Papa Luciani on the Woes of his time, and ours

Even though he wrote this in 1973, I find it apropos to contemporary society. Papa Luciani is lamenting the cultural movements in western society. He wrote a fictional letter to Aldus Manutius, a printer and publisher from Venice in the 15th and 16th centuries. 

Luciani’s words, mimicking the widespread thought of his time, with which he stridently disagreed:

“Are the young impatient to develop their sexual life? It is affirmed that chastity is a repression, favorable to capitalism, an out of date medieval practice, and it is time to bring about the ‘sexual revolution.’ 

“In a women’s body is a new life burgeoning, ‘thanks to bad luck’? After a fine theological distinction between ‘human life’ and ‘humanized life,’ it is stated that human, but not yet humanized, life can be cut off without any scruple.

“Are children disobedient? Well then, let parents stop giving orders and tormenting the little creatures! Do pupils no longer learn their lessons at school? The answer is simple: do away with lessons; the schooling that society imparts is enough, without the intervention of teachers, because it is not so much a matter of learning subjects as of having people debate social problems.

“Are students annoyed at their grades and their standing in class? Abolish grades: they represent discrimination, and are unworthy of an egalitarian society. Does somebody want to practice medicine? Who will prevent him, if he has been enrolled — with or without exams, with our without studying — for six years at the university?

“I will omit some other splendid declarations that would make a humanist’s hair stand on end.”- Papa Luciani, Illustrissimi, Pg. 173

The Holy Father’s humor and sarcasm comes through nicely here. Those of us who heard him speak often saw the humor and simplicity in his face and heard it in his words.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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