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From the Rector
In these days we are being bombarded by the media with political material! Politics is everywhere; and in a way it is part of life. The big issues of economics, education, health care, jobs, infrastructure, refugees… affect all of us, one way or another.
In the time of Don Bosco, politics was a very hot issue – Italy as we know it today did not exist! The Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia was only a small part of Italy (with Turin as its capital, where Don Bosco was operating); then Austria controlled most of Northern Italy; the central part was under the direct rule of the Pope (“the Papal States”), and the South was dominated by Spain. During the 1840s, 50s and 60s, with the support of France, the Kingdom of Piedmont launched several successful revolutionary campaigns against the Austrians, the Papal States, and the Spanish. It was only in 1870 that most of Italy was united under the King of Piedmont, and Rome was declared the capital of Italy.
Don Bosco lived right through these years, and one could not ignore the patriotic movements towards the “unification” of Italy. For a person like Don Bosco, the invasion of the Papal States and the dispossession of Church properties became difficult issues.
But he soon realized that becoming involved in political issues meant taking sides, and in the end, creating enemies and opposition. So when he was asked whose side he was on, he would smartly say: “Don Bosco’s politics is that of the Our Father” – that is the politics of a family, where each member cares for the other, where religion has a place (respect of God and neighbour), where the King is Jesus on the cross, and where the main rule of the kingdom is love and forgiveness… And Don Bosco insisted that the Salesians should stay out of politics, and follow his example of the “politics of the Our Father”.
So I am certainly not going to disobey Don Bosco’s advice! While we all have preferences and leanings, and at times even strong views, my concern is for policies that respect religious values and traditions. There is plenty of commentary going around that promotes an “equalization” of everything, some sort of value-less style of life. And the moment one speaks up to protect traditional values, he/she is immediately attacked as reactionary and bigoted, as intolerant and divisive…
Surely we live in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society; and respect for each other’s world-view and value system is fundamental for peace and harmony. I hope that parents and Staff, past and present students, continue to defend and uphold the Salesian values and traditions of this College.
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB