The Pope and Mussolini

The Pope and Mussolini

The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe

Book - 2014
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Analyzes the relationship between Pius XI and the notorious Italian dictator, tracing how after coming into power in the same year they forged covert ties to one another to consolidate power and pursue political goals.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812993462
Branch Call Number: 322.1094 Kertzer
BX1377 .K47 2014
Characteristics: xxxiii, 549 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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Feb 23, 2018

Fascinating read. Written in very accessible language and style. Thoroughly researched and documented. David Kertzer portrays Pius XI not so much as evil but as naive, bound by the Church's age-old teachings about the Jews, and, when he finally does decide to challenge Mussolini's and Hitler's racial ideologies, thwarted by Vatican figures, including the man who would be his successor, Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII. This is the first of Kertzer's works that I have read, and it left me eager to read more.

Jun 28, 2016

Excellent history of how fascism came to be in Italy in the 1920's. Great read but a real horror story. Thoroughly researched from the Vatican archives and the Italian fascist government archives. The book examines the relationship between Mussolini and Pope Pius XI. In conclusion, the fascist dictator, Mussolini, used the Vatican to come to power and stay there. The Italian Fascist party might have been another footnote in history, if the Vatican didn't go all in and backed Mussolini (and BTW Hitler idolized Mussolini and copied the Italian fascist playbook to gain power in Germany). Let's be clear, both Il Duce and the Pope were strong supporters of fascism - each for their own purposes. While Pope Pius XI, a power-hungry librarian, was defiant of Mussolini, he only protested to regain his state-sponsored religion - thus the 'Clerico-Fascist' regime. Pius XI had some regrets about the out-right racism of the fascists toward the end of his reign, but he didn't really stand up against Mussolini's anti-Semite laws. Puis was opposed to the German Nazi, if only that Hitler was anti-Catholic. Pius XI was just as evil as Mussolini and maybe worse for enabling the fascists. Yet Pius XI's successor was twice as bad - a complete anti-Semite, totally compliant to Mussolini, and a Nazi collaborator. What a contrast to the current Pope Francis.


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