Evangelization: Who will educate the educator?

There is a phrase in a small work by Karl Marx that has always struck me. In his Theses on Feuerbach, he says Feuerbach neglected to ask the question “who will educate the educators.” Karl Marx thought only revolutionary practice will bring about the transformation of mankind, so Feuerbach’s account was too passive. In other words, if I understand Marx, no one will educate the educator, but the revolutionary will transform himself. Well, we know where the self-transforming revolutionaries have landed us. The destruction of the human.

Christians believe that the revolution occurred with the Incarnation; the “Fiat” of Mary opened up a new day for humanity when the son of God was made flesh. The message of Redemptor hominis, deriving from Gaudium et spes, is that “Christ reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.” (§22) And his kingly action of sacrifice shows us the way to live, a way we understand in the Beatitudes. So Christians know who will educate the educators, the teacher, Jesus Christ, for a true transformation of mankind.

A similar problem is recognized by Pope Paul VI; he understood that evangelization must begin with the evangelizers:

“The Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself. She is the community of believers, the community of hope lived and communicated, the community of brotherly love, and she needs to listen unceasingly to what she must believe, to her reasons for hoping, to the new commandment of love. She is the People of God immersed in the world, and often tempted by idols, and she always needs to hear the proclamation of the ‘mighty works of God’ which converted her to the Lord; she always needs to be called together afresh by Him and reunited. In brief, this means that she has a constant need of being evangelized, if she wishes to retain freshness, vigor and strength in order to proclaim the Gospel.” Evangelii Nuntiandi §15

Pope John Paul II fully understood this when he spoke of the need for “re-evangelization” not only because of cultural decline of Christianity, but also because the good news must be appropriated and lived afresh  with each person, and each generation. Much of his task was teaching the faithful, to ready them for the new evangelization. The question still stands — who will educate the educators? Pope John Paul II, as the servant of Christ. Hence, the mission for the Pope John Paul II Forum: an educational apostolate seeking to promote the understanding and appreciation of the thought of Pope John Paul II and to facilitate its application to contemporary life..

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