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John Paul II and La Pira

John Paul II on several occasions evoked the memory of La Pira, holding him up as an example of the Christian layman with an involvement in the cultural and political world. He mentioned him on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Politicians, and on the occasion of specific celebrations he delivered his message and his blessing.

A particular instance is 26 April 2004 when, in the context of the centenary of La Pira’s birth, the pope gave hospitality in the Vatican to the meeting with which the National Committee of the ANCI (Associazione Nazionale dei Comuni d’Italia) had decided to commemorate La Pira, granting an audience to the participants.

During the audience the Pontiff made a brief speech during which, among other things, he recalled the fact that “La Pira’s was an extraordinary experience as political figure and as believer, capable of combining contemplation and prayer with social and administrative activities, with a special feeling for the poor and the suffering (…)

Following the example of Giorgio La Pira,” urged  the pope. “place yourselves wholeheartedly at the service of  your communities, with special attention to the younger age-groups, while also encouraging their spiritual development. Do not fail to cultivate those human and Christian values which compose the rich idealistic patrimony of Europe. It has given rise to a civilization which in the course of centuries has furthered the growth of genuinely democratic societies. Without ethical foundations democracy runs the risk of deteriorating over time and even of disappearing.

“Thanks to the contribution made by all, the dream of a better world can come true. May God grant it to humanity to see this prophesy of peace fulfilled!”