Dossetti, Giuseppe

   Born in Genoa, this passionately religious man took an active part in the resistance to the Nazi occupation even though he always refused to bear arms himself. Dossetti became chairman of the underground Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale/Committee for National Liberation (CLN) in Reggio-Emilia. After the war, he became professor of canonical law and took an important role in the Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy Party (DC), serving on its national steering committee and as deputy to Alcide De Gasperi. Elected to the Constituent Assembly, where he played an important role in drawing up the progressive guarantees of human and social rights that characterize the first part of the Italian Constitution of 1948, Dossetti was also editor of the influential periodical Cronache Sociale, which, under his direction, opposed Italian accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and pressed for radical social reforms. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1948 but left national politics in 1951, despite the fact that he was the leader of the DC’s internal opposition to De Gasperi and could count upon substantial support among the party membership: A third of the delegates to the 1949 party congress of the DC voted for his program. In 1956, he ran unsuccessfully for the mayorality of Bologna. Dossetti was a member of the Bologna city council until 1958, but this marked the end of his political life. Taking the vows of priesthood (he was ordained in 1959), he founded a small monastic order and thereafter lived the contemplative life, although in 1959 he did participate in the second Vatican Council as an advisor to Giacomo Lecaro, archbishop of Bologna and a leading exponent of dialogue with communism. Dossetti was silent on political questions until April 1994, when he briefly surfaced to propose that committees for the defense of the Constitution should be formed throughout Italy. He died in Bologna, aged, 83 in December 1996.
   See also Integralism.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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