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The Lateran Pacts, the Rights of the Jews and Other Religious Minorities A Chapter in the History of Church and State Relations

05Dec4:00 pm6:00 pmThe Lateran Pacts, the Rights of the Jews and Other Religious Minorities A Chapter in the History of Church and State Relations4:00 pm - 6:00 pm(GMT+00:00) Italian Jewish Studies SeminarItalian Jewish Studies Seminar

Event Details

October 24 | 5:00 pm
Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance
226 E 42nd St New York

October 25 | 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò | 24 West 12th Street
The program is free. Reservations are required at
Sessions on October 24 are open to the general public. Sessions on October 25 are primarily meant for faculty and students. If seats remain available they will be assigned to the general public on the day prior to the conference. Thank you for your understanding.

The Lateran Treaty
In light of the upcoming 85th anniversary of the Lateran Pacts and current debates on the position of the Catholic Church on the Jews during World War II, Centro Primo Levi has invited an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore and discuss the legal, social, political and economic aspects of the relations between Church and State in the fascist era.The conference will offer an overview of the Lateran Pacts, background on the negotiations between Mussolini and Pius XI and an analysis of the ways in which the Pacts affected Italian society and the rights of minorities with particular focus on the subsequent re-organization of the Jewish communities.

Speakers will include Francesco Margiotta Broglio (University of Florence), Giorgio Fabre (independent scholar), Elena Mazzini (University of Florence), Ilaria Pavan (Scuola Normale Superiore–Pisa) and Michele Sarfatti (CDEC).
Discussants will include David Kertzer (Brown University), Martin Menke (Rivier University), Silvana Patriarca (Fordham University), Annalisa Capristo (Center for American Studies in Rome), Paul Arpaia (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Franklin Adler (Macalester College).

All participants in the conference will take part in the discussion sessions on both days.

Simon Wiesenthal Center
5 pm – Francesco Margiotta Broglio (University of Florence)
The Church, the Concordat and the Fascist Regime
Coffee break
6:30 David Kertzer (Brown University and author of the upcoming The Pope and Mussolini, 2014 by Random House)
Considerations and Discussion
7:30 Martin Menke
Lateran Agreements and Reich Concordat: Winners and Losers

New York University Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò
10:00 am – Silvana Patriarca (Fordham University)
Sacralizing War and Re-Christianizing the Nation: the Church and Italian Society from the Great War to the Dictatorship
10:30 am – Michele Sarfatti (CDEC)
The Falco Law and the Italian Jewish Communities
11:00 am – Giorgio Fabre (independent historian and Author of The Contract)
The Path from the “Conciliazione” to the Agreements of August 1938
11:30 – Discussion
12:30 – Lunch break
1:30 – Ilaria Pavan (University of Pisa)
Italian Jewish institutional and Cultural Elites and Fascist Religious Policies (title to be confirmed)
2:00 – Elena Mazzini (University of Florence)
The Longest Decade: Church and Fascism Under the Concordat
2:30 pm – Discussion

The Conference
While analyzing the Lateran Pacts within a broader and retrospective context of Church and State relations, a panel of internationally renowned as well as emerging scholars will shed light on the legal, bureaucratic and institutional consequences the Pacts had on the Jews and other religious minorities.
Italian historiography has dedicated a great deal of attention to this topic. In the course of decades of research, scholars have conducted comparative studies on the different fields affected by the Pacts and integrated them within a comprehensive juridical and historical analysis.
Recent research focused on the history of the negotiations between the Papal State and Mussolini’s Regime, placing it in the larger context of European and Anglo-American politics as well as the history of relations between the Regime, the Church and the Jews.
In the United States – with a few notable exceptions, such as the work of David Kertzer and Susan Zuccotti – studies on the Lateran Pacts have not reached the general public, nor have they been included in key historical debates on totalitarianism, World War II and the Holocaust.
This conference is designed to offer a summary of recent research conducted in Italian archives and afford a comprehensive discussion on the Pacts and related historical, juridical and cultural issues. It also aims to bring together Italian and American scholars involved in all of these fields, as well as jurists working on Church and State relations.

