Fascism, the Catholic Church, and the Jews
One of the epochal events of the Fascist regime, and certainly its most enduring legacy, was the signing of the Lateran Pacts with the Holy See in 1929. These agreements were received enthusiastically by a large segment of the population who were relieved that after half a century of acrimony between Church and State, peace had at last been achieved, thanks to the Vatican’s recognition of the unified Italian Kingdom. As has already been mentioned, Mussolini began to backtrack from his youthful anticlericalism even before the March on Rome, and his first speech as Prime Minister ended with an invocation for divine assistance. The Church, far more alarmed by political extremism on the left than on the right, made friendly overtures toward Mussolini’s regime in 1923 by disavowing the anti-Fascist stance of Luigi Sturzo, secretary of the Catholic Popular party. Resigning his post, Sturzo went into exile, and the party rapidly disintegrated. His friend and associate, Alcide De Gasperi, was to be arrested by the Fascists and spend several months in jail in 1927 before papal intercession gained his release. He worked inconspicuously in the Vatican library for the next sixteen years.
KeywordsCatholic Church Italian Territory Civil Authority Italian Citizen Popular Party
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