Page 10, 15th September 1978

15th September 1978
Page 10
Page 10, 15th September 1978 — Pope to Marconi
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Pope to Marconi

Continued from page I discovered radio telegraphy, transmitting electric signals over distances. In the following years there was an avalanche of new studies and new discoveries.

In 1924 you were able to perfect the radiophone, making the human voice travel from England to Australia. With the discovery of the short waves and microwaves you registered new developments for television.

I remember that the whole world followed you. I was a poor child, but I knew that in 1912, thanks to your inventions only, the majority of the Titanic's passengers were saved after the ship sank hours after hitting an iceberg.

I heard people talking about your "Elettra", a laboratory ship, as they would a ghost ship, you impressed people when you were photographed next ot Pope Pius XI and when thousands of lights were switched on simultaneously in Sidney at your signal. You crossed the seas 87 times for your experiments. It seemed that no-one could go further ahead. Instead?

Instead everything progressed rapidly. If you returned to the Eart you would find new things made since 1937, the yetiof your death! Colour television, video cassettes, the transistor, the artificial satellite, radar and pencillin.

In the factories there are integrated machines, which produce the finished product after having worked on them from start to finish without even a touch of a human hand.

There are machines which control and check the products in such a way that defects are automatically discovered and corrected. Electronic brains register information and complete the most varied operations in the shortest time.

Men have landed on the moon and they are now planning trips to other planets. We are well and truly in the age of technology, post industrialisation and interplanetary travel!

As an economist and researcher you will say "Well then, everything's alright! But it is not as simple as that. Many things are going well, but they are bringing problems, dangers and grave consequences.

New discoveries need to be correctly channelled. Pope Paul VI, for example. spoke of "the hungry nations, who question the nations of opulence" and of "the anger of the poor about the consequences which affect them but were unforeseen.

This, in fact, is what happens in a third of the world there is an extraordinary abundance of everything and there is also shameless waste; in two thirds of the world there is misery, which increases all the time.

It would be enough to abolish the mad buying of firearms and to cut down on certain luxuries: then within a short time technology could take the human race to a higher economic. social and cultural level. Everyone knows this, and it is for this reason that the poor peo-people are irritated.

I have spoken about the "family of the human race" ... Never before has the world seemed so small: we are hungry and thirsty for unity but we are continually being cheated by forces opposed to this unity.

There are also factors which breed disunity: the flames of exaggerated nationalism which are lighted here and there whether in an "old" nation or a "new" one; the division of the world into opposing blocks guided by superpowers; the social tensions, which are now not really between classes, but between regions and rich and poor states.

You will say: — "But I was also a believer. Why doesn't the Church use its vastly changing position, shown in the Gospel, to renew itself and keep up with these new times?"

That is an entirely praiseworthy question. The Council told men of thought and science. "Your path is our path ... We are your friends in your vocation as searchers„ your allies in your troubles, the admirers of your conquests. and, if it so happens, youur consolers in your discouragement or failure."

I am sure 'that these words would have greatly pleased you. Ideas have been followed by actions: an international renovation and a dialogue with external forces is in action in the Church.

There are difficulties however. I, a bishop, sometimes feel in the clothes of the son of John III, king of France.

In 1356, at the battle of Poitiers, the king dealt out great blows witth his sword; his son fought beside him, but he watched his father and every now and then he would shout: Father, look to your left!"

This is what I have to do continually. The work is difficult. On the right they compalin about impiety and above thhee ssacrilege when an old rite is abandoned for a new one. Conversely on the left, novelty on novelty follows in iindiscriminate succcession.

In the field of science, Marconi, you demanded justifiably physical certainty and mathematical accuracy. In other fields, however, you satisfied yourself with good common sense.

I know that I cannot speak of God in the way that I should, in the way that He deserves, but I must speak of Him in some way.

1 am like the mother who closed in a prison without windows, gave birth to a child who grew up with her without every seeing the sun.

To give him an idea of what it was like, when he was 6 years old, his mother showed him the lantern lit by the jailer. "There," she said, "the sun is like that flame: it gives light, it gives out heat. but it is much, much bigger!" It was a poor example, but it was better than nothing.

In the social and economic Fields the Church finds difficulty in contributing its share. The Church declares that it has neither the competence nor tthe means to resolve technical problems.

The faithful, who are also citizens, must act in the political and enterprising world drawing inspiration from the relevance religious faith. The hierarchy proposes that everyone follow a path shaped from the Gospel through the opposing ideals of Christinaity and Marxism.

Capitalism has created industrialisation andd defended personal !liberty; however, it caused grave suffering to the poor in the last century and today's lack of balance.

Marxism suppresses personal freedom and sweeps away religious values: however one cannot ignore that it brought the suffering of the poor and the need for solidarity out into the open.

