Don Bosco

Pedagogical guidelines of the Salesian Congregation

Pedagogical guidelines
of the Salesian Congregation

Michal Vojtáš, sdb

The present report will focus on the development of the pedagogical lines of the Salesian Congregation present above all in official documents such as the decisions of the General Chapters, the letters of the Rector Major and school counselors, the Acts of the Superior Chapter, the teaching programs for studentates and for Salesian schools. The historical period analyzed extends from the Rectorate of Don Rua until the middle of the twentieth century. The division into three parts follows the diversity of the accents, points of reading and strategies for implementing the indications of the Rector Major and school counselors in the three periods studied.

1. The period of the first two successors of Don Bosco (1888 - 1921)

The fusion between pedagogical, educational and spiritual aspects is strongly present in the first generations of the Salesians as it was transmitted and formed by the experience and direct contact with Don Bosco in an "osmotic" formation, without differentiation in various dimensions. In this sense, some aspects of the "Salesian spirit" will also be mentioned to illuminate the integrality of the Salesian educational proposal.

1.1. The lines drawn by Fr Rua in the logic of fidelity to Don Bosco

The long collaboration of Michele Rua with Don Bosco, the fascination and development of the early years of the Congregation and the liveliness of the Founder's memories prepared the main line of the government of the Congregation and of Salesian pedagogy during the rectorate of Don Rua - loyalty to Don Bosco. In the first letter from Rector Major Fr Rua explains his program:
"We must consider ourselves very fortunate to be children of such a Father. Therefore, our solicitude must be to sustain and at the same time develop more and more the works he began, faithfully follow the methods he practiced and taught, and in our way of speaking and working, trying to imitate the model that the Lord in his goodness he gave us ".

Fidelity to Don Bosco expressed itself through various applications, but it was above all linked to the method of loving kindness in education. Fr Rua comments on the results of the VIII General Chapter with the reminder of the «Strict duty to possess the spirit and to live of Salesian life. And this consists in working, especially for the youth, with the spirit and with the system of Don Bosco, all marked by sweetness and goodness ". Often there are references to the application of the preventive system in the context of punishments and discipline within the Salesian colleges.

The application of the preventive system is not expressed only in the "anti-repressive" context of the discipline, but it is also accentuated when speaking of the two propositional educational principles: the zeal that animates the educational activity and the education of the heart. The zeal of the da mihi animas caetera tolle is evokedof Don Bosco who "did not take a step, did not utter a word, did not set up a business which did not aim at the salvation of youth". The context of the numerical and geographical development of the Congregation is the framework within which the indications on zeal must be interpreted, which does not constitute an absolute principle but the way of understanding it is specified: «But you, dear children, on your side, watch over so that this good will be always combined with a great purity of intention, be inaccessible to all discouragement, and be ever guided by obedience ».

The second integrative theme, linked to the theme of zeal and charity, is the education of the heart. It means neither sentimentality nor the education of emotions. Rather, the heart is understood as the center of profound convictions, moral action and motivations. In this sense, the education of hearts characterizes both the educational method - to educate with affection and patience but without softness, and the teleological core of the Salesian proposal - to make them good Christians and honest citizens:
"Let us remember then that we would miss the most essential part of our task, if we reduced ourselves only to imparting literary instruction, without uniting the education of the heart. We should aim at this over all, to form our students of good Christians, honest citizens, also cultivating the vocations that meet each other ".

The education of the heart, in Fr Rua's conception, also has an aspect of depth and durability. It recommends educating the deeply rooted convictions in the heart that will produce fruit even when the students are no longer present in Salesian houses. Through loving kindness "the truths sown in their hearts were deeply rooted and did not remain without fruit". Linked with the theme is the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so dear to Fr Rua, expressed in the emblematic letter of November 21, 1900 which speaks of the consecration of all 600,000 pupils and cooperators to the Sacred Heart.

