometimes too complex and difficult to accept or understand. Here are his questions: “How can we announce Christ to these boys and girls? How can we announce Christ to a changing generation?” And finally, his appeal: “We must be careful not to vaccinate them against faith.”[21]

Bergoglio affirms something fundamental here: the educational challenge is linked to the anthropological challenge. One cannot behave like an ostrich and pretend the world is different.[22] This realistic approach characterizes all of Bergoglio’s pedagogical reflection, which always commences from a concrete fact: from the person he has before him and that person’s story.

Restlessness as a driving force of education

A fourth and equally central aspect to Bergoglio’s educational polyhedron is undoubtedly restlessness, understood as a driving force for education. In one of his homilies he challenges his educator interlocutors with a flurry of acutely directed questions. Here follow the questions he posed: “Can the boy recognize the patrimony he has received? … Or has the child been ‘tamed’ by contingent situations and cannot recognize in this horizon what he has received and so lives as if he had received nothing? On the other hand, what they have received should not be kept preserved in a box, but must be lived and transformed today! Can these kids, these young people transform what they have received today? Do they know how to welcome this heritage? … Do these young people make plans? Do they have dreams?”[23]

Here is a clear rejection of education understood as “domestication.” It is also clear that the inheritance transmitted within education is not a treasure contained within a box, or a handing on of boxes. Quite the contrary. Bergoglio says that the only way to regain the legacy of the fathers is freedom. Ultimately, what I receive is mine only if it passes through my freedom. And there is no freedom if there is no restlessness. Nothing is mine if it does not arrive via my restlessness and touch my heart directly.

For Bergoglio, maturity does not coincide with adaptation. “Jesus himself,” he provocatively states, “for many people of his time could have been part of the class of misfits and therefore considered immature.”[24] In the same Message he argues: “If maturity were a case of pure and simple adaptation, the purpose of our educational task would be to ‘adapt’ young people, these ‘anarchist creatures,’ to the good norms of society, of whatever kind. But at what cost? At the cost of censorship and subjugation of subjectivity or, even worse, at the cost of deprivation of what is most proper and sacred to the person: freedom.”[25]

What I have inherited belongs to me, because it has approached my restlessness and has crossed it, mixing with me and propelling me toward a future yet to be built. If this inheritance does not pass through restlessness, it petrifies; it becomes a museum of memories. Mahler said that faithfulness to what has been handed down to us means keeping the fire alive, and not worshiping the ashes. Keeping the fire alight means fueling it, rethinking and recovering life’s forces. Otherwise we stumble into moralism, formalism, and therefore into boredom.

Bergoglio loves Augustine’s existential position, and has repeatedly spoken of the “peace of restlessness.” In particular, at an audience with the Jesuits and staff of La Civiltà Cattolica, he asked: “Has your heart preserved the restlessness of research? Only restlessness gives peace to the heart of a Jesuit. Without restlessness we are sterile.”[26] It is the Augustinian and the Ignatian restlessness that makes us productive.

What we inherit from our fathers is above all the wisdom of a restlessness that leads us to search, to go beyond ourselves, to live transcendence. “Where there is life there is movement, where there is movement there are changes, research, uncertainties, there is hope, joy and even anguish and desolation.”[27] Bergoglio wrote again in a Message to the educators: “A ‘restless’ child … is a child sensitive to the stimuli of the world and society, one who opens up to the crises that life offers, one who rebels against the limits and, on the other hand, claims them and accepts them (not without pain), if they are right. A child who does not conform to the cultural clichés that secular society offers; a child who wants to learn to discuss.”[28]

Therefore, it is necessary to “read” this restlessness and enhance it, because all the systems which try to “appease” humanity are dangerous: they lead, in one way or another, to existential quietism.[29]

Pedagogy of questioning

A specific form of anarchism and restlessness is what Bergoglio attributes to children. However, this appears significant for the educator, for a child’s vitality is in the first instance a challenge that measures the ability of those they encounter to go beyond an all-too-rigid framework.

