The 1976 elections

 

 

On the occasion of the 1976 general elections the Secretary of the Christian Democrat party Benigno Zaccagnini – who was attempting to reform the party and to reinforce its more progressive element – asked La Pira to stand as a candidate in keeping with the spirit of dialogue between those elements which helped to defeat Fascism, which – like any authoritarian regime – led inevitably to the devastating frenzy of war. (…)

We need, added Zaccagnini, to resume that project with the spirit that animated the members of the Constituent Assembly and with the intellectual and moral integrity which in you has never been lacking.

The necessary solidaristic, unifying vision which is at the Antipodes from rampant and deceptive pseudo-libertarian individualism imposes on all of us a resolute recovery of those values which were at the basis of the commitment of Catholics active in public life, because they are now more valid than ever.

 

Despite his already precarious state of health, La Pira’s response was positive: … one of the conquests of the Republican Constitution, he wrote, was that which guaranteed the basic rights of the individual, but [also] the protection of social rights, without which the very liberty of the individual would not be sufficiently guaranteed (…) because, in a state of advanced capitalism, to entrust ourselves to the sole laws of free competition and of the market would mean the creation of monopolies which in actual fact limit and discriminate against equality and liberty.

Let us therefore set hand once more to the great project of the ‘casa comune’. Against all trickery and short-sightedness, let us measure up to the concrete problems of every day… working in all honesty and spirit of service for the good of our country and the world at large.

 

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