Throughout its millennial history, the Church has made an outstanding contribution to the culture, education and development of the peoples who have come into contact with Christianity.
To the new challenges of the modern world, the Church responded with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, which from 1962 to 1966 brought together bishops from around the world. They reaffirmed the need for the Church to lead its ministry in all fields of education, with conviction and competence. In this context, the conciliar document Gravissimum Educationis was issed, on Christian education for the schools and universities.
"All people of whatever race, condition and age, by virtue of their dignity as people, have an inalienable right to an education that responds to their own vocation and is in line with their temperament, their specific gender, culture and the traditions of their own country, and, at the same time, is open to a fraternal coexistence with other peoples, in order to ensure true unity and true peace on earth."
(Ec. Counc. Vat. II, Decl. Gravissimum Educationis, 1)
To revitalize this teaching, updating it to today's challenges, the Holy Father Francis and the Congregation for Catholic Education created the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation.
On October 28, 2015, Pope Francis founded the "Gravissimum Educationis" Foundation, accepting a request from the Congregation for Catholic Education.
With the gaze oriented to Jesus Teacher, the Foundation wants to be an instrument of evangelization, at the service of the integral education of the human person and fraternal coexistence on earth. To do so, it does not address only Catholic institutions - which are, in fact, an important presence in the world: 216,000 schools, 1,260 universities, 500 faculties and ecclesiastical institutes - but all those involved in the educational mission, facing together the challenges of today and tomorrow.
From a global perspective, attentive to the most difficult situations, the Foundation supports innovative and impactful projects, invests in quality, promotes scientific studies and fosters networking between educational institutions. In this way, it is close to young people from every continent, of different cultures but together engaged in building their own life project.
The Foundation is constituted as a juridical public canonical entity and a civil legal entity at Vatican City. It is based at the Congregation for Catholic Education.
The Foundation was created with a Pope Francis' autograph document. The chirograph was published on October 28, 2015. That same day, fifty years ago, the Conciliar Declaration Gravissimum Educationis was published.
Foundation “Gravissimum Educationis”
"All people of whatever race, condition and age, by virtue of their dignity as people have an inalienable right to an education that responds to their own vocation and is in line with their temperament, their specific gender, culture and the traditions of their own country, and, at the same time, open to a fraternal coexistence with other peoples, in order to ensure true unity and true peace on earth." (Gravissimum Educationis, n.1).
On the 50th anniversary of the Conciliar Declaration Gravissimum Educationis, the Congregation for Catholic Education, on the recommendation of the members of the Plenary Assembly held in February 2014, is promoting the creation of a Foundation named Gravissimum Educationis. This references the inspiring idea and purpose: to support Catholic education and its many schools and universities all over the world, so that it may contribute to the new evangelization and to forming the human person in view of its purpose and, at the same time, for the good of society.
Nature, purpose and location of the Foundation
The Foundation Gravissimum Educationis was established by a chirographic document of the Supreme Pontiff Francis, dated October 28, 2015, as a legal canonical public entity and as a legal civil entity in Vatican City. It is governed by the following Statutes.
The Foundation has its headquarters in Vatican City. It’s possible to set up a second location in Italy or elsewhere.
The Foundation is a not-for-profit, and pursues scientific and cultural aims to promote Catholic education in the world.
In carrying out its activities, the Foundation is guided by the documents of the Magisterium of the Church emanating from the Conciliar Declaration Gravissimum Educationis on education, school and university.
In particular, the Foundation is committed to:
a) the promotion of research, studies and publications on the thought of the Church as it concerns Catholic education and culture at the school and university levels; b) the support and organization of conferences and international scientific events on specific issues and projects; c) to award institutions and scholars who have distinguished themselves in their scientific activity and/or research as it relates to Catholic education and culture; d) networking and collaboration between educational institutions with regard to management training and qualification and to communication of new scientific discoveries and research; e) the strengthening of relationships and cooperation between international organizations and institutions dedicated to education. The Foundation may also carry out any activities deemed useful to the achievement of its purposes.
The patrimony of the Foundation consist of: a) the initial endowment money of € 500,000.00 (five hundred thousand) conferred upon incorporation by the pro tempore Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. b) real estate and other properties that will be given to the Foundation specifically to increase its assets; c) contributions, donations and bequests from individuals and legal entities; d) any other source of income destined to increase its assets, including public or private reimbursements, any operating surpluses and the proceeds of initiatives, research, and publications promoted by the Foundation.
The financial year begins on January 1 and ends on December 31 of each year. By November 30, the Board of Directors must approve the budget that will begin on January 1; by March 30 it must approve the final financial report for the year ended the previous December 31st.
The administration of the Foundation consists of ordinary and extraordinary administration. Extraordinary administration means:
- The disposal of goods which constitute, by legitimate assignment, the stable patrimony of the Foundation when the value exceeds the sum of € 500,000.00 (five hundred thousand) Euros.
- The acceptance of offers and donations encumbered by charges or compliance modalities.
Composition and functioning of the Foundation
The Foundation consists of:
a) The President and the Vice President
b) The Board of Directors
c) The Secretary-General
d) The Treasurer
e) The Scientific Committee
f) The Assembly of Sponsors
g) The Board of Auditors
The President is the pro tempore Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
a) It is up to the President:
- to legally represent the Foundation before third parties and in court;
- to appoint any defenders and prosecutors for specific needs;
- to convene and chair the Board of Directors and ensure the implementation of the resolutions adopted by it;
- to convene and preside over the meetings of the Scientific Committee for specific needs;
- to hire and dismiss any Foundation employees who do not have an executive role;
- to take, in case of emergency, measures and initiatives that are the responsibility of the Board of Directors to protect the good name and financial integrity of the Foundation, then submitting them, at the first opportunity, for ratification by the Board of Directors;
- to get the budget and final financial reports prepared for submission to the Board.
b) The President may, if necessary, confer powers to the members of the Board.
c) In case of vacancy or impeachment of the Foundation's President, the Vice President will take over the presidency.
a) The Vice-President is elected by the Board from among its members.
b) His term lasts five years.
c) The Vice President is a member of the Scientific Committee.
a) The Foundation is managed by the Board of Administration, composed of nine (9) members:
- The Cardinal pro tempore Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as president;
- Two (2) representatives of the Congregation for Catholic Education chosen by the Cardinal Prefect; - Two (2) members of the Assembly of Sponsors, elected by the Meeting itself;
- Two (2) representatives of the Scientific Committee;
- Two (2) economic experts appointed by the Secretary of State.
b) The election of any representative elected from the Assembly of Sponsors, from the Scientific Committee and the two experts must be confirmed by the Cardinal pro tempore Prefect.
c) The members of the Board carry out their task at no charge.
d) Apart from the Cardinal pro tempore Prefect, President of the Foundation, the other members of the Board remain in office for five (5) years; their mandate can be renewed once. The replacement of a member of the Board of Administration in case of resignation, illness or other reasons lasts until the natural expiration of the Board.
a) The Board of Administration shall be convened by its President in ordinary session at least twice a year. The Board shall be convened by letter to be sent fifteen days before the day established for the meeting, indicating the place, day and time of the meeting. The agenda is prepared by the President.
b) Whenever an urgent matter so requires, the Board of Administration may be convened by its President in extraordinary session.
c) The meetings of the Board of Administration are valid if at least two thirds of the members attend.
d) Apart from any deliberations on amendments to the Statute, for the termination of the Foundation and for acts of extraordinary administration that require an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the board members in office, all other resolutions of the Board are decided by a simple majority of those voting. In case of a tie, the President's vote is decisive.
e) The minutes of every ordinary and extraordinary meeting must be signed by the President and Secretary General of the Foundation; copies of the minutes of each meeting of the Board of Administration will be forwarded to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Economy.