This way of looking conveys to a young or adolescent heart “the warmth that arises from a heart matured through memory, through struggle, through defects, through grace, through sin.”[30] If this gaze is strong and consistent, then young persons will also be able to suffer in life; but in times of crisis they will not lose their wits, they will not permit their minds to misread their compass and lose their orientation. This gaze is also capable of teaching them how “to discover,” “to contemplate” and “to know intuitively” the questions of the youngest children who at times fail to express their needs and their doubts in a complete and clear manner.

 “We should never respond to questions that nobody asks,” wrote the pope in Evangelii Gaudium (No. 155). This remains a fundamental criterion for education and pastoral care. In this sense, catechesis must never run the risk of turning into bland indoctrination, into a frustrating transmission of moral norms.

This led Bergoglio, in the homily of the Mass for Education, on April 18, 2007, to ask questions here given in full, because they help to conduct an important process of verification, almost an “examination of conscience” for the educator: “Are our hearts sufficiently open so as to be surprised every day by the creativity of a child, by the hopes of a child? Am I surprised by the thoughts of a child? Am I surprised by the sincerity of a child? Am I also surprised by a child’s countless acts of mischief by the many loveable rascals who are in our classrooms? Is my heart still open, or have I already closed it, turned it into a kind of museum of acquired knowledge, of established methods, in which everything is perfect and I have to apply this content, but not receive anything in return? Do I have a receptive and humble heart to see a child’s freshness? If I do not have it, a very serious risk may be looming over me; my heart could become stale. And when the heart of a parent, of an educator, becomes stale, the child remains with the five loaves and the two fish, without knowing who to give them to; the child’s hopes remain frustrated, and firmly frustrated.”[31]

Hence the appeal to educators to be “brave and creative.”[32] Not only to resist, therefore, when confronted with an adverse reality, nor to become merely functionaries, tied to rigid planning. The appeal is to “create,” to “lay the bricks of a new building in the middle of history,” to express the genius and the soul. In fact, creativity is the “characteristic of an active hope,” because it takes charge of what is there, of reality, and finds “the way to manifest something new starting from there.”[33]

 This broad and open approach corresponds to an inclusive concept of “truth.” In a very illuminating speech to educators, Bergoglio states: “We must move toward an idea of ??truth that is ever more inclusive, less restrictive; at least, if we are thinking of the truth of God and not some human truth, however solid it may appear to us. The truth of God is inexhaustible; it is an ocean of which we can hardly see the shore. It is something that we are beginning to discover in these times: not to make us slaves to an almost paranoid defense of ‘our truth’ (if I ‘have it,’ he does not ‘have it’: if he ‘can have it,’ then it is I who ‘does not have it’). Truth is a gift that is too large for us, and for this reason it magnifies us, amplifies us, elevates us; and it makes us servants of such a gift. This does not involve relativism; the truth instead obliges us to a continuous process of deepening our understanding.”[34]

We find a concrete application of this pedagogy in a key passage of one of his speeches to Catholic schools, places that must be anything other than schools of “ideology.” Bergoglio declares: “Our schools must not aspire to form a hegemonic army of Christians who will know all the answers, but must be the place where all questions are accepted; where, in the light of the Gospel, personal research is appropriately encouraged and not obstructed by verbal walls, walls that are rather weak and fall irremediably shortly thereafter. The challenge is greater: it requires depth, it requires attention to life, and it requires healing and freeing ourselves from idols.”[35]

There is in this appeal a full and mature synthesis of Bergoglio’s vision. The path of research and questioning helps to form an adult personality, a personality capable of making discerned choices and adhering to the faith with full maturity.

 Do not mistreat the limits

Developed during his years in the Argentine episcopate, the sixth pillar of Bergoglio’s educational approach is a clear awareness of limits. The dimension of restlessness and the tension toward what lies beyond must be accompanied by this necessary awareness. Speaking to educators in 2003, Bergoglio affirmed the need to “create from what exists,” and therefore without idealism. “But this entails,” he wrote, “that one is able to recognize the differences, the preexisting know-how, the expectations and even the limits of our children and their families.”[36] More directly, a few years later, he underlined that “the accompaniment is resolved in patience, in the hypomoné (perseverance) that accompanies processes without transgressing the limits.”[37]

 This attitude of not transgressing or of respecting the limits is another essential aspect of Bergoglio’s pedagogy. In his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) – which can and must also be read as a pedagogical text – the pope affirms that tenderness “is expressed in a particular way by exercising loving care in treating the limitations of the other, especially when they are evident” (AL 323).

to go beyond limitations implies a process of development in which an infinite trust coexists in the grace that grows by itself and a careful attention to small things. Rather than an attitude of optimism, here we are faced with an attitude of trust focused on the possible process over time rather than on the static nature of the condition. We cannot be educators unless we have a confident openness, capable of “taking care.”

 To live a generative and family-based fecundity

This lively pedagogy, which draws on restlessness and questioning, has an inclusive conception of truth and a broad-based approach: it is based on the fact that education is not a technique but a generative fecundity. This is a fundamental aspect of Bergoglio’s educational vision. The generative and parental dimension derives from the roots its understanding of the educational task, which must be forged by a family’s way of seeing. The current pope spoke specifically of the way of seeing peculiar to a father and a mother, a brother and a sister.

Particularly striking is his expression: “Dialogue means having the ability to leave inheritance.”[38] Legacy is the process of passing from hand to hand within a family. Bergoglio specifies: “Through dialogue we recover the memory of our fathers, the received inheritance … to make it grow with us … Through dialogue we take courage … check the courage to propel this legacy committed with the present toward the utopias of the future and to fulfil our duty to increase the inheritance received through fruitful commitments of future utopias.”[39] From these words, all the richness of the dialogue of experiences and attitudes toward life emerges.

Archbishop Bergoglio’s writings also show how he believes intensely in narratives. Only by means of the story is it possible to pass things from one generation to the next. In this sense, one of the fundamental themes he deals with is the family relationship between young and old, the two “disposables” of our current societies. Young people are the future, the energy. The elderly are wisdom. The son looks like his father, but he is different. A child is not a clone.

Education is a familiar process that involves the relationship between generations and the story of an experience. There is a bridge that must be established between generations. And it is this kind of bridge that becomes the context of an education that is understood as transmission of a living heritage.

Legacy is always accompanied by a shiver, because it links the past and the future. The pope recently said to a group of high school children: “We must learn to look at life by looking at horizons, always more, always farther, always forward.”[40] And this gives us a shiver. Here is the advice then to educators: “So challenge them more than they challenge us. Let us not allow that ‘vertigo’ to reach them from others, those who only put their lives at risk; let us give this to them. But the right vertigo, which satisfies the desire to move, to go ahead.”[41]

We therefore understand that the legacy that is transmitted from father to son is a legacy of restlessness; and here is the point: for Bergoglio, the fathers, the elderly are those who “dream.” The pope has meditated for a long time on the Book of Joel, which says: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people … your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 3:1). The visions of the future that young people are able to elaborate are based on the dreams of those who preceded them. Therefore, it is not the young who are the dreamers, but the elderly! On the other hand, the young have “visions,” they imagine the future, and so build it with hope.[42]

The lack of fathers who are “able to tell their dreams, does not allow the younger generations to ‘see visions.’ And they are at a standstill. It does not allow them to make plans, since thought of the future creates insecurity, doubt, fear.”[43] What helps us to raise our heads? Only the testimony of the fathers, “seeing that it has been possible to fight for something that was worthwhile.”

This dynamic does not allow us to structure life as a “workshop for restoration,” as traditionalists would like, nor as a “utopic laboratory,” as those who always try to stay on the crest of a wave would like to see.[44] The educational task is therefore a commitment to history. A people is a historical reality, constituted over many generations.[45]

******************                                                                                       * * *
Here we have succinctly presented the seven pillars of Pope Francis’ educational thought as it was formed up until his election to the papacy. A reflection on each of these pillars can help us to better understand the educational magisterium that the pope has developed in these five years since the day of his election to the throne of Peter.

