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Don Luigi Sturzo

Luigi Sturzo (1871-1959) was born at Caltagirone into a family of landowners. He was ordained priest in 1894, and in the same year went to Rome to complete his studies at the Gregorian University and the Accademia Tomistica.

During his time in Rome he attended the lectures of Giuseppe Toniolo, got to know Romolo Murri and made contact with the Società della Gioventù and the Opera dei Congressi. In 1898, having graduated at the Gregorian, he returned permanently to Caltagirone. From 1905 to 1920 he was deputy mayor of his native city.

On 18 January 1919, with his appeal A tutti gli uomini liberi e forti (To all men strong and free) he founded the Partito Popolare Italiano, a secular, non-confessional political formation of which he became secretary. 

Opposed to any form of collaboration with the fascist regime, in the autumn of 1924 he was advised by the Holy See to move to London. Thus began an exile destined to last 22 years. From 1940 to 1946 he lived in the United States.

On his return to Italy he was appointed life senator. He took no further active part in politics and maintained a position of independence with regard to the DC, often adopting decidedly conservative standpoints. He died in Rome in 1959.

The newspaper controversy between Sturzo and La Pira (May 1954-September 1955) took place in the context of the complicated crisis in Florentine industry. Sturzo criticized the position of La Pira, who was in favour of state intervention to achieve full employment, a position La Pira also expressed in his debate in the Press with the President of Confindustria, Angelo Costa. La Pira’s response to Sturzo was to maintain that direct state intervention in the economic sector was a priority condition for the solution of the social question.

For a few quotations on the subject go to: