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Jesuit compares Steve Jobs to Pope Pius XI

By on Friday, 7 October 2011

Steve Jobs: 'Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life' (Photo: PA)

Steve Jobs: 'Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life' (Photo: PA)

Like Pope Pius XI, who founded Vatican Radio and built the Vatican train station, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs recognised the importance of expanding communication, a Jesuit has told Vatican Radio.

Jobs, 56, died on Wednesday, October 5, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Fr Antonio Spadaro, the new editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica, told Vatican Radio that Jobs made technology part of the lives of millions and millions of people, not just technicians.

“Steve Jobs had something in common with Pius XI and that is that he understood that communication is the greatest value we have at our disposal today and we must make it bear fruit,” he said.

Fr Spadaro said Steve Jobs had a “great ability to believe in dreams, to see life not only in terms of little daily things, but to have a vision in front of him. Basically, Steve Jobs’s most important message was this, ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’ – in other words, maintain the ability to see life in new ways.”

The “stay hungry” quote was from a commencement address Jobs gave at California’s Stanford University in 2005.

On his own blog – – Fr Spadaro embedded a video of Jobs giving the Stanford commencement address and wrote about how some of his points echoed points made by the Jesuits’ founder, St Ignatius of Loyola.

Jobs told the new graduates: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

Fr Spadaro said that in his Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius wrote that one way of making an important choice is to examine how one would go about making that decision if he knew he were about to die.

“In the cases of Ignatius and Steve, death isn’t a bogeyman,” but is present as a reminder that in the face of death, the only thing that remains is what is truly important for each person, he wrote.

“I don’t know if Jobs was a believer,” the Jesuit wrote. In the Stanford speech, he said, Jobs was “speaking simply about the interior disposition one must have when making important decisions in life, focusing on what counts. No one, believer or non-believer, can make choices in life if he thinks he’s immortal.”

Under the headline “The talented Mr Apple”, the Vatican newspaper put news of Jobs’ death on its front page.

“Steve Jobs was one of the protagonists and symbols of the Silicon Valley revolution,” which brought changes not only in technology, was also a “revolution of customs, mentality and culture,” said L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

Jobs was “a visionary who united technology and art,” the paper said. He was a man of “talent, pure talent”.

  • tommo

    Wonderful tribute by the Vatican.  Let’s hope this is picked up in the wider media.  

    May Steve Jobs RIP. 

  • Rowancarstairs

    What modernist rot, Jobs was an atheist, had no belief in eternal life and although a brilliant man was devoted to making money. He may have taken the credit but his products were made and assembled by the very poorest in the far east who shared nothing of the wealth created by ‘apple’, Job’s business.  

  • GFFM

    Henry Ford was a visionary as well as was J.P. Morgan; but this status does not make them great human beings. In fact the contrary. Jobs ex-partner Steve Wozniak may have something to say about Jobs as a person. I am not sure Jobs has united technology and art–this may be a major overstatement. Again the encomia from all quarters is premature. Having more information at our fingertips in an instant via Itouch and Ipad, doesn’t mean we have learned anything of real value; in fact, quite the opposite.

  • Oferdesade

    NO!!! Jobs strived to democratize the media. he provided access for the individual to what had until then been reserved for the conglomerates – computing power, media creation and dissemination. 
    radio vatican and all church media is aimed at disseminating its own message, and any resistance to that message is immediately quashed – as the recent Zenith story proves. the church was against the printing press because it allowed the public to read and understand the bible for itself – bereft of priestly intervention. the present administration sees new media as a means to evangelize, not dialogue.
    placing steve jobs within this context is tantamount to hijacking the dead. 

  • GFFM

    Very good point. No one talks about the slave labor and horrible labor conditions in China used to build technology such as the Ipad etc. I believe the ethics and morality of slave labor and exploitation simply don’t outweigh the invention of the Iphone. The media has been democratized for quite some time; Jobs didn’t do that. It’s not as if we’ve been living in the stone age before the Ipad came along. Moreover, one could argue that most in America, especially the younger generations are less informed than the preceding generations. The millennial generation does not use technology to inform themselves; instead they use it to down load music, watch Youtube, do Facebook, and download lousy movies. 

  • GFFM

    I meant to say outweigh the invention of the Iphone.

  • Anonymous

    Fr. Spadaro is like another St Thomas Aquinas, who wrote that ” a female is a watered  down variant of a male…a female fetus is deficient and untentionally caused.”  Plz must read in “Sex, the greatest damned thing?” check it out on  Spadaro’s opinion is the same kind of affirmation borrowed by Thomas from another atheist Aristotle, which has resulted in the worst bigotry and violence against women in the church. Spadaro can build a mausuleum for Steve Jobs, but it fails to mention: at what cost? What cost to himself and all the young Chinese college graduates, who have been committing suicide for heavy loads of work for peanuts.