Blessed James Alberione

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In addition to literary style, what we mean here by the expression "printing technique" is all the work of setting, printing, packaging and shipping that is needed in order to reproduce the manuscript over and over and have it reach the reader in a suitable form.
This is the second part of the press apostolate. While it plays second fiddle to the editorial and promotion sectors, it is of the utmost importance, for it reproduces speech, nails it down, and makes it visible, beautiful, desirable and attractive.
Thus, ordinarily, good literary style and an eye-catching print layout are cherished coefficients of apostolate.
Convinced of the practical importance of technique, the apostle is to procure talented writers for the apostolate, attend to the material work of the publications according to the demands of the times, and educate readers' tastes so as to make them appreciate, love and assimilate good literature.

Procure talented writers
The apostolate needs talented writers. The glory of God, and this is the apostle's aim, demands it. Respect for the people he is addressing demands it. The subject matter he is dealing with the most demands it. The dignity of the writer himself who is a teacher, father and apostle demands it.
[The apostolate needs] talented writers who dip into the Heart of Jesus and convey [their thoughts] in conformity with the best rules of stylistics.
Talented writers who win over people's hearts, gratify people's minds, and sway their will. Writers who know how to adapt themselves to the times, the circumstances, the argument and the class of people they are dealing with.
There is so much reading matter around at present which, instead of instilling admiration in readers, incites disgust, boredom, indifference and, at times, even indignation!
A certain type of righteous Catholic press which demands, seemingly, to be supported out of charity, lessens the prestige painstakingly acquired by even the best publications.
The artistic style that the apostle writer adopts must be the simplest and yet the most elegant.

Attend to the typographical work
It is a question of putting knowledge and all created things at the service of God and the Gospel through the use of human, mechanical and financial means.
The best workers are to be chosen and from among these preference is to be given to men and women religious. Together with the main purpose demanded by their state, which is their sanctification, they add that of typographical work through the press apostolate.
Formerly, monks spent a great part of their day reproducing ancient parchments; the disciples of Saint Paul reproduced his letters so that all the faithful could have them; religious, priests and brothers, dedicate their activity to reproduce the word of God over and over and to present it in a way best suited to all.
Add to this the work of wealthy lay people who put aside their money for the apostolate. Many Catholic works have no backing; others are flawed or are unable to achieve their aim because of a lack of financial support. This is especially true in the field of the press, where help is lacking and its necessity is not yet properly understood.
The mechanical means must be the best, the quickest, the most economical and appropriate that the times and civilization can provide. Therefore, [use] the telephone, the radio and television for gathering news and pictures; [use] the most advanced machines for printing and packaging; [use] the quickest and most extensive means for promotion.
In the fullness of his love for God and for his fellow human beings, the apostle is to learn how to utilize everything that providence offers him for his goal so that all creatures may raise their hymn of praise to their Creator. He is to be so ingenious as to get roses and lilies to grow from trash and to convert rags into paper for the Gospel.

Educating readers' tastes
While not playing down the role of the technical part, readers need to be convinced that it is not the substance of the written word. People are greatly deceived if, simply to satisfy their aesthetic taste, they turn to authors and publications that do not represent Catholic thought.
Poison may be served on a golden plate but it is still poison. Wholesome bread can be displayed in ordinary wrapping but it does not, for this reason, lose its substance or cease to be useful and necessary.
If a book is bad from a
religious-moral point of view it can do more harm than one which is lacking technical style.
To be noted, too, is that people's tastes in general are not highly developed; you will often find that a publication which is highly acclaimed by qualified people arouses little or no interest, and even aversion, in untrained and non-scholarly people.
Contrariwise, unqualified people put a high value on certain defects in style, taste, printing and packaging which repel those who are accustomed to intellectual work and who deal with artistically beautiful books.
The apostle should thus resolve to educate people's tastes little by little so as:
- to make them understand that the good press, even if imperfect, can be equally good;
- to provide publications which, while geared to the average reader's mentality, are exempt from deplorable defects;
- to teach them that, if they are to arrive at right judgment concerning a book, they need to inquire into such matters as where the book draws its inspiration from, the literary style used, the response it draws from the reader, its exterior appearance.
If the apostle and the reader keep technique in its right perspective, then it will have in the apostolate the place that the material element has in the sacraments and in the sacramentals.