1.2. The applications of Fr Cerruti and Fr Bertello in the Salesian schools

Implementation of the aforementioned principles of fidelity to Don Bosco, of zeal and education of the heart to form good Christians and honest citizens has resulted in collaboration with the school counselor Don Francesco Cerruti and with the professional counselor don Giuseppe Bertello who have left a fort imprint in the setting of the Salesian schools. Don Cerruti's program of "making the school a mission" was taken for the purpose of the school not only to prepare the young person for examination, but to prepare him "even more and more for life, and truly Christian-Catholic life, forming at a time of him the man and the citizen or rather the whole man ». In this sense Don Cerruti reacts to the tension with the secular State and with the theories of free thought, of realism, of socialism, of communism. In its longest circular,They remember educational-didactic , specifies that "education is not education [...] it is therefore an auxiliary education of education".

In order to be able to unite the ideal of an integral formation, the school counselor recommends the educational principles of exemplarity, charity, assistance, discipline, gradation and convenience in teaching; the use of classical literature recalling Don Bosco's zeal for the "cult of literature and Christian art"; the formation of teachers and Christian teachers in public schools and above all the use of the Preventive System. Don Cerruti states that our good Father made his own "the system, intuited and taught by 'greatest pedagogists' and ultimately by the Gospel. Emphasis is placed on assistance which is continuous contact, which does not make us lose authority, patient and benign charity and finally frequent confession, frequent communion and daily mass.

A similar coordination effort in a time of strong growth was carried out from 1898 to 1910 by don Giuseppe Bertello in the sector of professional schools. It is due to him the progressive implementation of the lines of Don Rua "I remind you that, both to avoid serious disturbances and to give them the real name, our laboratories must be called Professional Schools". The same sensitivity of Don Cerruti not only to give education but to educate fully is pursued by Don Bertello following the indications of the GC8 (1898) on vocational schools: "they are not only to have work, but to educate and train good and talented workers". In fact, not only the practical teaching method is realized in the indications for the art masters. but there are also indications aimed at the growth of artisans in faith and honesty by using the preventive system in its components of loving kindness, reason and religion. The design specifications of this commitment are proposed inSchool and professional programs , starting in 1903, which specify the contents of the lectures in religion, national language, geography, arithmetic, geometry, etiquette, hygiene, design, history, natural sciences, French, computer science and sociology.

1.3. Guidelines for Oratories and for Ancient Students

One of the main areas of Fr Rua's rectorate, in the sign of fidelity to Don Bosco, was Oratorian education. The GC3 (1883) recalls the Oratorian tradition saying that "the first exercise of charity of the Pious Society of St. Francis de Sales is to gather poor and abandoned youngsters, to teach them in the holy Catholic religion, particularly on holidays". During the congresses on the oratories, Fr Rua proves to be the absolute protagonist of the development of the speakers, whose foundation and growth, the wise and creative management, the tireless improvement of the festive oratories and their opening to the young people older in age through the Circles and Schools of Religion. During his rectorate, the CG7 (1895) has matured some decisions and proposals of no small importance:

  1. The choice of a member of the superior chapter especially in charge of the festive oratories;
  2. The opening of Oratories separated from the Salesian Houses, with day and evening schools;
  3. The organization in them of a religion school;
  4. The desirable opening of the Oratories throughout the day;
  5. The care of the due assistance.

The insistence on the subject and, in particular, the references and clarifications about certain aspects, suggests that the reception of the guidelines indicated has not always been unanimous. The quantitative success of the largest number of open speakers and the encouragement of further openings promoted by Turin were often accompanied by a shortage of premises, vehicles and staff. In this context, the Rector Major indicates the priority of love and zeal: "Elsewhere we would find vast halls, large courtyards, beautiful gardens, games of every deed: but we love to come here where there is nothing, but we know that we love each other "and continues:" The zeal of the confreres has made up for the lack of these means ".

At this point the Salesian oratory is seen as a center of radiation and is explicitly linked to the Association of Ancient Students: "from the Festive Oratories to the Association of Ancient Students it is a short step". The following educational goals of the Association are reported: mutual support in the world, maintenance of the zeal of Christian and sacramental life, profit for the families of the members. As a reinforcer, we also perceive the support network in material aid, in the search for work and help in infirmity.

1.4. Don Albera and the line of piety in education

Don Bosco's second successor does not depart from the fundamental line of fidelity to Don Bosco and Don Rua, putting some emphasis on his sensitivity and experience as a general catechist. In his first letter he cites the words spoken by Pius X to the audience: "You have nothing to do but follow the tracks of Fr Rua. He was a saint. In everything you do as he would have done. Do not depart from the customs and traditions introduced by D. Bosco and D. Rua ».

The zeal and the many activities of the Salesians create the argumentative starting point of the second programmatic letter on the spirit of piety: «To whom of us has not happened the thousand times of hearing to speak of the spirit of initiative and the activity of the Salesians? »The industriousness, energy, zeal and the holy industries of Don Bosco, Rua, and Cagliero have the effect of a great growth of the Congregation. Here is the exposition of the fundamental line of the Rectorate of Paul Albera: "Nevertheless speaking to you with the heart in hand, I confess that I cannot defend myself from the painful thought and fear that this vaunted activity of the Salesians, this zeal that seemed so far inaccessible to any discouragement , this warm enthusiasm that has so far been sustained by continuous happy successes, has a day to end when they are not fertilized, purified and sanctified by a true and firm piety ". However, Pietà is distinguished only by religious duties and those of the cult:

"It is by virtue of pity that we no longer pay ourselves for that cult, I would say almost official, that religion imposes on us, but we feel the duty to serve God with that tender affection, with that caring delicacy, with that profound devotion , which is the essence of religion ". 

Pity, like the soul of true zeal, has implications also in the educational area. It is not only a question of taking care of the practices of piety, but it also requires a profound rooting of the educators and their exemplarity:

«The whole system of education taught by Don Bosco is based on piety. If this were not duly practiced, any ornament would be missing, any prestige to our institutions that would become much inferior to the same lay institutions. However, we could not instill pity for our students, if we ourselves were not abundantly provided [...] But the best method for teaching piety is to set an example. "

The prospect of piety will guide the Rector Major, towards the end of his rectorate, to affirm that "the educational system of Don Bosco, for us who are convinced of the divine intervention in the creation and development of his work, is a heavenly pedagogy".

2. The period of Rinaldi and Fascie (1922-1931)

The time after the First World War, in which a good group of young confreres was involved, is characterized by some tendencies that have influenced the lines of Salesian pedagogy, such as the rise of totalitarian ideologies and growing militarism, from the development of missions in a context of the golden age of colonies and the propagation of Catholic Action understood as the participation of the laity in the hierarchical apostolate.

2.1. The teaching of Don Rinaldi in the wake of lived paternity

As Fr Rua was a man who lived around fidelity to Don Bosco, Don Albera embodied the ideal of the spirit of piety, Don Filippo Rinaldi lived and taught the art of fatherhood, the heart and the essence of the preventive system. His perspective of fidelity to the origins shifts from the marked tene quod habes and says: "We must not ask ourselves so much what Don Bosco did, but rather what Don Bosco would do today".

Referring to Don Bosco, Don Rinaldi declares a balance between rigid preservation of the spirit and flexibility in the secondary aspects: «He has introduced a brilliant modernity which, by rigidly preserving the substantial spirit in its educational method, prevented it in Equal time from fossilizing in the ancillary things and subject to change over time ». In this sense a principle of healthy modernity can be affirmed: "Our society had to know how to adapt, in the performance of its charitable action, to the needs of the times, to the customs of places: it had to be progressively ever new and modern, while retaining its particular Physiology of educating the youth through the preventive system based on sweetness and paternal goodness ".

Healthy modernity does not exclude the care of traditions that occupies a consistent space in the teaching of Don Rinaldi. The traditions here are not intended only as general principles, but also small traditions, timetables, practices etc. As in the Conference of the Directors of Festive Oratories of Europe, we talked about the wise use of football clubs , scouts , the game as an educational medium, the participation of superiors in the game to liven it up, theaters, cinema and prosocial activities, thus there is no lack of cautionary warnings, tracing a pedagogical line on dialogue with culture:

"Our mission, let us not forget, is not to be dragged, but to drag others, not to receive the impressions of the place and the people where we go, but to impress our Salesian spirit on the formation of the young and in the environment that surrounds us. Our system of education that brings the secret of modernity, accepts everything that is truly Christian, but excludes with energy how much it deviates and corrupts it. The rest, we christen it, that is, we make it ours, or we abandon it to others: caetera tolle! "

The key to a balanced relationship with tradition is already stated in the first letter of Don Rinaldi. To the exposition of the characteristics of the spirit, which Don Bosco infused into the Congregation, follows the synthetic affirmation: "In a word, everyone wanted to relive his attractive paternity, which never treated anyone abruptly, but he knew how to help with gentle ways each to to make oneself better and to go to perfection ». For him paternity is a word of synthesis of Don Bosco's action that is more connected with the "paternal traditions" lived and handed down to future generations through a more practical-osmotic than intellectual formation. In this sense the first letter continues:

"Now it is of great comfort to me to have heard the voice of our Fathers by the mouths of the Capitulars, gathered here from all nations: this shows me that their spirit has passed into their children, who through their Provincials and Delegates have in a certain way wished that we find out if all the fatherly traditions are practiced in the Houses, with regard to study, the church, the refectory, the courtyard, the promenade, etc .; and if above all we always live among young people familiarly, because in this way the defects are corrected, disorders are remedied and Christian characters are formed ».

The content of the paternity that gives itself totally is close to the concept of "zeal" of Don Rua, but the forma mentisDon Rinaldi's practice continues towards concrete applications. The practical reasoning advances in the connected succession of considerations: "The external exercise of this paternity is transmitted by name to the director of the House, not only because he keeps it, but because he exercises it according to the teachings and examples of the Blessed One. Now this tradition of the directorial fatherhood has transmitted it to its directors almost united to the most sublime act and reality of spiritual regeneration in the exercise of the divine power to forgive sins ". The almost direct link between the Salesian paternity of the director and his service of confessing is also set in the context of the prohibition of "confessing his subjects". Don Rinaldi states that "under the pretext of avoiding any inconvenience,

Another line of Fr Rinaldi concerning Salesian education is the strengthening of the principle already present in the Congregation, that is, of science which is a danger if it is detached from virtue and practice. At the conference of the directors of the summer of 1926 the line is summed up by saying:

"The Salesian is not a theorist of pedagogy but an educator. After the indispensable elements of the theory, which can be given in philosophy, it is necessary to learn the art of educating with practice [...] In the life of Don Bosco there are chapters that give us norms of practical pedagogy. Our pedagogy, however, is written in Salesian life [...] Let everyone be more careful to study Don Bosco more, to practice life properly ours, our traditions. If we follow the program of the Salesian day, we will find the whole of our program [...] Our pedagogy then we study in life with humility, resignation and obedience, a little at our expense and a little at the expense others; one does not learn from a chair, which theoretically expounds the various systems in scientific terms. The real treaty is practical life,

The union between study and educational practice is conceived as an almost indivisible whole linked to the virtue, exemplarity and sanctity of the educator. As an illustrious example of the Salesian educator, St. Francis de Sales is proposed and his name is mentioned both by Don Rinaldi and by the school counselor Bartolomeo Fascie. The implications of governing the principle of unity between study and practice take shape in the greater importance of practical training in the formation of Salesians and in the growing attention to educational roles within the Salesian house. The internship, instituted by Fr Rua in 1901, is valued to the point that the GC13 indicates not to admit clerics to the study of theology if they have not fulfilled the provisions of formation in this phase.