According to the Church, if capitalism was to be adopted it 'would have to be profoundly modified. Good production is worthwhile but profit is only good if obtained by legal means, without sacrificing the dignity of any human being.

Even competition could be a good thing provided it does not

degenerate into a fierce struggle. j..(. The Church, following the exam-11 Great by the Catholic Herald Ltd at 63 Cherterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6LA and printed in Groat Britain by the Milton Keynes Web Offset Ltd, Brunleys, Kiln Farm, Stony Stratford degenerate into a fierce struggle. j..(. The Church, following the exam-11 Great by the Catholic Herald Ltd at 63 Cherterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6LA and printed in Groat Britain by the Milton Keynes Web Offset Ltd, Brunleys, Kiln Farm, Stony Stratford plc of Christ, must h ave I Bucks. Friday, September 15, 1978. Second class postage paid at New York Post Office NY. everyone, but especially the poor Registered et the GPO as a newspapt.r.

and the unfortunate.

As for Marxism, it is trying to penetrate into Catholiscism. "Some say it is the Marxist analysis, of society, others his ideology, which led him on. Analysis is a rigorously scientific and illuminating thing which is useful for solving problems and we accept it; we reject materialistic ideology.

"The hierarchy is alarmed about these positions. 'We refuse,' wrote the French Bishops "to accept the scientific character of the analysis, which, infact, depends upon a certain number of philosophical postulates, some debatable, others unacceptable."

Paul VI had warned (Octogesima Adreniens, n.34): "It would be deceptive and dangerous ... to accept the elements of Marxist analysis without recognising its connections with ideology."

Perhaps, dear Marconi, you would point out to me: "You're writing a letter to me, of a most humble literarcy kind, which has resulted as an inadequate criticism of the capitalist and Marxist giants!" You are right, hut what do you want? The fly kicks as hard as it can.

The contribution that the Church makes for the unity of the world is expressed like this by Paul VI: "experience in humanity ... not pretending to involve itself in politics ... the Church offers that which it possesses; a global vision of man and humanity" This vision has its roots in the Bible, which shows all men the same destiny, redeemed by the Saviour who is, and who professes himself to be loyal to all the human race, and who has taken on the mission of "reconciling to him all that exists on the earth and in the heavens" ((Cor. 1,20).

Jonah of the Old Testament didn't want to share the privileges of his people with other people. Sent to preach at Nineveh, in the East, he tried to fell to the West* because the Ninevites were not jews.

God, with his system of storms and whales, returned him to the East. Preaching to the Ninevites, he told himself that they would not be converted.

The reverse happened: the people were converted, God forgave them, and Jonah, like a spoilt child, lamented to Christ; "I knew it. Lord! You always let yourself be touched, you even forgive this people."

But God gave him a lesson about universalism with a fine humour. but with firmness also.

Having left the city, Jonah prepared himself a shade with twigs against the heat and God gave him some help' by making a tree of olives grow very quickly, which gave his head some shade. Jonah fell asleep content, but in the morning he found it withered and the sun was beating down on his head.

He complained once again, but God replied: "Why is this? You have pity on a tree, which didn't cast you anything, which grew in a night and then died in a night; shouldn't I therefore have pity on Nineveh, a city of IMMO Inhabitants. who don't even know their left from their right?"

This universalistic conversation — most clear even in the prophesies of Isaiah, Malachi and in various psalms — is taken Up by Jesus. The Magi, who were not Jews came to the manger with the shepherds: Samaritan woman and the Roman Centurion received the Saviour's blessing.

The mission that Christ entrusted to his apostles are in these precise terms: "God and make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:19)", so that St Paul could show the divine plan of salvation in the following words: "to sum up in Christ all things in heaven and on earth".

In line with the Bible, the last Popes have pleaded the cause for unity and peace. Paul VI, in a special way, has tried talking ot the UN, sending telegrams even to the communist states, offering his mediation.

You will ask: With what results? As a minimum there is as a result spreading convictions cif a new climate, a new change which is coming. Using a classical warning, I would say that from the mentality of Gian Galcazz Visconti we are passing to that of Petrarch.

The first did not even conceive a government without waging war and it arrived at the point of banning priests from reading the words "dona nobis pacem" in the Mass.

Petrarch was the reverse and told of a dialogue between himself and a madman. The madman, having seen soldiers on the march, asked the poet: "Where are they going?" "To war!' replied Petrarch.

The madman asked: "But one day won't this day finish in peace?" "Certainly" replied the poet. "But then", replied the madman, "Why don't you make peace straight away before starting the war?"

Petrarch concluded sadly, "I think like that madman." If God wants it, it seems that some of this good madness is sinking inot, the merit of the Church, all our brains.

Dear Marconi! Your dedicated life, spent in the search and realisation to the last day, is summed up with these words, "Few words, many deeds".

You show us that today we prefer the opposite which bear of few practical fruits.

Albino Lucia&




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