FOR eight decades, The Christian Science Monitor has been journalistically circumnavigating the globe. The scenes of major world events have been our ports of call: wars on every continent, changes of government, the emergence of new technologies, social and cultural trends. We have chronicled the history of the times in these pages for our readers. Why so adventurous, so global a mission for a modest-sized newspaper based in Boston?
Mary Baker Eddy founded the Monitor in 1908. In an editorial in the first issue she said her newspaper's purpose was ``to spread undivided the Science that operates unspent.'' She continued: ``The object of the Monitor is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.'' These two statements continue as the newspaper's compass and chart.
Spreading Science ``undivided'' implies bringing to all parts of the human experience the clarifying effect of truth; it implies furthering the intellectual, moral, and spiritual understanding which is vital to the living of universal brotherhood. This suggests a far broader mandate than the winning of converts. The effort to ``bless all mankind'' leads the paper away from narrowness, sectarianism, polemics, and personality to a discussion of public issues that contributes to their resolution.
An announcement in the Christian Science Sentinel of Oct. 17, 1908, stated that the newspaper was intended to ``appeal to good men and women everywhere who are interested in the betterment of all human conditions and the moral and spiritual advancement of the race.'' Again, this implies a universality of coverage as well as of readership. It also suggests that the newspaper identifies its readers not by their income or their educational attainments but by the scope of their sense of citizenship: their willingness to rise above self-interest and engage in the concerns of the larger community.
In a letter a month later, Mrs. Eddy conveyed her desire that ``every Christian Scientist, and as many others as possible, subscribe for and read our daily newspaper.''
The Monitor has been mindful too of matters close to the hearth: the health of family relationships, the hunger for beauty, peace, and gentleness in our private lives. Hence such pages as The Home Forum - always a quiet harbor from the world's storms.
At the start of the Monitor's 81st year, all this is as valid as ever - in some ways more so. Broadcasting and other developments have altered the way people receive breaking news, but newspapers remain crucial for their ability to provide depth and detail.
The Monitor adds a further dimension by considering patterns of thought as well as action. It searches out the causes of human problems and identifies remedies.
As evident with this issue, The Christian Science Monitor has put into Boston for some modifications - we've taken on the new advances in journalistic rigging and hull design. Our mission - to report to the world what it is up against and wherein its progress lies - remains unchanged. Indeed, we feel a gathering of new energy as we embark again under full sail.