THE PUBLISHING APOSTOLATE
INTRODUCTIONApostolate! This simple term sums up a whole mission, a whole program. An apostle is one who prays, one who speaks, one who acts, one who suffers, one who loves, one who believes, one who hopes. But an apostle, and much more so, is also one who writes, one who prints, one who spreads the word of God.
The apostolate of the press, and those of the cinema and the radio are without doubt among the most pressing and fruitful ones on the scene today.
In his encyclical Divini illius magistri1 the Holy Father Pius XI writes: "A more widespread and thorough vigilance is called for in our times given the increased occasions of moral and religious shipwreck… chiefly in impious
or licentious books (many of which are diabolically spread at low cost), in motion picture productions and now too in radio programs, which increase and facilitate, so to speak, every kind of interpretation, just as motion pictures every kind of spectacle."
The question of the need for these new and urgent apostolates has already aroused and fostered praiseworthy discussion and action among Catholics on all sides. There are many consoling results and a promise of much more to come. The voice of the Church, teacher and model of every apostolate, and the various needs of society itself will suggest the appropriate means and the most suitable forms, so that "the word of God may speed on and triumph."2
Among the institutions that devote themselves more or less directly to all or part of the aforesaid apostolates is the religious Congregation of the Pious Society of Saint Paul. Besides the ordinary forms of apostolate, it intends, as its special aim, in view of God's glory and the salvation of people's souls, to utilize the press
and all the new discoveries of science and the arts which exert greater psychological power over the individual and the masses such as, in our days, the cinema and the radio.
The Pious Society of Saint Paul gives to this whole activity, in keeping with the times and the circumstances, the generic title of "the publishing apostolate".3
The present book intends to deal with this apostolate, dwelling in particular on the press apostolate. Our aim here will be to faithfully follow the ideas set out in special talks and contained, for the most part, in the Apostolato Stampa.4
Ours is not the last word on the subject, nor do we wish to restrict to what is set out here
the activities open to Catholics in general and to the members and helpers of the Pious Society of Saint Paul in particular. As a matter of fact, said Congregation intends to train apostolic-minded people whose zeal knows no bounds. People who are at home in their own age, people who, considering the progress of the arts, the sciences, and industry as priceless gifts of God, mold them into effective instruments of apostolate.
1 Of 31 December 1929, on the Christian education of youth.
[The notes marked with an asterisk (*) are inserted by the Editor of this edition; those without are the notes of the 1944 edition. In any case, the asterisk (*) indicates the intervention of the present Editor.]
2 2 Thess 3:1.
3 This same expression is used in the Pontifical Decree of approbation of the Pious Society of Saint Paul to establish the special end of said religious Congregation.
The word "publication" is understood here: a) in its etymological sense of "to bring forth" (from the Latin edere) or, to put it in a better way, the action, the work and, in our case, the apostolate of bringing to the public; b) in its usage-meaning: to turn out thoughts, mental output, teachings, with means that bring them to people. In particular, printed publications, movie production and now radio programs. [In this context, 'publication', 'production' and 'program' are all expressed in Italian by the one word, "edizione".]
4 Sac. G. ALBERIONE, Apostolato Stampa [Press Apostolate], Pia Società San Paolo, Alba. * Edition published in 1933.