1918-1922 History of Italy

The Papacy, 1922-1929

In 1922 Pope Benedict XV. died unexpectedly; Pius XI. (1922-1939, Achille Ratti, Archbishop of Milan) succeeded him. In the same year, following the Fascist March on Rome, Benito Mussolini was appointed prime minister of Italy.
Pope Pius XI. returned to the policy of non-nterference in Italian political affairs and ordered Don Sturzo to dissolve the Partito Populare Italiano (PPI, Catholic Party) which had been established only in 1919. This measure unintendedly was of considerable benefit to the PNF (Fascist Party) by removing competition. Instead of a political party, Italian Catholics were allowed to in Catholic Action.
Having himself been appointed the first nuntio to reestablished Poland (1919), Pius XI. spent significant attention to the affairs of Eastern Central Europe, where the ecclesiastic affairs, in consequence of the political changes, had to be reorganized. The encyclicals Ecclesiam Dei (1923) and Rerum Orientalium (1928) addressed affairs of the region, such as a call on those who in the past, because of political pressure, gad been separated from the Catholic Church, to return to her (1923) and a call on christians to enter oriental studies (pertaining to orthodox christianity). In 1929 the codification of orthodox canonic law was begun. Concordats were signed with Latvia (1922), Bavaria (1924), Poland (1925), Romania (1927), Lithuania (1927), Prussia.
Careful not to be seen as taking sides in international policy, Pope Pius XI. expressed his sympathy for the victims suffering under the Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 (Uditare Testa).
In 1929 the relation with Italy was finally normalized by the Lateran Treaties; it served as a concordat, but also reestablished a papal state, although limited to the Vatican. The Italian state further paid 1,750,000,000 Lire in compensation. The Italian state recognized the pope's right to appoint bishops; marriage performed in church was recognized as binding by the state; Italian law did not provide for divorce. The Catholic church, on the other hand, promised not to interfere with Italian party politics.

Biography of Pius XI., from Popes through the Ages
Biography of Don Sturzo, from Cronologia, in Italian
DOCUMENTS Lateran Treaty of Feb. 11th 1929, from Michael Scheifler's Bible Light Homepage
Emcyclicals of Pope Pius XI., from Vatican
REFERENCE Book Reviews : Papal State, from History Book Reviews

Franz Xaver Seppelt, Georg Schwaiger, Geschichte der Päpste (History of the Popes), München : Kösel 1964, 572 pp., in German [G]
Article : Roman Catholics, in : New International Year Book 1923 pp.657-658, Roman Catholi Church 1925 pp.614-616, 1928 pp.661-663 [G]
Article : Roman Catholic Church, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.757-762, 1928 pp.690-694 [G]
Article : Rome, See and Church of, in : Statesman's Year Book 1924 pp.1225-1229, 1925 pp.1233-1237, 1926 pp.1195-1200, 1928 pp.1230-1235, 1929 pp.1207-1212 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 2nd 2002, last revised on August 24th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz