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Back-to-school message from the Pope

By Cian Molloy - 09 September, 2018

Pope Francis

In a back-to-school message marking the 50th anniversary of the Italian Parents’ Association, Pope Francis confessed to having been a naughty boy in the classroom.

Illustrating his comments about the importance of collaboration between parents and school authorities, the Pope told a story from his childhood in Argentina. After the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a bit cheeky in class and had been “talking back”, his teacher called the Pope’s mother in to the school.

In front of his teacher, Mrs Bergoglio ordered her son to apologise, which he did, and the boy thought that was the end of it. To laughter, Pope Francis told his audience, “I found out differently when I got home!”

Parents should work together with schools, said the Pope, adding that partnership is a much-used word in education. However. often that partnership is under threat with “families not appreciating the work of teachers and schools feeling the invasive influence of parents”.

To change a situation like this, the Pope said “someone must take the first step” so that trust can be nurtured. In a reference to his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Pontiff said: “School is not a substitute for parents, but is complementary to them. Therefore, in school education, collaboration between the various components of the educational community must never be lacking.”

In simple terms, the Pope said: “Without frequent communication and without mutual trust, a community is not built, and without a community it is not possible to educate.”

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