L’appello di Luigi Sturzo a tutti gli uomini liberi e forti

Il 18 gennaio 1919 a Roma nell’albergo di Santa Chiara,vicino al Pantheon,viene reso pubblico l’<<Appello ai liberi e forti>>.Questo documento,ispirato e redatto dal sacerdote siciliano don Luigi Sturzo e sottoscritto da altri dieci esponenti cattolici,costituisce l’atto di nascita del Partito Popolare Italiano e rappresenta al contempo l’ingresso ufficiale dei cattolici italiani nella vita politica del Regno dopo cinquant’anni di autoesclusione in base al dettato dei pontefici romani i quali consideravano lo Stato liberale intimamente anticristiano in quanto responsabile della fine del potere temporale del papa.

Nell’appello,rivolto “a tutti gli uomini moralmente liberi e socialmente evoluti”, si sosteneva innanzitutto la necessità di una composizione pacifica e giusta delle controversie internazionali sorte in seguito  alle distruzioni e ai lutti  provocati dalla Grande Guerra.

Per l’Italia si chiedeva più libertà e autonomia,un forte decentramento amministrativo,la valorizzazione dei nuclei naturali(la famiglia,le classi,i Comuni),il sistema elettorale proporzionale,il suffragio universale e il voto alle donne,il Senato elettivo,la riforma burocratica e quella tributaria,la semplificazione delle leggi,un’equa previdenza sociale,la lotta all’analfabetismo e al latifondo,la soluzione della questione meridionale.

Il popolarismo di Sturzo,orientato e mosso costitutivamente dai valori cristiani,trovando la sua espressione in un partito che si definì sin da subito aconfessionale e laico, si pose dunque come forza politica,nuova e dinamica,intesa a promuovere in Italia un pieno e positivo progresso morale e materiale guidato dagli ideali di giustizia e libertà,a partire dal basso,vale a dire dai corpi sociali intermedi e dalle autonomie locali,nel rispetto della piccola proprietà e in vista dell’innalzamento delle classi lavoratrici.

Don Luigi Sturzo

Forti del successo nelle elezioni del novembre del 1919,i popolari videro confermati i  loro consensi elettorali nelle elezioni del maggio 1921 ottenendo il 20,4% dei voti e 108 deputati,ma ciò non fu sufficiente per opporsi validamente alla montante onda fascista che, dopo aver preso il potere nell’ottobre 1922,con le leggi fascistissime nel 1926 abolì tutti i partiti contrari al regime decretando così anche lo scioglimento del Partito Popolare Italiano.

Don Sturzo,considerato un pericoloso oppositore da Mussolini e un inopportuno piantagrane dal cardinale Gasparri,prese-costrettovi-già dal 1924 la via dell’esilio riparando prima a Londra e poi dal 1940 a Nuova York. Ritornò in Italia solo nel settembre del 1946. Nel 1952 fu nominato senatore a vita dal presidente della Repubblica Luigi Einaudi. Morì ottantottenne a Roma l’8 agosto 1959.

Perseguitato dal potere politico,inviso alle alte gerarchie ecclesiastiche,inascoltato dal suo paese,abbandonato nella disgrazia dagli amici,omaggiato e venerato-per lo più formalmente- da morto ,Luigi Sturzo si erge ieri come oggi alla stregua di un profeta che ha immaginato e lottato per un’ Italia diversa che non è stata e ancora non è.

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