SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE "ROSARIO LIVATINO" STUDY CENTER
(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.)
Friday, November 29, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters,
I welcome you and welcome you, and I thank the President for his kind words. On May 9, 1993, my predecessor Saint John Paul II, shortly before turning to the "men of the mafia" the memorable and peremptory invitation to convert in the Valley of the Temples, in Agrigento, had met the parents of a magistrate, Rosario Angelo Livatino, who on September 21, 1990, at the age of 38, he was killed while on his way to work in the Court. On that occasion the Pope called him "martyr to justice and indirectly to faith".
I am pleased to meet today the members of the Study Center who chose his name and who holds the annual national conference. Livatino - for which the diocesan beatification process has been successfully concluded - continues to be an example, above all for those who carry out the demanding and complicated job of a judge. Hardly anyone knew him when Rosario was killed. He worked in a suburban court: he took care of seizures and confiscations of illicitly acquired assets acquired by the mafia. He did so unassailable, respecting the guarantees of the accused, with great professionalism and with concrete results: for this reason the mafia decided to eliminate him.
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 work commitment, and for the actuality of his reflections. In a conference, referring to the question of euthanasia, and taking up the concerns that a secular parliamentarian of the time had for the introduction of an alleged right to euthanasia, he made this remark: "If the believer's opposition to this law becomes founded on the conviction that human life [...] is a divine gift that is not permissible for man to stifle or interrupt, just as the opposition of the non-believer is founded on the conviction that life is protected by natural law, that no right positive can violate or contradict, since it belongs to the sphere of "unavailable" goods, which neither individuals nor the community can attack "(Canicattì, April 30, 1986, in Faith and law, by Postulation).
These considerations seem distant from the judgments that in terms of the right to life are sometimes pronounced in the classrooms of justice, in Italy and in many democratic systems. Entries for which the main interest of a disabled or elderly person would be to die and not be treated; or that - according to a jurisprudence that calls itself "creative" - invent a "right to die" devoid of any juridical foundation, and in this way weaken the efforts to relieve the pain and not to abandon to itself the person who is going to conclude one's existence.
In another conference, Rosario Livatino describes the moral status of those called to administer justice: "He is nothing other than an employee of the State entrusted with the very special task of applying the laws, which that society is given through their own institutions ». However, a different interpretation of the role of the magistrate has been increasingly affirmed, according to which the latter, «while the letter of the norm remains the same, can use the one of its meanings that best fits the contingent moment» ( Canicattì, 7 April 1984, in The Role of the Judge in the Changing Society, by the Postulation).
Even in this case, the topicality of Rosario Livatino is surprising, because it captures the signs of what would have emerged most clearly in the following decades, not only in Italy, that is the justification of the encroachment of the judge in areas not his own, especially in the so-called "New rights", with sentences that seem to be concerned with fulfilling ever new desires, detached from any objective limit.
The theme you have chosen for today's conference is part of this path, and calls into question a crisis in the judiciary that is not superficial but has deep roots. Also on this side, Livatino witnessed how the natural virtue of justice requires to be exercised with wisdom and humility, always bearing in mind the "transcendent dignity of man", which refers to "his nature, his innate ability to distinguish the good from evil, to that "compass" inscribed in our hearts and that God has impressed in the created universe "(Address to the European Parliament: Teachings of Francis, vol. II, 2 , 626).
I find myself very much in another reflection by Rosario Livatino, when he states: "Deciding is choosing [...]; and choosing is one of the most difficult things man is called to do. [...] And it is precisely in this choice to decide, decide to order, that the believing magistrate can find a relationship with God. A direct relationship, because rendering justice is self-realization, it is prayer, it is self-dedication to God. An indirect relationship, through love towards the person judged. [...] And this task will be all the lighter the more the magistrate will humbly feel his weaknesses, the more he will present himself to the society willing and inclined to understand man who has before him and to judge him without superman attitude, but rather with constructive contrition ».
In this way, with these convictions, Rosario Livatino left us all a shining example of how faith can be fully expressed in the service to the civil community and its laws; and how obedience to the Church can be combined with obedience to the State, in particular with the delicate and important ministry of enforcing and enforcing the law.
Dear friends, concord is the link between the free men that make up civil society. With your commitment as jurists, you are called to contribute to the construction of this harmony, deepening the reasons for the coherence between the anthropological roots, the elaboration of the principles and the lines of application in everyday life.
After the death of Livatino, more than one of his notes was found on the sidelines an annotation, which at the beginning sounded mysterious: "S.T.D.". Soon it was discovered that it was the acronym that attested to the act of total entrusting that Rosario frequently did with the will of God: S.T.D. are the initials of sub protection Dei. I wish you to continue in your footsteps, in this school of life and thought. I bless you and please do not forget to pray for me.
Source: Full Text + Image : Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation