GS (Gioventu Studentesca) the High School members of Communion and Liberation have put together a great Flyer to respond to the atrocity of the beheading of Nick Berg.
They think, and I agree, that it is important in these times for us recognize that these events are symbols of our Cultural self-destruction. King David sings in the Psalms "Who is Man that you are mindful of Him? Mere mortal man, that you should keep him in mind?" I think in these times we have to ask these questions very loudly. Who are we? What is the purpose of our human experience? How can we respect the dignity of every man?
The Flyer says it best:
A few days ago, a video recording of the merciless decapitation of Mr. Nicholas Berg was posted on a web site. It recorded terrorists chanting, “God is great,” as they slowly sawed off Mr. Berg’s head, amidst his final desperate screams. After its posting, many of our classmates and friends watched this six minute recording and said that it was, “worse than a horror movie.” A few days later, two DJs from an Oregon radio station played the audio recording of this horrifying event, while making jokes over Mr. Berg’s shrieks.
All of these events lead us to conclude that civilization is in grave danger of disappearing. We see in these events complete confusion as to the true nature of God and, therefore, man. That our classmates can compare this video to a movie or that DJs can publicly use this terrible fact as the butt of jokes shows us how they have no awareness of the reality of what took place. Moreover, we are sick of hearing ideologues on the left and right of our polarized political spectrum use this event as propaganda for their particular political projects. Gravest of all, though, we find the total nothingness in which some of our fellow human beings dwell, such that they might believe that an act as heinously evil as theirs might be pleasing to the living God.
We do not profess to be untouched by this terrible moment of history; we see the effects of our culture within us and our lives; we recognize that we are at risk of losing the awareness of the value of our own human existence.
At the same time, we must testify that into our lives a Presence has entered: the presence of Jesus of Nazareth. It is He who has shown us our true value as an undying thirst for beauty, justice, love and happiness. It is He who has revealed to us that the living God is the answer to this thirst; He has shown us that this thirst for happiness links us, like no other thing in the universe, to God and gives each individual, distinct human person a value greater than any ocean, forest, star or entire animal species. Nothing compares to the value to any individual person—such as Mr. Berg—except God Himself.
We want to remind everyone that at another time there were “civilized” people who laughed at others’ horrific deaths in public executions designed for entertainment, while others ruthlessly sacrificed human beings to their “gods.” Into that world of 2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth came. And the people He met and who followed Him slowly taught a dying civilization and barbaric invaders the truth about God and man. In this way, they built a new civilization, saving everything of value in both the Greco-Roman world and barbarian culture.
And so, while we see clearly the tragedy of our times and the risk to ourselves in such times, we also know that Jesus’ presence among us is stronger than any pressure to reduce the person to nothing. We also know that His presence is saving civilization again—as It did in Christian monasteries 1,500 years ago—in our friendship. We know that many young people are lost in the popular youth culture of the West and that many are readying themselves for acts like Mr. Berg’s murder. In 1982, Pope John Paul II invited us to “build the civilization of truth and love.” We invite you to build it with us: a new civilization, in which beauty, truth, justice, love and—above all—education to the true God and the true value of man are the pillars. Alone this construction would be impossible; it would a utopia. But with Jesus Christ nothing is impossible, for nothing is impossible for God.
For these reasons we invite anyone between 13 and 18 years of age to join us on our Summer Vacation; we’re sure you will see the beginnings of this new civilization during those days.