Pope Francis speaking at United Nations. United Nations Photo/Flickr

A Papal Education

In September, the UN and Pope Francis both called on the international community to fight poverty and preserve the environment. At the center of these efforts will be education – particularly one goal on which the world is still falling short: literacy.

PHILADELPHIA – Few public figures have captivated America’s attention quite as much as Pope Francis did when he visited the United States in September. During his six-day tour, he challenged Americans to contemplate the issues of poverty, social justice, and climate change in the context of a shared but increasingly inharmonious planet.

Speaking on the White House’s South Lawn, with US President Barack Obama at his side, Francis called for “a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them.”

Francis’s words highlight the fact that it is no longer enough to think of global development as a discrete set of concepts, such as per capita income growth or the number of university graduates. Instead, development must be seen broadly and in relation to the costs of inaction, particularly for those most in need.