Monday, June 20, 2011

Giorgio La Pira: The Five Principles of Social Morality

First published in 1939 in L'Osservatore Romano, this excerpt is from an article by Giorgio La Pira on Christian social thought. Please visit the website of the Fondazione La Pira to see the original source, and do look around the site, there is a lot of great stuff there, much of it available in English.

Now, to La Pira:

First principle: all men are brothers because they are all created by the one God and all redeemed by the one Saviour. (...) If a doctrine undermines the basis of the gospel it is anti-Christian. It must be rejected as anti-human. It is bad. It comes from Cain. In no way does it conform to the divine goodness of Christ. (...)

Second principle: these brothers are not "isolated": the love that unites them in God and each other is whole: in other words, it makes them members of one organism, like the parts of one body: the mystical body of Christ. (...) Here is the divine view of life. It embraces heaven and earth, past and present, present and future, and makes the earthly city move towards the heavenly city.

Third principle: every human creature, as, indeed any other creature, has a task to carry out in life. Each human creature is a worker, and God himself assigns the work to be done. (...) I do not work to kill or to overwhelm my brother. I work for him when I work to build my real house. When I work illuminated by the light of reason and, even more, by the light of faith, I plough the furrow in my land, but the seed I sow will provide grain for many, will provide grain for everyone! Free labour, labour of love (...)

Fourth principle: the order of the Mystical Body, the City of God, has gradations (...) my family is sacred. God wishes it. My city is sacred. My country is sacred. My lineage is sacred, and, conversely, the family is sacred, the city, the country and the lineage of my brothers.

Fifth principle: the four principles above are true in the supernatural order and are equally true in the natural order. Because grace heals and elevates nature. It works as nature works: in the same direction, according to the same laws and the same true and good inclinations. The Gospel is also the revelation of the natural order!


  1. Very well articulated. Quite ironic the contrast between La Pira's genuine love of humanity and the misanthropic litigation-friendly atheist ghetto that 'humanism' has become here in Blighty.

  2. Hello Mr. Lindsay,

    Thank you very much!

    Hello Gregor,

    I think Christians ought to take back the term "humanism."