Lateran treaties

The Lateran Treaties of February 11, 1929 provided for the mutual recognition of the then Kingdom of Italy and the Vatican City. The treaties were negotiated between Cardinal Pietro Gasparri for on behalf of the Vatican, and Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader, as Prime Minister of Italy. There are three treaties:

  • A treaty recognising the independence and sovereignty of the Holy See and creating the State of the Vatican City.
  • A concordat defining the civil and religious relations between the government and the church within Italy (summarised in the motto: "free church in free State").
  • A financial convention providing the Holy See with compensation for its losses in 1870.

Through the concordat, the Pope agreed to submit candidates for bishop and archbishop to the Italian government, to require bishops to swear allegiance to the Italian state before taking offices, and to forbid the clergy from taking part in politics. Italy agreed to submit its rules on marriage and divorce to make them conformable to the rules of the Roman Catholic Church, and to exempt clergy from military conscription. The treaties granted the Roman Catholic Church the status of the established church in Italy. They also gave the Roman Catholic Church substantial control over the Italian educational system.

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