Alcide De Gasperi a Model for Politicians, Says Cardinal Re

At Mass on 50th Anniversary of His Death

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TRENT, Italy, AUG. 20, 2004 ( Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re presided at a Mass on the 50th anniversary of the death of Alcide De Gasperi, one of the fathers of the European Union.

In his homily Thursday in the Trent cathedral, the prefect for the Congregation for Bishops recalled that the last word pronounced by this politician as he lay dying was «Jesus.»

The cardinal said that De Gasperi’s testimony as «man, Catholic and statesman» should be a light «on the path of Italy and Europe, which have such need of men with De Gasperi’s spirit.»

Alcide De Gasperi (1881-1954) was the architect of Italy’s reconstruction after World War II. Founder in 1942 of the Christian Democratic Party, he is considered, together with the German Konrad Adenauer and the Frenchman Robert Schuman, one of the fathers of the process of European integration.

In the celebrations organized here Thursday, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was given an award dedicated to the memory of De Gasperi, for his role in Germany’s reunification.

Among those who attended the celebrations was Giulio Andreotti, former prime minister of seven Italian governments. He entered politics at age 28 as undersecretary of then Prime Minister De Gasperi.

Andreotti recalled that the present European Union, which arose with the European Coal and Steel Community in 1953, was «one of the intuitions of this group of Catholics — Schuman, Adenauer and De Gasperi.»

De Gasperi envisioned that the best way to help reconstruct Italy «was by breaking international isolation,» Andreotti said. «He proposed a policy without compromises at the service of the people, which was never separated from Christian values.»

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