Pope Honors ‘Rebel’ Priests Censured for Commitment to Poor

BOZZOLO, Italy — Pope Francis is making a pilgrimage to northern Italy to honor two 20th-century parish priests whose commitment to the poor and powerless brought them censure from the Vatican.

Francis flew by helicopter Tuesday to Bozzolo, near Cremona, to pray at the tomb of Don Primo Mazzolari. Mazzolari, who died in 1959, was an anti-fascist partisan during World War II who, like Francis, preached about a “church for the poor.”

Afterward, Francis was flying to Barbiana, near Florence, to pray at the tomb of Don Lorenzo Milani, a wealthy convert to Catholicism who founded a parish school to educate the poor and workers. He died in 1967.

Both priests were considered rebels in their lifetimes and were censured by Vatican authorities for their writings.

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