01-05-2007 - Traces, n. 5
Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo


an Emergency

by Gianluca Carlin

Dear Fr. Massimo: Since mid-November, the situation in the German schools has become more and more dramatic. In Esmedetten, a boy shot at some former schoolmates and teachers and then shot himself dead. It is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. The country was seized by shock, especially since it was discovered that the boy had for months been simulating the event on his computer, training with one of those violent video games. A hot debate blew up on the political level, and the conclusion was very simple: to declare a state of emergency, closing a lot of schools or else going on with regular lessons behind closed doors. After a while, another news item caused panic again–another youngster was preparing on the Internet for another massacre. A third episode happened in our town, where a student shot at a teacher. The pistol he used was a toy, but this was only discovered a few days later. Events like this cannot fail to lead to reflection about education, a term misused as much as it is used. Some intellectuals wrote in the newspapers that there is nothing else to do but resign ourselves to the fact that the situation is out of control. In our house, we asked ourselves how we can give an answer to this emergency, and in the end we decided to organize a meeting on the topic–in a school and not in the parish as we had initially thought. Fifty teachers and many parents came. I was very struck by what one of them said: “It is a waste of time discussing education if we don’t know where we want to go. Myself, I don’t know.” It is to this objection and the implicit call for help, so tragic and honest, that we want to give an answer. And these dramatic events are a great opportunity to begin once again with these teachers.