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Rome Reports

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Pope's trip to highlight the example of two misunderstood priests

The pope traveled to northern Italy to pray in the church guarding the tomb of Fr. Primo Mazzolari. People were in the streets, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis since dawn. "We've been here since 4 a.m." The pope first prayed before the Blessed Sacrament chapel. Then he stopped for a few minutes and stood silently before Primo Mazzolari's grave. This priest was misunderstood in his time when he opposed the war, defended the autonomy of the laity and approached those who were far from the faith. POPE FRANCIS "When he preached to the seminarians at Cremona, he reminded them: 'Our strength is to be' repeaters.'' But between a 'dead repeater,' like a speaker, and a 'live repeater,' there's a big difference." From there the pope traveled to Barbiana, near Florence, to pray in front of Lorenzo Milani's tomb. This Italian priest from the last century broke away from the dominant position in the Italian Church, which was too concentrated on organizing denominational institutions to occupy spaces in society. Lorenzo Milani criticized some priests in a rather rude way and asked them to dedicate themselves to the sacraments. One of his books was censored and banned by the "Santo Uffizio." The pope visited his tomb and the church in the village where he worked. He also greeted some of those who learned from him and proposed him as an example for priests. POPE FRANCIS "Without this thirst for the Absolute, one can be a good officer of the sacred, but one cannot be a priest, a true priest, capable of becoming Christ's servants in the brothers. Dear brothers, with the grace of God, let us try to be men of faith, a blunt, not watered-down faith; men of charity, a pastoral charity with all those whom the Lord entrusts to us as siblings and children." Although the pope's brief visit was private, he raised awareness of the brave examples of these two priests, who until today were not well-known outside of Italy. JMB/MB CTV -FL - BN Up: MB