National Catholic Reporter

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Jobs knew value of communication, Jesuit says

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Apple co-founder Steve Jobs holds the new "iPad" in this 2010 file photo. (CNS photo/Kimberly White, Reuters) (Oct. 6, 2011)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Like Pope Pius XI, who founded Vatican Radio and built the Vatican train station, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs recognized the importance of expanding communication, a Jesuit told Vatican Radio.

Jobs, 56, died Oct. 5 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Father Antonio Spadaro, the new editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civilta 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," the Jesuit told the radio Oct. 6.

Father 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' 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.

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On his own blog -- www.cyberteologia.it -- Father 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."

Father 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."

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