It is up to the Board of Administration:
a) to elect from among its members the Vice-President, and the Secretary-General of the Foundation, as well as the members of the Scientific Committee;
b) to adopt the acts of extraordinary administration;
c) to approve the estimates and the final budget.
d) the Board of Administration may adopt By-laws of the present Statute.
a) The Secretary-General is elected by a simple majority by the Board of Administration from among its members.
b) His term lasts five years.
c) The Secretary-General is a member of the Scientific Committee.
d) It is up to the Secretary-General:
- To prepare the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Administration;
- To prepare the minutes of the meetings of the Scientific Committee;
- To preserve and keep the documents and archives of the Foundation.
e) In case of vacancy, impeachment or absence of the Secretary-General, a substitute Secretary is elected at each meeting for keeping the minutes, while it is the duty of the President to guard the documents of the Foundation.
The Treasurer is elected by a simple majority of the Board of Administration from among its members. The responsibilities of the Treasurer, under the supervision of the President, include the execution of the transactions approved by the Board, the administration and accounting, management of the Foundation, the preparation of the budget and the financial statements to be submitted for approval to the Board of Administration.
a) The Scientific Committee is composed of experts in Catholic education or of people having relevant roles in Catholic schools or universities.
b) It is up to the Scientific Committee to propose to the Board of Administration activities to be undertaken to achieve the aims of the Foundation.
c) The Board of Administration shall issue By-laws specifying the composition and functioning of the Scientific Committee.
a) The Assembly of Sponsors is composed of people and legal entities who share the aims of the Foundation, and support and promote them with financial or other contributions.
b) The presidency of the Assembly of Sponsors lies with the pro tempore Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education or his delegate.
c) To become a member of the Assembly of Sponsors, one must express in writing one's wish and be admitted as such by the pro tempore Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
d) The Assembly of Sponsors shall elect by simple majority two (2) persons as its representatives on the Board of Administration; it is permissible to vote by proxy.
e) The Assembly of Sponsors will meet at least once a year; the calling of the meeting lies with the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
a) The Board of Auditors consists of three members appointed by the President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
b) Among the three members elected to form the Board of Auditors, one shall act as Moderator.
c) The Board of Auditors will:
- monitor the financial management, the balance sheet and income statement of the Foundation;
- ensure proper reporting and accounting;
- examine the budget and the financial statements, drawing up a specific report to be submitted to the Board of Administration;
- carry out audits on cash and management at any time it deems appropriate. Each verification is to be formalized by a report to be submitted to the President of the Foundation within one month of the audit’s conclusion.
d) The members of the Board of Auditors have a term of five years.
Modifications to the present Statute may be decided by an absolute majority of the Board of Administration members and confirmed by the authority that approved the same statutes.
a) The Foundation is constituted indefinitely.
b) The Foundation is dissolved either by a resolution introduced by the Board of Administration passed by a vote of two thirds of the directors in office, or by a decision of the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
c) In the event of termination for any reason, the remaining assets, after the liquidation process has been completed in accordance with the Board of Administration, will be donated per the indications of the Supreme Pontiff for similar purposes to those of the Foundation.
For anything not provided herein, please refer to the canonical provisions on Foundations and to the jurisprudence of the Vatican City State as compatible.
Any disputes fall within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal of the Vatican City State.
The official text of the Statute is the one in Italian.
Classic in content and modern in shape, the Foundation logo is created by the union of a book, of three stylized human figures and of a table.
The book is a symbol of knowledge, light, and wisdom. It refers us back to the book par excellence, the Bible.
The three stylized human figures hold hands and may refer to the Trinity.
The table is the place for meeting, dialogue, creativity and Eucharist.
The set of elements symbolizes the network of education at the service of the world, while free spaces invite each of us to be part of it.
Below, the words "Fondazione Gravissimum Educationis" stand out.
The logo was chosen through a competition among the students of the Santa Giulia Academy of Brescia.