The Concordat between Church and State was signed forty years ago

The historic signing of the Concordat between the Italian State and the Catholic Church took place 40 years ago on February 18, 1984. In the days leading up to this monumental event, Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi gathered two of his colleagues at Palazzo Chigi to review the final draft of the text. Standing in front of a portrait of Garibaldi, Craxi declared, “I ask your forgiveness!”

Following his election as President of the Council on August 4, 1983, Craxi entrusted Gennaro Acquaviva with the task of revising the Concordat. On January 28, 1984, the Chamber approved a motion granting Craxi authority to close the agreement with a vote of 338 yes votes, 67 no votes, and 30 abstentions. The document was signed at Villa Madama by Agostino Casaroli and Craxi himself just twenty days later.

The primary objective of this revision was to adapt the existing agreement between the state and church to conform to Italy’s constitution. As such, religion is no longer recognized as Italy’s state religion and the state relinquishes its claim over control within religious institutions. The direct financial support from the state for priests has been abolished and replaced with an eight per thousand financing system whereby a percentage of Irpef can be donated to various religious groups or other confessions for their activities. In turn, churches have agreed that religious instruction in schools is not mandatory and that their operations are subjected to ordinary taxation.

This significant shift in Italy’s relationship with its Catholic Church marks a pivotal moment in both its religious and political history.

By Editor

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