Some were not interested in losing their power and corrupt privileges. Others preferred to continue their religious life with a “straw God”.
The politician came to faith in a Brethren church and later was member of the Waldensian church. He had strong convictions but was distinguished by his commitment to dialogue and peace.
Italian evangelicals are grieving for the death of Domenico Maselli on Friday 4th March. He was 82 years old.
He was born in Alessandria in 1933 and, after coming to faith in the Brethren church, he then became a member of the Waldensian church.
FAITH AND WORK
Up to his retirement in 2014 Maselli was both a leader in the Lucca Waldensian church where he had been active since 1980, but also on a national level as President of the Federation of Italian Evangelical churches from 2006 to 2009.
A pupil of Giorgio Spini, after graduating in History, he first taught in high schools in Naples and Florence and then went on to a university career which began in 1959.
He became professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Florence between 1967 and 2006 and carried out much research which established him as author of studies and essays particularly dedicated to the history of the evangelical movement.
A DISTINGUISHED POLITICIAN
In the 90s, he further added politics to his spiritual and academic work by being elected to the Italian lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, for two legislatures. From 1994 to 2001.
During the last few years, he was distinguished by his commitment to dialogue and peace.
At the same time, he took a strong stand regarding decisions made by the Waldensian Synod in 2010. “I am ready to defend the civil rights of everyone based on the separation of Church and State and the secularization of the State, but I have not blessed gay couples and I have no intention of doing so”, he wrote in a letter in 2011 to the daily newspaper “Il Tirreno”, thus setting out his line of thought on the issue.
KNOWLEDGEABLE BUT MODEST
Competent but informal, committed yet available, he passionately defended his own ideas but respected other people’s positions. “Attentive yet ready to participate”, were the words spoken by Rosa Russo Iervolino in 2007 on the occasion of Maselli’s retirement from academic activities.
Testimonies of those around him show that he was a man of culture, he was knowledgeable but modest and he was able to win respect and affection in each area of life that he was involved in. He was able to separate dialogue and compromise thus concentrating on the best that relationships and confrontation had to offer.