TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013 —In a world that puts a premium on technological advances, young people should remember, society needs faith — not just science, a cardinal told World Youth Day (WYD) 2013 pilgrims.
“Science and a good education and technical training are not enough. People need to be virtuous or they will use science and technology for evil purposes,” said Boston Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley during catechesis for English-speaking pilgrims at the Sao Francisco Xavier parish last July 24.
Education, not enough
Speaking to over 400 WYD delegates from countries as diverse as Pakistan, Nigeria and Scotland, Cardinal O’Malley said, the Holocaust perpetrated by Hitler is proof that education does not ensure a humane society.
According to Cardinal O’Malley, a concentration camp survivor addressed a letter to educators, saying, the Nazi death squads were composed of doctors, nurses, engineers, technicians —all educated, but all of whom participated in building and running the gas chambers, eventually killing 6 million Jews.
“Help your children become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human,” the letter reads.
“I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high school and college graduates,” the letter goes on.
Church full of life
According to Cardinal O’Malley, the global community needs to rediscover how faith and religion concretely cultivate a more humane society — a task in which young people can play an active role.
“Some people thought that science could redeem humanity,” Cardinal O’Malley noted.
He explained, people who see the Church from outside think it is “dark and dreary”. The present challenge is for them to see it is a “community of life, full of life and color.”
The English-speaking WYD pilgrims in attendance included representatives from the U.S., Scotland, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Canada and the Philippines. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]