Saturday, May 09, 2009

On the spread of good books

In the process of my writing an article for Salesian Bulletin, I ran across a circular letter of Don Bosco on Spreading Good Books, which he wrote on 19 March 1885.

One portion of the letter reads:

I beg and implore tou to support the publications written by our own Salesians and eliminate any feelings you may have of envy or criticism. Should you detect any error, report it, give advice and take action so that the necessary corrections may be introduced, and report your observations to the author or to the superiors who are in charge of the revision of all our publications, if you have time. If the boys hear their teachers or assistants speak in praise of any book, they, too, will respect it, praise it and read it.

Don Bosco also quoted the Holy Father Pius IX once the latter addressed the Salesians:

Imitate the example of the priests of the Society of Jesus. Why are their writers so highly respected? Because the Jesuits themselves revise and edit them, as if they were their own work; in this way, with all the publications they have at their disposal, they can praise the merits of such writings and ensure their fame, while in their private conversations, they have nothing but words of praise. You will never hear any of these3 thousands of priests utter any word of criticism to prejudice the reputation of their fellow Jesuits.