The Vatican and Mussolini's Italy

Lucia Ceci reconstructs the relationship between the Catholic Church and Fascism. New sources from the Vatican Archives throw fresh light on individual aspects of this complex relationship: the accession of Mussolini to power, the war in Ethiopia, the racial laws, the comparison between Pius XI and Pius XII. This book offers a comprehensive reconstruction of this encounter, explaining the criteria that led Catholics to support a dictatorial, warmongering and racist regime. In contrast to the traditional periodization, the history begins with the childhood of Mussolini in the final years of the nineteenth century, and ends with the sudden collapse of his puppet regime, in 1945. This means to some extent placing in a different light the exceptional nature of the ventennio. The Italian original L’interesse superiore, Il Vaticano e l’Italia di Mussolini has won the “Friuli Storia” Prize for Studies of Contemporary History.

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Biographical Note

Lucia Ceci, Ph.D. (1967) is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Italy. She has published monographs and many articles on the relationships between Catholic Church and politics in Italy and Latin America.

Review Quotes

"This English translation of the Italian original (2013) makes available to students what only scholars have heretofore enjoyed: a balanced and insightful analysis of the relationship between the Vatican and Mussolini (including the period of the Italian Social Republic)."
R. T. Ingoglia, Saint Thomas Aquinas College, CHOICE, April 2017


Scholars, students, doctoral and post-docs, in the areas of modern and contemporary history, religious studies, cultural studies, international relations, history of ideas, history of political thought.

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