With a view to the importance of concrete life, Don Rinaldi pays particular attention to the roles within the Salesian house that balance the various aspects of education. From the lectures that he taught to the clerics of Foglizzo, from 1913 to 1916, a background can be drawnconceptual that allows to interpret the lines of his government. Beyond the already mentioned characteristics of the Director understood as father and confessor there is the part of the government and of representation before the superiors and civil society. Even if Don Rinaldi speaks of healthy modernity at the level of the Congregation, at the local level «the Director is the executor of the Rule, not a transformer; he must preside over and direct what he finds, not change [...] Otherwise the house would change according to the tastes of the directors, to the detriment of the house and the Congregation ».

The Prefect, in the responsibilities of managing the discipline, material things, assistants and families; the Catechist who takes care of the religious-moral education of the young, the functions of the Church, the companies and the academies; the school and professional councilors who take care of high schools and vocational schools respectively - all collaborate in the success of an integral education. Don Rinaldi sees in the principle work and dialogue together, each having its own role, a fundamental requirement for the success of education. He thus answers a question in the Conference of Directors: "Someone asked for a word on the relations between the Director and the Prefect. Here too - whether incidentally - there is a trait of our pedagogy. Director and Prefect complement each other. They get along, they often talk:

A final pedagogical line of Don Rinaldi that reflects the context of the 1920s is the emphasis on the Companies within the Salesian houses in relation to Catholic Action and the development of missions. Although the companies in the colleges had to be regulated in order to harmonize with the groups of Catholic Action and to "prepare and form the future subjects of Catholic Action", but at the same time one must remain faithful to the Companies as Don Bosco has thought. It was not just a matter of preserving the traditions, but also of "making our Companies work again and making them flourish" under the guidance of the Directors and the Inspectors. In addition, the Provincial Day and Congresses of the Companies are established. The apostolate among the companions, as a means of education,to nations ;

"Continue to cultivate this missionary spirit [...] Cultivation of this spirit is mainly to benefit the students themselves, this being one of the most effective means of forming their hearts to high and holy affections, a means that distracts them from the common morbid sentimentality at that age, a means that reminds them of the reality of life and the miseries of this world, makes them appreciate the good of being born in a Catholic country, in the light and in the civilization of the Gospel, and thus animates them to correspond to this signaled the Lord's grace with a truly Christian life ».

2.2. The pedagogical thought of Bartolomeo Fascie and the importance of the practical three-year period

Don Rinaldi's thought of the union between study and practice is also closely reflected in the directives on the study and training of the school counselor Bartolomeo Fascie from 1920 to 1937 and in his 1927 book On the educational method of Don Boscosets out a very similar line of formation for Salesians-educators. Don Fascie reacted with his book to some of Don Bosco's frequent celebratory presentations not only in Salesian circles. He writes in the book: "When we talk about the preventive system, we talk about it as if it were a novelty that has been completely sprung from his brain [...] a found, an invention, a discovery and almost a creation of D. Bosco ». Instead, the councilor proposed: "We must not imagine Don Bosco a theorist of pedagogy, or a scholar of didactic or scholastic problems". Don Bosco accepted the preventive method as he was offered by the human and Christian tradition. The true greatness and originality of the founder of the Salesian Society is "in the practical field of educational art and the work of the educator".

3. The period of the government and the syntheses of Don Ricaldone (1932-1951)

Don Pietro Ricaldone, after a long experience in the General Council in which he was the professional councilor from 1911 and then vicar of don Rinaldi, leaves a strong mark in many fields of the Congregation. He is a man of government who had to face the concrete situations of the growth of the Congregation and the adversities caused by authoritarian regimes and the devastating world war. A strong sense of the "unity of minds and hearts", proclaimed in his first letter, was translated by him into detailed indications starting from the concrete questions of Salesian education and formation up to the organization of archives and libraries.

