.- The tragedy at Virginia Tech demonstrates the human need for others and the devastating effect of isolation and loneliness in contemporary society, said Cardinal George Pell in his weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph.
The Cardinal-Archbishop of Sydney reflected on the isolated life of gunman Cho Seung-hui, who was responsible for the massacre of 32 people at the university. The Cardinal noted the student’s social seclusion and twisted writings.
“Normal life today includes increasing levels of loneliness and individual isolation,” Pell wrote. “Individualism reinforces this, with its message that the successful person is the one who relies on no one to get ahead.”
“In many areas of life we are continually told that needing other people is a sign of weakness, and being needed by them is a trap which puts an end to our freedom,”
he wrote. “But to think that being completely self-reliant will protect us and make us strong is to get things exactly the wrong way around. We are weakest and most prone to self-harm and unkindness or selfishness to others when we are alone.”
Cardinal Pell emphasized that human weakness highlights our need for others. “When we accept this, goodness, happiness and hope become possible,” he continued. “When we reject it life becomes something we hate and all sorts of evils can follow, right up to suicide and murder.”
“Cho will be remembered only as murderer, probably as a madman,” he concluded. “But he was not an alien or a demon, and perhaps there may be things we should learn from his blighted experience of life as we remember and pray for his victims.”