28 November 2018
Lay Saints

Toniolo and La Pira, “Prophets” at the Service of the Common Good

A few days ago, Pope Francis dedicated words of great esteem for two lay faithful who – with their life and their commitment – left a mark in the recent history of Italy: the Venerable Giorgio La Pira and the Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo.


In regard to Toniolo, at the conference dedicated to him on the centenary of his death held at the Catholic University of Milan,  in the Pope’s letter signed by Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State and sent to the Archbishop of Milan, Mario Delpini, we read that he was an “exemplary father and husband, Professor of Economy and a model of lay sanctity”.

The ideal cultivated by Toniolo, stated further on in the letter, was “the ideal of a truly democratic society, in which the guiding light would be the common good to be pursued in the convergence of all the social forces to the benefit of the poorest. A democracy that, to be such, even if open to everyone and with the cooperation of all, in the eyes of the Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo could never have been adequately achieved, without drawing from the lifeblood of evangelical values”.

With reference to La Pira, Francis talked about him to two hundred among the members of the Foundation of the same name and participants at the fifth national conference of the associations and groups named after the Sicilian politician who was mayor of Florence and has been a Venerable since 5th July this year.

Giorgio La Pira, said the Pope in his speech, was “an enthusiastic witness of the Gospel and a prophet of modern times” whose action, always inspired “by a Christian viewpoint”, “was ahead of his times”. Moreover, his example as servant “of the common good” is precious for the politicians of today, tempted by the search for “exclusive personal or group benefit rather than the interests of everybody” or by “excessive greed for power” that “prevents, in fact, the generational turnover”. 

Lastly, the Pope highlighted that such a delicate moment “in the Italian and international political life” requires “lay faithful and statesmen of great humanity and Christian depth to serve the common good”.