The Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929-32

In This Review

The Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929-32

By John F. Pollard
Cambridge University Press, 1985
241 pp. $34.50
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A minute examination of the years immediately following the Concordat, during which Mussolini made concessions that probably no liberal regime could have made and that the Vatican celebrated as "giving back God to Italy and Italy back to God." The conflict between church and state, Catholicism and fascism, persisted. The book is good on the contending forces within each camp: the radical, anticlerical elements within fascism and the democratic faction within Catholicism. The latter was systematically opposed by the Vatican, whose pro-fascist policies, even then, were conditioned by fear of communism. Two years after the Concordat, Mussolini and the Vatican clashed again over the activities of Catholic Action; both sides preferred tactical compromise to principled showdown. Pollard was able to consult state archives, including the reports of fascist informers inside the Vatican, but Vatican archives remained closed to him.

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