Mussolini’s dealings with the Church

Church-State Disagreements

Until 1870, the Pope held control over the Papal States, which were the regional territories outside of city walls. However, during the Franco-Prussian War, the French Army which was stationed in Rome to protect the churches was sent to Prussia to protect France. As a result, King Victor Emmanuel II was able to take control of Rome, unifying Italy. 

Angered by their loss of power, there was negative sentiment between the Church and the state for the next sixty years.

Why would Pope Pius XI support Mussolini's Fascist Government?

When Mussolini was elected to Parliament in 1921, he made a speech embracing the idea of a Christian nation. Pius XI began to think that Mussolini might be the person sent by God to end the separation of church and state and restore the Church's power.

The Popes disliked parliamentary democracy as it meant it was difficult for the church to make a lasting agreement with the government, they were opposed to freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion as it impacted their power. These all aligned with Fascist ideology. 

How did Mussolini improve the Church-State Relationship?

Early Years (1923)

Mussolini began to improve the relationship between the Church and the state that had been sour since the Franco-Prussian War.

Lateran Pacts (1929)

Upon negotiating the Lateran Pacts, he took even bigger steps to build a good relationship with the Church. 

The Lateran Treaty 

Financial Conventions

The Concordat

However, these agreements were not popular among all Fascists, and especially not among all of the Priests. 

Conflicts in the 1930s