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As If God ExistedReligion and Liberty in the History of Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142357

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142357.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

As If God Existed

As If God Existed

(p.249) 23 As If God Existed
As If God Existed

Maurizio Viroli

, Alberto Nones
Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the writings of Ernesto Rossi, who recognized the absolute authority of moral conscience and posited it as the foundation of his religious conception of life. Sentenced to twenty years in prison for his participation in conspiratorial activity, he wrote to his mother, Elide Rossi, from the penitentiary in Piacenza, on January 20, 1933, that he was happy she no longer had any tie with the Catholic religion. For Rossi, Catholicism was at most an inferior conception of life compared to philosophical knowledge. Rossi prefered a soft religion—soft and yet capable of guiding one's action—to a revealed or bad religion. The chapter then turns to the writings of Massimo Mila, who was imprisoned in 1935 because he belonged to the Justice and Liberty movement. He believed not in the Christian religion but rather in a profound secular religion, based on the supreme value of the intrinsic intention of the one who acts and the conviction that one's faith is solely the “purity of the moral intention.”

Keywords:   religion, Catholicism, Ernesto Rossi, Massimo Mila, moral conscience

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