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Pope meeting members of the Centro Studi Rosario Livatino. Pope meeting members of the Centro Studi Rosario Livatino.  (Vatican Media)

Pope holds up Italy’s assassinated anti-mafia judge as model for jurists

Pope Francis on Friday received in audience a group of Italian lawyers, judges, notaries and law professors and academics who are members of the Centro Studio Rosario Livatino. The group is named after an Italian judge who was assassinated by the mafia in 1990 and whose cause of beatification and canonization is proceeding.

By Robin Gomes

“Livatino is an example not only for magistrates, but for all those who work in the field of law: for the coherence between his faith and his commitment to work, and for the relevance of his reflections.”   Pope Francis made the remark to members of the Centro Studio Rosario Livatino, that is in Rome for a conference on the theme, “Judiciary in Crisis. Paths to Regain Justice”.

Martyr of  justice, faith

Pope Francis recalled his predecessor, Pope Saint John Paul II, who on May 9, 1993, met the parents of Livatino, who was killed on September 21, 1990, at the age of 38, on his way to work.  On that occasion, the Pope called him "martyr of justice and indirectly of faith". 

Pope Francis said the mafia did away with him because he was dealing with confiscating their illegal property.

The Holy Father commented on the convictions and reflections of Livatino on issues, on issues such as human life, euthanasia, “new rights”, human dignity, dispensing of justice and man’s relationship to God.

Speaking about the role of those administering justice, Livatino said that they are nothing more than employees of the state, specially tasked with applying the laws that society gives itself.   

Euthanasia

Regarding the proposal of a bill on the right to euthanasia, Livatino said that the believer's opposition to this law is based on the conviction that human life a divine gift that man is not allowed interrupt.  Likewise, a non-believer opposes it on the conviction that life is protected by natural law because it belongs to the sphere of "unavailable" goods.

The Pope lamented that such considerations seem far from the sentences pronounced in the courtrooms, in Italy and in many democratic systems on the subject of the right to life. The main interest of such pronouncements would be to die or not being treated, according to a law that creatively invents the term the  “right to die”.

“New rights”

Speaking about the role of those administering justice, Livatino said that they are nothing more than employees of the state, specially tasked with applying the laws that society gives itself.   

Pope Francis pointed to the relevance of Livatino, saying he saw decades ahead of his time what would emerge as the justification of the encroachment of the judges in areas that don’t belong to them, especially regarding the so-called "new rights" that satisfy new desires without any objectivity.

Faith and society

Livatino is also a witness to how much wisdom and humility is needed in dispensing justice, keeping in mind always the "transcendent dignity of man".

Pope Francis said that with these convictions, Rosario Livatino has left us all a shining example of how faith can fully express itself in the service of the civil community and its laws; and how obedience to the Church can be combined with obedience to the state, especially in the delicate and important ministry of enforcing and applying the law.

29 November 2019, 16:19