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Pope Francis will pray at the tombs of two controversial priests of the twentieth century

2017-06-17

Pope Francis will travel to northern Italy on Tuesday to pray before the tombs of two priests that were not well understood in their time, Primo Mazzolari and Lorenzo Milani.

The first was a military chaplain during World War I. The experience greatly affected him, and he had no fear in vigorously denouncing Mussolini's fascism. John XXIII and Paul VI recognized his value. His preaching was direct and energetic, and he died in 1959. 

FR. PRIMO MAZZOLARI
"Stay awake. Pray not to enter into temptation. Temptation began with money. Thirty pieces of silver, a small profit. How little a conscience is worth, dear brothers. Sometimes we sell ourselves for less than 30 pieces of silver."

Lorenzo Milani was born in 1923 and died in 1967. He defended the right of conscientious objection, since he refused to go to war, which gave him much grief. He was denounced by a group of ex-fighters and brought to trial.

He also stood out for his commitment to education. He taught illiterate children of farmers and ranchers in the rural parishes where he lived. At that time, 13 percent of Italy's population was illiterate.  

ANDREA ACALI
Vaticanist
"We are seeing how Lorenzo Milani is being revalued because he had great clashes with the Curia in his time. He was way ahead.”

Both are considered examples of the Church's social doctrine, and precursors of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis will first travel to Bozzolo, in northern Italy, to pray at the tomb of Fr. Primo Mazzolari. He will then go to Barbiana, near Florence, to pray before Fr. Lorenzo's. He will return to the Vatican that same day. 

JRB/JC-MB
Fondazione Don Primo Mazzolari / Fondazione Don Lorenzo Milani / FM / RR
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