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The categorical imperative of charity


La Pira’s whole life was a constant example of charity towards the needy in action, as witness his commitment to the Conference of St. Vincent, the importance of the Mass of St. Procolo, everything he did , and his long-lasting friendship with Fr. Facibeni .

This care for brethren in need, however, necessarily leads to a commitment to eradicating the underlying causes of the situation. Christian ethics is not only about the relations between individuals but involves social conduct, too. This is certainly no innovative discovery, but the concept of a social morality, in Italy at least, only began to take root after World War II an immediate corollary of the message of he Gospel. “…our ‘scheme’ of sanctification has been overturned, wrote La Pira in 1945. We thought that the silent walls of prayer would have been sufficient! We thought that by staying closed within the interior fortress of prayer, we would have been able to keep away from the problems that shook the world; but no sir! Here we are grappling with a reality which is sometimes unbeatably hard…have we really understood that  individual “perfection” does not excuse us from that of the community as a whole?
…Society has to be changed! The interior life is not enough; this life needs to be built with external  channels that can take it to the city of man. Abandon the secluded cloister of prayer….Change the structures which are bad in the human city – renovate the house of man the destroyer
” . Among the many texts onthis subject see e.g.:

§ Our social vocation

§ The five principles of social ethics