THE EDITORIAL ROLE IN THE PRESS APOSTOLATEThere are three parts to the press apostolate: the editorial, the technical and the distribution.
The editorial part is the preparation of the writings that will have to be printed and reproduced by machines.
Along with the qualities characteristic of the writer apostle (vocation, suitable preparation and supernatural spirit), creative writing requires other qualities if the work is to achieve its goal. These are the true in doctrine, the good in morals and the beautiful in appearance.1
The true in doctrine
God created the human mind for the truth. It tends towards truth as its formal object and its satisfaction is truth's possession. Thus, if writing gets in the way of truth or obstructs it, it acts contrary to the nature and goal of the apostolate, the primary mission of which is to continue the mission of Jesus Truth.
Thus, as regards the truth, the works of the apostolate have a twofold role:
1. to unmask the error propagated especially by an openly irreligious and impious press, which throws doubt and heaps ridicule on Catholic truths, as well as by a press that combats truth with veiled art, refined sophism and antagonistic judgments.
2. to expound, popularize and spread God's life-saving truths, as set out by the Church, which alone has the task of guarding the sacred deposit of truth and is the Teacher of faith in the world.
The good in morals
The object of our will is the good to which it tends by natural impulse. Only in the absolute and definitive possession of God, the greatest
Good, are our appetitive faculties able to find the complete satisfaction of their yearning, for they can find no satisfaction in goods of a created, limited and transitory nature.
To assist and ennoble these natural tendencies of the will and, accordingly, to continue the mission of the Divine Teacher our Way, the apostolate's efforts must aim:
1. to nullify the evil propagated in the main by immoral printed matter, whether it is openly so or even if it is simply extravagant, unseemly, coarse and vulgar;
2. to raise people's desires, intentions and resolutions in such a way that, with the help and example of Jesus Christ our divine model and mediator, they may aspire to that infinite and uncreated Good, and to those created goods which are a likeness of God and lead to God.
The beautiful in appearance
The beautiful is the splendor of the true, the claim of the good, the object of aesthetic taste and of our heart, which defers to and delights in beauty, in preparation for the enjoyment of God, supreme and absolute beauty.
Thus the true and the good need to be presented in a way that is attractive and refined, apt
to impress and to communicate noble and lofty aspirations.
In this regard the aim of the apostle's writings must be:
1. to combat the theories and the works of those who consider the beautiful independently of the true and the good. Impious and immoral writings that are highly embellished and display an elegant style are much more harmful because they attract and ensnare;
2. to present the good and the true to readers in an aesthetically pleasing form so that such values are gainfully accepted.
Thus will honor be given to Jesus our Life, for the refreshing energy that the beauty of the written word communicates.
If beauty in appearance is always fitting in all written works, all the more so is it when these refer to and explicate the word of God. In point of fact, just as the Word of God became incarnate in the most pure womb of the holiest of Virgins, and the Eucharist is kept in ciboria of precious metal, so is it fitting that the word of God appear in keeping with its status.
To sum up: if the apostle's writings, under the guidance of the Church, comply with human nature by presenting the true in doctrine, the good in morals and the beautiful in appearance, they have
the intrinsic condition to be well received.
If, to these qualities, such writings add what is truly edifying, the grace of God, they will be unfailingly fruitful since what the Apostle of the Gentiles states is always true: "Ego plantavi, Apollo rigavit; sed Deus incrementum dedit."2
The apostle will never lack God's grace if he has made the necessary intellectual, moral, and spiritual preparation; if he writes in God's grace, or rather, with a heart that is full of love of God and of his fellow human beings, and he seals his work with prayer and sacrifice.
1 The topic of the present chapter was taken in great part from the apologetical pamphlet Perché non posso leggere tutto by B. RE S.J. (1st edition).
2 1 Cor 3:6. * "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth."