Yesterday, on word that "bisexual," atheist, radical politician Marco Pannella had died, Fr. Federico Lombardi praised -- in a written statement, not off the cuff -- the man who helped lead Italy in the 1970s to legalize divorce and abortion.
A fan of Pope Francis, Pannella was sent a copy of the pope's book by Francis himself, and the pope had even called Pannella asking him to end a hunger strike.
May 19, 2016
“I remember him with esteem and in friendship. I think he has left a human and spiritual legacy of some significance; candid relations, free expression and generous civic and political commitment towards others, especially for the weak in need of solidarity” said the Pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi. Pannella was a person with whom, in the past, we were often in disagreement. However, his complete, disinterested commitment to noble causes cannot but be appreciated.”
Father Lombardi: “He had great admiration for the Pope." [Mutual] interest in the conditions of prisoners created a bond between Marco Pannella and Pope Francis. Father Lombardi on Vatican Radio recalls: “With regard to this – the director of the Vatican press office says – Honorable Pannella on several occasions wanted to tell me enthusiastically in person of his great admiration for Pope Francis, his interest in the imprisoned, his respect for their dignity – in the same way as for all people whose rights are being violated.”
Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana