Igino Giordani: From Montecitorio to the World

“Politics is made for the people, not the people for politics. It is a means, not an end. Morality first, the human person first, collectivity first – then the party, then the tables of the programme, then the theories of governing.” With these words of Giordani, The Hon. Gianfranco Fini, President of of the Italian House of Parliament, opened the meeting dedicated to the popular deputy, who knew so well the difficult times of Fascist persecution, the atrocity of war, the uncertainty of reconstruction.

The gathering took place in Lupa Hall, on the 14th of June, in the presence of two-hundred people. Fini focused on three cornerstones of Giordani’s actions in politics: the dignity of the human person, liberty, and work. Battles he led that at times anticipated the times, and at a great risk of being misunderstood as in the case of the conscientious objector law. the President of the House also recalled one of his personal battles that came to nothing: the request that the European Parliament would not refuse to acknowledge the role of Christianity in Europe’s roots. Political defeat and misunderstanding have a bitter taste, of course, but Giordani, at critical moments in Parliament’s history, amid the screams and strong ideological contrasts, managed to make reason prevail, humanism, and a Christian spirit that even convinced the Marxists. Alberto Lo Presti, director of the Igino Giordani Centre described Giordani during various phases of his life, offering a picture of the man through short film clips.

“From Montecitorio to the World” was the title chosen for the moment of remembrance, expressing the universality of Giordani’s message, but also the singularity of a particular encounter which happened precisely at Montecitorio, one which literally overturned his life, making him no longer recognizable even by the members of his own party.

The particulars of this encounter with Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, who transmitted to Giordani the passion for unity and for the Gospel which enters into history and resolves even the most complex problems of society, were described by Maria Voce, the current president of the Focolare Movement. “(Chiara) drew God near: she made feel that he was Father, Brother, Friend, present to humankind,” Maria Voce quotes. And this explains to us the political vision of Chiara Lubich, focused on the principle of fraternity which “allows one to understand and make ones’ own the viewpoint of the other, so that no interest and no human need is alien to me. There is need of a pact of fraternity for Italy.” This is the hope of the president of the Focolare, “because the good of the country requires the efforts of all.”

The legacy of Lubich and Giordani, which has been embraced by the Movement for Unity in Politics proposes to parliamentarians, politicians, administrators, political officials, and scholars from around the world to describe the principle of fraternity within the framework of political action. How to apply it in practical terms has been shown by two Italian parliaments, of opposing political parties that have accepted the challenge.

Giacomo Santini, Senator of the Popolo della Libertà, admits the difficulty in “considering the person on the other side of the aisle as your brother when he has just insulted you a few minutes before, as Lubich provocatively invites you to do.”  However, it is possible and Giordani showed it by remaining in the political trenches, amid contrasting ideologies, but with respect for diversity. Letizia De Torre, a deputy of the Democratic Party recalls a Giordani who was “secure in his convictions, but not entrenched; able to see the positive, capable of dialogue” For De Torre, gathering his legacy now means “rebuilding a democracy of the community and not of the fifty-per-cent-plus-one, a democracy of reciprocity within Parliament and in the country.”

The word then went to students of participating schools from the world which are animated by the Movement for Unity in Politics. They open horizons of hope and renewal, starting from situations of extreme crisis such as in Argentina. Carlos, from Italy, to do a specialization in labor law says that during the crisis of 2000, when his country was bankrupt, the decision to invest in education policy seemed utopian, and certainly not conclusive for the daily dramas. Today it has yielded 200 local administrators who, from the perspective of fraternity are trying to respond to their country’s problems; meanwhile schools have multiplied to the Tierra del Fuego.

In Brazil, the denunciation of oppressive social inequalities and poverty has not been deemed sufficient by Daniel, a journalist who is studying for a Master in Political Science at Sophia University Institute in Loppiano. A return to the logic of service, of forming consciences to the common good, bending down to meet  the problems of the country were the guiding force for his own choice of commitment which he gleaned from the experience of the Political Movement for Unity and the thought of Giordani, who, from the small hall in Montecitorio,  in a way he may never have imagined, is now a teacher of life and commitment for the whole world.

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