3.1. Education and the study of pedagogy

In his first letter he urges the confreres, in continuity with the line of the last five years of the government of Don Rinaldi, not to expand the works, to consolidate the existing ones and to invest in formation: "the future of our Society is above all in the houses where form the staff ». The formation of the Salesians had to put a greater emphasis on the study of pedagogy. At the GC15 of 1938 the Rector Major expressed himself as follows:

"The phrase of Don Bosco himself was abused:" My system asks me! But even if I know it! ". An act of humility must not become a weapon against him, let alone a flag. It is true, Don Bosco was above all and above all an educator, a pedagogue, without however also being a great educator. It would be enough to declare it so, the admirable pages of the preventive system! [...] I recommended to the General School Councilor to send Salesians to attend university courses at the most renowned educational schools ".

The lines of the pedagogical study were reconfirmed in the post-war period, investing above all in the PAS Higher Education Institute in Turin. The inspectors were asked at the GC16 (1947) to arrange to send at least one cleric to study pedagogy at the PAS. The preventive system is seen as a science based on "granitic bases of perennial philosophy and Catholic theology, and together with the data that other sciences offer us, such as psychology, biology, sociology, and so on: but together we want the a temple of pedagogical science, as well as vain and vigorous, it is also free from superstructures, erroneous or extraneous ».

The context of the study of pedagogy is formed around the teaching of catechism and classical teaching. Some didactic contributions of the current of active schools are valued such as enhancement of educational activities, inductive method, pupil participation, psychological knowledge of pupils, peaceful and joyful school, exclusion of punishment, freedom of the pupil, pupil's personal work, use of the central ideas of synthesis, use of the interest of the students. The currents of positivist and naturalist pedagogy are seen as an "atheistic pedagogy" of which Dewey is one of the greatest exponents. The function of the PAS pedagogical studies is also the battle of the battle against materialistic and atheistic pedagogy. Even the statistical studies do not enjoy a great esteem from Don Ricaldone.

3.2. Love and discipline

In his first systematic letter, commenting on the Strenna of 1933, Fr Ricaldone speaks of charity as the first principle of Christian life and also of the family environment, shaped by charity, which is the context of Salesian education. The model of this charity is St. Francis de Sales,

"The saint of charity, of sweetness, of love. He is not satisfied with exteriority, but wants the virtue which is strength, which is effort; on the contrary, he wants the queen of virtues, which is said to be as strong as death . He was convinced that everything is possible to a soul inflamed by the pure ardors of love. This fact explains to us the tireless industriousness and the prodigious efficacy of the BD Bosco which wanted the constant norm of charity of its work, the basis of its pedagogical system, the soul of its apostolate ".

Educational love is the principle, but the general lever of Don Ricaldone's lines lies in the application of principles that are focused and detailed. His energetic style of government was shaped above all by the hundreds of pages of the sometimes meticulous applications of the Salesian tradition. At the end of his life in the Don Bosco educator , written in 1951, he proposed the discipline, linked to authority, as a general means of education. It says in the text:

"It is not enough, however, to have good principles, clear ideas, well-developed concepts of things to do: in addition to the possibility of translating all this into practice, it takes that technique, or rather that special tactic, and that spirit that gives life and value to the so-called method [...] Precisely in this light it is good [...] to first interpret the principle of authority, which in the educational environment keeps the discipline in bloom ".

Clearly there is talk of an authority and a discipline that is entirely at the service of the educator, who is near, illuminates the intelligence and above all moves the will through hearts open only to love. The discipline, as a line of government and education, is placed by Fr Ricaldone within the context of Don Bosco's canonization and developed above all in the 300 pages of the Strenna of 1935 Loyalty to Don Bosco Santo. The line of thought explains the fidelity that assumes an act of faith towards God and therefore translates into trust; consequently it translates into the promise to follow Don Bosco, sent by God, in the observance of the Rules: "The Rules, as they were the supreme aim of the aspirations of Don Bosco the Founder, so his thought and all his heart continue to be now [...] To love Don Bosco is to love the Rules ". At the end of the GC15, the Rector Major recommends that the confreres present should all remember that all the strength of our development, that the expansion and perpetuity of the Congregation, is in the uniform observance of our Rule ".

