18 December 1932
The Achievements of the Academy
Address to Inaugurate the Academic Year of the
Pontifical Academy of Sciences ‘New Lynxes’
The Supreme Pontiff gives a general address in which he praises the specific achievements of the Academy.
To the address of the President, to the communications of the Academicians, and to the gifts given to him by the whole of the Academy, the Holy Father condescended to answer, revealing how it was a good custom, always renewed by the wish of his sons, for the High Pontiff to address some words on the holding again of such a fine and really pleasant academic solemnity.
Rather than one word, the Holy Father wanted to say to his very chosen and dear children three words, which indeed he had on his lips and in his heart: a word of gratitude, a word of congratulation, and a word of good wishes.
A word of gratitude, first of all, for the great pleasure that his sons had given him by inviting him to their academic solemnity; and another expression of thanks for the gifts offered to him, especially for the three volumes of the ‘Lincei’ of the seventeenth century: a gift that much more enjoyed because it went into the academic library through the hands of the ancient librarian. A special thanks, a great expression of gratitude, His Holiness said to end up with, was to be directed to blessed God.
The second word, of congratulations, was then directed by the Holy Father to those worthy members who had gained, by their true merit, their seals of office. But such sovereign congratulations were not only for their seals of office but in particular for the admirable way in which they had known how to merit them.
Further congratulations, added the Holy Father, for those who at that very meeting, at that fleeting moment, had known how to be hosts to him in such a pleasing and instructive way. Congratulations, as well, for those who had worked on the academic ‘proceedings’, the testimony, which was really monumental, of their work, their efforts, and their successes.
The Holy Father said that he was happy and proud about such forms of testimony to his dear Academy, and he said that these seemed to him to be real guarantees of what the Academy was preparing for the future.
A particular expression of congratulations was then made by the Holy Father on the pleasing weight of work gathered in the Nuncius Radiophonicus; it was really pleasing both because of the mode of communication, the language used, and because of the technical instrument, which took advantage of the latest discoveries of science.
To these first two expressions of gratitude and congratulations, the Holy Father then said that it was easy and pleasurable to add good wishes. And not only those that the hour – and one could even end with Dante because the evening was most clement – the sweet season, inspired near to the holy feasts of Divine Christmas and the year that was now very close. Not only those, but also those, and most cordial ones indeed, to everyone.
The best wishes of the Holy Father went further, broader and higher: they were for the new academic year which His Holiness hoped and wished would be similar to those already passed, and indeed would supersede them. At that moment, then, in the presence of the monumental testimonies of academic activity, the Holy Father could not fail to return to that which came to his mind every time that he was in front of something that was good and well begun, those words written by a holy and brilliant man, by St. Bernard: that the attempt rather than perfection is what is required of man. For the further reason that through the attempt, perfection can be reached by man. The Holy Father thus hoped and wished that all his dear sons would continue in their attempts at perfection, so that also of them one could say: ever more and ever better.
With this hope and wish the Holy Father terminated his address and imparted the implored Apostolic Blessing.