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A Living Tradition​​Part 2: The New Reality of the World, Section 1

The Socio-Political Reality

Population [14]
  1. The human population has grown dramatically, from just under five billion in 1986 to over seven and a half billion in 2018.
  2. The population has also shifted considerably:
    1. From rural areas to urban centers;
    2. From more developed countries to less developed countries;
    3. From North America and Europe to Africa, Asia, and Latin America [15].
  3. There has been, and will continue to be, a graying of the population with the exception of Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, where the population of young people will continue to grow [16].

Exercise 5. For discernment:

In your part of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
Economics [17]
  1. Worldwide extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990.
  2. Yet there continue to be significant and growing inequities in the distribution of resources between nations.
  3. Within many nations, there has been an enormous shift in the allocation of income and resources towards the higher economic classes, increasing the gulf from both the middle class and the poor.
  4. National economies have reached new levels of interdependence that test the roles of governing agencies and the power on multinational businesses.

Exercise 6. For discernment:

In your part of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
Migration [18]
  1. Because of violence and economic deprivation, migration has grown steadily in the 21st century.
  2. At the end of 2017 one in seven people were migrants:
    • 3.2% of the world’s population were international migrants: (232 million people).
    • 10% of the world’s population were internal migrants : (740 million people).

Exercise 7. For discernment:

In your part of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
Violent Intolerance [19]
  1. It has been over two decades since the end of the Cold War, but a new form of global conflict has emerged, derived from the so-called clash of civilizations. As a result, we have witnessed widespread violence, at times, led by and aimed at:
    1. Ethnic Groups
    2. Religious Groups
    3. Secular Communities

Exercise 8. For discernment:

In your part of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
The Environment [20]
  1. Vast amounts of forested land have been lost to exploitation because of the lack of strategic planning and protection.
  2. Many species of life on land and in the ocean are facing extinction because of human activities.
  3. Everyone suffers from the effects of pollution, but poor people are most affected by toxic environments.
  4. Yet, we have also witnessed greater awareness of the need to care for the planet and non-human forms of life.
  5. In 2015, representatives from 195 countries gathered in Paris to sign the first legally-binding agreement to overcome global warming due to human activities.

Exercise 9. For discernment:

In your part of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
Gender Equality [21]
  1. In many parts of the world, the role of women has changed dramatically in professional and in family life.
  2. Advances over the past three decades are evident in all regions, but progress has been slow.
  3. In most societies around the world, women hold only a minority of decision-making positions.

Exercise 10. For discernment:

In your part of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
Family Structure [22]
  1. In a number of locations, fewer people are getting married, and when they do, a significant percentage eventually get divorced and many remarry.
  2. How we define a family is becoming much more diverse:
    1. Single-parent and blended families are increasing.
    2. Families where the parents are of the same sex are increasing.
  3. Many men take a more central role in childrearing.
  4. A significant number of countries have witnessed a remarkable change in social mores related to same-sex attraction and gender-fluidity. Many of our students live now in a context where this is openly discussed and accepted by many.
  5. In 1986 same-sex marriage would have been unthinkable. By 2015 twenty-two countries have legalized the practice [23]. The Catholic Church does not celebrate or recognize same-sex marriages, yet many young people in our schools would support it.

Exercise 11. For discernment:

In your part of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?
Communication [24]
  1. Technology has revolutionized traditional notions of time and place and provided hitherto unforeseen opportunities for communication, learning and spirituality.
  2. Cell phones today can send text messages, emails, upload videos and pictures, and download applications for everything. Social networking and blogging enable one to communicate to people from remote locations. People can communicate with each other on the move, instantly and in a more personalized manner.
  3. The reach and proliferation of personal smart devices has enormous implications for education.

Exercise 12. For discernment:

In your part of the world:

  1. How do you assess these changes?
  2. What are the most significant developments?
  3. What developments seem to reflect the greater good?
  4. In this context, what has your educational apostolate done?
  5. What should your educational apostolate be doing?