Pope Benedict XVI on Education

The world needs people who discover the good, who rejoice in it and thereby derive the impetus and courage to do good. Joy, then, does not break with solidarity. When it is the right kind of joy, when it is not egotistic, when it comes from the perception of the good, then it wants to communicate itself, and it gets passed on... In this sense we have a new need for that primordial trust which ultimately only faith can give. That the world is basically good, that God is there and is good. That it is good to live and to be a human being. This results, then, in the courage to rejoice, which in turn becomes commitment to making sure that other people, too, can rejoice and receive good news. (Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium)

The aim of all Christian education, moreover, is to train the believer in an adult faith that can make him a "new creation", capable of bearing witness in his surroundings to the Christian hope that inspires him. (Sacramentum Caritatis)

The one who serves does not consider himself superior to the one served, however miserable his situation at the moment may be. Christ took the lowest place in the world - the Cross - and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid. Those who are in a position to help others will realize that in doing so they themselves receive help; being able to help others is no merit or achievement of their own. This duty is a grace. The more we do for others, the more we understand and can appropriate the words of Christ: "We are useless servants". We recognize that we are not acting on the basis of any superiority or greater personal efficiency, but because the Lord has graciously enabled us to do so. There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely when we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord's hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. (Deus Caritas Est)

It may surprise today's reader to learn that the Roman Catechism in the sixteenth century was fully aware of the problem of catechetical methodology. It remarks that a lot depends on whether the instructor teaches something in one way or another. Therefore one must carefully study the age, intellectual ability, way of life, and social situation of the listeners, so as really to become all things to all men. The catechist must know who needs milk and who eats solid food, and he should adapt his teaching to the ability of the listeners to absorb it. The biggest surprise for us, however, may be the fact that this catechism allows the catechist much more freedom than contemporary catechetics, generally speaking, is inclined to do. Indeed, it leaves to the instructor to determine the sequence of topics in his catechesis, depending on the persons being instructed and time constraints - assuming, of course, that the catechist himself is personally dedicated and lives a life based on an ongoing meditation upon his material and that he keeps in view the four principal divisions of catechesis and coordinates his own plan with them...In other words, this means that it makes available to the catechist the indispensable basic divisions of catechesis and their particular contents, but it does not relieve him of the responsibility to seek the appropriate way of communicating them in a given situation. (Handing on the Faith in an Age of Disbelief)

The gospel addresses itself to reason; it responds to man's longing to understand the world and himself and to discover the way to do justice to his essential being. In this sense, catechesis is instruction, and the early Christian teachers were really the founders of the state of catechists in the Church. But the actual living out of this doctrine is an essential component of it, and man's intellect sees properly only when the heart is integrated into the mind. (Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism)

Do not presuppose the faith but propose it...Faith is not maintained automatically. It is not "finished business" that we can simply take for granted. The life of faith has to be constantly renewed. And since faith is an act that comprehends all the dimensions of our existence, it also requires constantly renewed reflection and witness. (Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism)

Faith is an orientation of our existence as a whole. It is a fundamental option that affects every domain of our existence. Nor can it be realized unless all the energies of our existence go into maintaining it. Faith is not a merely intellectual, or merely volitional, or merely emotional activity - it is all of these things together. It is an act of the whole self, of the whole person in concentrated unity. (Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism)

Significantly, our time has also seen the growth and spread of different kinds of volunteer work…For young people, this widespread involvement constitutes a school of life which offers them a formation in solidarity and in readiness to offer others not simply material aid but their very selves. The anti-culture of death, which finds expression for example in drug use, is thus countered by unselfish love which shows itself to be a culture of life by the very willingness to "lose itself" for others. (Deus Caritas Est)

We have come to believe in God's love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his or her life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. (Deus Caritas Est)

Children exposed to what is aesthetically and morally excellent are helped to develop appreciation, prudence and the skills of discernment. Here it is important to recognize the fundamental value of parents’ example and the benefits of introducing young people to children's classics in literature, to the fine arts and to uplifting music. While popular literature will always have its place in culture, the temptation to sensationalize should not be passively accepted in places of learning. Beauty, a kind of mirror of the divine, inspires and vivifies young hearts and minds, while ugliness and coarseness have a depressing impact on attitudes and behaviour. (Message for the 41st World Communications Day)

At the centre of every Christian community is the Eucharist, the source and summit of the life of the Church. Whoever places himself at the service of the Gospel, if he lives the Eucharist, makes progress in love of God and neighbour and thus contributes to building the Church as communion. We can affirm that the "Eucharistic love" motivates and founds the vocational activity of the whole Church, because, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, vocations to the priesthood and to other ministries and services flourish within the people of God wherever there are those in whom Christ can be seen through his Word, in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharist. This is so because "in the Church’s Liturgy, in her prayer, in the living community of believers, we experience the love of God, we perceive his presence and we thus learn to recognize that presence in our daily lives. He loved us first and he continues to do so; we too, then, can respond with love". (Papal Message for Day of Prayer for Vocations 4-24-07)