The Pacts in Brief
The Lateran Pacts were a concordat between the Holy See and the kingdom of Italy signed in 1929 in the Lateran Palace, Rome, by Cardinal Gasparri, on behalf of Pope Pius XI and by Benito Mussolini for Victor Emmanuel III.
In 1871 the unity of Italy was completed by restricting papal sovereignty to a few buildings and awarding Pius IX and his successors an annual indemnity for the lost Papal States. The Roman Catholic Church never recognized this arrangement and never accepted the indemnity, and subsequent popes considered themselves prisoners of the Vatican. The problems involved were known as the Roman Question, and were resolved by the Lateran Treaty.
The Treaty stated that Roman Catholicism is the only state religion of Italy and that Italy recognized the new state called Vatican City as fully sovereign and independent.
Italy guaranteed Vatican City public services and protection and recognized as parts of it certain buildings not actually inside Vatican City. The Italian government would punish crimes committed within Vatican City, when so requested, and the Holy See would extradite to Italy persons accused of acts recognized by both parties as crimes. As to the reestablishment of canon law: matrimony was a sacrament, and banns would need to be published; nullity of marriages would be handled by the Church. The Catholic religion was to be taught in primary and secondary schools, and the Holy See guaranteed that Roman Catholic organizations would abstain from politics. The Italian government would consider the person of the Pope sacred and inviolable. The Holy See, pursuant to its perpetual mission of peace, would remain apart from the temporal competitions of other states and from international congresses for peace, unless a unanimous appeal was made to its mission; the Holy See would use its moral and spiritual power to prevent warfare when it saw fit. The Holy See announced in the treaty that it had its proper liberty, that the Roman Question was closed, and that it recognized the kingdom of Italy under the house of Savoy. The Lateran Treaty remained in effect after the monarchy was abolished at the end of World War II. However, a concordat put into effect in 1985 modified the treaty, most significantly stating that Roman Catholicism would no longer be the state religion of Italy. The sovereignty of Vatican City is still recognized.

The Pacts and Religious Minorities
The Lateran Pacts were the first of a series of concordats the Vatican signed with European totalitarian regimes: it was followed by the Reichskonkordat with Hitler’s Germany in 1933.
The Pacts deeply affected many aspects of Italian society and changed the ethical parameters that had shaped social welfare, scientific research, medical practice and the Italian education system up to that moment. They also impacted family law and the penal and civil codes.
Most significantly, the Lateran Pacts restricted the status of religious minorities, which at the time were primarily the Jews and the Valdesians.
Italian Jews had lived on the Italian peninsula for 2,000 years and had participated at all levels in the process of unification of the country. The creation of the liberal state between 1861 and 1870 had forever abolished ghettos and established the equality of all citizens. Since the early 20th century, Jews had held high positions in Italian public life, with a disproportionate representation in Parliament – two prime ministers and many prominent exponents not only in politics, but in academia, science and the arts.
The 1929 agreements however challenged this equality and redefined the status of Jews and Protestants as “accepted cults”. Under the new national religion, Jews and Protestants could no longer rely on a law based on secular ethics to protect their freedom of religion and speech, but had to abide by laws that were based on the Catholic faith.
The revision of the Penal Code, which occurred in parallel with the signing of the Pacts modified the principles of the protection of religious beliefs.
During the closing years of the negotiation of the Pacts and the reformation of the penal code, the juridical status of the Jewish community also came under revision at the initiative of the Jewish leadership who worried about its status under the new regime. It was not however, until the Pacts were signed, that the new order regulating the rights of the Jews of Italy came into being. The Regime formed a joint commission of Jewish leaders and government legislators to redact the new legislation. The horizon and parameters of this new agreement however, were already largely set by the fundamental change in the definition of minority rights.
With the law of 1930-31 that took its name from the prominent Jewish lawyer, Mario Falco, who co-wrote it, the once city-based and independent Italian Jewish communities became organized into one state-controlled institution: the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities, which was placed under the control of the Ministry of the Interior. In the new setting, power was centralized and reduced to executive matters. Membership to a community became mandatory and defined the status of a citizen as a Jew.

Selected Bibliography
(from the library of the Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Milan)

A.C. Iemolo, Church and State in Italy, 1960

Massimo d’Azeglio, Dell’emancipazione civile degl’israeliti, Firenze, Le Monnier, 1848.

Rilievi e proposte presentate dalla Unione delle Comunità israelitiche italiane sul progetto di Costituzione della Repubblica italiana formulato dalla Commissione per la Costituzione, Roma, 1947.

Roberto Frau, Le comunità israelitiche in Italia, Milano, A. Giuffre, 1971.

Giulio Disegni, Ebraismo e libertà religiosa in Italia. Dal diritto all’uguaglianza al diritto alla diversità, Torino, G. Einaudi, 1983.

Maria Fausta Maternini Zotta, L’ente comunitario ebraico. La legislazione negli ultimi due secoli, Milano, A. Giuffre, 1983.

Guido Fubini, La condizione giuridica dell’ebraismo italiano: dal periodo napoleonico alla Repubblica, Torino, Rosemberg & Sellier, 1998.

Stefania Dazzetti, L’autonomia delle comunità ebraiche italiane nel Novecento. Leggi, intese, statuti, regolamenti, Torino, G. Giappichelli 2008.

Francesco Margiotta Broglio is a widely respected European jurist and an eminent scholar of Church and State Relations. Between 1983 and 1987 he was a member of the commission for the review of the concordat between the Italian State and the Vatican and advised on the establishment of new agreements with the Jewish communities and other religious minorities. He has been a professor at the University of Florence since 1971. Previously he taught Ecclesiastic Law at the University of Urbino, the University of Paris, the London University College and at Nuffield College, Oxford. He was President of the Master’s Program in Law at the University of Florence.
Prof. Margiotta Broglio is a member of the doctoral Socrates-Gratianus Council at the University of Paris XI and of the European Consortium for Church and State Research. He is the President of the Italian Commission on Religious Freedom and of the International Council for Friendship and Good Feeling between States for Controversies on Discrimination in Teaching.
Since 1997 he has been a member of the executive board of the Italian delegation at UNESCO and between 2009 and 2011 has been president of the UNESCO Legal Council. From 1998 to 2004 Prof. Margiotta Broglio was a member of the Management Board of the European Monitoring Center for Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). Prof. Margiotta Broglio is also a former President of the Primo Levi Foundation.

Michele Sarfatti is the Director of the Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea (CDEC) in Milan and editor-in-chief of Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History. A foremost expert in contemporary Jewish history and anti-Semitic persecution in modern Italy, Sarfatti was a member of the Commission of Inquiry into the Confiscation of Jewish Property in Italy 1938-1945 and of the Government Commission of Inquiry into the confiscation of the Library of the Jewish Community of Rome by the Nazis in 1943. Michele Sarfatti serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Shoah Memorial in Milan and on the Scientific Committee of the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara.

Giorgio Fabre is a historian of Fascism whose archival research has uncovered seminal documents concerning the unraveling of Mussolini’s anti-Semitic policies. He is the author of Roma e Mosca (1990), on Fascist espionage in URSS, L’Elenco (1998), on fascist censorship of Jewish authors and The Contract (2004) on the secret agreement between Mussolini and Hitler on the Italian publication of Mein Kampf. His most recent publication is a long essay devoted to the relations between the Vatican and the Fascist regime in 1938, at the start of the racial campaign (in Quaderni di Storia, 2012).

Ilaria Pavan is a professor of history at the University of Pisa. Pavan has been a visiting scholar at the Institute of European Studies, University of California, Berkeley and a fellow at the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research in Jerusalem. She has published extensive research on the legal and juridical aspects of the persecution of the Jews in Italy. Her article A Forgotten Premise: The 1930 Criminal Code delves into technical and political aspects of the impact of the Lateran Pacts on the protection of the Jewish community. Between 2000 and 2001 Ilaria Pavan was a researcher for the Government Commission for Reconstruction of the Events Characterizing the Acquisition of Jewish Assets by Public and Private Bodies. She has published extensively on the persecution of the Jews of Italy and the postwar construction of historiography and memory. Her seminal article: A Betrayed Community: the Italian Jewish Community Facing Persecution was published in the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies (24, 2010).

Elena Mazzini received her doctorate from the University of Florence. She has been Research Fellow at the Scuola Superiore di Studi di Storia Contemporanea of Milan (INSMLI) and at the Scuola Normale di Pisa. Her research focuses on the history of Italian Judaism after the Shoah, the construction of Shoah’s memory and anti-Semitic Catholic culture in post-war Italy. Her recent publications include: Catholic Press and Anti-Jewish Traditions in post-War Italy (1945-1974)], Viella, 2012 and Convergent Hostilities. Diocesan Press, Racism and Anti-Semitism in Fascist Italy”, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 2013

David Kertzer is the Paul Dupee University Professor of Social Science at Brown University, where he is also professor of anthropology and Italian studies. His Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (Knopf/Vintage, 1997) was a finalist for the National Book Award, and he has twice received the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best work on Italian history (1985, 1990). His 2001 book, The Popes Against the Jews (Knopf/Vintage), a look at the Vatican’s role in the rise of modern anti-Semitism, has been published in Italian, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Brazilian, Polish, Hungarian, and British editions. His Prisoner of the Vatican (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) details the efforts of Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII to retake Rome following the fall of the Papal States. Most recently, his book, Amalia’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), tells the story of an Italian peasant woman at the end of the 19th century. He is co-founder (with John Davis) and served for many years as co-editor of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. In 2005 Kertzer was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2006 to 2011, he was the Provost of Brown University. His The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe will be published in February 2014. Kertzer appeared on screen as the primary expert for episode four of The Secret Files of the Inquisition, which aired on PBS in May 2007.

Martin Menke (BA Tufts University, MA, PhD Boston College) is professor of history and political science at Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire where he also serves as department coordinator and director of secondary social studies education. Menke’s research focuses on German political Catholicism in the twentieth century. He is interested in the question of, historically, Catholics have lived a consistently Catholic life while participating a democratic, pluralistic society. Beyond an interest in the tension between national and religious identity, Menke is currently completing a manuscript on the German Center Party’s way from the Peace Resolution of 1917 to the Enabling Act of 1933.

Silvana Patriarca has taught at Columbia University and the University of Florida, and is currently a professor in the Department of History of Fordham University. The author of Italian Vices: Nation and Character from the Risorgimento to the Republic (Cambridge UP, 2010) and co-editor of The Risorgimento Revisited: Nationalism and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Italy (Palgrave, 2012), she is currently at work on a book on racism in post-1945 Italy.

Franklin H. Adler specializes in political and social theory and comparative politics in Europe. He is the author of “Italian Industrialists From Liberalism to Fascism” which traces the development of industrial associations in Italy from 1906-1934 and challenges traditional interpretations of the rise of fascism. He has been working on a major manuscript on Thinking Beyond Antiracism, as well as projects on the European radical right and issues in the liberal-communitarian debate.

Paul Arpaia graduated from the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Georgetown University where he obtained his Ph.D. in history. His research explores intersections of cultural, social and political history, in Liberal Italy and the Fascist Era. He has been working on parallel book projects on a biography of Luigi Federzoni, a cultural and political figure whose public life spanned the pre-Fascist, Fascist and post-Fascist eras, and a study on the impact of the Racial Laws on the Royal Italian Academy. He teaches courses in Italian and German history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and is currently a member of the Academy’s Council of Fellows. For over ten years, he has been the editor of H-Italy, one of the networks that make up H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online.

Annalisa Capristo is librarian at the Centro Studi Americani, Rome, Italy.
Her work focuses on anti-Jewish persecution in Italy under Fascist rule, particularly against Jewish scholars. She has published extensively on the expulsion of Jewish intellectuals from Italian cultural institutions and activities in 1938. Among her publications there is the book L’espulsione degli ebrei dalle accademie italiane (Turin 2002) and several journal and book articles; in English, “The Exclusion of Jews from Italian Academies” (in Jews in Italy under Fascist and Nazi Rules, ed. By J. D. Zimmerman, Cambridge University Press 2005) and “Italian Intellectuals and the Exclusion of Their Jewish Colleagues from Universities and Academies,” just published in the special issue of Telos on “Italian Jews and Fascism” (164/Fall 2013). On the papal reaction to the exclusion of Jewish scholars from Italian academies she published the essay “Ai noti questionari non conviene rispondere”: Pio XI, i fratelli Mercati e il censimento antiebraico nelle accademie del 1938,” (Miscellanea Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae 17 (2010).

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