Observing the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's declaration on Christian education, Pope Francis on Wednesday established a foundation meant to promote Catholic education worldwide. “I am grateful to the Congregation for Catholic Education for the initiatives organised for this 50th anniversary of the declaration Gravissimum educationis,” the Holy Father wrote in an Oct. 28 chirograph, a letter circulated in the Roman Curia. “I am likewise pleased to learn that the same Dicastery wishes to constitute on this occasion a Foundation named Gravissimum educationis, with the aim of pursuing 'scientific and cultural ends, intended to promote Catholic education in the world',” he wrote, quoting the foundation's statutes. The Pope's letter instituted the Gravissimum educationis Foundation in Vatican City, making it subject to canon law, Vatican City civil law, as well as its own statutes. One of three declarations of Vatican II, Gravissimum educationis recognized the Church's role in education, ordered toward man's salvation, and stated fundamental principles of Christian education. The conciliar document, issued Oct. 28, 1965, stated that Catholic schools are meant “to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities, and finally to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and man is illumined by faith.” In his letter Pope Francis quoted from the declaration, saying, “The Church recognises the 'extreme importance of education in the life of man and how its influence ever grows in the social progress of this age', are profoundly linked to the fulfilment of 'the mandate she has received from her divine founder of proclaiming the mystery of salvation to all men and of restoring all things in Christ'.”
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