We have identified seven fundamental elements: education as a people’s issue that helps build a nation’s future; the need to welcome and integrate diversity as a resource; the farsightedness and the courage to face the new anthropological challenges, even those we struggle to understand; restlessness as a driving force of education; questioning and research as a method; awareness and acceptance of limits; and the familiar and generative dimension of the educational relationship.

If we recall the titles of the books in which then-Archbishop Bergoglio collected some of his pedagogical reflections, we find three key words that characterize his approach to education: choice, need and passion.[46] In addition, there is an extremely concise expression that Bergoglio communicated to educators and in the light of which we can revive our action at this point: “Educating is one of the most exciting arts of existence, and it constantly requires that horizons be expanded.”[47]

[1] Papa Francesco, Nei tuoi occhi è la mia parola. Omelie e discorsi di Buenos Aires 1999-2013, Milan, Rizzoli, 2016, XII. The Bergoglio texts quoted here are taken from this volume. In the notes, after giving the text and its date, we have inserted the initials OP followed by the page number on which the quote is to be found.

[2] This experience is described in an interview with one of his students: Cf. A. Spadaro, “J. M. Bergoglio, il ‘maestrillo’ creativo. Intervista all’alunno Jorge Milia,” in Civ. Catt. 2014 I 523-534.

[3] Cf. E. Mannin, Tardi ti ho amato, Rome – Milan, La Civiltà Cattolica – Corriere della Sera, 2014, xix.

[4] Papa Francesco, Nei tuoi occhi è la mia parola…, quoted above.

[5] Prominent among them is the volume L’educazione secondo Papa Francesco, Bologna, EDB, 2018, containing the Acts of the X Pedagogical Day of the Study Center for the Catholic School, Rome, October 14, 2017. Among the sources of Bergoglio’s pedagogical approach, the thought of Romano Guardini is noted; cf. C. M. Fedeli, Guardini educatore, Lecce, Pensa, 2018. Some briefer studies have been published that collect Bergoglio’s texts on education after his election as pontiff. For example: La mia scuola, Brescia, La Scuola, 2014; La bellezza educherà il mondo, Bologna, Emi, 2014; Imparare ad imparare, Venice, Marcianum, 2017.

[6] J. M. Bergoglio, Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 21, 2004 (OP 265).

[7] This consideration should not be underestimated in understanding, for example, the connotations with which the pope in Laudato Si’ describes the world as our “common home.” Let us recall at this point what the pope said to the United States Congress during his apostolic journey in 2015: “In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom.” And he continued: “Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this” (Francis, Address to the Joint Session of the United States Congress, Washington, September 24, 2015). Here, then, is the vital context of education: building a future, building a nation.

[8] J. M. Bergoglio, “Quarant’anni dopo,” in J. Milia, L’età felice, Rome-Milan, La Civiltà Cattolica – Corriere della Sera, 2014, vii; italics ours.

[9] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, March 31, 2002 (OP 153 and following).

[10] We recall, for example, what he said as pope in his video message to the Center for Student Inmates at the Argentine prison in Ezeiza: “I am aware of all your activities and am filled with great joy by the existence of this space — a space for work, for culture, for progress; it is a sign of humanity” (Francis, Video Message to the Center for Student Inmates at the Prison Complex of Ezeiza [Argentina], August 24, 2017). It is interesting to note that in these sentences the prison loses the typical connotations of a place of constraint to assume those of an educational context, of a school, a space for work, culture, progress. These are words spoken to prisoners whom the pope urges, in spite of everything, toward a new integration.

[11] J. M. Bergoglio, Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 27, 2006 (OP 443).

[12] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, March 31, 2002 (OP 148); italics ours. Diversity can be a challenge. Bergoglio as pope spoke about it, for example, to the American bishops on September 23, 2015: “Integration must not be understood as cultural, intellectual and spiritual imitation and subordination” (ibid.)

[13] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 9, 2003 (OP 203); italics ours.

[14] Paul VI, Apostolic Exohortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (December 8, 1975), Nos. 18-20.

