100 years after Igino Giordani’s journalistic debut

20. 11. 2023

On October 21 at the Mariapolis Center in Castel Gandolfo, as part of CNDAY, the figure of Igino Giordani, former editor of Città Nuova, was remembered a century after his debut in journalism (1923-2023).
Alberto Lo Presti of the Igino Giordani Center offered reflections on the profession of Igino Giordani, writer and journalist, a career that began 100 years ago.
Igino Giordani (1894-1980), a protagonist of the 20th century, participated in the exciting engagements of his time with linear consistency and heroic temperament. Collaborator of Sturzo, opponent of Mussolini, confidant of De Gasperi, friend of Paul VI, co-founder of Chiara Lubich’s Focolare Movement.

Some key moments in his journey
Giordani was the eldest of six children born into an poor family in Tivoli in 1894. In 1920, he married Mya Salvati, and the couple had four children.
Giordani belonged to the generation that lived through world wars, and he was all too familiar with the atrocities of the two world wars. As soon as he graduated, he was sent to the Karst trenches. He later admitted that he did not fire a single shot at the enemy for fear of murdering “a brother”: he has always felt that peace is of the utmost importance and that war is “an act of madness against God and human reason.”
He was wounded and suffered horrible wounds that cost him three years in the hospital and eleven surgeries, as well as a silver medal. The writings of a layman, Contardo Ferrini, who subsequently became a saint, helped him learn that holiness can be reached even in the midst of the world.

Political and cultural commitment
A century ago, on January 18, 1919, the Italian People’s Party’s Luigi Sturzo launched the Appeal to the “free and strong,” addressing those who, as “morally free and socially evolved men,” who were willing to commit in supporting a political and social project for Italy in the aftermath of World War I. An appeal that found Igino Giordani laying on a hospital bed in between surgeries, alternating with university exams at Rome’s La Sapienza University’s Faculty of Letters.
He reacted quickly: he was among the first to support the People Party’s fledgling experience, and among the first to collaborate with the Sicilian priest in building the party, particularly in the Press Office. Igino distinguished himself via his analytical abilities, and he was appointed head of the newly created political party’s press office.
Giordani heroically opposed the escalating violence of fascism. As a result, the police harassed him, limiting his capacity to write, meet people, and even teach in public schools.

Despite the Fascists’ attempts force him into exile, Giordani, as a war-wounded and decorated veteran (an irony considering his predilection for peace), obtained some protection under the same Fascist rhetoric celebrating World War I heroes. He was, however, banned from the Register of Journalists and forced to retire from teaching in public schools.

After WWII, Giordani was elected to the Italian Parliament in 1946, becoming one of the “constituent fathers” who created the ideal foundations of the Italian Republic. He was re-elected in 1948 and was elected to the Council of the Peoples of Europe in Strasbourg in 1950.
Giordani took over as editor of “Il Popolo,” his party’s official newspaper, in 1946.
He resigned the following year, however, weary of the frequent outside pressure that sought to influence political decisions. He rejected to be labelled a “directed editor.”
His parliamentary speech in 1949, in which he urged for Italian inclusion in the Atlantic Pact, seeing it as a path to peace and unity rather than a defensive military policy, was a noteworthy moment in his political career. All members of the chamber applaud this speech.

The meeting with Chiara Lubich – Focolare Confounder
In September 1948, he met Chiara Lubich for the first time. Igino is 54 years old, a respected writer, a dedicated politician, a hagiographer and newspaper editor, a friend of bishops, and a frequent visitor to the Vatican. However, when he meets a young laywoman half his age who is the founder of a new spiritual community called the Focolare Movement, his life changes. He discovers a solution to his thirst for holiness.
Giordani brings to Chiara the legacy of his passionate political and professional life as a married man, a family man, a cultural man engaged in the world and history with courage and passion. Chiara sees in him the entirety of mankind, with all of its tragedies and virtues, and regards him as the seed of all the branches that she will gradually establish, giving the Movement new development.
He will be honored as a confounder by the foundress for his significant contribution to the implementation of the plan of unity engraved in her spirituality and lifestyle.
Giordani was not re-elected to the House of Representatives in 1953, following numerous struggles defined by peace and a profound, countercultural vision. This enabled him to devote himself entirely to the Focolare Movement, producing numerous volumes on unity as a social principle and hope.

In 1959, he assumed the editorship of “Città Nuova.”
During the Second Vatican Council, Giordani was a prolific writer, foreseeing various subjects, particularly the role of the laity and the ecclesiological vision, which he saw as universal and comprehensive.
He died in 1980, and his legacy as a great character and role model was instantly recognized. He left a great legacy of writings, notes, correspondence, books, and articles, which the Igino Giordani Center and the General Archives of the Focolare Movement have preserved and made available to the public.
Igino Giordani’s life continues to challenge us today, providing witness to a culture and politics that values coherence, dialogue, and peace building.
He is a multifaceted figure who left profound traces and opened up prophetic perspectives on cultural, political, religious, and social dimensions.
The process of beatification for him began in 2004, and L’Espresso, a renowned Italian weekly, had the audacity to remark on the occasion – Newspaper headline: “Blessed journalist: Igino, protect us!”
And we read in the text, “And now the order of journalists will have its own order. Blessed, Igino Giordani, director of the the Newspaper ‘Il Popolo,’ Christian Democrat deputy, confounder of the Focolare, known as Foco – Fire – because of his zeal, and father of Brando, formerly strong at Rai. The path to beatification shines a bright light on the much-vilified category.”

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