Blessed James Alberione

Opera Omnia


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Section One
Although it has taken on a new form, the press apostolate, inasmuch as it imprints God's word, is as old as the apostolate of the spoken word because, like the latter, it comes from God, was adopted by the Church and is employed everywhere.

It comes from God
We can say that God is the true author of the press apostolate since he gave orders for it, inspired it himself, and protected it in every age.
Several times God gave orders to the scripture writers, as is
recorded in Scripture: "Sume tibi librum grandem, et scribe in eo stylo hominis";1 "Scribe hoc ob monimentum in libro."2
He himself inspired it by having his divine word recorded in Holy Scripture by means of hagiographers. Faith, in fact, teaches us that the writers of the Old and the New Testament were enlightened by the Holy Spirit about the things they were to write; they were helped by him to write all, only, and what he wanted and as he wanted: "Non enim voluntate humana allata est aliquando prophetia: sed Spiritu Sancto inspirati, locuti sunt sancti Dei homines."3
God protected the press apostolate with the assistance he lavished first on the Synagogue and then on the Church to insure that the divine Book would be preserved throughout the centuries and its content not be falsified.

Adopted by the Church
History shows that the Church knew about the press apostolate and undertook it in every age, albeit in the form and to the degree permitted by time and circumstance.
This is how:
What are the Gospels and the letters of the
Apostles if not the recording of the Church's primitive catechesis?
Thereupon the Popes, following the example of Saint Peter, made equal and abundant use of both the spoken and the written word in their pastoral teaching. Thus right from the origins of the Church Saint Clement wrote to the faithful in Corinth; from his prison Saint Marcellus governed the parishes in Rome through letters; Saints Soter, Victor and Stephen used writing to spread and to defend Catholic doctrine.
In ensuing centuries Saint Leo the Great, Saint Gregory the Great and later, all the Supreme Pontiffs, employing this means, enriched the Church with Pontifical Constitutions, Rescripts, Bulls, Briefs and especially Apostolic Letters.
The Ecumenical Councils - assemblies of the Church's bishops meeting to resolve questions of faith, morals and discipline - have handed down to us in writing their definitions and acts, making arrangements for their widespread distribution, popularization and application.
While the Church gives free rein to the secular press, she has asserted her right to regulate what pertains to the press apostolate, since it has the same concern for it as it does for the apostolate of the word. The various canons regarding the press highlight this (1395, 1396, 1397, 1398, 1399, 1400, 1401, 1402, 1403, 1404, and 1405).4
Canon 1385 regulates specifically the printing of Holy Scripture, Theology and ecclesiastical Sciences and, in general, matters concerning the faith, morals, and worship.
Canon 1386 includes particular rules for the clergy, religious and lay people regarding the printing of books, periodicals and pamphlets.
Special arrangements govern writings concerning the canonization of Saints, liturgical books, the collections of the decrees of the [Roman] Congregations, the translations of Holy Scripture, the approval of books at the Chancery Offices.
The Church confers on holy Writers the special title of Doctor; it honors them with their own Office and includes the writings of many of them in the Breviary.

Practiced worldwide
Just as there was widespread use of the apostolate of the word so too was use made of the apostolate of the press.
[First] by the Apostles [who gave us] the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse.
[Then] by the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church. By means of their varied and profound writings they affirmed Christian thinking against the attacks of Judaism, paganism and heretics; they justified it before the Empire and gave us the exact interpretation of the Sacred Texts.
The compilation of their works by Migne5 in 387 large volumes is something colossal; a compilation that is a landmark and an apologia of the press apostolate.
The Saints in general employed writing. Filled with love of God and love of neighbor they made no less use of the pen than of the word when the necessity or the occasion demanded it.
The press is a means used in all apostolates. Just as all knowledge is spread by speech and jointly by writing, so is it of every apostolate and pious work. Catholic action, the missions, pontifical works, works of beneficence, the apostolate of prayer and every good initiative find in the press apostolate support, collaboration and a new lease of life.
In every place and in every age, whatever it is people want to know they have recourse to the press.
The Holy See has its newspaper, its printing plant. Practically every Bishop has his own typography and periodical; the Pastor has his parish gazette or he distributes shared printed material, thus supplementing the spoken word. Religious use this means; almost all the Orders, religious Congregations and Families have their own press.
Catholics employed the press. Wherever there
are organizations involving Catholics in this world, there you will find printing plants, periodicals, diocesan associations for the press, Catholic libraries and book centers; to keep them running people make immense sacrifices.
To an ever-greater degree do our opponents use the press and they are technically better equipped. We can learn from their tactics. For the most part the press is in the hands of Jews, Protestants, atheists, Freemasons, Russian socialists, Muslims and non-believers.6
Thus is a truly universal use made of writing.


1 Is 8:1. * "Take a large tablet and write upon it in common characters."

2 Ex 17:14. * "Write this as a memorial in a book."

3 2 Pet 1:21. * "Because no prophecy ever came by impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

4 * These canons refer obviously to the 1917 Code of Canon Law (C.J.C.), then in use.

5 * This refers to the famous Patrologia Greca (PG) and Patrologia Latina (PL) series.

6 * It goes without saying that such expressions, as well as those which follow, reflect the mentality and the culture of the decades prior to the Second Vatican Council, in the light of which such expressions should be interpreted, integrated and eventually rectified.