DEL PAPA BENEDETTO XV
AL R. P. LUIGI MARIA MARELLI,
VESCOVO DI BERGAMO
SULLA NECESSITÀ DI DIFFIDARE
DELLA PROPAGANDA DEI SOCIALISTI
The original document (in Italian) is here
ON THE NEED BE AWARE
OF THE SOCIALIST PROPAGANDA
health and Apostolic Blessing .
Since we are used to considering with particular satisfaction our Bergamaschi, who distinguish themselves in an exemplary way for their Christian life, with real displeasure we have learned some negative voices relating to certain popular motions that would have happened there. In truth, it is no wonder that the ” enemy», Having long envied the fertility of this field of the Lord, and carefully spying on the opportune moment to devastate it, took advantage of the crisis of these unfortunate times to sow the weeds on such fruitful soil. But since the bad seed, once it has taken root, can choke the good wheat over time, we value our strict duty – since the Lord has entrusted to us the care of the whole mystical field – to work with all our strength because it does not have to develop. We therefore address you, Venerable Brother, with this letter, not because we doubt your zeal, of which you have already given valid testimony in this regard, but because we consider it appropriate to exhort the beloved children, your medium, to remain faithful to your duty;
First of all we want everyone to know that We warmly approve what you have done, Venerable Brother, when, after the war, when everyone returned to the usual jobs, meeting new needs, with the collaboration of the Diocesan Council, you have set up a special Labor Office to cater to the needs of the various categories of workers. Really excellent and very useful institution if its functioning is regulated according to the dictates of religion; otherwise we know unfortunately which and how many disorders it can cause to society. It is therefore necessary that the managers of this Office, which has such close connection with the common good, always have before their eyes and scrupulously observe the principles of social science inculcated by the Holy See in the memorable Encyclical “ Rerum Novarum or Of the new things» And in other documents. Remember especially these fundamental points: in this short mortal life, subject to all evils, no one is given to be truly happy, since true, perfect, eternal happiness awaits us only in heaven, as a reward to those who have lived well ; up there, therefore, whatever we do, it must strive for all our actions; therefore, rather than being jealous of our rights, we must be considerate of fulfilling our duties; on the other hand, we are allowed to improve our condition in this mortal life and obtain greater well-being, but for the common good, nothing is more beneficial than harmony and harmony among all social classes: it is the maximum advocate of this Christian charity. So see how the workers’ interests would hurt those who, having plans to improve the conditions, they only lent themselves to help him in the purchase of these fallen goods, and not only neglected to temper his aspirations with the reference to Christian duties, but they endeavored to incite him more and more against the rich with that ceremony of language that is usually used by our opponents to excite the crowds to the social revolution. To remedy such a serious danger, it will be your care, Venerable Brother, to make present, as you already do, to those who dedicate themselves to patronizing the cause of the workers they do, being careful not to use the intemperance of language proper to the “socialists” , they must explain an action and propaganda all pervaded by a Christian spirit; without this they will be very harmful, certainly not beneficial. However, we hope that everyone will want to be obsequious; and if someone refuses to obey, you will certainly remove him from the assignment.
Moreover, it is natural that this Christian elevation of the humble should be more widely shared by those who have been provided with greater means by Providence. So those who are higher in social position or culture, do not refuse to help the worker with the council, with authority and with the word, especially promoting those works that have been providentially instituted to his advantage. Those who are then supplied with makeshift goods do not want to regulate their interests with the proletariat according to strict law, but rather according to fairness. Indeed we warmly urge them to use even greater indulgence in this, by making the widest and most liberal concessions they can. Here what the Apostle says to Timothy:To the rich of this world … he recommends being ready to give, to be generous “[ 1 ]. In this way they will gain the soul of the poor, who had antagonized them by considering them too attached to money.
Therefore the less well-off and those in a lower position are well penetrated by this truth, that the distinction of the social classes comes from nature, and therefore itself from the will of God, since ” He himself made the little and the great ” [ 2 ]; and this is wonderfully beneficial to the good of individuals and society. They are therefore persuaded that however much they can improve their condition with their own activity and with the help of the good, it will still remain to them, as to all the others, not a little to suffer. Therefore, if they wish to operate as wise men, they will not endeavor to pursue unworkable utopias, and will bear the inevitable evils of this life in peace and fortitude, awaiting immortal goods.
Therefore we pray and beg the Bergamaschi, for their singular piety and devotion to this Apostolic See, not to be fooled by the flattery of those who with fallacious promises strive to wrest their faith from their hearts to encourage them to brutal violence and upheavals . The cause of justice and truth is not defended with violence or disorder, since these are weapons that first of all hurt those who use them.
It is therefore the duty of priests and especially of parish priests to vigorously oppose these extremely dangerous enemies of the Catholic faith and of society, fighting them together and compact under your guidance, Venerable Brother. Nobody must believe that this is extraneous to the sacred ministry, being an economic question, while it is precisely for this reason that the risk for the eternal salvation of souls is looming. They consider it one of their duties to devote themselves as much as possible to science and social action with study and hard work, and to help those who worthily work in our organizations together by any means. At the same time, they should try to teach their faithful attentively the norms of Christian life, warning them against the pitfalls of the ” socialists “.», Also promoting economic improvement, always remembering what the Church recommends:« Let us go through temporal goods, so as not to lose the eternal ones ».
In the meantime, we will not cease to invoke upon you all the gifts of divine goodness in favor of which and as a testimony of Our benevolence, we impart with great affection the Apostolic Blessing to you, Venerable Brother, to the clergy and to your people.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on 11 March 1920, in the sixth year of our pontificate.
Pope Benedict. 15
[ 1 ] I Tim ., VI, 17, 18.
[ 2 ] Sap ., VI, 8.
Here is a solid write-up by TFP on this here