3.3. Catechesis and religious formation

The "centenary of the Salesian Work" which was celebrated in 1941 gave ample opportunity to specify the lines for the speakers, but especially for catechetical teaching and religious formation. Reporting the examples of the great catechists of the 1500s, the Rector Major exhorts the Salesians to a catechetical crusade since in religious instruction he sees the center of the answer for the salvation of youth from the discouraging situation and painted in dark colors: «It is true, we are few and learn from the nagging and immense needs; moreover our apostolate is yesterday [...] It is our duty, in this happy anniversary of the centenary feasts, to give breath to the trumpets and to make the voice of God and of the Church, which everyone invites to the holy crusade, echo under all the skies with mighty thrill ».

The communication of "heavenly wisdom, necessary for eternal health, through the teaching of the Catechism" is explained through the recourse to the Salesian tradition, in the definition of the end and modalities of catechetical instruction. The argument of Don Ricaldone typically begins with the resumption of the Regulations of the Festive Oratory of Don Bosco - a little book, modest in garment and size, which contained the whole Salesian Work in its germ with its spirit, with its system , with the possibilities of its multiform development ". The roles within the oratory broaden and copy the tasks of the Salesian house: the director, the prefect, the catechist and the school counselor who form the council of the oratory. The argument for this passage follows the line of fidelity to the story of the development of Don Bosco's work; before there was the Oratory and its roles and only after the Congregation. An important part of the whole on catechetical instruction is constituted by the initial and ongoing formation of catechists. Interesting ideas are also offered about the teaching method:

"And here it is good to emphasize in particular that not only the truths taught by Jesus Christ, but also the method he followed to make them penetrate the minds of those who came to hear him, are indicated, and sometimes with the most minute details, in the holy Gospel, where described with what means and subsidies the Savior made his doctrine accessible ».

The so-called "method of the Gospel" then coincides, in Don Ricaldone's argument, with the inductive method that uses imagination, figures, images, examples, real objects "from the physical, social, religious, historical environment in which you live". Also some instances of the movement of the active school that stimulate the participation of the students and developing "the centers of interest" that stimulate the young people to reach the heroic levels of virtue are recovered here.  

3.4. Entertainment and the concept of chastity

This line of thought also includes the discourse on the means that attract young people to the oratory. Sporting, recreational and recreational activities, especially football and cinema, are seen in a negative light until they come to statements by the Rector Major as they were at the GC16: "In the post-war period we are witnessing a real frenzy of entertainment: it would seem that those poor wretches, who for long years lived amidst the privations and dangers of the battlefields, feel like an unbridled need to dive into fun. It's a real madness! [...] You are like me persuaded of the satanically evil influence of cinema: the ruins that are accumulating everywhere, are such, that we fear for the moral and Christian life of future generations ». The Chapter in a rather prolonged discussion was agreed, however, not only in the limitation of the cinema with the criterion of not diminishing the turnout of the children, but also recommended the preparation of personnel for the Salesian evaluation of films, for the preparation of Salesian film plots. , for contact with manufacturers and for technical assistance to homes. Discussions about cinema and entertainment in general were a constant of the government in the period studied.

The related theme was education in chastity perceived rather in the perspective of a "holy intransigence". With the quotation of the saying of St. Thomas of Villanova it is stated: Si non est castus nihil est and the conception applies above all to entertainment: the cinema, the theater, the uniforms of the players (also of the host teams), the readings, the newspapers, etc. Under the influence of the enthusiasm of the canonization of Don Bosco, we continue in the line of Don Albera and Rinaldi but with a tension to perfection so high, so counter-cultural and with such detailed indications, to make it probably not sustainable at long duration in the decades that followed and will bring different cultural coordinates.