“Principi”, the War, the Liberation

It was his involvement with works of charity that gave rise to La Pira’s passion for politics  which for him were the most effective way of doing good. The Church had for some time been aware that the end of the Fascist regime was nigh and that it had to prepare a new political class capable of playing a leading role in the reconstruction of society. In this the young La Pira played an important part. La Pira joined in the clandestine meetings which had been taking place ever since 1940 in the milieu of the Catholic University in Milan, along with Giuseppe Dossetti, Giuseppe Lazzati and Amintore Fanfani. During those same years he was often invited to the assemblies of the “Movimento Laureati Cattolici” and of the FUCI. In 1943, when as a result of these intense activities the “Codice di Camaldoli” was drawn up as a genuine manifesto of political involvement by Catholic intellectuals and scholars, La Pira was one of those officially consulted as an expert.

In 1939 he founded the review “Principi” , in which he courageously stood up for the inherent value of each human being and for freedom. It was suppressed by the Fascist regime. During the time of racial persecution he also devoted himself to helping Jewish families to find refuge in monasteries and convents. When the Nazis occupied Florence in 1943, and La Pira became a wanted man, he took refuge at Fonterutoli, in the country house of his friend Jacopo Mazzei, the father of Fioretta, and later in Rome, with Monsignor Giovambattista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI.

During this period La Pira gave courses in social doctrine at the Lateran University, in which he stressed how urgent it was for Christian laypeople to proceed from prayer to social commitment. From this arose La nostra vocazione sociale


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