VATICAN - WORDS OF DOCTRINE by Rev Nicola Bux and Rev Salvatore Vitiello - The Event of Education

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Like every reality which concerns the human, education is also a question of interpersonal relationship between an “I” conscious, educating and adult, and an “I” in formation, in a condition which demands education. Indispensable presupposition for the educative process to begin, is the existence of an adult “I”. A world of adults, distracted, unable to see reality in the totality of its factors, relativist and at times theoretically unable to recognise a truth or distinguish clearly between good and bad, is in fact, a world incapable of educating.
Education consists first of all in having a goal, a horizon, convictions, in which to believe and to indicate to the younger generations. The social and human ruin to which we are spectators and which emerges in all its violent explosive power, in ever younger strata of the population, is merely the result of a total educational failure in a generation which claimed and even theorised that nothing could or should be taught, and that it was necessary to sever all roots in the name of a false and Utopianistic concept of freedom.
Just as every philosophical relativist installation implodes on itself when critically confronted with reality, since if coherent it would be capable of self-relativisation, so too an educative theory which claims not to teach anything, aware that it believes in nothing, will not survive the impact with reality.
Neither multiplication of rules nor “politically correct” formalistic and civic education are sufficient to contain the violent drifting of the I, who, swept along by natural infinite desire, if he fails to find sense in them orienting towards them his energies, almost necessarily gives way to chaotic instinct, desperate echo of questions unanswered. Gleeful nihilism, prophetically indicated by Augusto Del Noce as the hermeneutic key to present-day culture which recognising nothing as a value abandons itself to superficial and despairing “gleefulness”, is turning into violent nihilism. In fact even in concrete acts of daily life, when great ideality is lacking, joy is impossible; “gleefulness”, pretend joy, turns into violence.
A whole materialist and anti-Christian culture in recent decades has spent its best energies, not sparing the use of the media, TV in particular, to combat an education system considered archaic, patriarchal, suffocating, disrespectful of the individual. No few “adult” Catholics, perhaps armed with good intentions and certainly victims of their own cultural short-sightedness believed, some even still believe (with typical atavistic retard), that that criticism had and has reason and foundation.
Necessary removal of unacceptable educative methods founded on imposition or even violence, became the uprooting of the most elementary of certainties on which any educative process must be based.
For us, this is not so. Education has its origin in the encounter between an adult and conscious I, happy and certain about what he believes in and another I moved by the beauty and truth of this encounter. Every child senses and distinguish between a fascinating adult capable of giving reasons for what he affirms and who is never accomplice, and an adult humanly inconsistent, fragile, disorientated, who entered life almost by chance. The latter, without certainties an apostle of doubt, will never transmit anything except his own disorientation and, to paraphrase the Gospel’s warning about bad teachers, will never enter life and will prevent others from entering it with passion.
Education is not absence of prospects, but rather introduction, certainly in a progressive manner, to total reality: the more the adult lives a relationship with reality in every dimension including the religious dimension, the more the new generations will breath amply and be led to recognise in personal concrete needs, the echo of Something greater .
In definitive the effectiveness of authentic education is not disconnected with the sentiment of belonging which it generates: to educate means also introducing to a history, fostering a sense of belonging to a people, a society, a nation. Only if conscious of being a vital part of a body, will a person never attack or destroy that body, but instead strive to make it live, grow and develop knowing that there is no antagonism between personal good and the common good, but on the contrary, a reciprocal and direct relationship of inter-dependence.
As indicated by that great pedagogue Don Luigi Giussani, the event of an encounter, the introduction to total reality and the generation of a sense of belonging are three dimensions of education which cannot be renounced and from which it is necessary and indispensable to start again with courage to rebuild the I protagonist of achievements and history. (Agenzia Fides 23/11/2006; righe 57, parole 667)