[15] More recently, in 2009, Benedict XVI during a flight to the Czech Republic, said that the Church “must understand that she is a creative minority who has a heritage of values that are not things of the past, but a very lively and relevant reality” (Benedict XVI, Interview during the flight to the Czech Republic, September 26, 2009). It is precisely this “creative orientation” that humanity needs so as to be helped to live according to the Gospel today.

[16] A. Spadaro, “‘Svegliate il mondo!’. Colloquio di Papa Francesco con i Superiori Generali,” in Civ. Catt. 2014 I 3-17 (now collected in Papa Francesco, Adesso fate le vostre domande. Conversazioni sulla Chiesa e sul mondo di domani, Milan, Rizzoli, 2017).

[17] A. Spadaro, “‘Svegliate il mondo!’…”, quoted above, 16.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid., 17.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Cf. J. M. Bergoglio, Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, March 29, 2000 (OP 50).

[23] Ibid., Omelia nella Messa per l’educazione, Buenos Aires, April 14, 2010 (OP 769).

[24] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 6, 2005 (OP 369).

[25] Ibid.

[26] “Papa Francesco incontra ‘La Civiltà Cattolica’ in occasione della pubblicazione del fascicolo 4000,” in Civ. Catt. 2017 I 442. See also the volume Solo l’inquietudine dà pace. Così Bergoglio rilancia il vivere insieme, Rome, Castelvecchi, 2018.

[27] Francis, Opening Address of the Pastoral Conference of the Diocese of Rome, June 19, 2017.

[28] J. M. Bergoglio, Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 23, 2008 (OP 627).

[29] “I ask the young people that they not be sent into retirement by the many proposals devoid of hope and of heroism which confine them to bureaucratic quietism,” wrote the pope in the Letter for the Bicentennial of the Independence of the Republic of Argentina, July 9, 2016.

[30] J. M. Bergoglio, Celebrazione giubilare degli educatori, September 13, 2000 (OP 82).

[31] Ibid., Omelia nella Messa per l’educazione, Buenos Aires, April 18, 2007 (OP 531).

[32] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, March 29, 2000 (OP 63).

[33] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 9, 2003 (OP 192).

[34] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 21, 2004 (OP 270); italics ours.

[35] Ibid. (OP 269 and following); italics ours.

[36] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 9, 2003 (OP 207).

[37] Ibid., Parole iniziali nel primo Congresso regionale di pastorale urbana, Buenos Aires, August 25, 2011 (OP 881).

[38] Ibid., Relazione alla XII Giornata di pastorale sociale, Buenos Aires, September 19, 2009 (OP 723).

[39] Ibid.

[40] Francis, Address to Student members of the “Knights,” June 2, 2017.

[41] Ibid., Opening Address of the Pastoral Conference of the Diocese of Rome, June 19, 2017.

[42] At the opening of the Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome, June 16, 2016, the pope said: “In the dreams of our elders often lies the possibility that our young people may have new visions, may once again have a future…” And he repeated this in the next meeting of the same Convention, June 19 2017, adding in particular: “Parents have to make room for their children to talk to their grandparents. Very often their Grandpa or Grandma are in rest homes and they do not go to visit them… They must talk, even ‘leapfrogging’ parents, taking the roots of the grandparents. Grandparents have this quality of transmitting history, faith and belonging.”

[43]Ibid., Address at the opening of the Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome, June 16, 2016.

[44] J. M. Bergoglio, Intervento alla Seduta plenaria della Pontificia Commissione per l’America Latina, Rome, January 18, 2007 (OP 500).

[45] Cf. J. L. Narvaja, “People as a Mythical Concept for Pope Francis, Reader of Dostoyevsky,” in Civ. Catt. English Edition, September 2018.

[46] Cf. Ibid., Educar, elegir la vida. Propuestas para tiempos difíciles, Buenos Aires, Editorial Claretiana, 2005; Ibid., Educar: exigencia y pasión. Desafíos para educadores cristianos, ibid., 2006.

[47] Ibid., Messaggio alle comunità educative, Buenos Aires, April 23, 2008 (OP 624).

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