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Policies for social justice

La Pira felt that the social rights enshrined in the Constitution should not be confined to paper. His real commitment – firstly in government then as city mayor – put him face-to-face with the reality of unemployment, disease, housing problems etc.

" I have one ally only (he wrote in his notes in 1961 as he prepared for the visit to Palazzo Vecchio of British Prime Minister Hugh Gaitskell): fraternal justice as the Gospel presents it, meaning:
1) work for those who have none    
2) homes for those who have none
3) assistance for those who need it
4) spiritual and political freedom for all
5) the artistic and spiritual vocation of Florence within the universal frame of the Christian, humane city

These were to characterise his administration (see  also City/right to housing and City/right to work). Parallel to this, however, La Pira also conducted theoretical analyses on economic and political matters. His writings in “Cronache sociali[Social Chronicles]” in particular created a sensation, stirring dissent (go to Biblioteca testi/attesa della povera gente/attesa della povera gente) and debate within the ruling Christian Democratic Party and the Catholic Church .

It could be said that this debate between moderate liberal/liberalising Catholics on the one hand and supporters of political interventionism to pull the economic levers on the other conditioned the Christian Democrat party for its whole existence, with La Pira always in the front line and his disagreement on this with Fr. Sturzo is emblematic . It was also recurring theme in his letters to Pope Pius XII .