How was anticlericalism perceived and represented on the Catholic side? The essay basically aims to answer this question, focusing on the case of Italian Catholicism at the beginning of the 20th century. In this way it intends to fill a historiographical void: if anticlericalism as a political and cultural phenomenon has attracted the attention of scholars even in recent decades, the point of view of those who were the “recipients” – in spite of themselves – of anticlerical sentiment has instead remained neglected. The pastoral letters of the Italian bishops are especially examined: from them it emerges how anticlericalism was interpreted not only as an aversion to “clerical” influence in the public sphere, but also as a “persecution” motivated by satanic hatred and aimed at destroying religion itself. Overall, the bishops tried to refute the anticlerical accusations against the ecclesiastical institution and the clergy, and to offer the faithful a consolatory representation in which the “persecution” appeared as a necessary prelude to the sure triumph of the Catholic Church.

The persecution of hatred. A study of the perception and interpretation of anticlericalism in Italian Catholicism (1904-1914)

Francesco Tacchi
2019

Abstract

How was anticlericalism perceived and represented on the Catholic side? The essay basically aims to answer this question, focusing on the case of Italian Catholicism at the beginning of the 20th century. In this way it intends to fill a historiographical void: if anticlericalism as a political and cultural phenomenon has attracted the attention of scholars even in recent decades, the point of view of those who were the “recipients” – in spite of themselves – of anticlerical sentiment has instead remained neglected. The pastoral letters of the Italian bishops are especially examined: from them it emerges how anticlericalism was interpreted not only as an aversion to “clerical” influence in the public sphere, but also as a “persecution” motivated by satanic hatred and aimed at destroying religion itself. Overall, the bishops tried to refute the anticlerical accusations against the ecclesiastical institution and the clergy, and to offer the faithful a consolatory representation in which the “persecution” appeared as a necessary prelude to the sure triumph of the Catholic Church.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3726931
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